seven hebrew words for praise

What are the Seven Hebrew Words for Praise?

Throughout the Word of God, the actions and meanings of praise have specific meanings, purposes and intentions. The seven Hebrew words for praise are specific words that clarify God’s intention for how worship and praised are expressed by His people.

Praise has many interpretations, but only one purpose: Ministry to the Lord.

In Exodus 28, when God was creating the framework for the priesthood of Aaron and designing their garments of praise, He said over and over that the foundation for all that they did in leading the people in praise and service was to, “…minister to Me.” The garments the Lord gave Aaron were for beauty and for glory. 

Each of the seven Hebrew words for praise paints a different picture of a distinctive and unique worship action, in response to different mighty acts of God. Each word conveys a physical action performed by the worshipper, as you operate in an attitude of thanksgiving for what God has done.

Revelation 1:16 and 5:10 note that the people of God are all made to be kings and priests. In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter wrote that God’s people were chosen to be a royal priesthood. The purpose of the priesthood in the Bible was the minister to the Lord.

That isn’t just the job of the pastor and the worship team! Every believer is called to minister to the Lord and, very specifically, worship is how we do that is through our physical actions of praise, expressed by God through the seven Hebrew words for praise.

The 7 Hebrew Words for Praise Guide You into God’s Glory

  1. HALAL: To jump, dance, to be loud and clamorous (Scriptural reference – Psalm 150:2)
  2. YADAH: To throw your hands up and forward while making a confession about God (Scriptural reference – Isaiah 25:1)
  3. TOWDAH: To lift your hands in thanksgiving (Scriptural reference – Psalm 107:22)
  4. SHABACH: A loud, joyous shout of testimony (Scriptural reference – Psalm 145:4)
  5. ZAMAR: To worship the Lord while playing an instrument (Scriptural reference – Psalm 98:4)
  6. BARAK: To kneel in reverence and submission (Scriptural reference – Psalm 66:20)
  7. TEHILLAH: To sing a spontaneous, unrehearsed song of the Lord, from your spirit (Scriptural reference – Psalm 22:3)

Does need praise or worship? Of course not!

If your heart is to worship God, and to offer to Him the praise that He has designed and that He has asked for- the seven Hebrew words for praise will deepen your understanding of His heart for worship. It will renew passion and inspire fresh worship.

There isn’t anything that any human being could ever offer to God in return for His mercy, love and salvation and there isn’t anything God needs. However, the Lord has repeatedly expressed His desires in His Word and they all involve a deeper connection, greater intimacy and a more personal relationship with His people.

If your heart is to worship God, and to offer to Him the praise that He has designed and that He has asked for- the seven Hebrew words for praise will deepen your understanding of His heart for worship.

~Alicia Purdy

Unless you understand the ancient languages used to author the Old Testament, most people read the word “praise” and think of, well, praise! However, the word “praise” in the English language is left open-ended, to be interpreted by the worshipper, but that is not how God designed His praise to be expressed.

The point of origin for praise is always gratitude. In Psalm 50 the Lord said this:

“If I were hungry, I would not tell you;  for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice a thank offering to God, and pay your vows to the Most High, and call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me…Whoever sacrifices a thank offering  glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.” (MEV)

God doesn’t need praise and worship. He desires it. Why? Because praise the method He carefully and powerfully created to facilitate a deeper connection with you.

Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord dwells within the praise (“tehillah”) of His people.

  • Has He helped you in times of trouble? HALAL Him! (Psalm 148)
  • Has He performed a miracle in your life? TEHILLAH! (Psalm 34:1)
  • What does God, Himself, ask for as a sacrifice of thanksgiving? TOWDAH! (Psalm  50:14)
  • Do you need a blessing in your life? BARAK Him! (Genesis 22:17)

The book, “The Way of the Worshipper” will provide further context and deeper study of the Seven Hebrew Words for Praise and will help you uncover God’s “why” and “when” for each word. Additionally, there is a full “praise concordance” in the book where you can find every Scriptural reference for each usage of all seven Hebrew Words for praise!

Digging Deeper into God’s Word for Worship: A Devotional Workbook

How do these seven Hebrew words for praise translate, in practical terms, in the lives of those who love the Lord and desire to honor Him with their worship, to bless Him, to thank Him… to connect more deeply with Him?

That is why the book “The Way of the Worshipper” was written – to help you strengthen your relationship with the Lord through praise and deepen your spiritual connection to His Holy Spirit through restoring intimacy, purpose and understanding in your praise and worship – and it’s also why was created – to keep going!

Following the release of “The Way of the Worshipper”, I wrote a supplemental “Devotional Workbook” that will help you walk through the spiritual journey of The Way of the Worshipper and expand on Scriptural concepts about praise and worship, but even more importantly, the devotional workbook will help you learn more about yourself – your motivations, inhibitions, your strengths and perspectives about praise!

When the Lord brings new revelation into our lives, it encompasses two important aspects: Revelation about Him, and revelation about ourselves. That is what The Way of the Worshipper is all about!