Hallelujah to the Lamb?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One of my friends said something yesterday that got me thinking, trying to figure it out, hard. It all started when some of us were talking about Don Moen's "Hallelujah to the Lamb" song.

She quipped, "Oh! But that song is theologically incorrect. Don't sing it."

"How so?"

" 'Hallelujah' means 'Praise ye Yahweh' or 'Praise Yahweh, you people'. It makes no sense to ask people to praise God to the Lamb."

I am still trying to figure it out. As much as she is right in the sense that the grammatical structure of the sentence does not work in the Hebrew sense of "Hallelujah", but I felt that it may not deserve a "theologically wrong" label. There are other songs that seriously deserve that label, no doubt about it, but not this song, I think.

Reason being is because the "Hallelujah" expression is very much taken by Christians nowadays as an exclamation of praise, i.e, "Praise the Lord!". In that sense, what Don Moen meant by "Hallelujah to the Lamb" could be "Praise the Lord, praise to the Lamb".

What do you think?

I am still not sure and I alarmingly found myself saying "Christian nowadays" two paragraphs ago. Am I conveniently explaining it away with the "oh, now we do it this way" approach? I had people explaining away theologically incorrect songs that I tried pointing out to them and I do not want to do the same without thinking it through more seriously.

I think I think too much, I think.

pearlie

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16 comment(s)

  1. Yes, I too think you think too much. Maybe I don't think enough :o) To me it's the intent and position of our heart and what WE mean by the words. HE is the sacrificial lamb.
    Susan

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  2. your friend more rigorous than the stm, ot lecturer...

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  3. Why couldn't we praise God to the Lamb? Do we not sing to Jesus the praises of God?

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  4. no pearlie, you don't think too much. You're always interesting!

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  5. Hey Susan,
    I do don't I :) you are not the only one who agrees!

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  6. 不肖生 Sceptics,
    Really ah? :D

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  7. Hi Missy,
    Do you think there's a difference between these two phrases:
    - Praise God, to the Lamb
    - Praise God to the Lamb

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  8. Haha BK,
    I wasn't fishing for compliments but thank you :) I have now in record 2 people calling me interesting ;)

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  9. Pearlie,

    I may be incorrect, but no, I do not see a difference. The comma inserted does not change the meaning only the inflection. The prepositional phrase "To the Lamb" is a complement to the verb. There is only one verb in this phrase and must be applied to "Praise." So, in this phrase I see that God is the object of the verb - WHO is being praised - and the Lamb is the audience the praise is presented TO.

    See, I think too much, too!

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  10. I'm not theologically trained and am a layperson. Perhaps it does not make sense from a linguistic/grammatical point of view but for what it means to me it means that I praise Jesus for He is God.

    And hence, I sing Hallelujah to the Lamb.

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  11. Hi Danesh,
    Yup, I get you. I too sing praises to the Lamb. But I can get too pedantic about things sometimes.

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  12. Hi Missy,
    I think I know what you mean. But now my friend argued that one cannot even sing Hallelujah TO God, since the meaning of Hallelujah is "You people, praise the Lord" and we can't say "You people, praise the Lord" to God. But to me, the word Hallelujah is "Praise the Lord" and therefore I say Hallelujah to the Lord and not the people. To the people, I'd say, "come praise the Lord".

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  13. As the (sacrificial) Lamb refers to Jesus I see nothing wrong with the original quote...? - Dave

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  14. Hi Dave,
    Yup, the Lamb is Jesus and so it right that we praise him - just that here it is the semantics of the word Hallelujah that I am mulling over :)

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  15. Isn't it just a shout of praise? - Dave

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  16. Dave,
    Yes, the common translation of the Hebrew word/phrase is "Praise the Lord" but some translated it to be "Praise ye the Lord" i.e. "You people, praise the Lord" which is why I am just thinking about it being said to the Lord, but as an address to the people.

    But I am still using it as a word of praise to God, anyway :)

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