The Original Hallelujah Chorus


      Though George Frideric Handel’s masterpiece was called the “Hallelujah Chorus”, the original composition preceded it by over 2,500 years.  The final five psalms in the Psalter begin and end with the same exuberant exclamation “Praise the Lord!” (which translates the Hebrew word “hallelujah”).

     What an extensive list is made of Jehovah’s praiseworthiness.

  • He made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them (146:6).
  • He keeps truth forever (146:6).
  • He executes justice for the oppressed (146:7).
  • He gives food to the hungry (146:7).
  • He gives freedom to the prisoners (146:7).
  • He opens the eyes of the blind (146:8).
  • He raises those who are bowed down (146:8).
  • He loves the righteous (146:8).
  • He watches over the strangers (146:9).
  • He relieves the fatherless and widow (146:9).
  • He shall reign forever (146:10).
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (147:3).
  • He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by name (147:4).
  • He is great and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite (147:5).
  • He lifts up the humble (147:6).
  • He casts the wicked down to the ground (147:6).
  • He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, and makes grass to grow on the mountains (147:8).
  • He gives food to the beasts and the young ravens that cry (147:9).
  • He takes pleasure in those who fear Him and whose hope is in His mercy (147:11).
  • He sends out His command to the earth and His word runs very swiftly (147:15).
  • He gives snow like wool, scatters frost like ashes, and casts out hail like morsels (147:16-17).
  • He commanded and the heavens were created (148:1-5).
  • His name alone is exalted (148:13).
  • His glory is above the earth and heaven (148:13).
  • He has exalted the horn of His people (148:14).
  • He takes pleasure in His people (149:4).
  • He will beautify the humble with salvation (149:4).
  • He executes vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples (149:7).

     What a fitting climax concludes this five-psalm chorus of praise—”Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).


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Author: jchowning

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