In the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Psalms, there are seven words used for praise and worship which teach us various aspects of how to approach God. Psalm 100 is a psalm about praise and in one verse four of the seven words are used showing a Biblical progression from the sacrifice of praise into deep worship.
Psalm 100:4 – Enter His gates with (TOWAH) and His gates with (TEHILLAH); give (YADAH) to Him and (BARACH) His name.
This shows us God’s progression into His presence, from the sacrifice of praise to true heart-felt praise into the depths of worship.
Hebrew Words for Praise:
HALAL – to be clear, to shine, make a show, boast, be foolish, rave, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish about your adoration of God, to boast openly about God, to glory in God.
Psalm 119:175 – Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
Psalm 119:164 – Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments.
Psalm 63:5 – My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 – Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising (halal) and thanking (yadah) the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: For He is good, for His mercy endures forever, that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
2 Chronicles 23:13 – When she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, also the singers with musical instruments, and those who led in praise. So Athaliah tore her clothes and said, “Treason! Treason!” There were those who led in halal at that time as well as this time.
2 Chronicles 29:30 – Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped. They sang praise with words written by someone else.
YADAH – to hold out the hand, throw, revere or worship with extended hands, to extend the hands, to lift the hands with all of your strength, to worship with extended hands, giving oneself in worship and adoration.
Psalm 118:21 – I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation.
Psalm 54:6 – I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.
Psalm 111:1 – Praise (halal) the LORD! I will praise (yadah) the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
Psalm 9:1 – I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart…
Psalm 105:1 – Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 106:1 – Praise (halal) the LORD! Oh, give thanks (yadah) to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 – Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Psalm 28:7 – The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.
Psalm 33:2-3 – Praise the LORD with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy (a loud noise).
2 Samuel 22:50 – Therefore I will give thanks (yadah) to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises (zamar) to Your name.
1 Chronicles 16:4, 7-8 – And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to commemorate, to thank (yadah), and to praise (halal) the LORD God of Israel… On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the LORD: Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!
1 Chronicles 25:1-3 – Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph…who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments and cymbals. And the number of skilled men performing their service was… who prophesied with a harp to give thanks (yadah) and to praise (halal) the Lord.
1 Chronicles 23:28, 30 – …because their duty was to help the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the LORD… to stand every morning to thank (yadah) and praise (halal) the LORD, and likewise at evening.
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 – indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising (halal) and thanking (yadah) the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: For He is good, for His mercy endures forever, that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
TODAH – From yadah; it is an extension of the hand in adoration, a choir of worshippers, confession; it is to praise the Lord by the lifting of the hands in sacrificial thanksgiving. It is to praise God for what He has promised but you don’t yet see. It is agreeing with what has been or will be done. It is commonly found in connection with sacrifice, agreeing with the Word of God.
Leviticus 7:12 – If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer, with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, or cakes of blended flour mixed with oil.
2 Chronicles 29:31 – Then Hezekiah answered and said, now that you have consecrated yourselves to the LORD, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.
Nehemiah 12:31 – So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs.
Psalm 26:7 – That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.
Psalm 50:14-15, 23 – Offer to God thanksgiving (todah), and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. Whoever offers praise (todah) glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
Psalm 69:30 – I will praise (halal) the name of God with song and magnify (make Him bigger, bring Him into true perspective and focus) with thanksgiving (todah).
Psalm 95:2 – Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 107:22 – Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.
Psalm 116:17 – I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
Psalm 147:7 – Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving (todah); sing praises (zamar) on the harp to our God.
Jeremiah 17:26 – And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the LORD.
Jeremiah 33:11 – the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: Praise (yadah) the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for His mercy endures forever”—and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise (todah) into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the LORD.
Jonah 2:9 – But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”
ZAMAR – to strike with the fingers, touch the strings, make music accompanied by voice, celebrate in song and music, to praise or sing with instruments. KJV translated as sing praises many times.
Psalm 147:7 – Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving (todah); sing praises (zamar) on the harp to our God,
Psalm 144:9 – I will sing a new song to You, O God; on a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
Psalm 149:3 – Let them praise (halal) His name with the dance; let them sing praises (zamar) to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people…
Psalm 21:13 – Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.
Psalm 105:2 – Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!
Psalm 27:6 – And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Psalm 47:6 – Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.
Psalm 57:7 – My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 59:17 – To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, my God of mercy.
Psalm 147:1 – Praise (halal) the LORD! For it is good to sing praises (zamar) to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise (tehillah) is beautiful.
Psalm 147:7 – Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving (todah); sing praise (zamar) upon the harp unto our God.
BARAK – to kneel and bless God as an act of adoration; to kneel quietly and expectantly, expecting to receive; to kneel and give reverence; bless. It implies a continual conscious giving of praise to God, being attuned to Him and His presence.
Psalm 16:7 – I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
Psalm 34:1 – I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 63:3-4 – Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise (shabach) You. Thus I will bless (barak) You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psalm 95:6 – Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
Psalm 103:1-2 – Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
SHABACH – to address in a loud tone, to command, to shout (gut level), proclaim with a loud voice, loud adoration. It is proclaiming the glory, the triumph, the power, the mercy and love of God. This word implies that testimony can be praise.
Psalm 63:3 – Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.
Psalm 106:47 – Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks (yadah) to Your holy name, to triumph (shabach) in Your praise.
Psalm 117:1 – Praise (halal) the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud (shabach) Him, all you peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:35-36 – And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks (yadah) to Your holy name, to triumph (shabach) in Your praise.” Blessed (barak) be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting!
TEHILLAH – comes from halal – laudation hymn. It is to sing halal. It involves total involvement of oneself to worship of God. It is the kind of praise God always inhabits. It s a hymn of spontaneous praise, glorying in God in song; it is high praises, singing from the Spirit. It is spoken of as the new song in many cases.
Psalm 34:1 – I will bless (barak) the LORD at all times; His praise (tehillah) shall continually be in my mouth.
N.T. This kind of praise, the new song should continually be in my mouth. Ephesians 5:19 – Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
1 Chronicles 16:35 – And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles, to give thanks (yadah) to Your holy name, to triumph (shabach) in Your praise (tehillah).”
2 Chronicles 20:22 – Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. KJV – …thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Psalm 33:1 – Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Psalm 40:3 – He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD.
Psalm 66:8 – Oh, bless (barak) our God, you peoples! and make the voice of His praise (tehillah) to be heard.
Psalm 71:1 – But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.
Psalm 106:47 – Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks (yadah) to Your holy name, to triumph (shabach) in Your praise (tehillah).
Isaiah 42:10 – Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise from the ends of the earth,.
Isaiah 61:3 – To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness,
Psalm 100:1-2 – Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
Psalm 100:4 – Enter into his gates with thanksgiving (todah), and into his courts with praise (tehillah): be thankful (yadah) unto him, and bless (barak) his name.