Getting funky with ancient Hebrew and dancing bishops

Added 9/23/2010 – I didn’t realize it at the time I wrote this, but it’s  my 500th post on Worship In The City!

I spent the morning today over at Ye Ol’ Freedom School this morning worshiping with the kids there. The school is really wanting to teach the kids what worship is, how to worship, and that there is freedom in worship within the bounds of what is appropriate. So I thought the classic mid-90’s jam, “Shabach” would be an excellent way to introduce a few of the concepts of what worship is from the Hebrew words that are found in scripture which represent ways that the Lord is to be worshiped. An added bonus to the song is that it never fails to rock the house. So here’s a few of the words along with some definitions and contextual uses that I stole from this website.

Shabach

to laud, praise, commend – this one seems to have a confessional, testimony kind of element. Praise is to declare to the world who God is and what he’s done.
Psalm 145:4 One generation shall [shabach] Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
Psalm 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will [shebach] You.

Barak

to bless, kneel – this word has a ton of references. Blessing is all over the place in the Old Testament. God blesses. People bless God. People bless each other. Mr. Obama’s parents gave him a good name.
Psalm 34:1- I will [barak] the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Genesis 12:2- And I will make you a great nation, And I will [barak] you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a [barakah];

Yadah

to give thanks; to confess – Do we need to always draw a line between thanksgiving and confession? This is a word that contains both ideas.
Psalm 33:2- [Yadah] to the LORD with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
Ezra 10:1- Now while Ezra was praying and [yadah], weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly.

Towdah

confession, praise, thanksgiving – This is also used for thank offerings. So maybe when we tithe, is it like a song we sing with our cash?
Ps 50:14 – Offer to God a sacrifice of [towdah] And pay your vows to the Most High;
Isaiah 51:3 – Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, [towdah] and sound of a melody.

Taqa

to blow, clap, strike, sound, thrust, give a blow, blast – This appears to be the word to describe playing an instrument as well as clapping. So it’s more than applause; it’s percussion. Clapping to music.
Psalm 47:1 – O [taqa] your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy.
Psalm 81:3 – [Taqa] the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast day.

Tehil-lah

praise, song or hymn of praise
Psalm 40:3 – He put a new song in my mouth, a [tehil-lah] to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.
2 Chronicles 20:22 – When they began singing and [tehil-lah], the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed

Halal

to praise, boast, be boastful – I would have never connected this verse from Jeremiah with Psalm 150 but they both use halal over and over.
Jeremiah 9:23, 24 – Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man [halal] of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man [halal] of his might, let not a rich man [halal] of his riches; but let him who [halal]s [halal] of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things ,” declares the LORD.
Psalm 150 – [halal] the LORD. [halal] God in his sanctuary; [halal] him in his mighty heavens. [halal] him for his acts of power; [halal] him for his surpassing greatness. [halal] him with the sounding of the trumpet, [halal] him with the harp and lyre, [halal] him with tambourine and dancing, [halal] him with the strings and flute, [halal] him with the clash of cymbals, [halal] him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath [halal] the LORD. [halal] the LORD.

Karar

to whirl, dance – there was only one verse that the lexicon website gave for karar. Apparently, to “Dance like David danced” means to whirl around. My daughter loves dancing like this.
2 Samuel 6:16 – Then it happened as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and [karar] before the LORD; and she despised him in her hear

Bonus: Here’s a verse that has several of these words strung together
Psalm 100:4 – Enter His gates with [towdah] And His courts with [tehil-lah]. [yadah] to Him, [barak] His name.

Cool!

So, if you’ve never heard the song that I’m referring to, “Shabach”, then check out this rather dated clip of Byron Cage and a massive choir leading the song at a Full Gospel Baptist convention.

Go bishops, go bishops, go!

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