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Praise the LORD, Sing Hallelujah (Psalm 148)

Full Text

1 Praise the LORD, sing hallelujah,
from the heavens praise his name;
praise the LORD, our great Creator;
all his angels, praise proclaim.
All his hosts, together praise him,
sun and moon and stars on high;
praise the LORD, O heavens of heavens,
and the floods above the sky.

Refrain:
Praise the LORD, sing hallelujah,
for his name alone is high,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
far above the earth and sky.

2 Let them praise the LORD their Maker:
they were made at his command.
God established them forever;
his decree shall ever stand.
Let the earth sing hallelujah:
raging seas, you monsters all,
fire and hail and snow and vapors,
stormy winds that hear his call. [Refrain]

3 All you fruitful trees and cedars,
every hill and mountain high,
creeping things and beasts and cattle,
birds that in the heavens fly,
kings of earth and all you people,
princes great, earth's judges all;
praise his name, young men and maidens,
aged men, and children small. [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

In addition to Psalm 148, we find Revelation 5:8-14 in these words when God is praised as the creator of all.
When stanza 3 calls all parts of creation to praise his name, we hear much the same in Psalm 96:10-113.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Angels figure prominently in this song of praise. “All his angels” and “all his hosts” are to join with the entire universe to bring praise to the Creator. Belgic Confession, Article 12 professes that God “also created the angels good, that they might be his messengers and serve the elect.”
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Praise the LORD, Sing Hallelujah (Psalm 148)

Call to Worship

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord ,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord !
—Psalm 148, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

How magnificent for us to ponder, triune God of grace,
how your Word spoke creation into being,
how your Spirit breathed life into every living creature.
Receive now our praise in concert
with the symphony of praise
and saints and angels in heaven—
all offered through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

O God, beginning with the angels and descending through the skies,
your call to worship unites all creation in song.
Give us wisdom and strength, enabling our wholehearted praise,
for you alone are worthy; you alone are Lord. Amen.

A Prayer of Acclamation
 
Great creator God, you spoke worlds into being.
Let the angels praise you.
Your name alone is high.
Let the hosts of heaven praise you.
Your glory is exalted.
Let sun and moon and stars on high—let them all praise you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
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Praise the LORD, Sing Hallelujah (Psalm 148)

Tune Information

Name
PRAISE JEHOVAH
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
8.7.8.7 with refrain

Recordings

6

Praise the LORD, Sing Hallelujah (Psalm 148)

Hymn Story/Background

A post-exilic hymn, Psalm 148, maintains that God's glory dis­played in creation and redemption is so great that the praise on Israel's lips (as in Psalm 149) needs to be supplemented by a chorus from all creation. This versification of Psalm 148 is found in various later nineteenth-century Presbyterian Psalters in the United States. Ever since the 1927 United Presbyterian Bible Songs Hymnal, this text and tune have appeared as a setting of Psalm 148.
 
The tune, PRAISE JEHOVAH, was composed by William J. Kirkpatrick and joined in the 1890s to this versification of Psalm 148, with the original seventh stanza becoming the refrain. The tune was published with an 1899 copyright date in Life Songs, a 1916 publication of the Mennonite Publishing House.
 
PRAISE JEHOVAH (also known as KIRKPATRICK and AINOS) is a splendid example of the best of gospel hymn writing: a strong melody, a variety of rhythms, and some independence in the harmony parts (especially in the refrain). Well-suited to part singing, PRAISE JEHOVAH can be sung in the common stanza-refrain pattern, but the order of the text would suggest singing the refrain (which can also be considered st. 4) only after stanzas 1 through 3. Try antiphonal singing on the three stanzas; have everyone sing the refrain. Sing the dotted rhythms crisply to distinguish them clearly from the regular eighth notes.
 
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

William J. Kirkpatrick (b. Duncannon, PA, 1838; d. Philadelphia, PA, 1921) received his musical training from his father and several other private teachers. A carpenter by trade, he engaged in the furniture business from 1862 to 1878. He left that profession to dedicate his life to music, serving as music director at Grace Methodist Church in Philadelphia. Kirkpatrick compiled some one hundred gospel song collections; his first, Devotional Melodies (1859), was published when he was only twenty-one years old. Many of these collections were first published by the John Hood Company and later by Kirkpatrick's own Praise Publishing Company, both in Philadelphia.
— Bert Polman
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