Friday, November 7, 2014

Season of Praise: Yadah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

So, ok, wow, I may have jumped right outta the boat into the deep water here.

I'm not even gonna try to describe the maze of the Hebrew lexicon... I will just say that my search for a dictionary/concordance led me to this page, which in turn took me to  this listing for Strong's 3034 (Yadah).   I dug around a little more and found that I was looking at four different tenses/voices/whatever of Yadah, which result in that particular word being translated in various ways. 

The scholars state that it appears a total of 114 times in the Old Testament, and is translated in the King James as 'Praise' 53 times,  'Give thanks' 32 times, 'Confess' 16 times, 'Thank' 5 times, 'Make confession' twice,  'Thanksgiving' twice, and once each as 'Cast', 'Cast out', 'Shoot' and 'Thankful'.

The root of it, per Mr. Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary found listed in teeniny print in the back of  the Zodhiates text, means to use (ie, hold out) the hand; to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; espec. to revere or worship (with extended hands).  There is also a mention that in one tense it can be translated as wringing in bemoaning, making confession.

So much information!  My head was spinning.

But then I remembered my purpose...studying the words for PRAISE. 

So, for today, I've pulled the curtain back enough to show you some of where I've been to dig, but I'm not going there every week.  I'll link up the reference, so you can look if you want, but for each of these words I'm going to focus on the aspect of praise that is represented.

Which means we're considering Yadah with the translation given as 'espec. to revere or worship with extended hands.'

I have to admit, worshiping with 'extended hands' was a foreign concept to me until I was in my 30's.  It just Wasn't Done in the denomination that I grew up least, not in the years I grew up.  But in the late '90's we began venturing outside of the denomination to youth events and conventions that were not affiliated with any particular denomination.

And we found ourselves amongst people who worshiped with extended hands.

It was a paradigm shift.

But I just thought it was a different worship style; aside from the instruction in 1 Timothy to men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, I really didn't know there was a Biblical basis for extending hands.

So here's a smattering of references, all using the Hebrew word yadah (translated as 'praise' in KJV, but other words may be used in other translations) with the background meaning of  'revere or worship with extended hands' (all references here from the Amplified):

And when all the people of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed with their faces upon the pavement, and worshiped and praised [yadah] the LORD, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure for ever. - 2 Chron. 7:3

I will praise [yadah] You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wondrous deeds! - Ps. 9:1

Why are you cast down, O my inner self?  And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me?  Hope you in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise [yadah] Him, my help and my God - Ps. 42:5

I will make your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise [yadah] and give you thanks for ever and ever. - Ps 45:17

Let Heaven (the angels) praise [yadah] Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones (the holy angels) - Ps 89:5

All the kings of the land shall give you credit and praise [yadah] You, O Lord, for they have heard of the promises of Your mouth (which were fulfilled) - Ps 138:4

All Your works shall praise [yadah] You; O Lord, and Your loving ones shall bless You -- affectionately and gratefully shall Your saints confess and praise you! - Ps 145:10

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise [yadah] Your name; for You have done wonderful things, even purposes planned of old and fulfilled in faithfulness and truth. - Is. 25:1

One thing I hadn't noticed before cruising through these verses...the angels are described as worshiping God with a yadah praise (Ps. 89:5).

There is something about a worship that involves extending the hand; it's a little more of a public demonstration than simply speaking; it requires more of a personal commitment/ involvement. A little more boldness.

But here's something totally off the wall -- it's interesting to note that the act of extending hands in such a way has an actual psychological effect on one's attitude; check out this TED talk to see what the research has shown.  Now, mind you, praise was not even a consideration in any of that research and it wasn't mentioned at all in the talk, but when I saw her demonstrate the 'posture of power' it struck me at once as  a position of praise.  If secular research has found that just taking the position of a yadah praise could have so much impact on an individual; what impact would actually adding praise to that position have on one's life and situation?

Could it be that one of the reasons praise involves lifting hands is because it not only honors God but strengthens and encourages the individual?

Wouldn't that be an amazing thing for God to have instilled in be strengthened by the very action of praise?


  1. My pastor has often told us that praise will help us get through our trials. What struck me while listening to the TED talk was towards the end when she said to fake it until you become it. Recently, I have had a trial that has left me with a heavy heart. I have had to walk into church, lift my hands in praise when it was the last thing I felt like doing until... Until it became what I wanted to do. Praise has taken me a long way through my storms.

    1. I don' t know if this observation will make its way into any of the Friday posts, but that's what I'd consider 'the sacrifice of praise'...praise that costs you something, because you really don't want to praise, don't have praise in you...and you do it anyway.

      Thanks Amy!