117. Hallelujah, Hallelujah

1 Hallelujah, hallelujah;
all you peoples, praise proclaim.
For God's grace and loving-kindness
O sing praises to his name.
For the greatness of his mercy
constant praise to him accord.
For his faithfulness eternal,
hallelujah, praise the LORD!

Text Information
First Line: Hallelujah, Hallelujah; all you peoples praise proclaim
Title: Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Meter: 87 87 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Doxologies; Love: God's Love to Us; Songs for Children: Psalms (1 more...)
Source: Psalter, 1887, alt.
Tune Information
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: G Major
Source: Oude en Nieuwe Hollantse Boerenlities en Contradansen, 1710

Text Information:

A call to all nations to praise the LORD.

The seventh of eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 117 is an expanded "Praise the LORD." It was probably composed for use at the beginning or end of temple liturgies. It stands fifth in the "Egyptian Hallel" used in Jewish liturgy at the annual religious festivals prescribed in the Torah. At Passover, Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal; 115 through 118 were sung after the meal. Psalm 117 is only one stanza in length, but in calling all nations to praise the LORD for being faithful to Israel, it powerfully anticipates the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Paul quotes verse 1 in Romans 15:11 as proof that the salvation of Gentiles was not a divine afterthought. The versification derives from The Book of Psalms (1871), a text-only psalter that was later published with music in the 1887 Psalter.

Liturgica1 Use:
As an expanded "hallelujah," Psalm 117 has many uses in worship–by itself or possibly as a frame for another hymn.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

IN BABILONE is a traditional Dutch melody that appeared in Oude en Nieuwe Hollantse Boerenlities en Contradansen (Old and New Dutch Peasant Songs and Country Dances), c. 1710. Ralph Vaughan Williams (PHH 316) discovered this tune as arranged by Julius Rontgen (b. Leipzig, Germany, 1855; d. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1932) and included it in The English Hymnal (1906), from which it gained widespread use. A rounded barform tune (AABA), IN BABILONE provides a fine setting for Psalm 117's cosmic scope. Because this song has only one stanza, use the tune as an alternate to other texts in 87 87 D so that congregations may sing it more often. Stretch the cadence a bit to catch a breath at the end of line 3 (ending in the word accord).

An important Dutch pianist, composer, conductor, scholar, and editor, Rontgen studied music in Leipzig with well-known German teachers. In 1877 he moved to Amsterdam, where he first taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 1886 he became conductor of the Society for the Advancement of Musical Art. He returned to the Conservatory as director in 1918, and then retired in 1924 to devote himself to composition. He was a friend of leading composers of his day, including Liszt, Brahms, and Grieg, and wrote a biography of Grieg. Rontgen's compositions include symphonies, chamber works, operas, and film scores.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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