What is Worship? Barak

Barak is a Hebrew word that calls us to kneel in submission before our God. On Thursdays I have been posting on the meaning of various words related to worship.  Here is a complete list of the words we are studying:

Worship Terms

Worship – What is the meaning of the English word “Worship?”
Shachah – The primary Hebrew word for worship
Proskuneo – The primary Greek word for worship
Halal – A Hebrew word for crazy exuberant praise
Shabach – A Hebrew word for loud praise
Tehillah – A Hebrew word for song of praise
Zamar – A Hebrew word for making music accompanied by strings
Yadah – A Hebrew word for extending the hands in thanksgiving and praise
Towdah – A Hebrew word for a thanks offering
Barak – A Hebrew word for kneeling before God in humble submission

Hidden Meaning in Psalm 100:4 - See how understanding these words enhances the meaning of this popular praise verse.

In this post I will continue the study of worship terminology by looking at the Hebrew word Barak. This post is a rewrite of a post from 2013 titled Seven Hebrew Words That Will Enhance Your Worship: Barak.


Definition of Barak from Bible Hub

Meaning of Barak

According to Barak means

A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason)

To Kneel

Barak occurs 330 times in the Old Testament.  The literal meaning of this word is to kneel.

And he made the camels kneel down (barak) outside the city… Genesis 24:11

It is rarely used in this literal manner, however.  Instead, it usually means “to bless” someone.  The idea is to give something of value to another.  God is sometimes spoken of as blessing His people.

The Lord bless (barak) you and keep you; Numbers 6:24

In this case you can see that it represents God’s kindness and special favor toward us.  It is most commonly used, though, of us blessing God.

Blessed (barak) be the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.  Psalm 89:52

When we barak God we offer ourselves to Him in humble submission.  We kneel before Him.

What Can We Learn From This?


Halal - Crazy, exuberant praise

In many ways barak is the balance to halal.  In halal we offer crazy and exuberant praise.  Joyful and unrestrained praise can, at times, though, appear irreverent towards God.  That is not to say we should avoid unrestrained praise.  God has commanded us to halal Him.  But to keep a proper perspective on the awesome nature of our holy God, we need to balance halal with barak.  In barak we offer humble and submissive praise.  We recognize Him as our Lord and kneel before Him.  We bless God with our willing submission.

Barak also reminds us of the primary Hebrew word for worship, shachah, which means to bow. In our exuberance to praise God we cannot forget to balance that with the reverence God deserves.

Take some time today to literally kneel before God and humbly offer yourself once more as His willing servant.  Give to God the blessing of a willing heart.

Question:  Which is easier for you to do – barak or halal?  Please leave a comment.


by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory


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