The Meaning of Psalms 99:3 Explained

Psalms 99:3

KJV: Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

YLT: They praise Thy name, 'Great, and fearful, holy it is.'

Darby: They shall praise thy great and terrible name, it is holy! --

ASV: Let them praise thy great and terrible name: Holy is he.

What does Psalms 99:3 Mean?

Context Summary

Psalm 99:1-9 - Worship The Great And Holy One
This psalm has its counterpart in Psalms 97:1-12. There Jehovah's reign is associated with the gladness of faith; here with the trembling of mortal and sinful hearts. Thrice we are reminded that He is holy, Psalms 99:3; Psalms 99:5; Psalms 99:9. This threefold ascription of earth concerning the holiness of God answers the threefold ascription of heaven, where one seraph cries to the rest, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory," Isaiah 6:3.
God's holiness is terrible to sinners. It inspires even His own people with awe. However near we come to Him in Christ, we always must remember that we are sinful men who have no right to stand before Him, save through the mediation and in the righteousness of His Son.
How great God must be, who can reckon Moses, Aaron, and Samuel as His servants! And we, too, though beneath them in personal character and gift, are permitted to be among His priests; to call upon His name; to hear Him speaking from the pillar of cloud. Let us all walk worthy of our high calling! Let us fear this great and holy God, who cannot tolerate sin in His children, and will not scruple to inflict pain if sin is persisted in. He does forgive-glory to His name!-but He will not hesitate to chasten us for sins which we presumptuously and knowingly permit. [source]

Chapter Summary: Psalm 99

1  The prophet, setting forth the kingdom of God in Zion
5  Exhorts all, by the example of their forefathers, to worship God at his holy hill

What do the individual words in Psalms 99:3 mean?

Let them praise Your name great and awesome holy He [is]
יוֹד֣וּ שִׁ֭מְךָ גָּד֥וֹל וְנוֹרָ֗א קָד֥וֹשׁ הֽוּא

יוֹד֣וּ  Let  them  praise 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: יָדָה 
Sense: to throw, shoot, cast.
שִׁ֭מְךָ  Your  name 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, second person masculine singular
Root: שֵׁם  
Sense: name.
גָּד֥וֹל  great 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: גָּבֹול 
Sense: great.
וְנוֹרָ֗א  and  awesome 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Nifal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: יָרֵא 
Sense: to fear, revere, be afraid.
קָד֥וֹשׁ  holy 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: קָדֹושׁ  
Sense: sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart.
הֽוּא  He  [is] 
Parse: Pronoun, third person masculine singular
Root: הוּא 
Sense: he, she, it.