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Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen

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I'd love to hear from as many people as possible....regarding the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (1985) - sung by Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. I'd like to get your take on the song - what do you think it means?

justjane

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Any biblical scholars out there? I'm hoping someone can interpret the lyrics to "Hallelujah," a Leonard Cohen song popularized by Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright.

Here you go:

I heard there was a secret chord

that David played and it pleased the Lord

but you don't really care for music, do you

well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth

the minor fall and the major lift

the baffled king composing hallelujah

Hallelujah...

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof

you saw her bathing on the roof

her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you

she tied you to her kitchen chair

she broke your throne and she cut your hair

and from your lips she drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah...

Baby I?ve been here before

I?ve seen this room and I?ve walked this floor

I used to live alone before I knew you

I?ve seen your flag on the marble arch

but love is not a victory march

it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah...

Well there was a time when you let me know

what's really going on below

but now you never show that to me do you

but remember when I moved in you

and the holy dove was moving too

and every breath we drew was hallelujah

Well, maybe there's a god above

but all I?ve ever learned from love

was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

it's not a cry that you hear at night

it's not somebody who's seen the light

it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah...

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Carl, I believe the song makes reference to some of the more 'notorious' women in the Bible. Bathsheba (who tempted the king to kill her husband so he could have her)

"you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you."

Also making reference to Delilah who cut off Sampson's locks that held his superhuman strength:

"she tied you to her kitchen chair

she broke your throne and she cut your hair"

and I believe, it also makes reference to the divine conception and Mary:

"but remember when I moved in you

and the holy dove was moving too".

I shall have a further think about it and listen to it again. :thumbsup:

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sue, i agree whole-heartedly with your interpretation. those are all definitely biblical references as well the reference to king david. the religious imagery is used throughout:

"well your faith was strong but you needed proof"

"it's not somebody who's seen the light"

i also think the song can be applied to contemporary love, with lines such as:

"maybe there's a god above,

but all i've ever learned from love,

was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya"

and i think the lines referring to the immaculate conception can also be interpreted as having a sexual connotation:

"and every breath we drew was hallelujah"

cohen speaks of love which has soured and gone stale. the song is quite bitter and wistful and doesn't exactly paint women in a very complimentary light. however i think the lyrics are very beautiful and have a universal meaning.

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Carl, I believe the song makes reference to some of the more 'notorious' women in the Bible. Bathsheba (who tempted the king to kill her husband so he could have her)

"you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you."

Also making reference to Delilah who cut off Sampson's locks that held his superhuman strength:

"she tied you to her kitchen chair

she broke your throne and she cut your hair"

and I believe, it also makes reference to the divine conception and Mary:

"but remember when I moved in you

and the holy dove was moving too".

I shall have a further think about it and listen to it again. :thumbsup:

This is one of my favourite songs, and I absolutely agree with the biblical interpretations. I also think that Leonard Cohen is basicly a poet... so there is few more things to understand. I guess I´d ask him about that... but I don´t have his number!!!

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