The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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remote1
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby remote1 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:07 am

Steven wrote:Hi Chili,
Did we just contribute to a school assignment? :)
Chili, if it is a school assignment, make sure you leave my post out! ;-)
"We are so lightly here"
Vicomtesse
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby Vicomtesse » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:17 am

[quote="chili"]Well, maybe there's a god above
But all i've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone 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

Like many of LC's songs they can be enjoyed and interpreted on many levels from the simplistic telling of a story to deeper religious and spiritual philosophies.
His story telling is very ambiguous and can have many meanings to whoever the listener is,depending on their needs and experiences.
He is a man who has lived quite a long time and experienced a lot but unlike the rest of us; he has the ability to convey these experiences so articulately and in such a beautiful way.

I usually listen to his songs from the simplistic level: at least to start with. I have come to understand many more of the influences and references LC has brought to his songs through this forum.

My interpretation of this song is a simple story of a complicated relationship between two people; told by a man who is saddened that his relationship has come to bitter hostilities with his partner.
In these lines; I see a couple having a row, 'shooting' spiteful accusations and insults at each other and this time she getting the better of him (outdrew him) and walking away in triumph. 'Hallelujah! (she thinks) I've won this round' : no honour, just cold and broken bitterness.
The 'cry at night' in this case I imagine to be the glorious feeling of making love: 'Hallelujah! 'and being in love; 'hallelujah!'; but which he no longer calls out in joy.

Vicomtesse
AnnieAngie
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby AnnieAngie » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: the the Biblical references and the kitchen chair verse, here was my interpretation:
The David reference isn't David and Goliath, but David and Bathsheba, the married woman he falls in love with when he sees her bathing, and then sends her husband off on a dangerous military mission to make her a widow as soon as possible.

Since he's a king and usually sits on a throne, sitting on a kitchen chair certainly does "domesticate" him as someone else mentioned, but I saw the reference meaning something even deeper. I read that she was the first who made him feel like a man, not a ruler, and that he willingly gave up his power to her (hair-cutting Samson reference) and was actually thrilled to the depths of his soul to have done so. It got him in touch with his inner self and away from the trappings of kingship. Which, of course, makes his feeling of her emotional withdrawal later in the song so much more painful after he has surrendered so much.
Steven
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby Steven » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:19 am

Hi AnnieAngie,

The conquest of Bathsheba did make David more the man than the "ruler," yes. That it did so, was at odds with
the devinely appointed standard of rulership of David. He sullied his authority in bagging the babe. Not
sublimating his lust into standard warrior king holy battles, but putting himself into domestic
compromise, was at the cost of power and authority. Just some thoughts, stimulated by your post.
And Bathsheba's husband, he paid a price for this. -- Sent off to battle to die so David could score, as I
remember the story. Not disagreeing with the comments in your post. :)
GinaDCG
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby GinaDCG » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:29 am

An added power from the David and Bathsheeba reference comes from the fact that David, our paragon psalmist, was a weak and guilty man -- and aren't we all! All we can sing are broken and cold hallelujahs - - but if David, publicly damaged and guilty goods that he was, can offer acceptable praise, then so can/should the rest of us.
Steven
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby Steven » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:36 am

GinaDCG wrote:An added power from the David and Bathsheeba reference comes from the fact that David, our paragon psalmist, was a weak and guilty man -- and aren't we all! All we can sing are broken and cold hallelujahs - - but if David, publicly damaged and guilty goods that he was, can offer acceptable praise, then so can/should the rest of us.
Hi GinaDCG,

Beautifully said. :D
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remote1
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby remote1 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:30 am

Ahaaa... Thanks for this analysis AnnieAngie, Steven and GinaDCG, very interesting indeed!
"We are so lightly here"
jaineed
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Re: The meaning behind of 5th verse of Hallelujah

Postby jaineed » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:03 am

loving back is imperfect.

to walk into a reality where you suddenly realize you have
always been wholly loved (as in God's love) would be overwhelming.

perhaps the natural instinct then would be to try and say, 'yes, i love you, too!'
without actually comprehending what you are trying to love.

i like to think of this perspective when i hear the song,
more of a bearing witness to perfect love, trying to reflect it back,
and knowing that it is a hopeless attempt, a broken hallelujah.

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