Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
seadove
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Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby seadove » Thu May 13, 2010 1:17 pm

Quotations from the bible. The 2nd book of Samuel

SIN NUMBER 1

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, ‘This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ 4So David sent messengers to fetch her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. 5The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’


SIN NUMBER 2

David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. 8Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10When they told David, ‘Uriah did not go down to his house’, David said to Uriah, ‘You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?’ 11Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths;* and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.’ 12Then David said to Uriah, ‘Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, 13David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
David Has Uriah Killed
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’ 16As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors. 17The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was killed as well. 18Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting; 19and he instructed the messenger, ‘When you have finished telling the king all the news about the fighting, 20then, if the king’s anger rises, and if he says to you, “Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal?* Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?” then you shall say, “Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead too.” ’
22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23The messenger said to David, ‘The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. 24Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king’s servants are dead; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’ 25David said to the messenger, ‘Thus you shall say to Joab, “Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; press your attack on the city, and overthrow it.” And encourage him.’
26 When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. 27When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son.
Last edited by seadove on Thu May 13, 2010 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
seadove
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby seadove » Thu May 13, 2010 1:20 pm

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord....

And this is why

1. David's first born from Bat Sheva died (within 7 days of his birth)

and.....

2. David was not given permission to build the temple.

His 2nd son from Bat Sheva, Solomon, will eventually build the temple.
Steven
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Steven » Tue May 18, 2010 5:35 am

Hi Seadove,

With those two sins on David's resume, not too many people would consider him as a candidate to even
have a beer with. Yet, his lineage is that of messianic promise. Go and figure. :roll:
Lilifyre
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Lilifyre » Tue May 18, 2010 5:16 pm

Seadove and Steven, this points out a few of the criteria that differ between the Jewish and the Christian interpretations of the Bible in general and the Messiah in particular. Most, if not all, of the Patriarchs, from Abraham on, were very mortal men with very human frailties. They were not perfect. They all made mistakes. Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife in the hopes that the king (sorry, I can't remember off hand which king...need to look that up) would not kill him to take Sarah for himself. He was willing to allow the king to take Sarah from him to save his own skin. Abraham also offered up his son as a sacrifice without question. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery because of jealousy. Moses took the life of an Egyptian Prince and ran away. These are just the ones who come to mind immediately. Every great leader of the Jewish People was imperfect. Every one of them sinned. They were human. They were not gods. Thus, the Messiah is expected by the Jews to be a human. The point is that people can learn and can improve themselves. In spite of their faults they can achieve great things.

There is a quote (sorry, can't remember who said it without some research) that goes: "When you die and stand before the Throne of G_d, you will not be asked 'Why weren't you like Moses?' You will be asked 'Why you weren't the best YOU that you could have been'" No one, not even the Messiah, is expected to be perfect. He/she is only asked to be the best that he/she can be.

Lili
Lili
"Well, that's my story
I admit it's broken and it's bleak
But all the twisted pieces fit
A 1000 kisses deep."
Steven
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Steven » Tue May 18, 2010 11:30 pm

Hi Lili,

Thanks for your reply. There's generally an agreement among Jewish and Christian biblical types that
all folks are sinners (exceptions would include those that hold to the concept of the "tzaddik" who is so
pure as to hold no sin -- a very miniscule minority, some hasidim, might view their particular rebbes
that way and Christians who believe that Jesus was a sin free person). A problem
with biblical examples of people doing miserable things and showing no remorse, contrition, or empathy for
those that they've aggrieved, is that those archetypal examples can have all the modern day beneficence of
some misanthropes in the movies, TV, etc. Btw, I don't condem Moses for having killed that Egyptian beating
that slave. Moses may have killed him accidentally as he attempted and succeeded in stopping the particular brutality
before him. I credit him for the gesture of caring for the unjustly oppressed and beaten down, albeit at
great cost to his own safety. The beautiful story you've told about being the best "YOU," I've heard ascribed
to a hasidic rebbe of old in Eastern Europe.
Lilifyre
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Location: Birmingham, AL, USA

Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Lilifyre » Wed May 19, 2010 5:42 am

Steven, I agree for someone to use his/her power with no regard to the effect on others is a horrible example. But I think you will find that the Biblical personalities I referred to and others did have to deal with the consequences of their behavior. It may not be spelled out completely in the Biblical texts, but is spoken of at great length in the non-Biblical writings including the Midrashim, and the Talmudic texts. The Rabbis spent quite a bit of time debating such consequences. Moses was prevented from entering the "Promised Land" because of his disobedience in following G_d's instructions during the sojorn in the wilderness, for example. In the example Seadove gave of the illicit affair between David and Batsheva, David does not get off scot-free. The child conceived as the result of his "hanky-panky" dies in infancy. He (David) had to "clean up" his act before he was given an heir to the thrown. My point is that none of the ancient leaders of the Jewish People were supermen or saints. They were real people with real faults. They are also not presented as hopeless. They have the power to be better than their base selves. They have free will. G_d sets before them life and death, good and evil. It is within the individual's power to make a choice and their choices do effect those around them. Just because one happens to be an Abraham or Moses or David or Solomon does not excuse him from responsibility to others. There is no substitute for the "sinner" to "pay" the consequences for him. Each individual is responsible for his own actions. Thus we have the major difference between Judaism and Christianity. Judaism does not present the Messiah as one who "takes on the sins of the world". That is a totally Christian concept. The Messiah (according to Judaism) is simply a strong leader who will lead the people to higher moral behavior thus ushering in a time of Peace for all humanity. He is not the "suffering servant".

Lili
Lili
"Well, that's my story
I admit it's broken and it's bleak
But all the twisted pieces fit
A 1000 kisses deep."
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Steven » Wed May 19, 2010 7:18 am

Hi Lili,

I appreciate your well stated response. :D
IMM
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby IMM » Wed May 19, 2010 8:28 am

Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"
Only 2 ?
Steven
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Steven » Thu May 20, 2010 6:05 pm

Hi IMM,

The song's protagonist allowed himself to be wussified (domesticated in not a good way)...
this could arguably be said to be a sin (if he could have acted otherwise).
seadove
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby seadove » Mon May 24, 2010 9:40 am

About sins and other agonies....

It seems that G-d has puposely created us human beings to be basically weak in morals. So what He does all day is sit back and laughs at our weaknesses and misfortunes.

BTW I don't quite see Moses' killing of the pharoah officer as a sin. It was simply an offence in accordance to Egyptian laws existing at that time. In actual fact Moses was saving his friend Joshuah from a flogging from that same Egyptian officer.
Steven
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Steven » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:03 am

Hi,

It's incongruous that our sinner, David, composed Psalm 23, etc. Or is it not? :)
Lilifyre
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Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Lilifyre » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:28 am

Steven wrote:Hi,

It's incongruous that our sinner, David, composed Psalm 23, etc. Or is it not? :)
How is that "incongruous"? David was a human being. He made mistakes. He transgressed. He gave in to his ego and out of his desire for another man's wife, had the man killed (actually sent him on a suicide mission). Is such a person not capable of repentance? Is he incapable of regret and of at least attempting to right his wrong? I see no incongruity. I see a human being capable of growth and reflection.

Lili
Lili
"Well, that's my story
I admit it's broken and it's bleak
But all the twisted pieces fit
A 1000 kisses deep."
Steven
Posts: 2140
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:32 am

Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Steven » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:10 pm

Hi Lili,

The polarities of behavior/emotional disposition (in some of the finest tradition of artistic temperment/excess)
can be either congruent or not, arguably. Would not speak against the opportunity and possibility of
redemption for almost any human (kingly or not), but recognize that bottoming out that is romanticized
by some, is a place of caution as many an artist and others have spiraled down to a point of no return.
Lilifyre
Posts: 234
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 7:29 am
Location: Birmingham, AL, USA

Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby Lilifyre » Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:16 pm

Steven wrote:Hi Lili,

The polarities of behavior/emotional disposition (in some of the finest tradition of artistic temperment/excess)
can be either congruent or not, arguably. Would not speak against the opportunity and possibility of
redemption for almost any human (kingly or not), but recognize that bottoming out that is romanticized
by some, is a place of caution as many an artist and others have spiraled down to a point of no return.
Steven, I think I see what you are getting at, but I would say that, historically, David went on to prove he did not "spiral down to a point of no return." True, he made mistakes, horrible mistakes. Had he not been a king, he probably would have faced severe punishment from the "state". He DID pay the consequences for his transgressions. But none of that seems to me a reason to exclude his artistry...his talent, if you will...for poetry/music. I don't see these characteristics as mutually exclusive.

Lili
Lili
"Well, that's my story
I admit it's broken and it's bleak
But all the twisted pieces fit
A 1000 kisses deep."
seadove
Posts: 2084
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:06 am
Location: Israel
Contact:

Re: Two sins within the song "Hallelujah"

Postby seadove » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:58 pm

And with all this, David is the most important icon king in our jewish history. I forgive him for fooling around with a married woman but it is hard for me to forgive him for purposely sending her husband to be killed in battle where itr was said that this particular battle was hard to win. Incidentally David did win that battle.

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