Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah Meaning
Song Released: 1984
Covered By: Rufus Wainwright (2007), Jordan Smith (2015), Pentatonix (2016)
anonymous Jul 23rd, 2017 7:37am report
As beautiful and layered as this song is I have an issue with artists approaching this as "Christian" music or adding to "Christmas" concerts, simply due to the word, Hallelujah. While their may be religious figures referenced throughout, I don't believe Mr. Cohen's intent was to retell the stories of David, Sampson, or imply this was God singing to them. This is a pretty obvious reflection on a love affair that is coming to and end, at least it is obvious to me and therefore a huge reason I find it unsettling and pandering when artists sing it out of context on holiday specials or at times of tragedy. Makes you wonder if they've ever listened to it or read the words at all? I recall hearing an interview years ago with Donna Fargo. She talked about recording, ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE. She said she and her producer recorded it because of the words, "Sweet Jesus". They assumed it was a "Christian" song and recorded it. She explained how shocked and embarrassed she was to learn what this song was about.
anonymous Jul 12th, 2017 7:32pm report
Well there have been quite a few iconic figures in the Bible. David was not only a formidable warrior but a talented musician. He is not known, however for losing his strength by having his hair cut off. that was Samson. Either case equally represent individuals pre-selected by the God of Abraham. David was to be the unlikely King of Isreal after Saul and Samson was a Nazarite, a status and destiny bestowed on him by his mother. I really think this song is about the relationship both had with the Lord. I think it is a love song, not romantic to be sure, but a love song the Lord is singing to some of his most cherished children. Both had left their first love, the Lord for something far less valuable and only seemingly desirable.
anonymous Jun 30th, 2017 6:36am report
It's not only about David, but about Gideon too (your faith was strong, but you needed proof) and about Simson, Delilah tied him to a kitchen chair and cut his hair, thus breaking his throne. It actually has different layers.
anonymous Jun 27th, 2017 6:24pm report
The beginning talks of David and his chords that play hallelujah. Then came the betrayal of Sampson by Delilah and God by David with Bethsheeba. I think it speaks of the point that love betrays and not every hallelujah comes from a happy and joyful heart, but it can also come from a place of hurt and betrayal
anonymous Jun 4th, 2017 6:42am report
C'mon guys...can it really be that no one has noticed that the song is about David and Batsheva? Our admiration for Leonard Cohen should not go to our head to the extent of making him such a philosopher...a great poet, a great singer, an interesting man, yes.
anonymous May 21st, 2017 5:02pm report
Quite simply, I believe it's about God's ever-presence in all things, good and bad, joy and pain.
anonymous Apr 29th, 2017 4:09pm report
the two Hebrew words read right to left and pronounced, as Halalu Yah and translated as “Praise God” an imperative verb, are a command to exhort the name of God. Examples of the use of this form of the New Testament “Hallelujah” is to be found in Ps 149.1,9 and Ps 150.1,6. In the New Testament Christians are taught to exhort, praise, and thank God for all things both pleasurable and painful in their lives. It seems to me that interpretations that Cohen’s Hallelujah is doing just that are the correct interpretations.
anonymous Apr 29th, 2017 4:42pm report
i think the part about the hair being cut is about samson. because that's his whole story he falls in love and he gets betrayed and the bathing on the roof is david and bethsheba
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Apr 17th, 2017 4:17pm report
To: Anonymous September 3, 2016 9:49 pm
W0W! Shut MY mouth... I'm not even gonna try after THAT...
anonymous Apr 15th, 2017 4:42pm report
No doubt, this is a beautiful song. It's like a tonic and has an almost sedative like effect on me any time I listen to it. The gentle, beautiful melody and religious references make it seem almost harmless. The genius of this song is that there are so many darker elements of love hiding in plain sight right there in the lyrics.
"Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you"
Any interpretations I've read on these lines miss what's staring them straight in the face. "Your faith was strong but you needed proof" this line seems obvious enough to me. He'd noticed her and was struck by her beauty but he wanted to see more...he needed proof. "You saw her bathing on the roof" You automatically assume she was sunbathing on the roof BUT "Her beauty and the MOONLIGHT overthrew you". She can't have been sunbathing in the moonlight, can she. She was having a bath, he was on the roof, at night, spying on her.
If I wasn't so drunk I'd go through some of the other verses but when you listen/read them think of a horny young man who tries to seduce a girl who seems naive and inexperienced but on into the relationship he realises he's the one out of his depth.
anonymous Apr 12th, 2017 4:41pm report
Simple- we give praise to God even through the pain and heart ache that life deals us. We give uplifting joyful Hallelujahs when life is happy and sad broken Hallelujahs when at times we feel we can't go on. We may not even feel it at the time but by giving praise with that broken Hallelujah we show we are not giving up. We know some where deep inside that God has not forsaken us. This song is beautiful, inspirational and powerful.
anonymous Mar 23rd, 2017 3:45pm report
Praise the lord, praise god, the god of music, paradise and hell, of victory, defeat, of joy, despair, of love and hatred, of kitchens, battles, work and leisure, war and peace and youth and age, health and disease, freedom and desire, the beginning, being, ending of all and everything existing, however you feel, whatever happens and whatever you do!
anonymous Mar 21st, 2017 3:58am report
The reason the lyrics of this song are so beautiful is because of the double and triple meanings in all of the verses. As you read the reviews you start to realize that multiple interpretations are correct. It takes a lot of thought from a brilliant mind to speak to people from all walks of life in the same sentence, covering an entire gamut of beliefs and emotional states, each able to conclude a different meaning. I guess one could call it biblical in its own right.
anonymous Feb 19th, 2017 2:51pm report
This song reveals both kinds of love: spiritual and intimate. Both are equally disappointing, yet yearned for. It is a mourning cry for acceptance through both kinds of love, yet unrequited. Acceptance of this rejection is mournfully expressed. It is a fact of living after being abandoned, twice.
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