What does Hallelujah mean?

Search Login

Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah Meaning

Song Released: 1984

Covered By: Rufus Wainwright (2007), Jordan Smith (2015), Pentatonix (2016)

Get "Hallelujah" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

Hallelujah Lyrics

Play "Hallelujah"
on Amazon Music

Lyrics removed by the request of NMPA


    click a star to vote
    Jan 4th, 2017 1:41pm report

    Praise to god for the good the bad and the ugly for that is life.


    click a star to vote
    Dec 24th, 2016 12:37am report

    I feel the beginning is about king David from the Bible. And then maybe Samson and Delilah. The. I'm lost


    click a star to vote
    Dec 19th, 2016 12:52am report

    All of these explanations ignore the terms The fourth, the fifth The minor fall, the major lift. What the hell do these musical terms mean and how do they impact the meaning of the whole song.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Dec 18th, 2016 12:57pm report

    I agree with the first one, but by no means think it has anything to do with Christmas.


    click a star to vote
    Dec 18th, 2016 12:58am report

    I think it is about our imperfect lives that God will accept in the end.


    click a star to vote
    Dec 6th, 2016 12:20pm report

    I think we needed Mr Cohen's explanation. Why was it never sought? All I can say is the first two verses are spiritual.


    click a star to vote
    Dec 4th, 2016 12:20pm report

    The Lord God the Father the Son & the Holy Spirit have so loved man/woman that all should rejoice for this as well as human loves lost or kept.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 25th, 2016 11:53pm report

    I've read all the interpretations. I wish we had Leonard Cohen's input. I do subscribe to the idea that this is about a broken love. Haunting and melancholy...I really like Pentatonix's a cappella version. Just enjoy it...


    click a star to vote
    Nov 18th, 2016 11:06pm report

    This song is simply about a fight with a spouse/lover.

    Verse 1:
    Now I've heard there was a secret chord
    That David played, and it pleased the Lord
    But you don't really care for music, do you?
    It goes like this
    The fourth, the fifth
    The minor fall, the major lift
    The baffled king composing Hallelujah

    The writer is saying he thought of his lover as his "god" but everything he does is not very pleasing to her. He even does stuff that would be pleasing to the one true Lord but she still rejects it.

    Verse 2:
    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 a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
    And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

    Even though he loves his lover, he is a weak man and cheated on his lover, just like David did with Bathsheba (sinned against God), and Samson did by revealing to Delilah the source of his strength. The affair did not end well, and it appears now his lover has found out about it.

    Verse 3:
    Maybe there's a God above
    But all I've ever learned from love
    Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
    And 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

    He and his lover are now trading barbs in their argument. "All we ever do now is fight." Nobody wins in a lover's quarrel.

    Verse 4:
    Baby I have been here before
    I know this room, I've walked this floor
    I used to live alone before I knew you.
    I've seen your flag on the marble arch
    Love is not a victory march
    It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

    He is saying he can live without her, but he doesn't want to. He's telling her that she is claiming that "she won" by kicking him to the curb, but no one is winning because he says they LOVE each other.

    Verse 5:
    There was a time you let me know
    What's really going on below
    But now you never show it to me, do you?
    And remember when I moved in you
    The holy dove was moving too
    And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

    He is making one more plea to his lover to take him back. Remember the good times. Also throws in one little barb - "You never even try to share your feelings (or sex) with me any more!"

    Verse 6:
    I did my best, it wasn't much
    I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
    I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
    And even though
    It all went wrong
    I'll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

    Resignation. He is saying I tried hard to do good in this relationship (other than the affair) and you are not even trying to work this out. "I've done everything I can to make up for my mistake, and if you won't accept it there is nothing else I can do about it. Even though his prior mistake (affair) hurts him, he is moving on with his life with no regrets about the past.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 17th, 2016 11:41am report

    In "Hallelujah", LC may deal with something he experienced in his private live. He may have fallen in love with a woman who was the partner of somebody else. The attraction was too strong to resist. Quite possibly, for her abandoned partner this was a tragedy. Now, after months or years of deep and hot love,the lovers have drifted apart.

    Remorse has gained the upper hand. For LC it is a small comfort that something similar happened to king David.

    What he makes of it, is touching and admirable. It's one of the best poems and songs we have.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 16th, 2016 11:02pm report

    How about an opposite interpretation? This song is about the rejection of spiritual communion with God. David plays his heartfelt secret chord for the Lord, who is pleased at David's attempts to worship, since that strokes the Lord's ego, and the Lord praises David's attempts but does not truly appreciate his urgent creative expression. The Lord doesn't care for his music, or even David's love, he only cares for the worship. He does not love him back. So, David takes his unrequited love for the Lord and turns to a woman. She gleefully takes his power, but in return, gives him pleasure and understanding that he did not receive from God. The tying to a kitchen chair and haircut is a metaphor for being humbled by the return of his love. Giving up his power in return for this earthly pleasure brings a Halleluja to his lips and a gratefulness for love and understanding that God could not extract. He now worships her, and her ability to give him pleasure and love. He resists judgement by other people for his decision to worship this woman over God. Then, in the final verses, he describes that it was the lack of God's actual love for him that led him to live a life in pursuit of love in the mortal world instead. He now worships his own creativity (the lord of song) and human love.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 15th, 2016 11:01pm report

    Leonard Cohen is an enlightened man. His song 'Sisters of Mercy' attests to his own experience with unity.
    Hallelujah is a song of gratitude.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 14th, 2016 11:10pm report

    A truly great Song has many interpretations.
    Ironi and desillusion can also be heard.
    But Cohen keeps saying halleluja in spite of all hardship and shortcomings.
    I hope the Lord of Song will let him sing forever.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 14th, 2016 11:41am report

    Hallelujah is one of the most beautiful songs one could ever sing or listen to. But it's not about God, it's about the beauty as well as the Heart break of love between a man and a woman. I could go verse by verse, but if you take the last verse " as I moved inside you" as they reached orgasm together, they sang the hallelujah.
    It's beautiful. But it is not a Christmas song. It makes me smile when it shows up on a Christmas album or better yet with a choir singing it. So I am going to go one step further and say God made humans to be sexual beings and I think He smiles everytime this song is sung for His glory. Hallelujah!


    click a star to vote
    Nov 14th, 2016 11:12am report

    Take the lyrics away and it's a moving tune.

More Leonard Cohen song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

This Love, This Hate anonymous
Shake It anonymous
It's not Me it's You anonymous
Heartbreak Warfare anonymous
R.I.P. 2 My Youth anonymous
New Year's Day anonymous
Wagon Wheel anonymous
All the Fools Sailed Away anonymous
Gypsy anonymous
I Miss You anonymous
White Coats anonymous
Sludge Factory anonymous
Sad Statue anonymous
Saviour Machine anonymous
Chelsea anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

American Sports
Arctic Monkeys
She Looks Like Fun
Arctic Monkeys
Back To You
Selena Gomez
The Ones Who Got Me Here
Cole Swindell
Star Treatment
Arctic Monkeys
One Point Perspective
Arctic Monkeys
The Rising
Britton Buchanan
Golden Trunks
Arctic Monkeys