What does Hallelujah mean?

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Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah Meaning

Song Released: 1984

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

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Hallelujah Lyrics

Lyrics removed by the request of NMPA

  1. anonymous
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    Jul 12th 2016 report

    Oh, Hallelujah, praise You, Lord!
    Please help Mr. Cohen and others to know who You are and to worship You in Spirit and in truth.
    Please draw them to You. LORD God, You are love. You are what our hearts long for and the meaning of our lives. Hallelujah!!!

  2. anonymous
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    Mar 27th 2016 report

    Hallelujah reflects on the dichotomy between romantic and spiritual love

  3. anonymous
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    Mar 27th 2016 report

    It is the hardships of true love.

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 1st 2016 report

    The phrase Hallelujah literally means "Praise Jehovah". As an old testament phrase, this was a poetic form of singing praise to God. As a writer of many portions of the psalms, David used this expression. Jehovah is identified in the original texts as Gods name. It was removed and still is absent in many modern bibles apart from Psalms 83.

    The verse in the song referring to an unknown name, and the 'taking the name in vain' refers the 'jah' in hallelujah.. God's name that few people know these days.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 12th 2016 report

    The bottom line of this song is that it demonstrates the universality of all human experience. More so, it asserts that whether we know how, or why, whether we succeed or fail, or even whether we BELIEVE it or not, God is glorified. It artistically paints picture after picture of the individual coming to the realization that we are all subjects to an enigmatic, fearsome, yet somehow compassionate, King.

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 1st 2016 report

    Our observations are extremely limited bc we experience the "world" through our senses. The person who posted on Oct 15th at 10:54 wrote a small explanation that's actually worthy of pondering.

    Some are here to shed light and not to master

  7. anonymous
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    Dec 28th 2015 report

    Hallelujah literally means "he is risen"

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Dec 23rd 2015 report

    Hallelujah reflects on the dichotomy between romantic and spiritual love. While each verse describes the bittersweet heartache of a lost love affair, the chorus is just the repeated word "hallelujah", the essence of spiritual love. When "hallelujah" appears in a verse it refers to earthly joy that ebbs and flows and in this case finally turns cold and broken. In the chorus, "hallelujah" takes on a different meaning. With each successive utterance it moves from reflection to inspiration to conviction and finally, resignation. The chorus is compelling and satisfying because it tells us there is meaning in life and reason to celebrate, even in failed relationships. It is the spiritual distillation of romantic love that lingers in the heart.

  9. Mailemds
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    Dec 4th 2015 report

    I think it's crazy how much people project their own lives into songs. I suppose that is what music is supposed to do. :). Here is the way I see it:

    The song is about a man (like Sampson and David) who has succumb to his desires and becomes completely enveloped by the love of a woman who ends up shattering both his heart and his belief in existence of God, brought about by the intense spiritual connection he once had with her. In the end, he is grateful for the experience. Hallelujah!

  10. anonymous
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    Dec 1st 2015 report

    While acknowledging the efficacy of the biblical references, I choose a secular interpretation, in which a young man uses them as analogies to the bittersweet reflection of first passionate love to a woman who first awakens his passion. But she will not let that evanescent feeling bind her to him and eventually leaves him. He is at first left with the bitter anger of memories when their physical and spiritual love enthralled him, only to be cruelly abandoned. But now he can appreciate what she gave him, if only briefly, that will endure to other relationships. She will remain his instructor to the deeper meanings of feelings of the heart. And he can now remember her with gratitude for having started him on that heart-rending but necessary path through life.

  11. ClarkTerry
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    Nov 29th 2015 report

    Cohen's original version had only four verses and was deeply spiritual. It has evolved, or should I say "de-volved" to contain more physical references.

    Here my interpretation of Cohen's original four verses:

    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

    Pleasing the Lord brings you joy, but cohen acknowledges that it's not a priority for everyone.

    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

    This is about how lust can "overthrow" you if your faith in God is not strong" enough. It will reduce your status in life to something less than it is now, like being "tied" to the "kitchen". Then he gives biblical examples of David and Solomon. Lust is so powerful that while you are destroying yourself you will still stay "Hallelujah" to the glory of the flesh. Note that he didn't say adulterous lusting for "her beauty overcame you" it "overthrew you".

    Verse 3
    You say I took the name in vain
    I don't even know the name
    But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
    There's a blaze of light
    In every word
    It doesn't matter which you heard
    The holy or the broken Hallelujah

    Our nature is to rationalize sin. He points out that the glory of God AND the glory of the flesh can cause you to say Hallelujah because both instances have "a blaze of light".

    Verse 4
    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

    This is judgement day. He confesses that he tried but wasn't as faithful has he should have been. He couldn't "feel" the spirit of God so he turned to the "touch" of flesh in an attempt to find joy in life. He acknowledges that "It all went wrong" but he has come full circle and again praises God again with "Hallelujah".

    This song is beautiful in its original version, but has since been corrupted to celebrate lust. God made s-e-x to be a beautiful thing that brings joy a husband and wife, something worthy of Hallelujah for sure. However, the hallelujah in this song is not about that, it's about adulterous lust and how it can destroy you.

  12. anonymous
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    Nov 29th 2015 report

    We put our actions towards perfectionism, beauty, strength, wisdom, and earthly love and believe if we can attain all of those things we will become God-like. However there is a paradox to life on earth, and perfectionism, beauty, strength,wisdom, and earthly love can crumble to fascism, ugliness, weakness, ignorance, and hate.

    We sing hallelujah to ourselves - like a pat on the back - when we accomplish great things, or luck goes our way, and feel like the spirit is a part of our very being- stirring within us.

    We sing hallelujah to God - with a broken heart - when all of our earthly accomplishments turn to dust and we lose faith that God really exists. At those times we hope to hear a sound, or see the light or be provided with evidence that there is a God. But all we have in the meanwhile is an uncertain hallelujah until we feel the spirit move within us again.

  13. anonymous
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    Oct 15th 2015 report

    This song is an essay on the vanishing point at which the confluence of erotic, spiritual, and filial Love intersect. But there are no naked singularities. There is only Leonard Cohen reporting from the event horizon.

  14. anonymous
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    Jul 14th 2015 report

    I sing this song from a woman's viewpoint -- but my interpretation is much like the first comment. Without that final verse, the song and the singer both end broken. But with that final verse:
    "I did my best, it wasn't much
    "I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
    "I told the truth, I didn't come to fool yah

    "But even though it all went wrong
    "I'll stand before the Lord of Song
    "With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!"

    This is triumphant -- somewhat bitter, but still triumphant. The singer doesn't need to follow a Judeo-Christian tradition (I don't) to understand this. The "Lord of Song" could be any of a number of Gods -- Apollo, Herne, Lugh and so many more. Still, to stand before that god, still praising even in sorrow -- that's triumph

  15. anonymous
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    Jul 14th 2015 report

    On a very simple level, it means "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

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