Since Leonard died, his song Hallelujah has become the song everyone wants to sing. And wants to understand. I myself just bought it on a Christmas album by Pentatonix. Here are some thoughts I have about it. My thoughts are not the only ones worth listening to. You can find many more thoughts and interpretations about it.
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”
General thoughts about the first verse is that a man has written some music, only to have their partner blow it off. This obviously refers to King David from the Bible, also see 2nd verse.
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
A reference to both David and Bathsheba, and Samson and Delilah. To me this is definitely a reference to how most men simply want to get into a woman’s pants. Crude, perhaps, but most women know a lot of men who will sacrifice something just to win the woman over. David risks his soul by having Bathsheba’s husband, whom she refused to cheat on, Uriah in front of the lines at war, knowing he would probably be killed, and freeing her up. Then he took her. I do not recall any ideas that he married her, but I know he had sons Absalom and Solomon (who was Bathsheba’s son). I know Absalom was David’s son, but I don’t know who his mother was.
Samson, who was one of the earliest judges in Israel, lusted after Delilah. She nagged at him over where his strength came from, and in a weak moment, finally divulged that the source of his strength was in his hair, and it could never be cut. She drugged him, and once he was asleep, she cut his hair. Then she betrayed him to his enemies, and he was blinded and thrown into prison. Once his hair grew out, he was taken in chains for display at a theatre. He managed to get his hands on two pillars, and took the building down, killing everyone, including himself.
I do not recall reading anything about either Bathsheba or Delilah after the individual events, and both stories turned to be about he weakness of men, wanting sex with specific women.
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
Back to the general interpretation of this verse, he has met a new woman in Leonard’s life, and she has moved in with him. And discovers that this romance is going the way of previous relationships. The flag on he marble arch seems to have meant her beauty, but she was leaving him anyway.
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
Here is where I came up with a new idea. Leonard was known to be a practicing Jew, so I’m not sure how this fits in, but this seems to me to be a reference to Hieros Gamos, which is Greek for holy sex, which is traceable to the Priory of Sion. Since the Priory of Sion is all about protecting the offspring of the descendents of Jesus, and Jews don’t believe in Jesus. But it definitely puts a holy spin on the act of intercourse between a man and woman, and it believes that when the woman and the man come to orgasm together, it is said that they look into the face of god.
Priory of Sion members are part of the cult of christianity, and Leonard is Jewish.
Yes, a second verse 3, probably interchangeable wherever he was. Maybe this was the result of an argument between the Jew and the Christian partner.
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
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
A second verse 4. I think this might be my favourite verse of all. Because it draws such a wonderful imagination in my own understanding. But what I have heard from others seems a good fit. And that is making the guns a synonym for broken love. I wonder how you can shoot someone first, even though they have their gun ready. And that is that he sees signs of what the woman is about to do (drop him), so he says the words to break them up first.
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
A second verse 5. I have never heard it on any of renditions I have heard from covers of the song. To my understanding, it seems he is making excuses for his own opinion, as opposed to hers, and will stand tall while meeting god, or therapists, or anyone trying to blame him for this failure.
Hallelujah, Hallelujahlujah, Hallelujah
If you want to debate any of my thoughts with me, remember I already know there are a lot of explanations. I will be happy to hear yours, but that will not make me believe yours over mine.
Carol Stepp, Austin, TX