The meaning and history of the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (2023)

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The meaning and history of the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (1)

What is the song "Hallelujah" about?

It's a song that many know, but few know much about it. A pop music masterpiece, Hallelujah's meaning is perhaps best understood through its complex history.

This song has had a long and fascinating history - marked by a tragedy eerily befitting this sad masterpiece. It was an underrated work by a poet/songwriter in the 1980s and became the iconic song by a legendary musician who met a tragic untimely death. It is now one of the most covered songs of all time. It has been adapted, reinterpreted and rewritten countless times. Through its evolution and constant reinterpretation, the meaning and meaning of "Hallelujah" has gained even more substance.

In this article

  1. The meaning of the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
  2. Sexual interpretation of the song
  3. Judaism in song
  4. How Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" became popular
  5. Cover von Jeff Buckleys „Hallelujah“
  6. Artists who covered the song
  7. Donald Trump Controversy in 2020
  8. What makes it such a great song?
The meaning and history of the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (2)

The meaning of the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen

In Hebrew, the word hallelujah means to rejoice in the praise of God. However, the numerous biblical references and religious symbols in Cohen's song lead not to spiritual heights but to Cohen's secularism. It's a bitter lament for love and loss. Cohen, a believer in the Scriptures, simply addresses the human condition described in the Bible to offer counsel to the heartbroken.

Through Cohen's imagery, including references to some of the Bible's most notorious women, we discover that the word "hallelujah" can mean much more than just its religious context. "Hallelujah," the song teaches us, is a chorus worthy of moments of celebration, sadness, regret, catharsis, and reconciliation. Cohen's song tells a story of broken love, true love remembered and grieved, guilt, repentance, and finding peace in the vicissitudes of brokenness—themes with myriad applications and dimensions.

Sexual interpretation of the song

The lyrics also allude to the urge for sexual orgasm. The brilliance of Cohen's poetry and writing is that nothing is just one thing. These texts are open and leave room for diverse interpretations. We find references to sexuality in verses such as:

Well there was a time you let me know

what's really going on downstairs

but now you never show me, do you?

But remember when I moved in with you

and the sacred dove also moved

and every breath we took was hallelujah

"Down" can be an indication of your partner's sexual arousal. But she seems to have cooled off and is hiding her true feelings from him. Maybe he's sad because he feels the relationship has died. He felt deep intimacy and passion as he made love to her, but that source of intimacy has dried up.Cohen's Sexual Interpretation of "Hallelujah"depends on lines like:

Remember when I moved in with you

and the sacred dove also moved

and every breath we took was hallelujah

Judaism in the song "Hallelujah"

Hallelujah was originally composed by singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and released in 1984. He was a musician from Canada known for richly textured, moving and poetic songs exploring the depths of despair, broken love and politics - all of which many are mixed with religious imagery drawn from her Jewish background. "Hallelujah" was released on the albummultiple positions(1984). In a relatively recent interview (posted below), Cohen recalls being told the album wasn't good enough for the US market - and in fact it never sold well.

The thematic content of the song fits its story in an odd way. The song's constant chorus, "Hallelujah," takes the listener on a journey of pain, joy, sorrow, and celebration. This is a journey well known to all peoples, but it speaks volumes in Jewish history.

Some have gone so far as to say that the song reflects both Cohen's struggles with the faith and the tests of faith inflicted on the Jewish people. However, it is unknown whether or not this was intentional on Cohen's part. Most music theorists assume that lyrics should be more open.

Leonard Cohen's religious imagery in texts

  • Well, I heard there's a secret chord
    That David touched and pleased the Lord
  • the confused king
  • You saw her showering on the roof
    Your beauty and your moonlight brought you down
    She tied you to the kitchen chair
    And she broke his throne and cut his hair
  • the sacred dove

The song, as written by Cohen, is rich in references to Jewish scriptures, including references to the tragic romances of King David and Samson. The meaning of the song is vague and numerous interpretations have survived. It speaks of corrupt love and has myriad religious, romantic, and psychological dimensions. Its dazzling beauty is undeniable. Cohen's lyrics are haunting and full of lamentation, especially when he sings:

But remember when I moved in with you

And the holy dove moved too

And every breath we took was Hallelujah


I did my best, it wasn't much

I couldn't feel anything so I tried to touch it

I told the truth, I didn't come to deceive you

And even if everything went wrong

I will stand before the Lord of the song

(Video) "Hallelujah": The True Meaning of a Beautiful Song

With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah

How Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" became popular

The song went unnoticed for many years. One exception was Bob Dylan, who reportedly liked the song and performed it live from time to time. Still, it took almost a decade before it gained a large popular or critical audience.

John Cale-Version

Before Jeff Buckley recorded his iconic version, John Cale of the Velvet Underground heard Cohen's track while attending one of Cohen's concerts at New York's Beacon Theater in 1990 and was inspired. The song stuck in her mind; he didn't decide to record it untilÖunbreakable asked him to contributeI am your fan🇧🇷 Cale's version of the song caught on immediately and inspired a number of other artists to record their own versions.

Leonard Cohen and the Buckley family

As a strange "coincidence" of fate, Cohen had a boyfriend named Tim Buckley - a country/jazz/folk artist who rose to some notoriety in the '60s and '70s. Mary married and the son (later Jeff Buckley) was raised by Scotty Moorhead. Like his father, Scotty would become a musician. It was this man who made "Hallelujah" the iconic and celebrated piece of music it is today.

Cover von Jeff Buckleys „Hallelujah“

Jeff Buckley was originally named Scotty but later took his biological father's last name and became known as Jeff Buckley. From an early age, Jeff showed signs of being a promising musician - someone who would later be hailed as a genius and eclipse his father in the limelight.

Since the beginning of his music career, Jeff has eluded labels with musical influences ranging from classic rock, folk, jazz, hardcore punk and even Pakistani folk music. He had a distinctive voice that, like the man, defies categorization. His career began in cafes in France and elsewhere, playing intimate shows with the likes of Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, French folk songs and the Indo-Pakistani styles of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

He always played on a Les Paul electric guitar. To this day, few people play quite like Buckley - he plays an electric guitar with the sensibility of an acoustic folk balladist and the precision of a classical harpist, expressed in a symphonic electric glow, clean and as haunting as his voice. 🇧🇷

Buckley began performing Cohen's Hallelujah early in his career, and his unique musical talent transformed the underrated masterpiece into something of a legend. Recordings of their early live performances reveal a handling of music that is undeniably haunting and beautiful. He would eventually include it on his debut album,Gracefulness.

Unfortunately, Buckley died just before the release of his second album, interrupting a career that had barely begun.

Buckley was posthumously recognized as a musical genius, and his cover of Cohen's "Hallelujah" soon became a classic. in 2004,Rolling Stonedeclared Buckley's cover to be one of the greatest songs ever recorded[1]. To this day, his version is considered authoritative and inspired countless other interpretations.

Tempowrote the following about Buckley's treatment of the song:

"Buckley treated the ... song like a tiny capsule of humanity, using his voice to oscillate between glory and sadness, beauty and pain ... It's one of the great songs" [2].

The song gained more attention after its cover by Jeff Buckley

It took a few more years for the song to gain widespread popularity. The late 2000s saw a sudden explosion of interest in music, and in 2008 Buckley's recording surpassed platinum in sales. It is impossible to fully list its countless uses in movies and TV shows. Several other artists have covered, reinterpreted, adapted and sometimes added their own verses to the song.

Artists who covered the song "Hallelujah".

  • Rufus Wainwright
  • U2
  • Brandi Carlisle
  • Imogen Bunch
  • Dresden Dolls
  • Susan Boyle
  • k.d. Lang
  • John Kale

These are just a few of the artists who have brought their voice to the big screen. It was used at funerals and weddings, in Christian worship, and in the midst of tragedy. One of its more recent uses has been its performance in honor of the child victims of the Sandy Hook massacre inagree.

Donald Trump Controversy in 2020

In 2020, Leonard Cohen and the song "Hallelujah" made headlines for the controversial use of the song at the 2020 Republican National Convention ("RNC"). A cover of the song by Tori Kelly was used during the RNC's closing fireworks show after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for the 2020 election, apparently against the wishes of Leonard Cohen's estate, who denied using the Republican party there.

The Cohen estate is exploring legal options, but a lawsuit is unlikely to be successful. In a letter, the Cohen estate attorney cheekily suggested that the Cohen song "You Want It Darker" would have been more appropriate. The last song can be interpreted as a reflection on the dangerous mixture of religion and political power.

What makes it such a great song?

The meaning of the song is as diverse as the different covers that exist. Each musician gives it a new substance. Maybe we have Buckley to thank for that. His unmistakable artistic signature brought the music to the point of transcendence. It is one of Cohen's most brilliant works.

The word Hallelujah, he teaches us, is a refrain worthy of moments of celebration, mourning, penance, catharsis, and reconciliation. The original song is a story of broken love, commemorating and mourning true love, guilt and repentance, and finding peace in the vicissitudes of brokenness - themes with myriad applications and dimensions.

Reflecting the diverse substance of its own lyrics, the song has seen much life and death. For this reason, the importance of "hallelujah" is unlikely to diminish any time soon. After all the tragedies of this world, remember what Cohen sang:

I did my best, it wasn't much

I couldn't feel anything so I tried to touch it

I told the truth, I didn't come to deceive you

And even if everything went wrong

I will stand before the Lord of the song

With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah


GGam 28.08.2020:

This song is anything but an anthem

Religious people sing like a hymn

"But you're not really interested in music, are you?"

What an epic troll the old man was!!!

Scottam 25.08.2020:

(Video) Leonard Cohen about the meaning of Hallelujah

Another international artist who sings this song very expressively is Vicky Leandros. She hasn't released it yet, but sings it regularly at her concerts.

Sheilaon July 16, 2020:

Laila Payne Some of these are stories from Bible history, like Sampson and Delilah. His strength lay in his hair. It's in the Old Testament Book of Judges. And David who became king, oh my god, there's so much to tell. It's written in Second Samuel and Kings in the Old Testament. Just thought you might enjoy reading this if you like music.

Liaon June 13, 2020:

I had never heard of Halluju until now and I love it and you will love it

Lea Bernaon June 13, 2020:

The Hallelujuh song is meaningful to me and I love it, it's an amazing song

Lea Bernaon June 13, 2020:

Got the complete hallelujah story

then payam 21. May 2020:

This song, at least the lyrics I wrote, screams domestic violence. he sings "hallelujah" and may urge you to commit to religion or just pretend you're happy. Also "and love is not a triumph" as the woman thinks her eggshell of a "perfect" relationship is a victory, not "it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah".

Tony Chungam 09. May 2020:

My interpretation of the song is "reconciling the irreconcilable".

MICon March 1, 2020:

Cohen's music was never aimed at the pop world... the pop world came because of his amazing music

my babybryanon February 14, 2020:

I was married with one child when Cohen published Hallelujah. Now I get annoyed with people who change the words to suit the artist ie. H. Age, attitude, occasion, etc. Example: children with beautiful voices, but in my opinion it's not a song for a children's choir. If deemed appropriate, it should be sung in its entirety as written. Just my humble opinion.

cold countryon January 31, 2020:

I almost never reply to these comments, but since I agree with both Judy's last comment and The Raised Eyebrow below it, I thought it was worth voicing my agreement; and add my own opinion. The themes of suffering, spirituality and sexuality and the other themes mentioned are part of being human. The song speaks vividly of the human condition; his, mine, and the characters he sings about. All of these things may or may not fit neatly into a church lodge or even into non-adult conversation. What I love most about this song is that it doesn't fit. It also makes me think more deeply about who I am without trying to fit into the Q&A box. I am a practicing Catholic, I pray the Rosary and have felt real suffering. It's one of my number one songs.

Judy (Lazarus)on January 26, 2020:

I've always loved Leonard Cohen's lyrics in this song. Most lyrical pages don't include the twice-quoted one, where Cohen declares that even after losing that love, he will still praise the Lord of Love for having had the opportunity to experience it all. The music is raw, real and rare. What bothers me is that so many self-proclaimed Christian songwriters have taken the tune and put in their own lyrics because the original is too "secular" or "depressing" to sing in church. They just don't. Take it. This. I think it's much nicer the way it was written, thank you very much. Being a Christian myself, I see nothing wrong with the metaphor of the holy dove and the reference to orgasm. Others can (and do) but I can't. Whether the song is Christian, of course not! it should never be! Still, it's one of the most spiritually honest songs I've ever heard.

raised an eyebrowon January 22, 2020:

I'm amazed how many people don't see this song from a different perspective than "Does it confirm my faith?" The song deftly explores love's heartache using the analogy of a "broken hallelujah," a hurt cry of celebration, but it's not "spiritual" because it wasn't 100% about God or Jesus and there were references to *sigh *Gender?

Musicians and songwriters owe no homage to you or your religion. They need not notice their bizarre shame about sex, an act of love and pleasure that gives every human being its existence, which has spiritual significance in most religions. Only a Christian could hear a song with stories and characters from the Bible where the chorus is literally "Hallelujah" and think the music isn't doing enough for his religion.

Yellow Forest that you can't see any meaning in Cohen's use of "Hallelujah" other than to get a religious reaction, that you think the references to biblical characters were just thrown in for attention (in a song that took years to write and celebrated for its many layers of meaning) that one might think a song exploring love as it is born, dies, long dead and is remembered is purely hedonistic, only revealing its own shocking lack of spirit.

For all the folks who are upset with Cohen stealing their religious stories for his own purposes, check it out for yourself:

yellow foreston January 19, 2020:

When you hear Hallelujah, the first thing that comes to mind is the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messaiah, which dates from the mid-18th century. I'm a fan of Pentatonix, whose rendition of Cohen's Hallelujah is beautiful. I really expected it to be a version of Handel's Hallelujah chorus. I liked the music but not the lyrics.

There is nothing spiritual about Cohens and it is purely hedonistic. He chose the word hallelujah to gain instant notoriety and added some biblical characters to create a stir and grab attention. It's not spiritual in the light of Judaism or Christianity and frankly quite blasphemous.

I still listen to the Pentatonix version of this song!

Charlene Hockeron January 10, 2020:

(Video) What Does "Hallelujah" REALLY Mean? | Lyrics Explained

Best version of IDF soldiers singing in Hebrew.

S. Nybergon January 6, 2020:

If you've never heard KD Lang sing this song, you're missing out on the best version ever. I've heard this song hundreds of times and it almost brought me to my knees.

Amyon December 26, 2019:

For people complaining that the song isn't Christian or doesn't refer to Jesus:

A) Leonard Cohen war Jude.

B) Not all spirituality is transcendent. Part of it is found in despair, in moments of love when all else is lost, and in other moments of life.

Welsh saxon December 20, 2019:

This song has already been used as a Christmas carol, this is the best version,

I just heard a young woman sing the Christmas version on YouTube.

Go hear her sing Kaylee, fabulous, you won't be disappointed.

pjon December 18, 2019:

Leonard sure got people thinking, didn't he?

Noreenon December 17, 2019:

Hallelujah.... is the greatest praise!!!! Music is a bit confusing as Christian or Secular!!! I love both!

Jenon December 16, 2019:

Shrek's version is by Rufus Wrainwright.

Mohnfrom Enoshima, Japan on December 16, 2019:

What a great and detailed description of this song. You have a fluent and captivating writing style. My favorite version of "Hallelujah" is the one played in "Shrek," although I'm not sure who sang it.

Suziefrom Carson City on December 15, 2019:

Thank you for this explanation of a song I particularly love. I was very curious about its meaning. You presented this information beautifully... "Hallelujah!" Paula

A not-so-innocent observeron December 15, 2019:

When did religion begin to dictate what is sacred? Only the heart decides these things. Any other way is to give what was born inside you a dangerous place for ne

Sheliaon December 08, 2019:

This is a lack of spiritual discernment in those who find this music spiritual. I never liked this song and wondered why most people think it's a devotional song. There are some biblical words, but there's nothing really spiritual about this song.

Eliam 07.11.2019:

It really pisses me off that so-called Christians are using this as a Christian song! This song is partly about a powerful orgasm. Keep good religion out of it.

crisisam 5. November 2019:

Hallelujah is a praise of God, it has been hijacked as well as other sacred things like the rainbow.

Cynthiaon October 9, 2019:

My brother recently passed away. He loved Leonard Cohen and that song. It's haunting and frighteningly comforting to listen to. If it's a song about humanity and our broken state, Hallelujah Jesus is the only answer. Rest in peace Garman.

(Video) Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah (Live In London)

Trevor Jamesam 08.08.2019:

Hallelujah is Hebrew for Praise-Yah, short for "Praise Jehovah." Jehovah is the name of God. Jehovah created his Son Jesus and sent us as an undeserved gift to enable us to regain the state of perfection lost by our human ancestor Adam. Jehovah gave Adam the land. Soon he will take you out of Satan's hands and influence and give us back. Jesus will lead us as our current interim king for a time. Teach us how to fix the earth and live on it forever in perfection. There is no more sickness or death. That's your promise.

mandatory 7on June 10, 2019:


happiness am 21.04.2019:

The tragic untimely death they are referring to is Jeff Buckley, who covered the song, not Cohen himself.

Krison March 03, 2019:

He didn't have a short and tragic death, he was a good old man.

Psychosison February 27, 2019:

There are several versions on YouTube titled Elvis Presley singing this song. As it begins your mind immediately says Elvis, the reality is it can't be Elvis. Not for the obvious reason, Elvis was dead before this song was written, but the person impersonating Elvis' voice cannot carry the persona of Elvis' singing.

susangodrichon February 25, 2019:

@Ms Pita I'm not sure Elvis Presley could have sung that. Wasn't it written after his death?

Luon December 13, 2018:

Strange singing during the service, isn't it?

give me pitaam 15. November 2018:

Elvis Presley sang it too! 🇧🇷

Nduwe Joyam 1. November 2018:

This is one of the songs that I love in my life, how I wanted to get totally religious, a song that has already given many trophies, I will be one of those who will receive trophies through this song

Joon October 28, 2018:

If you read 2 Samuel, chapter 11 in the Old Testament, it says it all

walkam 18.09.2018:

A Japanese artist named "Miyavi" also covered the song. In his voice you can hear real pain and sadness.

No wayon June 25, 2018:

I can't believe the song "All This Time" wasn't even based on God and the word "Hallelujah" and what it's supposed to be used for is plain and simple and how can they put those words in a house and say, that it should be poetic and beautiful, I wish you would have used that for words instead of Hallelujah, but maybe beautiful butterflies or something. I mean have respect for the one who made us, for the one who died for us, all I can say is hallelujah!

Nancy Heinzam 02.04.2018:

Beautiful - so heartfelt!

Cindy Ann Savageon February 17, 2018:

What a wonderful and incredibly interesting article!! Salute to the creative mind behind these rare gems in today's world!

Cindy Ann Savage

Athens, Georgia, USA

Brian Cordellam 10.08.2017:

(Video) The Story of Hallelujah

There is a text error in the second paragraph. "Lift" and "Fifth" should be part of the rhyme.

Cillian floodon December 25, 2016:

The default avatar for this post is wearing a Cohen hat. Is that coincidence or on purpose? I don't know but I love it.


What is the meaning behind Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah? ›

In Hebrew, the word hallelujah means to rejoice in praising God. This song is a bitter lament about love and loss. Cohen, adept in scripture, simply taps the human condition described in the bible in order to provide counsel to the broken-hearted.

What is the true meaning of Hallelujah? ›

In the Hebrew Bible, it is a compound word, from hallelu, meaning “to praise joyously,” and yah, a shortened form of the unspoken name of God. So this “hallelujah” is an active imperative, an instruction to the listener or congregation to sing tribute to the Lord.

What Bible story is the song Hallelujah based on? ›

In Hallelujah, for example, Cohen refers to the biblical story of King David who, according to Talmudic legend, delights angels and sages when he privately plays his harp at night. He is tested by God when – on his roof – he sees Bathsheba bathing. After committing adultery with her, David has her husband killed.

Why is Hallelujah so powerful? ›

So what makes the song so powerful – and why has it reached out to so many people? Its chords are simple, mostly coming from the notes of the major scale of the song's key. Rhythmically it has the type of rolling 12/8 feel you find in much gospel and folk music – again nothing special.

Is Hallelujah a song for a funeral? ›

“Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley

This is a popular choice for funerals. Buckley's smooth voice, accompanied by beautiful lyrics makes this song a true classic for a funeral service.

What does you saw her bathing on the roof mean? ›

She has been blamed for leading David astray by taking her bath on the roof of her house, calculating that David would see her from his house and become totally helpless before her feminine whiles thus forcing him to murder her husband Uriah in order to possess her.

What does the word Selah in the Bible mean? ›

It is probably either a liturgical-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, with the meaning of "stop and listen." Another proposal is that selah can be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm.

Who is the song hallelujah written about? ›

As Cohen writes, “It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah.” Cohen references the stories of Samson and Delilah from the Book of Judges, singing, She cut your hair.

What is the meaning of praise the Lord? ›

used to express happiness or relief that something did or did not happen. You made it here safely. Praise be to God!

What religion does Hallelujah belong to? ›

The phrase is used in Judaism as part of the Hallel prayers, and in Christian prayer, where since the earliest times it is used in various ways in liturgies, especially those of the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church, the three of which use the Latin form "alleluia" which is based on ...

What are the 5 Hallelujah in Psalms? ›

There are four collections of Hallelujah Psalms, the Covenantal Hallel (Psalms 105-106), the Passover Hallel (Psalms 111-118), the Great Hallel (Psalms 135-136), and the Doxological Hallel (Psalms 146-150).

Is alleluia same as amen? ›

Two words, though, were not translated, but were simply transliterated into the Greek alphabet: alleluia and amen. When Latin supplanted Greek as the language of Western Christendom, both words were simply transliterated into the Roman alphabet.

What does the minor fall and the major lift meaning? ›

The 'fall' in this phrase is referring to the minor, or 'fallen' third of the chord. –'The major lift': This is a first inversion chord of the fourth, or sub-dominant (IV) of F major. The 'lift' refers to the chord changing from a minor to a major chord, and in the process 'lifting' the harmony.

Why is Hallelujah not a religious song? ›

But it is by no means a Christmas song. In fact, it really isn't a religious song at all. It is a story of a love gone wrong, with some religious imagery splattered in.

Who is the Lord of song? ›

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

What is the number 1 funeral song? ›

“My Way” by Frank Sinatra. “Time To Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli. “Over The Rainbow” by Eva Cassidy. “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler.

Is Hallelujah a good song to walk down the aisle to? ›

“Hallelujah” by Pentatonix

Of course, the Leonard Cohen original is a beautiful, emotional song, but we love this a cappella cover by Pentatonix as a bride entrance song. It's simple, yet powerful—and may cause your guests to shed a few tears.

Is Hallelujah a biblical song? ›

hallelujah, also spelled alleluia, Hebrew liturgical expression, usually rendered in English as “praise the Lord.” It appears in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in several psalms, usually at the beginning or end of the psalm or in both places.

What does the name Bathsheba mean? ›

a female given name: from a Hebrew phrase meaning “ daughter of the oath

Why was Bathsheba important? ›

Through the life of David and into the life of her son King Solomon, Bathsheba plays many roles: object of lust, wife, mother, and influential queen.

What does it mean to bathe someone? ›

[ I/T ] to wash someone, usually with soap and water in a bathtub: [ T ] I had to change the kids' diapers and feed them and bathe them.

What is the difference between amen and Selah? ›

The word amen is clearly used at the end of a prayer and has been for centuries. But Selah is a word used purely in the Psalms and in song.

Do Jews say amen? ›

Judaism. Although amen, in Judaism, is commonly used as a response to a blessing, it also is often used by Hebrew speakers as an affirmation of other forms of declaration (including outside of religious context). Jewish rabbinical law requires an individual to say amen in a variety of contexts.

What does God speed mean in the Bible? ›

God·​speed ˈgäd-ˈspēd. : a prosperous journey : success.

Who wrote the song hallelujah and why? ›

When at age 50 Cohen first recorded the song, he described it as "rather joyous", and said that it came from "a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way, but with enthusiasm, with emotion." He later said "there is a religious hallelujah, but there are many other ones.

Is hallelujah a sad song? ›

It's a song that many know, but few know much about. The meaning of "Hallelujah," a popular masterpiece of music, is perhaps best understood through its complex history. This song has a long and fascinating story behind it—one that is marked by a tragedy eerily befitting this mournful masterpiece.

Is hallelujah one of the greatest songs of all time? ›

“Hallelujah” is arguably poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's best-known song. Considered by many to be one of the greatest songs of all time, it was ranked No. 11 on CBC Music's list of the 100 Best Canadian Songs Ever.

What are the 7 ways to praise God? ›

7 Ways (in Hebrew) to praise God
  • Towdah. (Exodus 27:6-7, Romans 12:1) ...
  • Yadah. (Exodus 17:11, 1 Timothy 2:8) ...
  • Barak/Barouch. (Exodus 34:8, Psalm 5:7) ...
  • Shabach. (Psalm 47:1, Isaiah 12:6) ...
  • Zamah. (Psalm 150:3-5, Ephesians 5:19) ...
  • Halal. (2 Samuel 6:14, Psalm 149:3) ...
  • Tehillah. (Psalm 22:25, Isaiah 61:1-3)
Oct 15, 2019

What are the 7 praises of God? ›

  • Towdah – Sacrifice of praise.
  • Yadah – Hands raised.
  • Barak – Quiet voice.
  • Halal – Soul rejoice.
  • Zamar – Instrument Song.
  • Tehilah – Sing along.
  • Shabach – Shout for joy.

What does praying in the name of Jesus mean to you? ›

To gather, to pray, in the name of Jesus is to re-member the entire life of Jesus. Thus, to pray in the name of Jesus is to bring all the truth of Jesus's life and ministry to bear on the issue you are bringing to God in prayer.

What language did Jesus speak? ›

Most religious scholars and historians agree with Pope Francis that the historical Jesus principally spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. Through trade, invasions and conquest, the Aramaic language had spread far afield by the 7th century B.C., and would become the lingua franca in much of the Middle East.

When did Yahweh become God? ›

The God of the Jews

In any case, many scholars agree that Yhwh became the main god of the Jews only after the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians, around 720 BCE.

Who was Yahweh? ›

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the tetragrammaton.

What does it mean let everything that has breath praise the Lord? ›

“Let everything that has breath praise Yahweh!” (6). Every living creature has what it takes to praise God – breath. So as long as I am alive and breathing, I WILL PRAISE THE LORD! Hallelujah!

What are the five crowns of God? ›

Proponents of this concept interpret these passages as specifying five separate crowns, these being the Crown of Life; the Incorruptible Crown; the Crown of Righteousness; the Crown of Glory; and the Crown of Exultation.

What does Hebrew 13 and 5 means? ›

The point of Hebrews 13:5–6 is that the Lord will provide all that we need for a life founded on faith. Of course, plenty of faithful believers have experienced severe financial hardship, and many have even died from exposure, thirst, hunger, disease, and worse. They died that way through faith, not for a lack of it.

What is the difference between alleluia and Hosanna? ›

Hallelujah (Alleluia) means “Praise the LORD!” Hosanna means “A plea to save us!”

What religion is hallelujah? ›

The phrase is used in Judaism as part of the Hallel prayers, and in Christian prayer, where since the earliest times it is used in various ways in liturgies, especially those of the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church, the three of which use the Latin form "alleluia" which is based on ...

Is Hallelujah a Jesus song? ›

In fact, it really isn't a religious song at all. It is a story of a love gone wrong, with some religious imagery splattered in.

Is the song Hallelujah biblical? ›

The title of the song “Hallelujah” itself is from Psalms, where it appears mostly in Psalms 113 to 118 (according to the Hebrew version of the Bible).

What is the biblical meaning of Hallelujah? ›

hallelujah, also spelled alleluia, Hebrew liturgical expression, usually rendered in English as “praise the Lord.” It appears in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in several psalms, usually at the beginning or end of the psalm or in both places.

Is Hallelujah one of the greatest songs of all time? ›

“Hallelujah” is arguably poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's best-known song. Considered by many to be one of the greatest songs of all time, it was ranked No. 11 on CBC Music's list of the 100 Best Canadian Songs Ever.

Is Hallelujah about Samson and Delilah? ›

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is a song about a powerful sexual obsession, ennobled by Old Testament references to King David and Bathsheba, and Samson and Delilah.

What does the word lift mean in the Bible? ›

To make lofty, to raise up. A very common word in English Versions of the Bible representing a great variety of Hebrew and Greek words, although in the Old Testament used chiefly as the translation of nasa'.

What was the meaning of lift? ›

lift verb (RAISE)

to move something from a lower to a higher position: Could you help me lift this table, please?


1. "Hallelujah" Meaning/Analysis: A Close-Reading (Ver. 2.0)
(Professor Chase)
2. Understanding HALLELUJAH
(Shuffle Quest)
3. Hallelujah lyrics explained - Buckley / Cohen - More than words
(Matt More)
4. Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah (Audio)
5. Leonard Cohen on "Hallelujah"
(David Whitwell)
6. HALLELUJAH: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song | "Origins" Official Clip
(Sony Pictures Classics)


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