gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

hallelujah


There was a secret chord that David played;
Bathsheba heard it, bathing in the pool.
The music drove the words that David prayed
away like colored autumn leaves in Yule.
It turned his pious thoughts away from God,
and though once wise he now became a fool
for love, though some do not believe it odd
he too considered love the golden rule.

Inspired by Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”:

I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you? Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrough ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Well, maybe I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath you drew was hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

And maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
Well 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

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

It occurred to me that the hallelujah chorus in this poem could be the chorus sung in the hilulim, jubilations, ritual in Lev.19: 23-25 (Gershon Hepner, Estudios Biblicos 61 (2003) : 90-94) , a ritual I associate with marriage in ancient Israel, the removal foreskin from fruit replacing the removal of the foreskin from grooms who have no foreskin that they can remove for their marriage rituals having circumcized on the eighth day. If this is correct, the double hallelujah for an Israelite marriage contrasts with the double amen spoken by the suspected adulteress responding to the priest’s curse that takes effect only if she has really been unfaithful (Num.5: 22) .


1/3/05

Submitted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Edited: Monday, April 25, 2011

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