Where are You in "cedars of Lebanon"?

I usually don't link more than once or twice when someone's posting a series on U2, figuring you can all follow it yourselves if you like. However, I thought since there is little else going on relevant to the topic of this blog at the moment, I might draw out one point in the closing installment of Steve Stockman's NLOTH series, a post on "Cedars of Lebanon." Most of what I've heard said about that phrase "cedars of Lebanon" has simply commented (accurately) that it's a term widespread in the Bible, with a variety of implications -- such that the lyrics would be using it mostly for Middle Eastern ambiance. Stocki suggests instead that perhaps a particular one of its meanings is actually in view: the way Isaiah and other prophets use a comparison to "the cedars of Lebanon" to indict human pride, and particularly linking such pride with waging war and destroying enemies. If this were so, it would help put the last verse about not being defined by enemies in a more tightly knit context with the overall setting/theme of the song, and might also lend the phrase "Where are You in the cedars of Lebanon?" a ring of something classically U2 that's almost completely absent on NLOTH: the lament genre. Comments on this idea, readers?

1 comment:

dave said...

i think he's onto something.

Bono is no slouch on Bible references. Though sometimes it seems a generic referece, maybe evocative of a mood, often he intends those who know that he's drawing fish in the sand to note andimport the context of the scripture quoted.

Remember when early quotes about "Cedars" were leaking? it was orginally a Hendrix-sounding rcocker...that reminds of the classic "anti-war" (if you will) anthem, "Bullet the Blue Sky" ("Put El Salvador through the amp, Edge").

That the song is obviously much quieter this time does indeed make it sound more like a lament.

Also, it would seem the closing track of a U2 Cd is as Stocki says, carefully chosen..and(almost?) always lament..

Or at least a tweak on the the theme genre or mood of the rest of the album (40 on War, maybe)

It may have felt more natural if the one jab at the war/Bus admin was this time embedded in a character's quote than Bobo directly. As we all know, Bono had been very charitable in recent years in not war-bashing while needing support for Africa etc.

THe album too is more optimistic over all..

so how they not throw in this wrench (along with the fishes) in the sand/desert of Lebanon.