1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

every valley shall be exalted

Discussion in 'English Only' started by taked4700, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. taked4700 Senior Member

    Kagoshima
    japanese japan
    Hi,

    I've been reciting "I have a dream." speech by Martin Lutheer King.

    I can't see the meaning of the phrase;"every valley shall be exalted."

    The context is;
    I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low,
    the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

    If it is a mountain that shall be exalted, I think it would be natural, but why valleys?
    Is there any occurrence that people exalt valleys in the Bible?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. frenchifried Senior Member

    France
    English - UK
    Bible. Depending on the version: Isaiah xl.3. All will be equal (eventually) in the eyes of God. It is not the mountain that is exalted it is the valley, which geographically, and figuratively, is lower than a mountain.
     
  3. exgerman Senior Member

    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    This text describes the coming of the Messiah. A smooth path is being created for His arrival. He should not have to climb mountains or descent into valleys, or bump over ruts, or have to take detours. There will be a straight path for Him.

    To prepare for His coming, the ground level in the valleys will be raised (exalted) and the mountains will be cut down (made low), etc. so that he can proceed in a smooth fashion on level ground.

    This text is used in one of the arias in Handel's Messiah. MLK was certainly aware of the text from the Bible, but knew that many of his hearers, especially the non-religious ones, would know the quotation from hearing the Messiah performed. MLK is using the hoped-for arrival of tbe Messiah as a metaphor for his hoped-for vision of the future.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Senior Member

    Queensland, Aust
    BrE->AuE
    The reference is to Isaiah, 40:4 in the King James version:

    Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.

    King is imagining the current order being turned on its head: that the mighty shall be humbled, and the humble exalted.

    Also see Luke 14:11

    For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
     
  5. frenchifried Senior Member

    France
    English - UK
    Exactly. Equality. Isaiah is OT and Luke is NT. MLK would have been familiar with both. There must have been a reason for his choosing Isaiah.
     
  6. exgerman Senior Member

    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Here is the actual context in Isaiah:

    A voice of one calling:
    “In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the LORD[a];
    make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b]
    4 Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
    the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.

    It's clear that this text refers to the path being prepared for the messiah and has nothing to do with raising people up or cutting them down.
     
  7. frenchifried Senior Member

    France
    English - UK
    It is is not about cutting anyone down - It is about equality and eveybody having the same 'straight path' - and I am not making hard and fast rules about biblical things that have been written and rewritten and interpreted and re-interpreted for thousands of years - I am trying to see it from MLK's viewpoint in relation to that speech. :mad:
     
  8. taked4700 Senior Member

    Kagoshima
    japanese japan
    Thank you, every contributor.

    Having read the posts of yours, I came to think that

    1. MLK used the analogy to make the hearers feel the time of the emancipation is near.

    2. He wanted to convey to the hearers that he believes in Mighty Lord and to continue to believe so will help people acquire the true emancipation.

    3. This is the meaning of the phrase of 'unearned suffering is redemptive.'

    Thanks again,
    taked4700
     
  9. cecillian

    cecillian Senior Member

    Tbilisi
    Georgian
    Hi friends,
    I was reading Who Will Run the Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore and I saw this sentence but with a bit difference.
    He was flirting with a woman and the woman's husband turned to me and said "your husband's number at work is certainly a number at work". He was drunk and winked at me in a bitter way. Then he began to sing "Every Valley Girl shall be exalted". Something meant for his wife to hear.

    Does the writer man here referring to the bible text? Is he just changing the verse to make fun of his wife? Or "Every Valley Girl shall be exalted" is a different song it self meaning that every girl who lives in valley should be phrased? I'm just confused.
    Thanks in advance
     
  10. Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    He's making a joke; it's a play on the words of the Biblical text. See "Valley girl" for more information on that cultural construct.
     
  11. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    "Valley Girl" was a song by Frank Zappa, written as a parody of the way some of his daughter's friends (who lived in the Silicon Valley in California) talked. (This song has nothing to do with the Bible verses.)

    The song that the husband was singing was a hymn, possibly the part of The Messiah by Handel that begins "Every valley shall be exalted," which is (like most of The Messiah) a quotation from Isaiah.

    So yes, he was making a joke, calling the other girl a "valley girl," and saying she would be "exalted" (probably suggesting that he would give her an orgasm).

    Edit: Beaten by the much more succinct Florentia.
     
  12. cecillian

    cecillian Senior Member

    Tbilisi
    Georgian
    Thank you so much Florentia52.
     
  13. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    There is a song, "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted" it is by Handel from "The Messiah". I suppose that "Then he began to sing "Every Valley Girl shall be exalted". means that he sang this song but added the word "girl".

    << Video link removed by moderator. >>
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  14. cecillian

    cecillian Senior Member

    Tbilisi
    Georgian
    So Pub14, you mean the husband is referring to the girl/narrator? And he means something erotic?
    I just thought he refers to his wife calling her a valley girl to humiliate her or if he is referring to the narrator he just means that she is so beautiful and shall be phrased. So I was wrong you mean?
    But as you say if he want to give her an orgasm why he use exalted? I just do not get it. If a woman was talking to a man in this way I could understand you but now I do not.
     
  15. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    All the pronouns in the sentence, and in my post, are confusing.

    It sounds to me like there are four people involved here: the speaker, her husband (the "he" of the first line), the woman he was flirting with, and that woman's husband. Let's call them Carol (the speaker), Bob (her husband), Alice (the flirted-with woman) and Ted (Alice's husband).

    I read the sentence this way:

    Bob was flirting with Alice, and Alice's husband Ted turned to me [Carol] and said "Bob's number at work is certainly a number at work". Ted (?) was drunk and winked at me in a bitter way. Then Ted began to sing "Every Valley Girl shall be exalted". Something meant for Alice to hear.

    The sense I get is that Ted was telling Carol that Bob is having sex with Alice, and making sure that Alice heard him do it.

    I don't understand what you mean by "If a woman was talking to a man in this way I could understand you but now I do not." I don't see what the genders have to do with it.
     
  16. cecillian

    cecillian Senior Member

    Tbilisi
    Georgian
    Thank you all.
     
  17. cecillian

    cecillian Senior Member

    Tbilisi
    Georgian
    Oh thank you bop14, I did not know that exalt can have sextaul connotation. Now I got it.
     

Share This Page