Dependency has been a thief at night
Thief at night, thief at night

Dependency has been a thief at night
Thief at night, thief at night
Dependency has been a thief at night
Thief at night, thief at night

from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Ft. Allen Stone & Macklemore) – Neon Cathedral Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

His addiction has been so severe that he has lost sleep in search of a fix. He means his dependency on alcohol. He’s saying that his addiction to alcohol is stealing his life away from him when he succumbs to it in the night.

The Biblical “thief in the night” is the “day of the Lord,” a.k.a. the second coming of Christ. It is compared to a thief in the night because you don’t know it’s coming. Jesus uses that description in Matthew 24, saying:

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if a master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

The same image is used by Paul and Peter later in the New Testament. Paul writes that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night,” essentially taking by surprise those who are in darkness (that is, nonbelievers). In contrast, the Christians to whom he is writing “are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.”

Interestingly, the passage that comes from, 1 Thessalonians 5, also refers repeatedly to drunkenness.

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Another Biblical verse that’s relevant is Job 24:14.

When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief.

The addict can be seen as a victim — if not only of himself. The lyrics suggest that the judgement is already obvious and felt deeply — and to infer that God is the addiction speaks about a different God entirely. The Passage from Job seems a better parallel because it speaks of a different world (i.e. cathedral) and a semblance of being ashamed.

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