John Saw the Holy Number

DESCRIPTION: "John saw the holy number, Sitting on the golden altar." "Fishman Peter, fish no more, fish no more, fish no more, Fishman Peter, fish no more, Sitting on the golden altar." "Weeping Mary, weep no more...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1867 (Allen/Ware/Garrison)
KEYWORDS: Bible religious nonballad
REFERENCES (4 citations):
BrownIII 538, "John Saw the Holy Number" (1 text)
BrownSchinhanV 538, "John Saw the Holy Number" (notes only)
Allen/Ware/Garrison, pp. 16-17, "John, John, of the Holy Order" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune); p. 77, "The Golden Altar" (1 text, tune)
Dett, p. 63, "John Saw" (1 text, 1 tune; p. 196 in the 1874 edition)

Roud #11843
cf. "John Done Saw that Number" (floating lyrics)
NOTES: The notes in Brown explain, "The chorus apparently refers to John 7:4: 'And I heard the number of them that were sealed; and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand."
This is a mess. First, this isn't John 7:4; it's Revelation 7:4. And there is no hint that they were sitting on a golden altar -- though in 8:3 they apparently worship before it. But in that case, the holy number is probably seven for the seven angels. Or so it appears to me.
Of course, the whole thing may be moot; the first Allen/Ware/Garrison text, which is probably the oldest, of course makes it a Holy ORDER, and John a member, and that makes perfect sense. But note that Brown's text and Allen/Ware/Garrison's "Golden Altar" version both make it a "Holy Number."
It may appear, from the title line, that this is the same as "John Done Saw that Number," but the form is distinct. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: Br3538

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