DESCRIPTION: "Wrestlin' Jacob seek de Lawd. I will not let thee go. And wrestle all night till the break ob day." "Wrestle Jacob; day is a-breakin'." "(Brethren/Elders/etc., don't get weary (x4) For de work is almost done. Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1901 (Dett)
KEYWORDS: religious fight Bible nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Dett, p. 70, "'Raslin' Jacob" (1 text, 1 tune; p. 131 in the 1901 edition)
BrownIII 656, "Wrestlin' Jacob" (1 text)
Arnold, p. 167, "Oh Rastle Jacob" (1 short text, 1 tune)
cf. "Wrestle On, Jacob" (lyrics, subject)
cf. "Wrestling Jacob" (lyrics, subject)
NOTES [146 words]: The wrestling match between God and Jacob at Peniel/Penuel, which ended as day broke, is told in Genesis 32:22-32.
There is, incidentally, a strong folkloric element to the story; it appears that Jacob may originally have been wrestling with some sort of minor demon, and the story was cleaned up. Imperfectly, since the place is called both Peniel/Penuel (and what was The Ineffable God doing in a wrestling match anyway?). It even has a "just so" moral: The Israelites did not eat a particular part of an animal, because the demon injured Jacob there.
This may well be the same as "Wrestle On, Jacob," since they have many common lyrics. The form is a little different, though, and "Wrestle On" has New Testament references not found here. If Brown had had a tune, that might have decided me in favor of lumping. But Brown doesn't have a tune, and when in doubt, we split. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.