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: 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
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