Go Down Moses, Hold the Key
DESCRIPTION: "Go down Moses, Hold the key, Don't let the wind blow on the righteous." "Come a fish by the name of whale, Swallowed brother Jonah by the head and tail" "Want to go to Heaven when you die, Just stop your tongue from telling lies"
EARLIEST DATE: 1893 (Edwards)
KEYWORDS: nonballad religious Bible
FOUND IN: West Indies(Bahamas)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Edwards 8, "Go Down, Moses" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: The description is based on the Edwards text. The tag line for each couplet is "Hey! hey! my soul."
What is the key and wind about in the first verse? The wind, at least, may refer to Exodus 14:21 -- "and the Lord caused the sea top go back by a strong east wind ... and the waters were divided" - or, more likely, the Exodus song at 15, and specifically at 15:10 - "Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them [the Egyptians]: they sank as lead in the mighty waters" - in hope that the wind of judgment not be turned against the singers (citations from King James Bible). - BS
Given that the second verse mentions Jonah, one might speculate that the wind is the storm which pursued Jonah at sea and forced the sailors on his ship to throw him overboard.
Note also that the song says "whale"; the Hebrew Bible unambiguously says "fish" and never mentions a mammal. - RBW
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