Never Said a Mumbling Word
DESCRIPTION: "Oh they whupped him up the hill, up the hill... and he never said a mumbalin' word..... They crowned him with a thorny crown.... They nailed him to the cross.... They pierced him in the side.... Then he hung down his head and he died."
EARLIEST DATE: 1926
KEYWORDS: Bible Jesus religious death
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
BrownIII 578, "He Never Said a Mumbling Word" (1 text)
Lomax-FSUSA 102, "Never Said a Mumblin' Word" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 587-588, "Never Said a Mumbalin' Word" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 759, "He Never Said a Mumbalin' Word" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warren-Spirit, p. 161, "(He Never Said a Mumblin' Word" (1 excerpt)
Courlander-NFM, p. 60, (no title) (1 text)
Parrish, pp. 165-166, "An' He Never Said a Mumblin' Word" (1 text)
Vera Hall Ward & Dock Reed, "Look How They Done My Lord" (on NFMAla5)
cf. "Where My Lord Went to Pray" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Look How They Done My Lord" (verses)
NOTES: According to the Synoptic gospels (Mark 15:5, etc.), Jesus said very little to Pilate (according to Mark 15:2, two words, SU LEGEIS, loosely, "You said [it].") John, however, records an extended conversation. All the gospels report at least one saying from the cross; this came to be regarded as "seven words" (i.e. sayings). Of course, there is no evidence that Jesus mumbled any of them....
LindaJo H. McKim, Presbyterian Hymnal Companion, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993, pp. 96-97, suggests that rather than being based on the gospels, this derives from Isaiah 53:7, the "suffering servant," who is compared to a sheep let do slaughter yet "did not open his mouth." This is probably the inspiration for the synoptic claim that Jesus was silent, but I don't see it reflected in the song. - RBW
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