Ninety and Nine, The
DESCRIPTION: "There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of a fold, But one went out on the hills astray." It is asked, are not 99 enough? "But the shepherd made answer...I go to the desert to find my sheep." He faces great trials in finding the sheep
AUTHOR: Words: E. C. Clephane / Music: Ira D. Sankey
EARLIEST DATE: 1876 (sheet music)
KEYWORDS: religious sheep separation reunion
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 24, #2 (1975), p, 15, "Ninety and Nine" (1 text, 1 tune, the Frank Proffitt version)
NOTES: The story of the shepherd leaving 99 sheep to find one is found in Matthew 18:12-13, Luke 15:4-6 (and also is saying #107 in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas). On the other hand, it feels a lot like John 10, in which Jesus is the Good Shepherd (and in 10:9 Jesus is hte gate of the sheep).
The feeling of the song sort of mixes the two gospel versions. In Matthew, the sheep "wanders" (King James version "goes astray"); in Luke, the sheep is lost. In Matthew, the shepherd seeks the sheep on the mountains (somewhat similar to the song); in Luke the sheep is in the wilderness (=desert). There may be a hint of Mark 6:31ff., where the disciples go by ship to a "desert place" (to be understood "deserted place").
Proffitt's version mentions "gates of gold." There is no such quote in the Bible. In Rev. 21:21, the heavenly Jerusalem has gates of pearl and streets of gold. - RBW
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