Nursery Rhymes

Go Down, Moses

Go Down, Moses Lyrics

The words and lyrics of this African American Spiritual begin with "Go down Moses, way down in Egypt land" as the first line of the song. The words, tune and lyrics of the "Go Down, Moses" song were passed on verbally and the names of the author and composer are therefore unknown.

Go Down, Moses Song Meaning and History
The history of the "Go Down, Moses" song lyrics date back to the Slave Plantations between the 1600's to 1800's. Meaning: The song was sung by slaves as a Biblical reference to the story of the conflict between Moses and the Pharaoh. The lyrics describe the events detailed in Exodus 8:1 and the demands of Moses to release of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. The underlying symbolism of the lyrics compares the Hebrews to the African American slaves, the Pharaoh and the slave owners and the similar level of oppression the slaves were subjected to. We have placed "Go Down, Moses" in the category of African American Spirituals, aka Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs.

Go Down, Moses Song
Title: Go Down, Moses *** Name of Composer: Unknown *** Name Author / Writer of Lyrics: Unknown *** Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals

Go Down, Moses Lyrics

Go down Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell ole Pharaoh
To let my people go

When Israel was in Egypt land
Let my people go
Oppressed so hard the could not stand
Let my people go

“Thus spoke the Lord”, bold Moses said
“If not, I’ll smite your first born dead
Let my people go

Information about the Song
Title of Song: Go Down, Moses
Author of Lyrics: Unknown
Nationality of Author: African American
Name of Music Composer: Unknown
Song Category: Slave Songs aka African American Spirituals or Negro Spirituals
First Line of Song: "Go down Moses, way down in Egypt land"
First Publication Date: 1872. The lyrics of the song were first published by the Jubilee Singers in 1872.

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