Dem Bones Dem Bones

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson along with his brother, J Rosamond Johnson are given credit for writing this great old gospel hymn. The hymn was first recorded in 1928, by the Myers Jubilee Singers.
Born in 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida, James Weldon Johnson was a man of many talents. He was an attorney, a school administrator, an author and a publisher. He may best be known for the song he and his brother wrote in 1900, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, which became the hymn adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The inspiration for Dem Bones, Dem Bones was taken from Ezekiel chapter 37. God sent the people of Israel into exile because of their sin of idolatry. This vision given to the prophet Ezekiel is God’s promise the He will send His people back home to Israel after their 70 years of exile are over. The dry bones represent Israel as being dead as a nation and a people, but they will rise again. The prophecy also probably represents the time when Christ will come back and reign over Israel.
[Ezekiel 37:1-14] The Valley of Dry Bones

Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones

Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones

37 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”

Lyrics for the hymn Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Ezekiel connected dem dry bones,
Ezekiel connected dem dry bones,
Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones,
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Verse 1
Toe bone connected to the foot bone
Foot bone connected to the heel bone
Heel bone connected to the ankle bone
Ankle bone connected to the shin bone
Shin bone connected to the knee bone
Knee bone connected to the thigh bone
Thigh bone connected to the hip bone
Hip bone connected to the back bone
Back bone connected to the shoulder bone
Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone
Neck bone connected to the head bone
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Chorus
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around.
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel disconnected dem dry bones,
Ezekiel disconnected dem dry bones,
Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones,
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Verse 2
Head bone (dis)connected from the neck bone
Neck bone connected from the shoulder bone
Shoulder bone connected from the back bone
Back bone connected from the hip bone
Hip bone connected from the thigh bone
Thigh bone connected from the knee bone
Knee bone connected from the shin bone
Shin bone connected from the ankle bone
Ankle bone connected from the heel bone
Heel bone connected from the foot bone
Foot bone connected from the toe bone
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Chorus
Dem bones, dem bones gonna rise again.
Dem bones, dem bones gonna rise again.
Dem bones, dem bones gonna rise again.
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Finale
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Now hear the word of the Lord

You can listen to this hymn on You Tube here:

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