Friday, July 20Exploring The Black Presence In The Bible

Kum-Ba-Yah: Did Black Slaves Sing Songs In Hebrew?


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Many of us have heard and even sang Kumbaya at some point in our lives, but most people aren’t aware of the origin of the song or the meaning of the words. When I was in elementary school, we were told that it meant “come by here”, and that’s what myself and many others have believed for a long time. Here is a break down of the words in Hebrew.

The Meaning of Kumbaya
  • Kum (Qum): Strong’s #6965 – Stand up, arise
  • Ba: Doesn’t have any meaning alone in Hebrew, but may be an abbreviation for Abba, which means “father” (unconfirmed).
  • Yah: Strong’s #3050 – This word is translated as LORD in scripture when referring to the God of Israel.

Loosely translated, the lyrics seems to mean “arise father God” and NOT “come by here” as we’ve been told. This song seems to be a remnant of the Hebrew language that was stripped from the slaves. It also serves as circumstantial evidence that slaves most likely spoke Hebrew when they arrived in America, and managed to preserve at least some of the language through song. It is literally by the grace of God that this song survives along with it’s origin story.



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The History of The Song

According to history, the song was first recorded in the early 1920s. However, it is believed to have originated with Southern Slaves and is believed to have been sang in Gullah. Gullah is a language that was spoken by slaves that inhabited North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Here are the words to the song:

The Words of Kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbaya

Do You Know Any Other Songs?

If you know of any other slave songs that sound Hebrew, please share. We can use as much evidence as we can get. People are waking up daily, and it never hearts to have more knowledge on the subject.

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9 Comments

    • Black History In The Bible

      The irony of your comment is hilarious. The word “Gullah” is a Hebrew word. I’m also guessing you’ve never heard it spoken aloud. Read about the Gullah wars. Yes, Gullah is a mix of English and West African languages. West Africa is also where European maps show “The Kingdom of Judah” was marked as the “slave coast”. The Kingdom of Judah spoke Hebrew.

      So you can keep trying to deny the evidence, but you’ll lose every single time. Give it up. Nobody here cares about the European lies you want to pass off as truth. We know who we are and you’ll answer to God because you’ve been told and you CHOOSE to hate his chosen people.

  • abiyahu ben emett

    ba does have a hebrew meaning. it means come. the translation should be “rise come yah”. it is a cry for salvation from the bitter bondage we face here in america.

  • George

    My brothers what do you think this means Praise YAH or All praise to YAH : Hallelu-Yah
    Leonard Cohen
    Now, I’ve heard there was a secret chord
    That David played, and it pleased the Lord
    But you don’t really care for music, do you?
    It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
    The minor fall, the major lift
    The baffled king composing hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Your faith was strong but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
    She tied you to a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
    And from your lips she drew the hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    You say I took the name in vain
    I don’t even know the name
    But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
    There’s a blaze of light in every word
    It doesn’t matter which you heard
    The holy or the broken hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    I did my best, it wasn’t much
    I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
    I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
    And even though it all went wrong
    I’ll stand before the lord of song
    With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

  • Randall D Post

    Well, we know Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night! So it’s no surprise to me, this song is directly a result of Hebrew slaves freed from bondage by Moses himself! It gets the question, “Why did Moses disobey God when he smote the rock the second time”? We know that is why God told Moses, he, Moses, would not Cross over the River Jordan into the Land flowing with milk and honey! God is NOT mocked y’all!! Peace and Grace from Our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ-Yeshua!
    Shabbat Shalom

    Maranatha Yeshua Lives! Amen. Selah.

    Jesus+ Nothing=Everything

  • lscott

    I’ve been knowing about this song for about 25 or 30 yrs.
    Told to me by my Parents. If my people would pick up OUR HISTORY BOOK ( THE HOLY SCRIPTURES) and ask ABBA YAH to give the Understanding of it, They will be surprised of what Valuable info is within the Manuscript. SELAH & SHALOM

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