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

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.

  • Did you know that that Kumbaya (Kum-ba-yah) is a Hebrew sentence?
  • Did you know that it was sang in Gullah, which is a Hebrew word?

The History of Kumbaya (Kum-Ba-Yah)

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

Kumbaya Lyrics
  1. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
  2. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
  3. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
  4. Oh Lord, kumbaya
  5. Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
  6. Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
  7. Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
  8. Oh Lord, kumbaya
  9. Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
  10. Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
  11. Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
  12. Oh Lord, kumbaya
  13. Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
  14. Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
  15. Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya
  16. Oh Lord, kumbaya
  17. Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
  18. Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
  19. Someone’s praying, Lord, kumbaya
  20. Oh Lord, kumbaya
  21. Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
  22. Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
  23. Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya
  24. Oh Lord, kumbaya
  25. Oh Lord, kumbaya

Here is a break down of what the phrase Kum-ba-yah means 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 seem to mean “arise father God” or “stand up father God”, and NOT “come by here” as we’ve been fooled into believing. This was a cry for help from our ancestors to Yah to free them from slavery. Wikipedia does confirm this as well, although they do downplay the importance and connection to slavery:

“The song was originally a simple appeal to God to come and help those in need.” – Wikipedia

As with everything else we create, it was quickly appropriated into European culture. Europeans have an obsession with appropriating Hebrew culture. Part of the reason for concluding that the words are Hebrew in origin is due to the fact that it was sang in Gullah, which is also a Hebrew word.

Kumbaya Research From The Library of Congress

That link is a direct link to the Library of Congress website (loc.gov). Right there on the cover is a Hebrew newspaper with Hebrew writing on it. While they push fake European Jews throughout the “research”, it does further confirm that we are indeed on the right track. Our people are Hebrews.

A Brief History of Gullah

Like many people my age or very close to it, I first became aware of Gullah through the TV series Gullah Gullah Island, which was one of the few shows on Nickelodeon that featured a majority black cast.

Every week they’d teach about Gullah culture and more. The United States government officially recognizes Gullah as a language consisting of Creole (French + English) and West African. It’s the last part that that leads us back to the English slave trade map that shows The Kingdom of Judah located in West Africa.

Map of The Kingdom of Judah on The Slave Coast of Africa
Map of The Kingdom of Judah on The Slave Coast of Africa
The Meaning of Gullah
  • Gullah: Strong’s #1543 – basin, bowl, spring

The Gullah language is a mixture of languages, so the Hebrew word for bowl or basin is fitting, since those are typically used for mixing things together. All evidence points to Kumbaya being a Hebrew song created by descendants of Judah. There isn’t any other explanation as to why black slaves would have so many connections to the language. 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 only by the grace of God that this song survives along with it’s origin story.

Hebrews Passed Messages and History Through Song

In the Bible we often see Hebrews singing songs after miracles, battles, and for various other reasons. This has been a way for our people to pass on messages for generations. Just consider how many songs you know and understand. What we take for granted is that people outside of black culture will often know the lyrics to our music, but not the history and cultural significance of some of our music. We tend to make our music for us. Here are a few examples from scripture:

  1. Moses sang after Pharaoh was drowned (Exodus 15:1).
  2. Israel sang after hearing they’d receive water (Numbers 21:17).
  3. God told Moses to write a song as a witness against Israel (Deuteronomy 31:19).
  4. David sang when he was delivered from his enemies (2 Samuel 22:1).
  5. A song of dedication at the house of David (Psalms 30:1)

Our people have always been a musical people. The more we learn about our history, the more we see that there is a very real effort to hide the truth. We are Hebrews and we were brought here on purpose.

Do You Know Any Other Hebrew Slave 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 hurts to have more knowledge on the subject.

By Black History In The Bible

"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." - John 8:45-47


    • You are correct
      The Hebrew word BA can mean either “come” or if attached to a word as a prefix it means “in the”

    • Yimeyahua Ben Yahudah -

      I honestly believe in means
      Kum -Arise or stand
      Ba( ב)-in or Ba ( בא)- come
      Ya- Yah
      The Ba can mean come if it is spelled בא but I’m not totally sure if it would make that sound. Now if you just used the ב alone it can make the Ba sound. Which would give you. Kum Ba Yah or Arise in Yah which sounds like a battle cry to me.

  • I’ve been learning Hebrew for the last 7 years, I can speak, read and write it. Each of the words in Kumbayah has a meaning, this includes ‘Ba (בא)’

    Kum – קם – Wake up / arise
    Ba – בא – Come
    Yah – יה – Yah (Yah can also be יהוה – Yahweh)

    I think we have to remember that it wasn’t just an African American song, it was the song of many slaves in the new world.

    • 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.

    • Black History In The Bible -

      Thanks for this. Do you have a source? I’d love to add it as a reference and update this study.

  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

  • 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

  • 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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