Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Elijah Taken Up to Heaven (2Kings 2) 

When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lordhas sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”So they went down to Bethel.

The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” may have been written by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory in what is now Choctaw County, near the County seat of Hugo, Oklahoma sometime after 1865. He may have been inspired by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah‘s being taken to heaven by a chariot (2 Kings 2:11). Some sources claim that this song and “Steal Away” (also sung by Willis) had lyrics that referred to the Underground Railroad, the freedom movement that helped black people escape from Southern slavery to the North and Canada.

 

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I’m coming, too
Coming for to carry me home

I’m sometimes up and sometimes down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home

The brightest day that I can say
Coming for to carry me home
When Jesus washed my sins away
Coming for to carry me home

If I get there before you do
Coming for to carry me home
I’ll cut a hole and pull you through
Coming for to carry me home

 

 

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