JOSHUA FIT THE BATTLE OF JERICO
“Joshua Fit (Fought) the Battle of Jericho,” is another of the many spirituals that Paul
Robeson performed frequently in his public concerts, both the upbeat rhythms and lyrics
of the song provided a needed burst of energy and inspiration for weary activists. The
metaphorical text of the song is drawn from the Biblical story of Joshua and his band of
musicians who, bearing the ark of God, successfully brought down the walls of the city of
Jericho through the spirited use of trumpets and other musical instruments. It is almost as
if the creator of this song were saying, “If Joshua could achieve victory over evil through
the blowing of trumpets, then we can ultimately achieve victory over evil (slavery)
through the singing of our songs!” Ultimately, lyrics, melody and rhythm combine to help
us understand why “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” has been a perennial favorite of both
singers and listeners.
Joshua fit de battle of Jericho,
Joshua fit de battle of Jericho
And the walls come tumblin’ down.
Four commonly used erses…
Good Morning Sister Mary,
Good morning Brother Joe.
Gonna tell you ‘bout old Joshua
And the battle of Jericho.
You can talk about your king of Gideon.
You can brag about your man of Saul,
But there’s none like good old Joshua
For to make those old walls fall.
They tell me that the spear of Jushua
Was well nigh twelve foot long
And upon his hip was the doubvle-edged sword
And the man was gospel born.
Up to the walls of Jericho
He marched with spear in hand.
“Go blow dem ram’s horns loud and clear
“For the battle am in my hand”.
Then the ram-sheep’s horns began to blow,