Go Down Moses

"Go Down Moses" is an American Negro spiritual. It describes events in the Old Testament of the Bible, specifically Exodus 8:1 ( "And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me" ), in which God commands Moses to demand the release of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. In the context of American slavery, "Israel" represents the African-American slaves, while "Egypt" stands for slave states and "Pharaoh" represents the slavemaster. Former slave Harriet Tubman is quoted as saying "Go Down Moses" was one of two code songs fugitive slaves used to communicate when fleeing Maryland.

"Go Down Moses"

Verse 1: When Israel was in Egypt’s land,

(All: Let my people go)

Oppressed so hard they could not stand

(All: Let my people go)

Refrain (All): Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh: Let my people go.

Other verses:
The Lord told Moses what to do,
To lead the children of Israel through

The pillar of cloud shall clear the way,
A fire by night, a shade by day

As Israel stood by the water-side,
At God’s command it did divide

When they had reached the other shore,
They sang the song of triumph over

Oh, let us all from bondage flee,
And let us all in the Lord be free

haggadah Section: Songs
Source: Adaptation by Brandi Ullian