Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Is there Balm in Gilead?

DigiTrad:
BALM IN GILEAD


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Balm of Gilead (4)
(origins) Origins: There Is a Balm in Gilead (7)


Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 07 - 11:30 AM
Charlie Baum 01 Jan 07 - 11:48 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 07 - 11:55 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 07 - 11:59 AM
Sorcha 01 Jan 07 - 12:07 PM
GUEST 01 Jan 07 - 12:17 PM
Azizi 01 Jan 07 - 12:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 07 - 01:12 PM
Slag 01 Jan 07 - 01:16 PM
GUEST 01 Jan 07 - 01:32 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 07 - 01:37 PM
Slag 01 Jan 07 - 01:53 PM
wysiwyg 01 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 07 - 02:34 PM
kendall 01 Jan 07 - 03:55 PM
catspaw49 01 Jan 07 - 04:35 PM
kendall 01 Jan 07 - 05:38 PM
MartinRyan 01 Jan 07 - 07:48 PM
Janie 01 Jan 07 - 08:12 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Jan 07 - 08:21 PM
Janie 01 Jan 07 - 08:21 PM
kendall 01 Jan 07 - 08:23 PM
GUEST 02 Jan 07 - 02:50 AM
Paul Burke 02 Jan 07 - 03:10 AM
Azizi 02 Jan 07 - 07:26 AM
Azizi 02 Jan 07 - 07:29 AM
NormanD 02 Jan 07 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Derrick Malrow Trottier 03 Oct 10 - 08:32 PM
Kent Davis 04 Oct 10 - 08:58 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 11:30 AM

I had the radio on this morning and The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe was being read.

Does anyone know there bible well enough to tell me about the biblical reference in the line.

apparently ( I cofess I only just got this off the net) there is a spiritual Balm in Gilead.

Please excuse my heathen ignorance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 11:48 AM

Genesis 37:25 (from the story of Joseph and his many-colored coat):

23: So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore;
24: and they took him and cast him into a pit. The pit was empty, there was no water in it.
25: Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ish'maelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt.
26: Then Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?
27: Come, let us sell him to the Ish'maelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers heeded him.

Then the old American hymn "There is a Balm in Gilead"
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/i/tisabalm.htm

Refrain

There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.

Some times I feel discouraged,
And think my work's in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.

Refrain

If you can't preach like Peter,
If you can't pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.

Refrain

Poe's use of Balm of Gilead in "The Raven" is probably taking up from these cultural references.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 11:55 AM

See this excerpt from http://www.negrospirituals.com/ :

"THERE IS A BALM IN GILEAD

This is a well-known negro spiritual, which has an interesting meaning.

The "balm in Gilead" is quoted in the Old Testament, but the lyrics of this spiritual refer to the New Testament (Jesus, Holy Spirit, Peter, and Paul). This difference is interesting to comment. In the Old Testament, the balm of Gilead cannot heal sinners. In the New Testament, Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him.

So, in the book of Jeremiah, several verses speak about Gilead. In chapter 22, v. 6 and 13: The Lord says (about the palace of the king of Judea) "Though you are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon, I will surely make you like a desert, like towns inhabited… Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labour".

In the same book of Jeremiah, chapter 46, v. 2 and 11, "This is the message (of the Lord) against the army of Pharaoh Neco … Go up to Gilead and get balm, O Virgin Daughter of Egypt, but you multiply remedies in vain; here is no healing for you".

In the New Testament, the four Gospels say that Jesus healed many people whatever their conditions: he can heal the poor. A Christian who feels the Spirit must share its faith and "preach", like Peter and Paul."

-snip-

[Fwiw, the word "negro" is usually capitalized nowadays if used as all since its been replaced by the referent "African American".

**

But, back to the phrase "balm in Gilead", see this excerpt from http://www.answers.com/topic/balm-of-gilead :

"The phrase "balm in Gilead" comes from
"Any of several trees or shrubs of the genus Commiphora, especially C. opobalsamum, of Arabia and Somalia.

See myrrh (sense 1).

A poplar tree of hybrid origin, with sticky, aromatic, resinous buds and heart-shaped leaves, cultivated as a shade tree.

A shrubby plant (Cedronella canariensis) in the mint family, native to Madeira and the Canary Islands, having a large, lilac-to-violet corolla with two lips.
[After GILEAD, known for its balm.]"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 11:59 AM

Here's a contemporary gospel version of the spiritual "Balm In Gilead" by the vocalist Karen Clark-Sheard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKEqCWOHaDE

**

Here's the lyrics to that song:

Verse 1
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead

(choir)
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead

Bridge
(Karen)
Oh, oh, oh there is a balm in Gilead
(choir)
There is a balm
There is a balm
There is a balm
There is a balm

Verse 2
Oh, medicine used in the Bible days
To HEAL the sick and take the pain away
Medicine used in the Bible days
To HEAL the sick and take the pain away

(choir)
Medicine used in the Bible days
To HEAL the sick and take the pain away
Medicine used in the Bible days
To HEAL the sick and take the pain away

Bridge (repeat and modulate)

There is a balm

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Balm-In-Gilead-lyrics-Karen-Clark-Sheard/42DD22244BC7D1D848256EA3000669D9

**

Karen Clark-Sheard is a member of the well known Gospel group "The Clark Sisters".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 12:07 PM

I have Bag Balm. Does that count?

(I'll get me coat now)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 12:17 PM

You're all balmy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 12:20 PM

I wonder what the difference in comments would have been if this thread had been placed above line.

...sigh...
    moved up


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 01:12 PM

Many thanks.

So the Raven is making a promise of eternal damnation, when the narrator asks is there balm in Gilead and quoth the Raven Nevermore.....

something like that...?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Slag
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 01:16 PM

Ignorance of the Bible is no excuse. It is by far the most widely published book in existence for all time and has been copied into more languages than any other book. Get a copy. Read it. There will be a final exam.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 01:32 PM

How does it end?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 01:37 PM

I think my idea of hell would be shut up in heaven with a God who issued those sort of threats.

Your insights into the Balm of Gilead reference would be welcome. If you have insights.....I could have found the references myself. The context and the implications thereof; they are what interest me.

In particular if anyone has any insight into why Poe chose those words are of interest to me. Maybe he just chose them, because they had a mellifluous and slightly sinister feel - in the same way that Swinburne did.

like I say, thanks in advance for any help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Slag
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 01:53 PM

Glad you could laugh along with me, Weelittle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM

"Gilead (on the eastern shore of Jordan River), was a lush and fragrant area, glens, in sharp contrast to the stark barrenness of the rest of Palestine. This district was widely known for its precious balm— a soothing, healing ointment-- which had great medicinal and aromatic value. "Is there no balm in Gilead?" is the question the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah posed as he grieved over the sin of the Israelites who had turned their back on God and refused to repent. Enslaved African-Americans found in their new religion the answer, and they sang about it. That balm was Jesus Christ. For the afflicted, bruised, and broken soul of the African-American under the horrendous oppression of slavery, the knowledge of Christ brought healing and deliverance." E'vry Time I Feel the Spirit, Gwendolyn Sims Warren, 1997. (May be somewhat paraphrased; I have this on our songhseet for the song.)

Also: "Go up to Gilead and take balm." Jeremiah 46:11

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 02:34 PM

sorry slag, been a rough day. angina pains every which way - jokes about the final accounting - just a bit too close to home...!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 03:55 PM

Back where I came from there are some huge trees that are called "Balm in Giliad" by the locals. I've often wondered whay the correct name is. They look like ash to me.
Does anyone know anything about this?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 04:35 PM

Hey Sorch.....Before you get your coat.......I am such an incredible bore at times. There is a town just a few miles north named Mt. Gilead and everytime we pass throgh or the name comes up, I boorishly sing out,

"There is a bag balm in Mt. Gilead
That makes the cows go moooooooo"

I love indulging in simpleass behavior.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 05:38 PM

And you are so good at it, Spaw. LOL


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 07:48 PM

I was having lunch in a pub in Athlone, Ireland, many years ago and the piped music in the background was nagging away at a corner of my mind. I started to listen and recognised, played to a country type tune, Poe's "Annabel Lee":

I was a child and she was a child
In that city beneath the sea.
But we loved with a loce that was more than just love
Me - and my Annabel Lee".


"The Raven" was always a great favourite of mine.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Janie
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 08:12 PM

Simple, lovely little song.

Kenddall, We have a 'Balm of Gilead' growing in our back yard that my husband brought down and transplanted from West Virginia. Wonderful, aromatic sap. I agree it looks like an ash. When he gets home tomorrow I'll ask if he knows what species it actually is.

Janie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 08:21 PM

Info on Balm of Gilead tree.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Janie
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 08:21 PM

Kendall,

      It is a poplar (populus balsamifera) sometimes called balsam poplar. Apparently it is not native to the USA but has escaped from cultivation.

Janie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 08:23 PM

Thank you so much! Where else can we find such diverse sources of information than the mudcat?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 02:50 AM

The research company GILEAD (perhaps going to split again this year) symbol GILD...maker or Tamiflu (only medicine for "bird influenza" when passed on to humans) also on the forefront AIDS medication and other bio-enzyme drugs.



Wonderfully effective concept...break the bond that permits replication of the virus and you stop the virus from multiplying.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 03:10 AM

The Bishops' Bible of 1568 translated the text as "Is there not treacle at Gilead?" Which puts Gilead somewhere near Knotty Ash.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 07:26 AM

I admit that I couldn't remember the words to the Edgar Allen Poe's 1845 poem "The Raven", and so I Googled it.

I found the complete poem here http://bau2.uibk.ac.at/sg/poe/works/poetry/raven.html.

**

As to whether Poe knew the spiritual "Balm In Gilead", I think it's rather doubtful as the Raven poem was written in 1845 and "The Jubilee Singers put on their first performance singing the old captive's songs at a religious conference in 1871. The songs were first published in 1872 in a book titled Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, by Thomas F. Steward. Later these religious songs became known as "Negro spirituals" to distinguish this music from the spiritual music of other peoples".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_(music)

I guess it's remotely possible that Poe might have heard the spiritual "Balm in Gilead" when he attended the University of Virgina. It's also remotely possible that sometime in his life Poe made the acquaintance of some freed slave or some Black free man {or woman or child}who knew this song.And I guess it's possible that Edgar Allen Poe knew some White person who heard Black people singing this particular spiritual. Hey, anything is possible.

However, I think it's much more possible that Poe knew the Biblical references to balm in Gilead, and that's why he wove that phrase into the Raven poem.

**

Fwiw, I found this forum for Q&A's about Poe's writing: Critiques of Edgar Allen's Powe's writing

I'm not sure if this site is currently active as it seems that most of the entries are from 2002-2003. Also, I didn't find any specific Q&A about the phrase "balm in Gilead", partly because I'm rushing posting this so I can get to work. That forum might have at least one specific question about "balm in Gilead", and/or there might be be some references to this phrase in replies to other questions. Be that as it may, there are several questions about the symbolism of the raven and the meaning of Lenore. To give you a flavor of that website, here's one of the response to a query that I found particularly interesting:

"Why did he write "Lenore"? Who did he write it about? Did he write it out of anger, or spite? Why would you reccomend it to readers? If you would reccomend it to any, who?

-- Shari Furness..., February 09, 2002

Answers
Hmmm. This is a case of constant reworking of an old poe "A Paean" written in his early collection in 1831. The 1843 version is the best BUT Poe reworked it again for the last 1844 version and was still working on it the summer of his death. The long version, perhaps inspired by the structures of Barrett"s "Lady Geraldine's Courtship", is best known as a a steeping stone to "The Raven." Something the "Marginalia" by Poe in 1844 concerning elegiac poems sums up his aim : "Better still, (they should) utter the notes of triumph. I have endeavored to carry out this idea in some verses which I have called "Lenore'"

Helen, Ellen, Elenore, Lenore, Eleanora are consciously chosen. All generally signify "bright" or "light" the muselike beacon Poe writes so well about in "To Helen". These sonorous names had been used nby others in the context of tragic beauty. As for a particular woman this is doubtful. This is Poe's grand ideal theme, the woman being his symbol of ideal beauty and the goal toward which his unsatified heart ever turns.

The tale of the poem: Stock mourners(Ecclesiastes 12:5-7 and the Premature Burial, 3rd paragraph) in this elegy question the bereaved lover DeVere why he shows no appropriate sorrow. (DeVere is just a name taken from a novel of the time of no other real imprtance for the understanding of the poem "Guy DeVere A Man of Independence",1827, by John Plummer Ward. DeVere rebukes the mourners like Job his accusers who are hypocrites who envied and hated her. Spare her the sorrow and this wrong and let her be the hope that goes before and let the poet sing with joy the old happy memories. "Let NO bell toll!"from the "damned earth" to disturb her in happiness and glory.

Well, and so forth. The interesting thing is Poe's attitude differs from the conventional. That is part and parcel of his own alienation from jealous and inferior foes and his miseries that can only be overcome in two ways. By keeping his eyes fixed on his Ideal, his heaven, his hope, his loves that have gone before AND keeping the memories of past happiness. Nuts to the present world. The varying success of these goals in Poe's other poems comes from his persona's rooted stance before the grave, before the shore, looking behind and ahead but in neither place, possessing neither the past nor salvation just yet, just that dynamic passion. (With help from Thomas Ollive Mabbott's book on Poe's poems.)"

-snip-

Enjoy!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 07:29 AM

Correction: Powe=Poe

[I guess I'm too used to writing my last name Powell that I typed the "w" without thinking]

:o)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: NormanD
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 04:22 PM

There's a small church near where I live (Forest Hill, London) called "The Balm Of Gilead Ministry". Why they use this particular bible reference to describe their sectarian difference is a bit of a mystery. But now I know some of what they're about - I'm still not going in there, though.

Norman


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: GUEST,Derrick Malrow Trottier
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 08:32 PM

"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?" (Jeremiah 8:22).

E. A. Poe's wound was his loss of faith (Lenore).

http://theidentityoflenore.bravehost.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Is there Balm in Gilead?
From: Kent Davis
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:58 PM

THREAD DRIFT AHEAD

When my father was a child, a tree with sticky buds grew in his yard. His family didn't use it for anything, but neighbors would gather the buds, and perhaps the sap, to make a salve. It was called a "Bamagilly" tree. This was in Kegley, Southern West Virginia, late 30's or early 40's. Eventually the tree died.

When my father met my mother, he mentioned the Bamagilly tree to her. She had never heard of one. She was always interested in science and nature, got her teaching degree, taught High School biology, earned her Master's, and took many more courses beyond that but, in spite of all her classes in dendrology, she never heard anything more about the mysterious Bamagilly tree.

It eventually occurred to her that the tree was more conventionally called the "Balm of Gilead".

I wondered if Dad's was the only family that used this pronunciation, until I found this http://appalachianheritagesoaps.com/blog/2009/10/05/bamagilly/
Beth is a friend of ours. Her soaps and salves are wonderful. The location of her Bamagilly trees is Southeastern Ohio. Anyone else familiar with this pronunciation?

Kent

P.S.

To get back on topic, Poe turned the "balm of Gilead" reference on its head in the poem. Jeremiah's questions "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?" were rhetorical. The answer was, "Yes, of course, there is balm in Gilead, and of course there are physicians there! Gilead is famous for its balm!" Jeremiah then asks "Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?"   The wound was ultimately spiritual, and the balm (following the LORD) and the physician (the LORD) had been available, but the Israelites had refused the cure. Poe, on the other hand, has the raven given the OPPOSITE answer to "Is there no balm in Gilead?"

"'Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 October 12:01 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.