Hymn 142
(tune: Leaning On the Everlasting Arms)

One of the old gospel/hymns that we do in our church praise band is Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. I especially like it because it’s one of our songs that I get to play on my banjo. I decided to include Hymn 142, to the tune of Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, on my CD for its uplifting feel and the opportunity to feature my old Gibson banjo on the CD (I’ve had it for going on 60 years).

The tune was written by Anthony J. Showalter and the original English lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman. It was first published in 1887. Showalter said that he was writing letters of condolence to two of his former students whose wives had recently passed, when he was inspired by a phrase from Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”.

From the Cherokee Hymn Book, the lyrics of Hymn 142 are those of a temperance song, proclaiming the dangers of alcohol. Each verse begins with the phrase “un ne la gi na sgi u li squi di” (Let it be…) followed by a warning. Each verse and chorus ends with a variation of the admonition “tle sdi tsa sv ne lv gi gi v.” (Don’t touch it!) As you listen to this track, you will hear these phrases over and over, and may even feel like singing along. Go ahead!

Listen here to a 1 minute preview of this song: