“Angels Roll Dem Stones Away”


"Sister Mary she come weepin', Just about de break o' day, Lookin' for my Lord, And he's not there, say!" "He's gone away to Galilee, Angels rolled dem stones away It was on one Sunday mornin', Angels rolled dem stones away."


Although the general outline of the resurrection story is the same in all four Gospels (one of the few parts of the life of Jesus they do agree on), this song appears to be derived primarily from Matthew:

In Matthew 28:1, Mary Magdalene and the "other Mary" seek Jesus; in 28:2, the angel rolls the stone away; in 28:7, he is said to have gone to Galilee.

In Mark 16:1, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb. In this account, the stone is already rolled back, and they speak to a "young man," not an angel, in 16:5; he tells them (16:6) that Jesus is on his way to Galilee.

In Luke 24:1, the women are unnamed (but cf. 24:10), the tomb is already open, two "men" (not angels) greet the women, and there is no mention of Jesus going to Galilee; indeed, the apostles stay in Jerusalem until driven out in Acts.

In John 20:1, Mary Magdalene alone visits the tomb, and the stone is already moved, but she doesn't talk to anyone (human or angelic) there; it is only after Peter and the Beloved Disciple arrive (and leave -- John 20:2-10) that two angels speaks to Mary. The disciples seemingly return to Galilee in Chapter 20, but only after meeting the disciples in Jerusalem. - RBW


  1. BrownIII 552, "Angels Roll Dem Stones Away" (1 short text)
  2. Roud #11877
  3. BI, Br3552


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (Brown)
Keywords: Bible religious Jesus
Found in: US(SE)