“City of Refuge”


"There is coming a time and it won't be long, You will attend to your business and let mine alone." "You better run." ("Run to the city of refuge.") "Paul and Silas bound in jail."


Brown's version is not at all clear why this should be considered a "City of Refuge" text; it never mentions those words, and is a fragment. But there isn't much else to go on.

The mention in song of "cities of refuge" is strange in any case: The cities of refuge were for "the manslayer who kills any person without intent" (Numbers 35:11).

Nor is there any mention of the cities of refuge ever actually being used; they are not mentioned outside Exodus-Deuteronomy, and the few Biblical instances of people wanting sanctuary involve the criminal fleeing into the temple and seizing the horns of the altar (e.g. Joab in 1 Kings 2:28) - RBW


  • Blind Willie Johnson, "I'm Gonna Run to the City of Refuge" (Columbia 14391-D, 1929; on BWJ01)


  1. BrownIII 560, "City of Refuge" (1 fragment)
  2. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 208-209, "City of Refuge" (1 fragment of the chorus, 1 tune (which includes the verse even though the informant did not remember the words))
  3. Roud #11828
  4. BI, Br3560


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Scarborough)
Keywords: religious Bible
Found in: US(SE)