“The Babe of Bethlehem”


A nativity hymn, generally following the Lukan story, and beginning: "Ye nations all, on you I call, Come, hear this declaration, And don't refuse the wond'rous news Of Jesus and salvation...."


The sundry references:

"As was foretold by prophets old, Isaiah, Jeremiah." -- Many prophecies of the Messiah are found in Isaiah (e.g. Isa. 7:14f.; also the "servant" prophecies of Isa. 53, etc.). The only prophecy of Jeremiah quoted about Jesus (as opposed to being quoted BY Jesus), however, is in Matt. 27:9-10 -- and this is actually a prophecy of Zechariah! Thus Jeremiah cannot be held to have foretold Jesus.

"To Abraham the promise came, and to his seed for ever" -- Gen. 15:5, 22:17; also Gen. 26:4, Isa. 51:2, etc.

"A light to shine in Isaac's line" -- cf. Gen. 21:12=Rom. 9:7=Heb. 11:18; also Gen. 26:4

"God's blessed word made flesh and blood, assumed the human nature." -- John 1:1f.

"They found no bed to lay his head, but in the ox's manger... But in the hay the stranger lay, with swaddling bands around him" -- Luke 2:7

"On the same night a glorious light to shepherds there appeared, Bright angels came in shining flame, they saw and greatly feared" -- Luke 2:9

"The angels said: Be not afraid, although we much alarm you, We do appear good news to bear, as now we will inform you." -- Lukw 2:10f.

"When this was said, straightway was made a glorious sound from heaven" -- Luke 2:13

"Each flaming tongue an anthem sung" (not associated with the birth of Jesus; see Acts 2:3)

"At Jesus' birth be peace on earth" -- loosely paraphrased from Luke 2:14

"To Bethlehem they quickly came, the glorious news to carry, And in the stall they found them all, Joseph, the Babe, and Mary." -- Luke 2:16

The shepherds then return'd again to their own habitation" -- Luke 2:20 - RBW


  1. BrownIII 554, "Babe of Bethlehem" (1 fragment)
  2. Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 757, "The Babe of Bethlehem" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #11878
  5. BI, BSoF757


Author: William Walker?
Earliest date: 1835 (Walker's "Southern Harmony")
Found in: US(SE)