“What Harm Has Jesus Done?”


"Tell me what harm has Jesus done you Sinners all hate him so." Jews nailed him to the tree and gave him a cup of vinegar which he drank. Gabriel in the morning will separate the "sheep on the right and the goats on the left"


At the time of recording, Charles Owens was 99, living in a small colony of Negroes in the Maritimes; they are descendants of slaves, and Creighton theorizes that they brought this jubilee song with them from the U.S. - PJS

We should probably recall that the Romans, not the Jews, crucified Jesus.

The reference to Jesus drinking vinegar is a mistranslation, though "vinegar" is the word used by the King James Bible in all four references (Matthew 27:48, Mark 15:36, Luke 23:36, and John 19:29 all use the same word). The four Gospels also use the same word for the beverage (while disagreeing on the delivery method), but its normal usage is "sour wine" (which was less expensive than sweet), not "vinegar," though of course vinegar could be made from it. Still, the best translation would probably be something like "cheap wine." It was a painkiller -- and, in context, it might well hasten death, since alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration is one of the main causes of death during crucifixion.

The parable of the Sheep and the Goats is in Matthew 25:31-46. In it, Jesus, not Gabriel, separates the souls into groups. - RBW


  • Chas Owens and family, "What Harm Has Jesus Done?" (on MRHCreighton)


  1. Creighton-Maritime, p. 174, "What Harm Has Jesus Done?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #2285
  3. BI, CrMa174


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1953 (Creighton-Maritime)
Found in: Canada(Mar)