"Jerusalem (Out of Darkness Comes Light)" as written by and Jimmy Douglass Ivan Corraliza....
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do.

In the ancient days, we will return with no delay
Picking up the bounty and the spoils on our way
We've been traveling from state to state
And them don't understand what they say
3,000 years with no place to be
And they want me to give up my milk and honey
Don't you see, it's not about the land or the sea
Not the country but the dwelling of his majesty

Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do.


Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory
Years gone by, about sixty
Burn in the oven in this century
And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn't choke me
I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
They come overseas, yes they're trying to be free
Erase the demons out of our memory
Change your name and your identity
Afraid of the truth and our dark history
Why is everybody always chasing we
Cut off the roots of your family tree
Don't you know that's not the way to be

Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do.

Caught up in these ways, and the worlds gone craze
Don't you know it's just a phase
Case of the Simon says
If I forget the truth then my words won't penetrate
Babylon burning in the place, can't see through the haze
Chop down all of them dirty ways,
That's the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth
No way, not OK, oh no way, not ok, hey
Ain't no one gonna break my stride
Ain't no one gonna pull me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving
Stay alive

Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
Let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do.


Lyrics submitted by mattymee

"Jerusalem" as written by Ivan Corraliza Gregory Prestopino

Lyrics © THE BICYCLE MUSIC COMPANY, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Jerusalem (Out of Darkness Comes Light) song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +5
    Song MeaningI love this song; it's one of my favorites. I don't think this song is speaking only to Jews, but to the the whole world, trying to get them to understand the Jewish mindset, as a lot of negative media attention is given to Jews/State of Israel today regarding the Palestinian conflict. There are a lot of Jewish motifs in the song that a goy might not understand, which is what makes this song so special to Jews, too. As a Jew, I'll try to explain it best I can.

    As stated above, the chorus is derived from Scripture, specifically Tehilim (Psalms) 137. Jerusalem is not just the capital of Israel, it is the holiest city in the world and most important place for Jews. Our temple once stood there, it is the place where earth meets Heaven, the place where the G-d of the universe chose to make Himself dwell among His people on earth. This is why a Jew can never forget Jerusalem; the city is woven into the very fabric of our being and our history as a people.

    Verse 1:

    "In the ancient days, we will return with no delay
    Picking up the bounty and the spoils on our way"

    The stories of the Israelites in the Old Testament when they came into Canaan and conquered the land from several different peoples.

    "We've been traveling from state to state
    And them don't understand what they say"

    Reference to the experiences of Jews after the diaspora (when Jews were scattered across the world). They traveled and lived in many different nations but no one accepted them (ex. Spanish Inquisition, Russian anti-semitism).

    "3,000 years with no place to be
    And they want me to give up my milk and honey"

    Again referring to the diaspora when Jews were without a homeland for 3,000 years. Now that they finally have one, the world wants them to give it up to Palestinians (milk & honey refers to teh land of Israel, the Bible describes it as a land flowing with milk and honey).

    "Don't you see, it's not about the land or the sea
    Not the country but the dwelling of his majesty"

    Again, Matisyahu wants the world to see the mindset of Jews. The conflict isn't just about property ownership, it's about something much, much deeper: Israel being the dwelling place for G-d, making a reference back to the chorus as Jerusalem is G-d's dwelling place on earth.

    "Rebuild the temple and the crown of glory"

    Jews want to restore the temple that once stood in Jerusalem to its former glory.

    "Years gone by, about sixty
    Burn in the oven in this century
    And the gas tried to choke, but it couldn't choke me"

    A reference to the holocaust and the millions that died in the gas chambers and were thrown into ovens to be cremated. They tried to destroy all the Jews but they couldn't.

    "I will not lie down, I will not fall asleep
    They come overseas, yes they're trying to be free
    Erase the demons out of our memory
    Change your name and your identity
    Afraid of the truth and our dark history
    Why is everybody always chasing we
    Cut off the roots of your family tree
    Don't you know that's not the way to be"

    Many Jews before and after the holocaust hid their Jewish identity for fear of persecution. Many of them assimilated into the societies where they lived and no longer considered themselves Jewish. Matisyahu is telling us to be strong and proud of our heritage and never forget our past and our ancestors who went before us.

    "Caught up in these ways, and the worlds gone craze
    Don't you know it's just a phase
    Case of the Simon says"

    A lot of people today believe whatever they hear on tv without even knowing the real facts themselves. They do whatever the media and society tells them to without knowing why (case of the simon says"

    "If I forget the truth then my words won't penetrate
    Babylon burning in the place, can't see through the haze"

    Babylon refers to the entire population of the world that seeks to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. It may very blunt such as muslim extremists but also not so much such as the European Union supporting Palestine. Through all this Matisyahu is telling Jews never to forget the truth.

    "Chop down all of them dirty ways,
    That's the price that you pay for selling lies to the youth
    No way, not ok, oh no way, not ok, hey"

    A direct attack on Arab terrorists trying to destroy Israel and countries where young youth & elementary school students are taught things like "Jews are pigs and dogs" and "Kill all Jews."

    "Ain't no one gonna break my stride
    Ain't no one gonna pull me down
    Oh no, I got to keep on moving
    Stay alive"

    Matisyahu is not only talking about himself but the Jewish people as a whole. We must continue on, we must strive, we must do everything we can to survive.
    I love this song. It makes me so proud to be Jewish. I hope this helps some people who might have had a hard time understanding this song.
    shirisahavaon August 01, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI'm not a Jew but this song really touches me.. definitely the best Matisyahu song out there.
    iangrushkaon January 10, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commentjewishdude- i hope listening to matisyahu isnt the only thing that brought you to this conclusion
    thirdgear54on May 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis just about remembering your roots, obviously he is talking to his fellow jews. The first stanza is about how Isreal has not existed as a country, but Israel is not a country, but a place in your heart.
    The second one is about the holocaust and how afraid the Jews were of letting people know who they were, but he is saying that you can never forget your roots.
    THe last is about breaking free from the lies of Babylon and keeping true to God.

    Never Forget who you are.
    anarexorciston May 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe chorus isn't based on an old saying, but actual scripture, which inspired much of the song. It's derived from Psalm 137:

    1By the rivers of Babylon,
    There we sat down and wept,
    When we remembered Zion.
    2Upon the willows in the midst of it
    We hung our harps.
    3For there our captors demanded of us songs,
    And our tormentors mirth, saying,
    "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
    4How can we sing the LORD'S song
    In a foreign land?
    5If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    May my right hand forget her skill.
    6May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    If I do not remember you,
    If I do not exalt Jerusalem
    Above my chief joy.
    7Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom
    The day of Jerusalem,
    Who said, "Raze it, raze it
    To its very foundation."
    8O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one,
    How blessed will be the one who repays you
    With the recompense with which you have repaid us.
    9How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones
    Against the rock.
    itsdankyon January 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs a Jew, this song is really amazing.
    I go to a Jewish private school and we
    had a seminar about Israel. They played
    this song. I've loved it ever since.
    BlackandWhiteDreamson July 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I went to Israel on birthright and we entered Jerusalem for the first our tour leader played this song on the bus as we drove in. Awesome memory. I get choked up thinking about it.
    pweenon April 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis lyrics are so beautiful and inspiring. Truly, a masterpiece and Matisyahu's best song. As a Jewish-American, this song speaks to me on a personal level about my people's hardships and the eventual Redemption to come. Can't wait for the next album!
    adaceon April 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI was listning to this song on a web sight and there is a version where he starts out by saying "by the rives of Babalon where we wept as we remembered songs of zion. j if I forget you let my right hand forget its skill and my tongue stick to its plaet." Any one know what album that comes from? it is also a bit more up tempo.I just found out about this band but I love them already.
    Gilglandon June 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe beginning of the 1st verse is about the history of the Jews and how they have had no shelter for so long. But he then goes to say he is not after the land, sea, or the country, which would be Israel, but the shelter of God.

    The 2nd verse is about adversity Jews have had to face in recent times. He ends it off though with a strong spirited "We will not" kind of thing.

    I think the last verse is about fighting through the future and keep on fighting towards something. This could be God's shelter or to peace/tolerance.

    The chorus is an old saying which is basically saying that means that forgetting Jerusalem is like not being able to use your prominent, in this case right, hand.
    B.A.M.on September 18, 2008   Link

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