Yeah I've come to know the wishlist of my father.
I've come to know the shipwrecks where he wished.
I've come to wish aloud among the overdressed crowd.
Come to witness now the sinking of the ship.
Throwing pennies from the seatop next to it.

And I've come to roam the forest past the village
With a dozen lazy horses in my cart.
I've come here to get eyed
To do more than just get by
I've come to test the timber of my heart.
Oh I've come to test the timber of my heart.

And I've come to be untroubled in my seeking.
And I've come to see that nothing is for naught.
I've come to reach out blind
To reach forward and behind
For the more I seek the more I'm sought
Yeah, the more I seek the more I'm sought.

And I've come to meet the sheriff and his posse,
To offer him the broad side of my jaw.
I've come here to get broke,
Then maybe bum a smoke.
We'll go drinking two towns over after all.
Well, we'll go drinking two towns over after all.

And I've come to meet the legendary takers.
I've only come to ask them for a lot.
Oh they say I come with less than I should rightfully possess.
I say the more I buy the more I'm bought.
And the more I'm bought the less I cost.

And I've come to take their servants and their surplus.
And I've come to take their raincoats and their speed.
I've come to get my fill
To ransack and spill.
I've come to take the harvest for the seed.
I've come to take the harvest for the seed.

And I've come to know the manger that you sleep in.
I've come to be the stranger that you keep.
I've come from down the road,
And my footsteps never slowed.
Before we met I knew we'd meet.
Before we met I knew we'd meet.

And I've come here to ignore your cries and heartaches.
I've come to closely listen to you sing.
I've come here to insist
That I leave here with a kiss.
I've come to say exactly what I mean.
And I mean so many things.

And you've come to know me stubborn as a butcher.
And you've come to know me thankless as a guest.
But will you recognize my face
When God's awful grace
Strips me of my jacket and my vest,
And reveals all the treasure in my chest?


Lyrics submitted by MsMolly

Hymn #101 song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song seems to be written about the life (and from the perspective) of the biblical Jesus Christ.

    Yeah I've come to know the wishlist of my father.- Jesus knows the will of God ('my Father')
    I've come to know the shipwrecks where he wished.-The 'shipwrecks' would be the people of the Earth
    I've come to wish aloud among the overdressed crowd.-Jesus came to be among the people, who are more concerned with the material than the spiritual ('overdressed')
    Come to witness now the sinking of the ship.-Witnessing how far the people of earth have fallen from God

    I've come here to get eyed- Jesus was often surrounded by crowds, who followed him around and watched him perform miracles.
    To do more than just get by- To raise spirituality and help people realize there is a higher calling than just living day by day.
    I've come to test the timber of my heart.-Test his faith and spirituality.

    And I've come to be untroubled in my seeking.-His faith in God keeps his steady and untroubled.
    And I've come to see that nothing is for naught.-Everything happens for a reason, perhaps God's will?
    I've come to reach out blind, to reach forward and behind- He's come to help everyone; the blind, the crowds that surround him
    For the more I seek the more I'm sought-The more he seeks to spread the word of God, the more people crowd around him and seek him to heal and save them.

    And I've come to meet the sheriff and his posse, to offer him the broad side of my jaw.-The Jewish leaders were against Jesus, thought him to be a sinner and repeatedly tried to kill him, but Jesus taught to "turn the other cheek"
    Well, we'll go drinking two towns over after all.-Jesus often held company with drunkards and sinners, and wined and dined with them, so to speak, so perhaps this is a reference to that.

    "And I've come to meet the legendary takers. I've only come to ask them for a lot."-He asked them for a lot-their faith, loyalty, for them to give up their lives and material possessions to follow Jesus.
    "I say the more I buy the more I'm bought. And the more I'm bought the less I cost."-An illustration on how "it is as difficult for a rich man to get into heaven as it is to pull a camel through the eye of a needle", and how the focus should be less on the material, and more on the spiritual.

    "And I've come to take their servants and their surplus. And I've come to take their raincoats and their speed."-Jesus' followers often gave up their riches to follow him (surplus). Perhaps the use of the word servant comes from 'God's servant.' As for raincoats, Jesus taught to give your coats to the cold and naked.
    "I've come to get my fill to ransack and spill."-Perhaps a reference to Jesus destroying the Temples for turning "my fathers house into a marketplace".
    "I've come to take the harvest for the seed." Jesus often made references to seeds in is parables. "Heaven is like a mustard seed." So perhaps the harvest are the people who are to be saved?

    And I've come to know the manger that you sleep in.-Jesus was born in a manger.
    I've come to be the stranger that you keep.-Jesus and his disciples were often housed by strangers.
    I've come from down the road, and my footsteps never slowed.- Jesus was constantly in travel.
    Before we met I knew we'd meet.-As Jesus was (according to the Bible) the son of God, he knew what would happen, so he knew who he would meet before he met them, lol.

    And I've come here to ignore your cries and heartaches. I've come to closely listen to you sing. Jesus healed and performed miracles, therefore silencing cries and heartaches, converting them to praise, and songs of praise.
    I've come here to insist that I leave here with a kiss.-Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a kiss.
    I've come to say exactly what I mean, and I mean so many things.-Jesus spoke in parables that had very deep, wise, and philosophical meanings.

    And you've come to know me stubborn as a butcher.-Jesus was stubborn about his teaching and wouldn't stop, even when his life was in danger.
    But will you recognize my face-I feel like this means something along the lines as, Will you acknowledge Jesus as the Christ?
    When God's awful grace strips me of my jacket and my vest- It was by God's grace that Jesus be sacrificed and suffer for mankind's sins on the cross.
    And reveals all the treasure in my chest?-A reference to "Where your heart lies, there your treasure lies also," as well as Jesus' love for mankind.

    Of course this is my personal interpretation, but with the combination of the title of the song, I really do think this song is about the biblical Jesus Christ lol. Whatever it means, it's a beautiful song!
    bymmason February 28, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionThe lyric is actually "I've come here to get high, to do more than just get by". You can hear this when Joe performs live very clearly.
    youngmanblueson September 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is awesome and I can't believe know one has commented on it. If you like Bob Dylan...this is someone for you. I think that Joe's stuff is better though. Just more appropriate to our times, as Dylan is a bit outdated in some songs.

    Anyway I think the song is just about life and life's experiences. Getting through various challenges and overcoming differences between people etc. and getting through it at least thats what the 1st half of the song is about (up to the 3rd last verse). Its basically about life up until the point of meeting the person that you love and the last 3 versus are just about getting to know one another and becoming familiar with the other persons habits. the last line(s) of the song he is basically saying that despite all their differences underneath his skin, his different moods, facades, and actions his heart will always love her. He truly loves her despite their differences.

    Anyway I could go more in depth and analyze each paragraph and what they mean to me but that would just take me away from listening to this awesome song.
    Reaper89on November 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow! This song (not to mention artist) deserves so much more coverage! Then again, I think I'd prefer him to remain underground. He isn't tainted by anything and continue making great music.

    This song just reeks of honesty and it's so heartfelt. Love it!
    respektologyon July 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI will not pretend to know what Joe really means, but this song appears to be much more about the spiritual versus the material.

    "the wishlist of my father" - because of the "shipwrecks," I tend to think of this more as the things we've historically been told to desire; to work for. He's then come to see how those things we wish for come to disaster. And then, he is willing to stand in front of those who still propound that this is the correct set of values (material via the "overdressed crowd") and wish for what is truly important. As he does this, he's seeing how the material is failing - the "sinking of the ship."

    Then, as the outsider ("forests past the village") he states that he wants to do more than "just get by." He's here to test the timbre of his heart. To see how true/strong/worthy his spiritual fiber is.
    phaith164on November 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationAs Bymmas has noted previously, this is a deeply metaphorical song about the life of Jesus, written in the first person perspective. Their interpretation is good, but I'd like to add mine as well.

    The title, "Hymn #101" alludes to the common American Christian practice, both Catholic and Protestant, to denote songs sung during the service by their number in a hymnal book. This, along with "Hymn #35" and "Hymn #76", can be imagined to belong to a hymnal of unknown size. It's unlikely Joe Pug will ever fill it, but there will probably be more.

    The lyrics read at times like statements made to his disciples, or to a witness who is writing it down.

    The "wishlist of my father" clearly refers to the plans of the Christian deity. The "shipwrecks" could refer to failures of humanity and God's wish to see those righted. Or it could refer to God's own failures, which is a very humanizing idea. "Wishing aloud" is the preaching or sermonizing, probably most of all the Sermon on the Mount, and the "overdressed crowd" refers to the audience. I agree with Bymmas that "overdressed" probably refers to their ideas and notions rather than their clothing. The "sinking ship" may be the Old Covenant to be replaced by the New Covenant that Jesus is bringing. Jesus is a witness, but he's not alarmed, he's "throwing pennies", seemingly cheering it on.

    The "forest" in the second verse is the wilderness in which he wandered, or simply his nomadal lifestyle. The "dozen lazy horses" are almost certainly the twelve apostles. Jesus often rebukes them for their laziness in the gospels, even going so far once as to call them the "salt of the earth", which, contrary to popular opinion, is not a complement. The lyrics here say "I've come here to get eyed", but in Joe's official lyrics "eyed" is "high"; the line is probably not referring to drugs but to spiritual fulfillment. A common theme in the Gnostic gospels is Jesus yelling at his disciples for being drunk all the time, and there's nothing to suggest that Jesus went along with John the Baptist's psychedelic eating. He's not here to simply live, but to fulfill prophecy. The last line in this verse is "I've come to test the t_______ of my heart", exactly as that. Joe doesn't reveal in his official lyrics the spelling of that word, he leaves it blank. This allows the meaning to be both "timbre", which refers to a testing of the strength of his heart, and "timber", so that it is also a pun referring both the the cross and his father's (Joseph) occupation as a carpenter.

    Jesus is "untroubled in [his] seeking" because he has spiritual awareness, and comes to find the purpose in everything. Yet, at the same time, he has to "reach out blind", because he's not omniscient, he can't know what the future has for him, and he has to reach out for other people to help him. Being a god made human is probably a confusing thing. And the more he seeks out his purpose, the more people flock to him.

    Jesus meets "the Sheriff and his posse", which could refer to both the Jewish Council of the time and also the Roman State and their officers. Jesus, of course, turns the other cheek ("offer him the broad side of my jaw"). He is an intentional beggar, implied by "come here to get broke" and "bum a smoke". The "drinking two towns over" refers to nomad movement of him and his friends/disciples, but could also refer to the Marriage at Cana where he allegedly turned water into wine.

    Here Jesus is addressing the rich, the "legendary takers". He is asking them a lot, because it is difficult for a rich person to enter Heaven. They say that he has "less than [he] should rightfully possess", befitting his status as a Rabbi with a large congregation, but he replies that the more he gives ("buy") the more he receives ("bought"), and the more he receives, the easier it is for him to give more ("the less I cost"). This feedback cycle of giving is a common theme in religion; it doesn't refer to goods and services but to spiritual riches. See the verses about "hiding your light under a bushel".

    Jesus has come to take everyone, the poor ("servants"), the forgotten ("surplus"), the beggars and homeless ("raincoats", referring to the clothing of those who live on the streets), and the addicted and criminal ("speed", aka methamphetamine). He has also come to "ransack and spill", referring to the line, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." It could also easily refer to his driving of the moneylenders out of the temple with cords, spilling money everywhere. He has come to take people ("the harvest"), not for anything physical, but for their spirits ("seed").

    Jesus knows "the manger you sleep in", which refers to the phrase "the bed you sleep in", the consequences of your actions. It's also a nice reference to his birth. The "stranger you keep" is the company you keep, good and bad. It can also refer to your treatment of those who are strangers to society, all the people listed in the previous verse. The remainder of the verse refers to a sort of predestination. His "footsteps never slowed" because he doesn't tarry on his path, he knows he has to keep moving towards the plan his spiritual father intended him. Thus, "before I met I knew we would meet"; all of this was out of his hands.

    The second to last verse could refer to several things depending on who Jesus is addressing. But I think the best interpretation is that this is to his disciples. The "cries of heartache" are in response to his statement that one of them would betray him. He will "closely listen to [the betrayer] sing", he will allow the betrayal to happen. The kiss is of course the kiss of Judas at the time of the betrayal. Finally, what he has said is both exactly what he intended to say, and able to be interpreted more than one way. ("I come to say exactly what I mean, and I mean so many things.") This line, I think, is not only Jesus, but also Joe Pug. He is saying, "You can interpret my song in many ways."

    In the final verse, "as stubborn as a butcher" could refer to the relentless way a meat butcher will take apart an animal carcass. "Thankless as a guest" refers to unwanted guests that receive no thanks. He is determined in his task, despite that people curse him. He says to his disciples, will you recognize when I return ("when god's awful grace/ strips me of my jacket and my vest") and reveal myself as I truly am ("reveals all the treasures in my chest"). They didn't immediately recognize him after the resurrection.

    Overall, this is an absolutely amazing lyric, full of Christian metaphors and imagery. Even as a non-Christian, I deeply appreciate the skill with which this was written, how subtle it is, and how many potential interpretations can be drawn of it. It's one of the finest pieces of songwriting in recent times.
    ZLBuringtonon February 05, 2017   Link

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