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The Leg Bone Connected to the Knee Bone-Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones!

Dem Bones or Dem Dry Bones is a famous spiritual poem and song, sometimes used in Bible school and pre-school to help children learn basic anatomy. The melody has been credited to American educator and early civil rights activist, James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938).

The lyrics to Dem Bones are based on the Book of Ezekiel, in which the prophet, whose name means “God will strengthen,” resurrects the dead by bringing the “dry bones” to life.

Dem Dry Bones Lyrics

Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh mercy how they scare!

With the toe bone connected
to the foot bone,
and the foot bone connected
to the ankle bone,
and the ankle bone connected
to the leg bone.
Oh mercy how they scare!

Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh mercy how they scare!

With the leg bone connected
to the knee bone,
and the knee bone connected
to the thigh bone,
and the thigh bone connected
to the hip bone.
Oh mercy how they scare!

Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh mercy how they scare!

With the hip bone connected
to the back bone,
and the back bone connected
to the neck bone,
and the neck bone connected
to the head bone,
Oh mercy how they scare!

Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh mercy how they scare!

With the finger bone connected
to the hand bone,
and the hand bone connected
to the arm bone,
and the arm bone connected
to the shoulder bone,
Oh mercy how they scare!

Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh those bones, oh those bones,
oh those skeleton bones.
Oh mercy how they scare!

With the shoulder bone connected
to the back bone,
and the back bone connected
to the neck bone,
and the neck bone connected
to the head bone.
Oh mercy how they scare!

Original Version:
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

(tune ascends up in half steps)

The foot bone con-nected to the (pause) leg-bone,
The leg bone connected to the (‘) knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the (‘) thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the (‘) back bone,
The back bone connected to the (‘) neck bone
The neck bone connected to the (‘) head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’
Oh hear the word of the Lord

(tune descends in half steps and we retrace the body)

The head-bone connected to the neck-bone,
the neck-bone connected to the back-bone
The backbone connected to the thigh-bone
the thighbone connected to the kee-bone
the kneebone connected to the leg bone
the leg bone connected to the foot bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord

Ezekiel 37
The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath [a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”

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