Children, Go Where I Send Thee
"Children, Go Where I Send Thee" is a traditional African-American spiritual song, as well as a cumulative song. This song is also known as "The Holy Baby" or "Born in Bethlehem." There are many versions of this song, the lyrics below were collected by Jean Ritchie from a school for black children in Kentucky. The verses give a Biblical meaning to each number.
This song has been performed by Joe and Eddie, Dennis Crumpton and Robert Summers, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nina Simone, Natalie Merchant, as well as by The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Peter, Paul and Mary, Ricky Skaggs,Ralph Stanley, The Burns Sisters, Linda Randall, Mandisa, the National Christian Choir, Johnny Cash, Mahalia Jackson, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Audra McDonald, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Scala & Kolacny Brothers, Southern Rail, Tina Liza Jones, Hall and Oates, REO Speedwagon, The J.B.s,and Kelsea Morton, Kenny Burrell, Little Big Town, and Nick Lowe.
First verse: Children, go where I send thee How shall I send thee? I'm gonna send thee one-by-one One for the little bitty baby Wrapped in swaddling clothing Lying in the manger Born, born oh, born in Bethlehem.
Second verse: Children, go where I send thee How shall I send thee? I'm gonna send thee two-by-two Two for Paul and Silas One for the little bitty baby Wrapped in swaddling clothing Lying in the manger Born, born oh, born in Bethlehem.
- Three-by-three: Three for the three men riding...
- Four-by-four: Four for the four that were knocking at the door....
- Five-by-five: Five for the Five that came back alive....
- Six-by-six: Six for the six that never got fixed....
- Seven-by-seven: Seven for the seven that all went to Heaven
- Eight-by-eight: Eight for the eight that stood at the gate....
- Nine-by-nine: Nine for the nine that stood in the line....
- Ten-by-ten: Ten for the Ten Commandments....
- Eleven-by-eleven: Eleven for the eleven deriders....
- Twelve-by-twelve: Twelve for the Twelve Apostles.
Twelve by twelve that couldn't get help
Eleven by eleven that couldn't get to heaven
Ten by ten that couldn't get in
Nine by nine that dressed so fine
Eight by eight that stood at the gate
Seven by seven that went on to heaven
Six by six that couldn't get fixed
Five by five that couldn't get by
Four by four that stood at the door
And three by the Hebrew children
And two by Paul and Silas
And one by the little bitty baby, who was born, born, born in Bethlehem
- Another version
Twelve for the twelve that went to hell
Eleven for the eleven that couldn't get to heaven
Ten for the ten that couldn't get in
Nine for the nine that dressed so fine
Eight for the eight that stood at the gate
Seven for the seven that went to heaven
Six for the six that couldn't get fixed
Five for the Five ol' virgins
Four for the four that stood at the door
Three for the three old wise men
Two for Joseph and Mary
One for the little bitty baby
Wrapped in swaddling clothing
Lying in a manger
Whatcha gonna call that stranger?
We're gonna call him JESUS!
Born, Born, Born in Bethlehem!
- GoodWill Baptist church Children's choir version
Little Children go where I send thee How shall I send thee
Im gonna send thee one by one
one for the little bitty baby
laid down in a manger
wrapped in swaddling clothing
rocked in the cradle by Mary
and was born born oh Lord born in Bethlehem!
- REO Speedwagon version from their 2009 Christmas album
Hey, baby, I’m gonna send them ten by ten
Ten’s for the Ten Commandments
Nine for the nine who dressed so fine
Eight for the eight who stood at the gate
And seven for the seven who never got to Heaven
And six for the six who never got fixed
Five for the Gospel Preachers
Four for the four who stood at the door
Three’s for the Hebrew children
Two for Paul and Silas
And one for the little bitty baby
He was born, (yeah, yeah), born, he was born in Bethlehem.
(was born in Bethlehem)
[E] Children go [A] where I [E] send [A] thee
[E] How [A] shall I [E] send [A] thee?
[E] I'm gonna [A] send thee [E] one by one [A]
[E] One for the [A] Little Bitty [A] Baby
[E] Who was born, [A] born, [E] born in [B7] Bethlehem [E]
Two for Paul and Silas
Three for the Hebrew children (the companions of Daniel in the fiery furnace: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego)
Four for the four who stood at the door (Matthew Mark Luke and John)'
Five for the Gospel preachers (Paul and the four others who joined him on his missionary journeys: Silas, Barnabas, Timothy, and John Mark)
Six for the jars where the wine was mixed (Miracle at the wedding feast at Cana)
Seven for the seven who came from Heaven (Seven-fold Spirit of God)
Eight for the eight who sealed their fate (The eight people who entered Noah's Ark)
Nine for the ninety-nine in line (Those waiting while the Good Shepherd sought His one lost sheep)
Ten for the ten commandments
Eleven for the eleven who went to Heaven (The twelve disciples minus Judas Iscariot)
Twelve for the twelve Apostles
- Lyrics and MIDI: Children go where I send thee