He Made the Iron to Swim

from by Ben Swithen

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Elisha is excellent, and it's tragedy that his antics in the Books of Kings have never been made into a 1950s comedy feature with lots of falling over. The lyrics of this song mainly come from 1 Kings, chapter 2 and 6 - but there's plenty more material for other Elisha fans.

Elijah, on the other hand, has more than enough acknowledgement in art.


The sons of the prophets,
They said to Elisha The place that we live is too
Straight for us
Let us go to the Jordan
All carrying beams
If we hurry, we might take the
Elisha answered, go on then
Then he put up his feet and dismembered a hen
They asked, aren't you coming, you imperfect hearer?
It seems our suggestion might have been clearer
Yo-ho-ho! Suggestion might have been clearer!

They turned up at Jordan
They cut down weed
But calamity struck one
While felling a beam.
The axe-head fell into
the water - he cried
'Twasn't mine - it was borrowed -
now sleeps with the bream.
The man of God, he said where fell it?
They showed him the place, and he threw in a stick.
He threw it in thither, the iron did swim!
Fella said, well I never, as he gave it to him.
Yo-ho-ho! He made the iron to swim!

Elisha met
Elijah once
He's somebody else, though
The names are alike.
He asked to receive
Double portion of sprit.
"Thou hast asked a hard thing,
But I guess, if you like."
They were parted asunder by chariot of fire
Which is how major prophets are prone to retire
Elisha took up his mantle and smote
The waters, which parted, so that's what they wrote.
Yo-ho-ho! A mantle is somebody's coat.


from Kibrothhattaavah, released April 30, 2011




Ben Swithen Sheffield, UK

Ben Swithen is a person.

Here you can find their music - solo work, and a Doctor-Who- and-Cheese double-concept concept-album by The Potential Bees (who are a two- or three- person band), which forces both concepts into every song).

You can also find Ben Swithen on Youtube, but why would you even?
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