MembersBob Marley and the Jewish Bible

The Rastafarian religion of the famous reggae singer is based on interpretations of Judaism and pervades almost all songs of this musical genre

By Michael Selutin |
Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

“I had to flee like a refugee to save my life, I’ll be as iron as a lion in Zion,” sings Bob Marley in his hit “Iron Lion Zion.” Another song by Marley is called “Babylon System,” in which he sings about the difficult life in Babylon and suggests that one should rise up against this unjust system.

What do the reggae artists from Jamaica have to do with the biblical stories that happened to the Jewish people?

Reggae music is a cultural expression of Rastafarianism, a religion based on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but with its own interpretation of their scriptures.

The Rastafarian religion emerged in the 1930s when Haile Selassie became king of Ethiopia. He was thought to be a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Their meeting is described in 1 Kings 1, where the Ethiopian legend adds that after her visit to Israel the queen founded a ruling dynasty with her child, whose father was Solomon. For the Rastafarians, Haile Selassie was considered the messiah, which was supported by the fact that...

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