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the leopard’s spots

May 22, 2009

This morning I caught myself humming “Jesus Paid It All” and thinking about Jesus changing the leopard’s spots. The song actually goes:

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

I knew enough to catch and correct my error, but still, that’s pretty pathetic. Do you ever find yourself messing up lyrics in a humorous way?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    May 22, 2009 10:11 am

    Ha! It took me several tries to understand what you were saying because I also pictured a leopard whenever I sang this. Even when I read “leper” I still interpretted it “leopard.”

    Thanks for setting things straight.

  2. May 22, 2009 11:21 am

    There’s a word for that: Mondegreen

    Fun stuff.

  3. May 22, 2009 2:02 pm

    I kneed thee, O I kneed thee!
    Ev’ry hour I kneed thee…

  4. May 22, 2009 3:24 pm

    One time my dad was practicing a speech while my mom was cutting his hair with a clipper. From the other room, I heard him say something about his “bow-legged wife.” He actually said “my goal-oriented wife.”

  5. Amanda permalink
    May 25, 2009 8:59 pm

    Oh, funny. I, too, always though it was “leopard’s”–because of Jeremiah 13:23! =-)

  6. May 26, 2009 11:09 am

    That is a good point Amanda!

  7. Richard permalink
    May 26, 2009 12:40 pm

    This is not surprizing as the Bible says Leopard’s Spots

  8. Lisa Joy permalink
    May 26, 2009 2:52 pm

    “Lead me on, O kinky turtle…”

    My husband also always giggles at All Hail the Power’s line, “let angels prostrate fall.” When he was young, he thought it was “prostate.”

  9. Mike Moline permalink
    May 26, 2009 9:47 pm

    there is “Gladly the cross-eyed bear”…

  10. Mike Moline permalink
    May 26, 2009 9:50 pm

    sorry – that was already noted in the link Abraham gave.

    • May 27, 2009 4:32 pm

      That’s okay. You came up with it independently! (Or at least heard it somewhere and saw that it applied.)

  11. May 27, 2009 5:42 pm

    My nephew sang “Oh, come let us ignore Him.” This is sadly how most of us go about celebrating Christmas.

  12. Vicki in NC permalink
    May 29, 2009 7:30 am

    Rich Mullins “Our God is an Awesome God”

    “there’s thunder in his footsteps
    and lightning in his hips”

  13. M McBride permalink
    April 17, 2012 4:36 pm

    Actually I think it’s the hymn writer or some subsequent editor that’s in error, not any of you who commented on this page. Clearly someone along the way mis-heard or mis-remembered the phrase from Jeremiah 13:23. The idea of “changing a lepers spots” doesn’t really make sense anyway. If I were a leper I wouldn’t be thrilled with Jesus’ changing my spots. I’d prefer that he HEAL them rather than just reconfigure them. And I’d probably refer to them as sores not spots. However altering the hymn text to conform to what Scripture intended isn’t a good option either. Yes, I believe Jesus could change a leopard’s spots, but why would He want to? Here’s another Biblical mondegreen: When I lived in Brooklyn NY, there was actually a church listed in the yellow pages called “Pillows of Faith.” This must have come from mis-hearing of the the references to “Pillars in the temple” or “Pillars of Truth” in Rev. 10:1 and 1 Tim. 3:15 or the common expression “so and so is a real pillar of the church.” Well, the name may be based on a misunderstanding, but “Pillows of Faith” Church sounds like a very comforting place to be!

    • Bruce permalink
      May 1, 2013 9:27 am

      Actually, examining the verse demands the ‘leopard’ lyric.

      “Lord, now indeed I find
      Thy power, and Yours alone
      Can change the leper’s (leopard’s) spots
      And melt the heart of stone”

      Citing God’s power and His alone as the only possible source of a changed heart, it matches perfectly the verse in Jeremiah which reads, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin (his natural dark color) or the leopard its spots (his natural spotted coat)? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

      * bracketed additions above are mine*

      I believe the ‘original’ lyric was meant to be ‘leopard’, since most hymn writers seem to have had a good grasp on Scripture, but was somehow altered by well-meaning typesetters and/or editors. Although I’ve examined two hymnals and several ‘online’ lyric websites, and all say ‘leper’,.. I still hold that with a correct interpretation of the verse in Jeremiah, as well as that complete verse of the hymn,.. it should read ‘leopard’.

      … and I shall sing it thus from henceforth : )

      Just my 2 cents. Thanks for listening.

      • micktong permalink
        October 23, 2013 4:38 pm

        I completely agree with with you guys that it should be “leopard” not “leper” as the hymn misappropriates the phrase and gives the wrong impression because of the use of the leopard’s spots in Jeremiah and the healing examples through the bible are slightly different points, but have been blended/confused here.

        Surely the hymnwriter could have used “cleaned” or “healed” or something instead of “spots” if they wanted to refer to the leper?

        And then many people sing it wondering what the leopard was on about, or even sometimes wonder if there was a leopard at all (if they are not familiar with the Bible).

        It’s like nails down a chalkboard to me.


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