Just Interpretin’ (Ain’t Talkin’ by Bob Dylan)







I had to add this video, to my interpretation. This is awesome!!

Thanks Sonia!!

With so many parallels to the Passion of Christ (suffering, death and Resurrection) no wonder this song was instantly my favorite!

Here’s how I see it:

Verse 1 : The song starts out ” in the mystic garden” (Gethsemane) at night; it ends “in the garden” in the daytime with someone ( Mary Magdala) asking about the gardener, when His body wasn’t found (Jn. 20:15). 

Refrain: After His 33 years of life, would anyone know who He was?

Verse 2: Praying in the garden, He pleads for His mother (Mary) to pray for Him, who else would truly know who He was?! His humanity struggles as  He anticipates His suffering at the hand of “his neighbors.”

Refrain: His act of redemption, forces “you” to choose your destiny.

Verse 3 : As He continues to pray, we see the anxiety of the “take this cup from Me” prayer. His sleeping “opponents” are those (people and demons) who haven’t chosen God’s way, and His sacrifice “slaughters” the sting of death.

Refrain: “The world mysterious and vague” and “cities of the plague” refer to the worlds overall falleness, and then specifically, to humanities sin.

Verse 4: Everyone “speculated” who this [Jesus] might be, but their “contemplation” was “torn away” by the Religious Leaders.

Refrain: “eatin’ hog-eyed grease in a hog-eyed town” since swine are unclean animals, the lowest of the low for a righteous Jew would be to eat pork, in this case, Jesus clothed in all humility(seems to let) the holiness of God to be trampled on by sinners.

Verse 5: “crush you with wealth and power. Every waking moment you could crack” speaks of Judas Iscariot.” one last extra hour” refers to Matt. 26:40, “So you could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” As His disciples slept while He prayed.”Avenge my fathers death when I step back”, reversing the curse brought on by humanities “father” Adam. Jesus “steps back” in time to redeem all humanity from sins past and bringing back spiritual life.

Refrain: “walkin’ cane” refers to the Holy Spirit, to help Him focus on the task at hand and not the circumstances around it.

Verse 6: refers to the 12 disciples (and His other faithful followers), the “faith that has been long abandon” is obedience, “to obey is better than sacrifice”(1 Sam. 15:22, Ps. 40: 7-9, Heb. 10:5-7) “no alters on this long and lonesome road.”

Refrain: “sick mule” is all this humility has left Him feeling sick, “blind horse” (His power) is harnessed by His humanity and the direction He’s going at this moment, He can’t see. The “gal” is His Bride(the Church), the Groom has to leave for now, but will return for Her soon.

Verse 7: He (Jesus) now sees a heavenly vision, maybe when an Angel ministered to Him in the garden( Lk. 22:43). “Who says I can’t get heavenly aid” points to Matt. 26:53.

Refrain: “carryin’ a dead mans seal” (the Cross) nothing said you were going to die better than carrying your own cross through town! And (I think) the coolest reference in the song; “walkin’ with a toothache in my heel” clearly refers to Gen.3:15,”He will strike at your head; while you strike at His heel.”

Verse 8: The pain and suffering and shame, hanging on the cross. He didn’t overstate His fear.

Refrain: “walkin’ ’till I’m clean out of sight” gives up His spirit (death) Jn.19:30.

Verse 9: As mentioned in verse1, Mary Magdala at the tomb.

Refrain: The Ascension and ultimately the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Blessed be God ; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, forever and ever!



15 Responses

  1. Well, I was off completely! Thanks for sharing!


    I don’t think you were that far off. His suffering was certianly hellish.
    I think it was pretty perceptive on your part. Thanks for the visits and comments.
    God bless you and your husband and your pastoral ministry.

  2. Ha! I feel a Bob Dylan theme coming in your posts for the next week.. i’ve never consciously listened to any of BD’s music!
    Every blessing
    Maria in the UK

  3. I got a Sad mans face on a blurry mirror! Christ died for me; and I stood and asked what can I do for you, he replied; and opened the door, just a little. I squeezed in to a room full of jesters; and clowns, ballerinas dancing around war heads, crying my turn, my turn. Zebras wearing stripes for their rebel cries; and aborted babies singing by and by. The elephant never forgets; but whos gonna listen to him when he speaks, the snakes trying to get up; but he aint got no feet. I got a sad mans face in a blurry mirror, some call me a prophet, i wish they could see clearer. Christ died for me, what can I do for him?

  4. I see the song differently, as a take on Genesis. The Garden is Eden, The Gardener God, and the narrator Adam, slain by Cain (“someone hit me from behind”). This brings forth an endless cycle of violence, witnessed by the soldier-like narrator through the rest of the song. Many of the references are to blues songs as well as the Bible. At the song’s end, most horrifically, “the Gardener is gone”, leaving this Universal Soldier without hope or faith. An excellent song poem.

  5. The song is about the absence of god… “The gardener is gone.” The narrator is certainly free of any spiritual sentiment, save for wishing things were different than they are.

    And Suede… you ain’t quite Bob Dylan yet!

  6. Don’t you realize interpreting vague Bob Dylan lyrics goes back 40 years and to do so is silly? To pretend you know, to fit art into the pigeon hole of your faith, is cheesy beyond laughing. Please refrain.

    • What you are saying is very true with any album before “Slow Train Coming” but from the moment he became born again his music changed and he has had a very clear message.

  7. Anthony,
    This is the way the song spoke to me….to “pretend” I know what Bob was writing about would be silly. As I stated at the beginning of the post; “Here’s how I see it”, you don’t have to see it that way.

    But I will not refrain from interpreting Bob’s songs the way I see them, through the lens of my faith, for I choose to view my whole life through that lens.

    Feel free to read someone else’s review, or come up with your own.

    Yes, the Genesis references are very stong indeed. I will keep your perspective in mind as I listen to the song.

    Thanks for the comment and the visit!

    You can feel the sense of abandonment in the song can’t you?

    Thanks for your thoughts as well!

    • Hey bro, have you started listening to his new album Tempest? People Need to understand who controls every aspect of the media, the music industry included. Bob Dylan has been stuck in the middle of it for a long time. He is very much an insider. I truly believe that the only reason he is alive now is because he has Gods protection. The music industry is a dangerous place to work without it, and often quite fatal.

  8. I’m talking + Spanish Easter cellebration of the Passion of Christ (suffering, death and Resurrection) = http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=vXe_FIq1jzo

    Hope you like it, and thank you for this post!

  9. Thank you, Sonia!

    It’s beautiful!

    God bless you.

  10. It’s an anti Bush song. Bush is the anti christ and Dylan knows it. And it pains him that no one else recognizes that the anti christ is among us.

  11. get over the Jesus references. This is a song about humanity and mans suffering. You don’t need Jesus to understand reality. Using him will only make one miss the point

  12. Wow, it’s about time! Someone with a clear vision of what this song is about:) Dylans last 4 albums are full of Christian reference. Along with obvious 3 from back in the day, who knows maybe they’re the 7 trumpets.. Lol
    But I can’t remember ever reading and crying like I just did reading your interpretation of this song. Tears of joy I guess. Thanks:)

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