A Qabalistic Analysis of Alan Jackson’s Chattahoochee

The Gaelic name “Alan” refers to royalty. Alan Jackson’s middle name, “Eugene” also means royalty. The name “Jackson” means “son of Jack,” or in Hebrew, “son of Jacob.” Following the biblical Exodus, the offspring of Jacob’s sons became the tribes of Israel. We see that “Alan Jackson” transparently refers to a royal member of the tribes of Israel. For more clues we transliterate Alan Jackson into “אלן ג׳קסן” which has the Gematria value of 294.

Gematria transforms words into numbers according to cabbalistic rules. The name “Nero Caesar” famously yields a Gematria value of 666. 294 is an important Gematria. “The God of Abraham” and “The Great Light” both have Gematria value of 294; these only give us a hint as to Jackson’s nature. We see more confirmation of Alan Jackson’s connection to royalty in the word “ארגמן” (Gematria value 294) meaning “purple,” a color long associated with royalty. But more importantly, the phrase “עיר דוד” – “City of David” also has Gematria value 294. David, the second and most revered King of the United Kingdom of Israel was first introduced in the Bible as a skilled lute player. Alan Jackson was introduced to the world as a skilled string-instrument player. The Book of Ruth traces David’s ancestry to Ruth. Alan Jackson’s mother’s name is Ruth and his father’s name Joseph – the most well known son of Jacob, affirming the connection to the Israelites.

It should come as no surprise that the lyrics of Chattahoochee, by Alan Jackson trace important events in the early life of David. Before we analyze the lyrics we will first observe the hidden structure. In Hebrew, David is spelled “דבד” (dalet vav dalet) a perfect palindrome. The verse of Chattahoochee is a similar palindrome – the notes C G C (side note, in A minor scale (white notes on the piano) C corresponds to the second scale degree and G corresponds to the seventh scale degree, and in the Hebrew alphabet the second letter is chet, seventh is gimmel  – C and G in the same interval). The song itself is also structured as a palindrome – verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse.

Verse I:
Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee
It gets hotter than a hoochie coochie
We laid rubber on the Georgia asphalt
We got a little crazy but we never got caught

The source of the Chattahoochee River is located in Jacks Gap at the southeastern foot of Jacks Knob. Jacks Knob here is a reference to “Nob” – the first city (in the lands settled by the sons of Jacob) that David flees once he discovers Saul’s plans to assassinate him. The Chattahoochee then is the Jordan river, and Georgia is Gibeah, where Saul rules from and where David formerly resided.

Laying rubber on Georgia asphalt represents David’s quick escape from Gibeah. Just as Alan Jackson never got caught, Saul never catches David.

Chorus I:
Down by the river on a Friday night
A pyramid of cans in the pale moonlight
Talking ’bout cars and dreaming ’bout women
Never had a plan just a livin’ for the minute

Friday is the day before the Sabbath. David is near the end of his retreat and will soon be safe on the holy day. The next line reinforces this idea.

Recall David’s name in Hebrew – dalet vav dalet. “In ancient times the ‘dalet’ was triangular-shaped (similar to the Greek delta) and “vav” implies a connection.” – Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman. David’s name can be viewed as a conjoining of triangles, a pyramid. We see that the pyramid represents David, and the pale moonlight again reflects the position David finds himself in. The pyramid also conjures strong connections to the Exodus – the jews successfully retreated from Egypt and made their way home, just as David is soon to do.

David dreams about women. Jackson and David are both known for their divergences from monogamy.

Verse II:
Yeah way down yonder on the Chattahoochee
Never knew how much that muddy water meant to me
But I learned how to swim and I learned who I was
A lot about livin’ and a little ’bout love

During his retreat from Saul, David crosses the Jordan river, metaphorically learning to swim. The Chattahoochee not only represents the Jordan river, but the time David spends near the river, away from his home. David learns who he was when he finally meets with Saul and Saul accepts David as heir.

Chorus II:
Well we fogged up the windows in my old Chevy
I was willing but she wasn’t ready
So I settled for a burger and a grape snow cone
Dropped her off early but I didn’t go home

The Chevy here is an allusion to the Hebrew word, “shevet” meaning “tribe.” Fogging up means to make something unclear. This line is a reference to the disputed line of succession amongst the tribe of Israel which David’s presence causes. Absent David, Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, would would succeed him. David is ready to become King but first must endure the tribulation of Saul’s pursuit. When Saul is killed in battle, David becomes the king of Judah, while Ish-bosheth becomes king of Israel. In this sense, David settles for a royalty (grape/purple/color of royalty) but not the royalty he is after, he still is not king over united Israel, and is not yet home in Jerusalem which David conquers after Ish-bosheth dies and David becomes king over the united Kingdom of Israel.

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