This article is from the Reggae FAQ, by Mike Pawka email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
here is what the liner notes for the album has to say:
"One day Joseph Hill had a vision, while riding a bus, of 1977 as a year of
judgement -- when two sevens clash -- when past injustices would be avenged.
Lyrics and melodies came into his head as he rode and thus was born the song
"Two Sevens Clash" which became a massive hit in reggae circles both in Jamaica
and abroad. The prophecies noted by the lyrics so profoundly captured the
imagination of the people that on July 7, 1977 - the day when sevens fully
clashed (seventh day, seventh month, seventy-seventh year) a hush descended on
Kingston; many people did not go outdoors, shops closed, an air of foreboding
and expectation filled the city."
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Norman H Redington)
Subject: Re: Two Sevens Clash
"Mi know prophet Marcus Garvey prophecI say:
St. Jago de la Vega and Kingston is gonna meet.
And I can see with mine own eyes
It's only a housing scheme that divides.
What a liv on bamba yay when the Two Sevens clash!
Marcus Garvey was inside at
Spanish Town District Prison,
And when they were about to take him out
He prophecied and said:
As I have passed through this gate,
No other prisoner shall enter and get through.
And so it is until now:
The gate has been locked. So what,
What a liv on bamba yay when the Two Sevens clash!"
Excerpts from a very interesting article by Beverly Hamilton
in the June '91 _Jamaica Journal_:
"...One version of the prophecy claimed that Garvey said there
would be severe hardships, doom, and destruction 'when the two
sevens meet'. Another was that Garvey said that if black people
could pass through the seventies, they could pass through anything.
A third claimed that Garvey said that the black man would rise up
when the two sevens met. This prophecy received official sanction
when Mr. Edward Seaga, the then-Leader of the Opposition and a
noted sociologist, referred to it in his New Year's message. The
idea gained further currency through the music of some reggae artists,
"In 1977 I interviewed two Garvey elders about the prophecy. Z. Monroe
Scarlett said quite clearly he had never heard Garvey make any specific
statement about two sevens. What he remembered him saying was that if
black people could pass through the seventies they could overcome all
major difficulties. The other, Van Riel, a BITU veteran, explained:
'Him (Garvey) say 1977 will be a hard year. Yu see already. The Prime
Minister say yu belt tight.' ... Two months later, Jamaica went to the
International Monetary Fund for assistance.
"...One must remember that this period followed the 1976 elections, the
most violent in Jamaica up to that time. As 1977 progressed, different
versions were added to the prophecy...finally it was a special day, July
7, 1977, when the 'four sevens' met. One even heard that blood was going
to flow and that Manley's head would roll. A report in the _Daily Gleaner_
of July 7, 1977 [says]:'...The Combined Security Forces have been put on
full alert so as to be prepared [for] possible trouble when the four 7s
meet today (the 7th of the 7th month of '77), Minister of National Security
Munn told the _Gleaner_ yesterday...'
"There was a further official response. That day was used to launch a
constitutional reform programme...with the Prime Minister scheduled to
speak at 7 p.m. -- when the 'five sevens' met...
"...Other Garvey prophecies are about Jamaica...Garvey is credited with
predicting the twinning of Spanish Town, the capital of St. Catherine,
with Kingston, the present capital of Jamaica. In the late sixties and
early seventies, a massive housing development scheme known as Portmore
was carried out in southern St. Catherine. A causeway was built across
Kingston Harbour to link this development with Kingston, thus fulfilling
"...Another prophecy relating to Garvey's stay in Spanish Town prison
is that he is supposed to have put a seal on the prison door through
which he left. Many claim that this door has been fastened to this day.
Prisoners in the Spanish Town Penitentiary still tell of being shown
the gate on which Garvey was supposed to have put this curse..."
[from "The Legendary Marcus Garvey", by Beverly Hamilton, _Jamaica Journal_
24(1)54, June 1991.]
COMMENT: I used to think that the Two Sevens was a classic example of
failed prophecy. However several explanations have been offered.
1) Who knows what happened that day which didn't get noticed by the
world? Maybe someone was born, for instance.
2) The mid Seventies were the high water mark of the Soviet Empire,
which engulfed Ethiopia a little earlier and was on the move in the
Caribbean along with its CIA mirror-image. In late 1976, an Orthodox
monk named Seraphim Rose (who was almost certainly unaware of the Garvey
prophecy) had a vision on the Day of the Seven Sleepers in which he
saw a vast multitude singing the Easter Psalm ("Let God arise, let his
enemies be scattered, as smoke vanishes so let them vanish, as wax which
melts before the fire!"). It was explained in the vision that for one
particular enemy - the Soviet Empire - this would "now" be fulfilled:
it would vanish. In 1977, people doubted this prophecy, to say the least!
3) As Bop pointed out in his post, two sevens clash in Pharaoh's dream in
Genesis. The clash reflects conflict and opportunity, as do the various
versions of Garvey's prophecy. The clashing sevens saved Israel, because
Joseph by correctly interpreting the dream went from being a slave (and on
top of that, in jail and presumed dead by his relatives!) to Prime Minister
of Egypt, able to save his people. But the Israelite migration into Egypt
was a mixed blessing; they would end up as slaves and it would take Moses
to get them back to Zion. All this is connected to the Garvey prophecy,
which seen in this light is very much deeper than it appears.
From email@example.com Tue Jul 21 08:46 PDT 1998
The way Iman interpret the lyrics, has nothing to do with the Gregorian
Calendar year 1977. There is nothing particularly magical or significant
about the months or years as used in Europe, to my way of thinking. For
example, the date July 7, 1977 in Ethiopia, was Senie 30, 1970 !!! (Senie
being the 10th month)
Rather, when I hear the song about Two Sevens Clash, I interpret it as total
invironmantal downstruction of the Elemants. The two "sevens" are: the Seven
Spirits of the Heavenly Faada, and the Seven Spirits of the Earth (see Rev.
1:20 & 4:5) who, while not opposed to one another, are bein downstroyed by the
hand of humankind in many ways, as man pollutes the Air, Earth, Water, etc. &
misuses it. The coming "clash" (& it has already begun) will result in more
trees dying, until they "are so few even a child could count them" (Isaiah).
If the end hasn't come by then, it will come when there are not enough forests
left to produce the oxygen necessary to sustain animal life. Then, prophecy
tells us there will be 1) Resurrection of the dead 2) Judgemant (especially on
those responsible for the trees!) 3) Eternal Kingdom of JAH. **Im not makin
this up, this was all foretold thousands of years ago.
Peace & Raspect,
Ras William I