Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Luther: If God Were Not Beside Us




From Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth page 17-18:
"Luther's friend Justus Jonas in 1524 wrote an eight-stanza paraphrase of Psalm 124. In contrast to the smooth-flowing style of Jonas, Luther also undertook the paraphrasing of the same psalm, his being shorter, more rugged, and closer to the text of the psalm. After Luther's version was published in Walter's Wittenberg hymnal of 1524, both his and Jonas' paraphrases were included in early Lutheran hymnals. Walter's tune is the one most associated with this text.

Tr. F. Samuel Janzow, 1913-2001
Setting by Richard Hillert
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House (1979)"

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"If God Had Not Been on Our Side"

by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

1. If God had not been on our side
And had not come to aid us,
The foes with all their power and pride
Would surely have dismayed us;
For we, His flock, would have to fear
The threat of men both far and near
Who rise in might against us.

2. Their furious wrath, did God permit,
Would surely have consumed us
And as a deep and yawning pit
With life and limb entombed us.
Like men o'er whom dark waters roll
Their wrath would have engulfed our soul
And, like a flood, o'erwhelmed us.

3. Blest be the Lord, who foiled their threat
That they could not devour us;
Our souls, like birds, escaped their net,
They could not overpower us.
The snare is boken-we are free!
Our help is ever, Lord, in Thee,
Who madest earth and heaven.

Hymn 267
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 124
Author: Martin Luther, 1524
Translated by: composite
Titled: "War' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit"
Tune: "War' Gott nicht mit uns"
1st Published in: Gesangbuch
Town: Wittenberg, 1537

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