35. O LORD, Arise, Come Help Me Now

Text Information
First Line: O LORD, arise, come help me now
Title: O LORD, Arise, Come Help Me Now
Versifier: Helen Otte (1985)
Meter: 88 88 88
Scripture: Psalm 35
Topic: Deliverance; Enemies & Persecution; Laments
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: GOTTLOB
Harmonizer: Johann S. Bach, 1685-1750
Meter: 88 88 88
Key: F Major


Text Information:

A king's prayer for deliverance from the Plots of false friends, who have turned against him in his time of trouble.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = v. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-8
st. 3 = vv. 9-10
st. 4 =vv. 11-16
st. 5 = vv. 17-25
st. 6 = vv. 22-28

This psalm appears to be a prayer of the LORD's anointed ("his servant," v. 27) and evokes a situation similar to that in other psalm prayers (25, 41): when the psalmist is brought low through trouble ("when I stumbled," v. 15), those whom he has viewed as friends and associates plot to destroy him, using the weapons of slander and false accusation. Unable to defend himself against such treachery, and having no other court of appeal, the king presents his case to his heavenly King. Appropriately in such an appeal, the anointed pleads that the LORD will both vindicate him (st. 1) and turn the plots of his enemies back upon them (st. 2). A vow to praise his heavenly Deliverer accompanies this appeal (st. 3). The treachery of the psalmist's enemies is such that they falsely accuse him even though he cared and prayed for them when they were ill (st. 4). The psalmist renews his appeal for God's judgment and again vows to praise the LORD, promising thankful rejoicing "amid the crowds of worshipers" (st. 5-6). Helen Otte (PHH 17) versified this psalm of lament in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Occasions of personal distress or times when the Christian church is under attack. Stanzas 1, 2, and 3 or stanzas 1, 5, and 6 work well as alternatives to the entire psalm in voicing an appeal for God's vindication against slander or false accusation.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Various forms of GOTTLOB are found in a number of collections of old German melodies. One form of the tune appeared in Johann G. Wagner's Sammlung alter und neuer (1742) with the burial hymn "Gottlob, es geht nunmehr zum Ende" ("Thanks Be to God; My End Is Near Me"). Although only the first line of this variant vaguely resembles the harmonization by Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) in the Psalter Hymnal, some scholars think it is the source for Bach's setting published posthumously in the second edition of his Choralgesangbuch (1769). Other scholars think Bach found another source, and still others think he composed the tune himself.

Like many German chorales, this tune is a bar form (AAB). Its superb melody is finely matched by Bach's harmonization, which invites four-part singing. A moderate tempo helps to underline the cheerful hope of this text.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


Media
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