7. O LORD My God, from You Alone Comes Aid

Text Information
First Line: O LORD my God, from you alone comes aid
Title: O LORD My God, from You Alone Comes Aid
Versifier: Marie J. Post (1981)
Meter: 10 10 10 10 84
Scripture: Psalm 7
Topic: Enemies & Persecution; Laments; Temptation & Trial
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: SO GIEBST DU
Harmonizer: Johann S. Bach, 1685-1750
Meter: 10 10 10 10 84
Key: e minor
Source: Geist und Lehr-reiches Kirchen und Haus Buch, Dresden, 1694


Text Information:

The LORD's anointed asks God for deliverance from attacking enemies.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-5
st. 3 = vv. 6-9
st. 4 = vv.l0-16
st. 5 = v. 17

Undefended by other helpers, the psalmist asks God to save him from pursuers who threaten his life (st. 1). He pleads his innocence of any wrongdoing that might warrant his violent death (st. 2) and appeals for a just judgment on his adversaries (st. 3). Confident of a righteous judgment, the psalmist describes God as a warrior and the wicked as those who give birth to evil (st. 4). The psalm concludes with a vow to thank and praise the LORD for his righteousness and deliverance (st. 5). Marie]. Post (PHH 5) wrote the versification in 1981 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Passion Week; occasions of persecution or personal distress when an appeal to God's righteous intervention is in order, especially when the powers of this age threaten to overwhelm God's children. Also for use in solidarity with Christians in other places who are persecuted.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

SO GEIBST DU (also called DRESDEN) was first published in the Dresden collection Geist und Lehr-reiches Kirchen und Haus Buch (1694). The complete translated title of this collection reads: "Spiritual and instructive church and house book, including familiar old Lutheran hymns (so lovely), new pure hymns-especially the Syrachis Catechism, Sunday hymns, feastday hymns, until now the formal edition of the Dresden court hymnal, for cantors and organists, with melody and figured bass. To make available for the first time for the Saxon nobility, relevant contributions of the past and with gladness to issue new hymns." The tune name SO GEIBST DU is the incipit of the 24-stanza German hymn text in that collection. Consisting of five long phrases, SO GIEBST DU is one of the more difficult melodies in the Psalter Hymnal, but it is surely worth the effort it may take to learn. A stately tempo works best. If the initial stanzas are performed in the manner of a prayer of petition, the vow of praise in stanza 5 merits full voice and full organ. Johann S. Bach composed the harmonization for the Musicallisches Gesangbuch of 1736, which he edited. He did not use this tune in any other extant works.

Johann Sebastian Bach (b. Eisenach, Germany, 1685; d. Leipzig, Germany, 1750) came from a family of musicians. He learned to play violin, organ, and harpsichord from his father and his older brother, Johann Christoph. Bach's early career developed in Arnstadt and Muhlhausen, particularly at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst in Weimar. During this period he composed cantatas and most of his large organ works. In 1717 Bach became director of music for Prince Leopold in Anhalt-Cathen, for whom he composed much of his instrumental music-orchestral suites and concertos as well as The Well-Tempered Clavier. In 1723 he was appointed cantor of the Thomas Schule at Leipzig and director at St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches and at the University of Leipzig. During that time he wrote his large choral works, 165 cantatas, and more compositions for organ and harpsichord. Although Bach's contribution to church music was immense and his stature as the finest composer of the Baroque era unparalleled, he composed no hymn tunes for congregational use. He did, however, harmonize many German chorales, which he used extensively in his cantatas, oratorios, and organ works. These harmonizations were published posthumously by his son Carl Phillip Emmanuel as 371 Vierstimmige Choralgesiinge.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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