Hail to the Lord's anointedAuthor: James Montgomery (1821)
Published in 721 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1. Hail to the Lord's Anointed,
great David's greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed,
his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free;
to take away transgression,
and rule in equity.
2. He comes with succor speedy
to those who suffer wrong;
to help the poor and needy,
and bid the weak be strong;
to give them songs for sighing,
their darkness turn to light,
whose souls, condemned and dying,
are precious in his sight.
3. He shall come down like showers
upon the fruitful earth;
love, joy, and hope, like flowers,
spring in his path to birth.
Before him on the mountains,
shall peace, the herald, go,
and righteousness, in fountains,
from hill to valley flow.
4. To him shall prayer unceasing
and daily vows ascend;
his kingdom still increasing,
a kingdom without end.
The tide of time shall never
his covenant remove;
his name shall stand forever;
that name to us is love.
The United Methodist Hymnal
|First Line:||Hail to the Lord's anointed|
|Title:||Hail to the Lord's Anointed|
|Author:||James Montgomery (1821)|
|Liturgical Use:||Scripture Songs|
This is James Montgomery's best psalm rendering. It is based on Ps. 72 and was written in eight stanzas for, and included in, a Christmas Ode which was sung at one of the Moravian settlements, perhaps Fulneck, in the United Kingdom, Christmas, 1821. It was published in the following year in the Evangelical Magazine and entitled "Imitation of the 72d psalm (Tune: Culmstock)."
—The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
I need not tell the intelligent reader that he has seized the spirit and exhibited some of the principal beauties of the Hebrew bard, though, to use his own words in letter to me, his "hand trembled to touch the harp of Zion." I take the liberty here to register a wish, which I have strongly expressed to himself, that he would favor the Church of God with a metrical version of the whole book.
—Dr. Adam Clarke: Exposition to "Commentary on Psalm 72"
Psalm 72 is a well-known prophecy of the coming Messiah – foretelling the reign of the King and what the Kingdom of that Messiah will be like. But perhaps more than a prophecy, Psalm 72 is a prayer. In these verses the psalmist calls upon God to give justice and righteousness to the King, perhaps the newly crowned earthly king of Israel, but also the heavenly king. It is a cry for the deliverance of a broken people, for the realization of peace and light. James Montgomery’s hymn text from 1821 beautifully captures the essence of that prayer. Albert Bailey says, “His poem is more prayer than prophecy, or shall we say it is prophecy in large part unfulfilled but still capable of inspiring the Church to work for its fulfillment!” (Bailey, Gospel in Hymns). As we sing this beautiful hymn, we both declare our hope and our longing for the Kingdom of God, and for the coming of the one who will turn darkness to light, and whose “name to us is Love.”
Montgomery’s revised text of 1828 is most commonly used today, though there are multiple versions and verse combinations in today’s modern hymnals. The Episcopal Hymnal follows the original text most closely. The biggest change comes in The Psalter Hymnal, in which Bert Polman edited the text significantly to stay truer to the actual Psalm. It was not Montgomery’s intent, however, to write a direct paraphrase of the Psalm, but rather to absorb “from the Psalm the essential intent of the Psalmist as he saw it, then [proceed] to create his own imagery” (Bailey, The Gospel in Hymns). As Dr. Adam Clarke says in his Commentaries on the Poetical Parts of the Holy Bible, 1821, “I need not tell the intelligent reader that he [Montgomery] has seized the spirit, and exhibited some of the principal beauties, of the Hebrew bard; though (to use his own words in a letter to me) his ‘hand trembled to touch the harp of Zion.’” Too many changes of the original are thus unnecessary; rather, we should appreciate the spirit of Montgomery’s text.
There is almost no consensus on what tune to use for this hymn, so here are some of the most popular options and some things to consider:
If you’re looking for something different, folk duo Welcome Wagon has a light folk version with banjo and soft vocals. Recording artist Sufjan Stevens, who produced this album, acknowledges that all the poetic lyricism and many roles of the Messiah given in Montgomery’s text can become vague and tedious, but with the light vocals and simple melody of Welcome Wagon’s version, one uncovers “luxurious epiphanies with such steadfast matter-of-factness that even the grandest of clichés begins to sound equitable, noble, and wise.”
This hymn is perfect for advent. Based off of a psalm that foretold the first coming of the Messiah, we now sing these words to look forward to the second coming. This hymn could be paired with another hymn, “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun,” written by Isaac Watts and also inspired by Psalm 72. To switch things up, you could also try reading verses from Watts’ hymn as a call to worship before singing Montgomery’s text.
Suggested music resources:
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org
|Instances (41)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools #563||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Psalm 72||Wolvercote||1992|
|African American Heritage Hymnal #187||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery, 1771-1854||126.96.36.199 D||Luke 4:18||SHEFFIELD||G Major or Modal||English||2001|
|An American Christmas Harp #73||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Light||LIGHT||2009|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #98||Hail to the Lord's annointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||188.8.131.52 D||Psalm 72||SHEFFIELD||F Major or modal||2010|
|Chalice Hymnal #140||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||184.108.40.206 D||Psalm 72||SHEFFIELD||G Major or modal||1995|
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #93||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Mongtomery, 1771-1854||Leonhart Schröter||220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168||FREUT EUCH, IHR LIEBEN CHRISTEN||F Major or Modal||1993|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #125||Hail to the Lord’s Anointed||2000|
|Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #474||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery (1771-1854)||James Smith Anderson (1853-1945)||22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199||Psalm 72||ES IST EIN ROS' ENTSPRUNGEN||F Major or modal||English||2005|
|Common Praise (1998) #101||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's anointed||James Montgomery (1771-1854)||William Henry Monk (1823-1889); Johann Crüger (1598-1662)||188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206||Exodus 15:1-21; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 18:1-20; Psalm 68; Psalm 72; Psalm 89:1-37; Isaiah 61:1-11; Matthew 1:1-17; Matthew 9:27-31; Matthew 12:15-21; Matthew 12:15-21; Matthew 20:29-34; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 2:1-20; Luke 4:14-21; Romans 1:1-7; Hebrews 1:1-12; Revelation 7:9-17; Exodus 15:1-21; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 18:1-20; Psalm 68; Psalm 72; Psalm 89:1-37; Isaiah 61:1-11; Matthew 1:1-17; Matthew 9:27-31; Matthew 12:15-21; Matthew 12:15-21; Matthew 20:29-34; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 2:1-20; Luke 4:14-21; Romans 1:1-7; Hebrews 1:1-12; Revelation 7:9-17||CRÜGER||1998|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #264||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #204||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #103||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||J. Montgomery, 1771-1854||22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199||Psalm 72||ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN||G Major||English||1996|
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #311||Hail to the Lord's anointed||James Montgomery, 1771-1854||Leonhart Schröter, 1540-1602||188.8.131.52 D||FREUT EUCH, IHR LIEBEN||F Major or Modal||English||2006|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #149||All hail to God's anointed||All Hail to God’s Anointed (Psalm 72)||James Montgomery||Thomas Tertuis Noble||184.108.40.206 D||Psalm 72; 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 3:9; Psalm 122; Psalm 132; Isaiah 61:1-2; Hosea 6:1-3; Luke 1:68-79; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; Philippians 2:9||ROCKPORT||f minor||English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #616||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery, 1771-1854||Henry Walford Davies, 1869-1941||220.127.116.11 D||Psalm 72||ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN||G Major or modal||English||1985|
|Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #142||Hail to the Lord’s Anointed||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||1983|
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #190||Hail to the Lord’s anointed||J. Montgomery (1771-1854)||J. Crüger (1598-1662)||126.96.36.199 D||Psalm 72||CRÜGER||F Major or modal||1987|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #193||Hail to the Lord’s Anointed||188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206||1996|
|Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #232||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery, 1771-1854||220.127.116.11 D||Psalm 72||SHEFFIELD||F Major or modal||2012|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #109||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed (Psalm 72)||James Montgomery||George Ratcliffe Woodward||18.104.22.168 D||Psalm 72; Psalm 72:1-4; Psalm 72:5-8; Psalm 72:9-11; Psalm 72:12-14; Psalm 72:15-16; Psalm 72:17-19||ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN||G Major or modal||2013|
|Lutheran Service Book #398||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery, 1771-1854||Leonhart Schröter, c. 1532-c. 1601||22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199||Psalm 72:1-17; 2 Samuel 7:12; Acts 10:38; Psalm 2||FREUT EUCH, IHR LIEBEN||F Major or modal||English||2006|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #205||All hail to God's anointed||All Hail to God's Anointed||James Montgomery||Thomas Tertius Noble||188.8.131.52 D||Psalm 72||ROCKPORT||f minor||English||1990|
|Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #72A||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||George Ratcliffe Woodward||184.108.40.206 D||Psalm 72||ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN||G Major or modal||English||2012|
|Psalms for All Seasons: a complete Psalter for worship #132C||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Psalm 132 (A Responsorial Setting)||James Montgomery||Thomas Tertius Noble||Psalm 132||ST. THEODULPH (VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBBEN) (fragment)||B Flat Major||English||2012|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #72||Hail to the LORD's anointed||Hail to the LORD's Anointed||Bert Polman; James Montgomery||Psalm 72||ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVOGELEIN||G Major||English||1987|
|Rejoice in the Lord #232||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||T. Tertius Noble||220.127.116.11 D||Psalm 72:1-8||ROCKPORT||f minor||English||1985|
|Renew! #101||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed (Refrain for Messianic Psalms)||James Montgomery||Psalm 72||[Hail to the Lord's anointed]||G Major or modal||English||1995|
|Sing! A New Creation #120||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Psalm 72||Hail to the Lord's anointed||James Montgomery, 1771-1854||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||Psalm 72||ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVOGELEIN||G Major||English||2002|
|Songs for Life #120||Hail to the Lord's anointed||Psalm 72||James Montgomery||Psalm 72||[Hail to the Lord's anointed]||G Major or modal||English||1995|
|The Book of Hymns (A fresh anthology of favourite hymns) #40||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||2006|
|The Christian Life Hymnal #79||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Es Flog Ein Kleins Waldvögelein||2006|
|The New Century Hymnal #104||We hail you God's anointed||We Hail You God's Anointed||James Montgomery||126.96.36.199 D||Psalm 72||ELLACOMBE||A Major||English||1995|
|The Summit Choirbook #8||Hail to the Lord's Anointed! Great David's greater Son||KHANTA ZAGUN GUZIEK||1983|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #203||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||W. H. Monk||188.8.131.52 D||Psalm 72||ELLACOMBE||A Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #208||Hail to the Lord's Anointed, great David's greater Son||Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus)||James Montgomery||Luke 1:68-79||[Hail to the Lord's Anointed]||A Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #845a||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Psalm 122||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||Psalm 122||[Psalm 122]||A Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #114||[Hail to the Lord's anointed]||James Montgomery||Charles H. Webb||ELLACOMBE||A Major||English||1991|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #115||[Hail to the Lord's anointed]||Robert J. Powell||ELLACOMBE||A Major||1991|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #275||Hail to the Lord’s Anointed||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||1999|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #311||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||Hail to the Lord's Anointed||James Montgomery||Samuel S. Wesley||18.104.22.168 D||Psalm 72; Isaiah 61:1-2||AURELIA||D Major||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #30||Hail to God's own anointed||Hail to God's Own Anointed||James Mongtomery||Johann Crüger; W. H. Monk||22.214.171.124 D||CRÜGER||F Major or modal||English||1996|