Hear Us, O Shepherd of Your Chosen Race

Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman

Bert Polman served as chair of the Music Department at Calvin College and senior research fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Dr. Bert studied at Dordt College (BA 1968), the University of Minnesota (MA 1969, PhD in musicology 1981), and the Institute for Christian Studies. Dr. Bert was a longtime professor of music at Redeemer College in Ancaster, Ontario, and organist at Bethel Christian Reformed Church, Waterdown, Ontario. His teaching covers a wide range of courses in music theory, music history, music literature, and worship, and Canadian Native studies. His research specialty is Christian hymnody. He is also an organist, a frequent workshop leader at music and worship conferences, and contributor to journals such as… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Hear us, O Shepherd of your chosen race
Title: Hear Us, O Shepherd of Your Chosen Race
Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman (1985)
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications


A prayer for God to restore his people after they have been ravaged by a foreign power.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-7
st. 3 = vv. 8-11
st. 4 = vv. 12-15
st. 5 = vv. 16-19

Psalm 80 was probably written upon the demise of the northern kingdom of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians (2 Kings 17: 1-6), who made deep inroads into Judah as well (2 Kings 18:9-13). The psalmist prays, O Shepherd, show us your face and restore peace to your people (st. 1); turn away your anger, hear our prayer, and give us peace (st. 2). At the heart of this psalm is an image of Israel as a vine God brought from Egypt, planted in the "vineyard" of the promised land, and caused to flourish (st. 3). (Similar imagery occurs in Isa. 3:14-15; 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21; 12:10; Ezek. 17:6-10; 19:10-14; Hos. 10:1; 14:7; Mic. 7:1; Jesus used it in John 15.) The psalmist describes the devastation of this vine when no longer protected by the LORD, and asks that God return to restore his people (st. 4).

We join the psalmist in praying, "Rest your hand once more upon us, LORD, that our moans may turn to praise" (st. 5). Borrowing a phrase here and there from the 1912 Psalter; Bert Polman (PHH 37) prepared this versification in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Times of reflection on persecution, particularly in prayer services for God's restoring power.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



John Wainwright (b. Stockport, England, 1723; d. Stockport, 1768) wrote YORKSHIRE for this text in 1750. The tune was first sung on Christmas Day, 1750, in the parish church of Stockport; it was first published in Caleb Ashworth's Collection of Tunes (1760) and then in Wainwright's Collection of Psa…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #80


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