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Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt (Psalm 124)
Text and Translation of Chorale

EKG: 193
Author: Justus Jonas (1524), based on Psalm 124
Chorale Melody: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält | Composer: Anon (1529)

 

Vocal Works by J.S. Bach:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Type

 

1

BWV 178

Mvt. 1

1724

-

-

-

-

A112:1

Chorus (Chorale) [S, A, T, B]

 

2

BWV 178

Mvt. 2

1724

-

-

-

-

A112:2

Chorale & Recitative [A]

 

3~

BWV 178

Mvt. 3

1724

-

-

-

-

A112:3

Aria [B]

 

4

BWV 178

Mvt. 4

1724

-

-

-

-

A112:4

Chorale [T]

 

5

BWV 178

Mvt. 5

1724

-

-

-

-

A112:5

Chorale & Recitative [S, A, T, B / B, T, A]

 

6~

BWV 178

Mvt. 6

1724

-

-

-

-

A112:6

Aria [T]

 

7,8

BWV 178

Mvt. 7

1724

-

384

-

-

A112:7

Chorale [S, A, T, B]

 

-

BWV 258

-

?

335

383

336

-

F212:3

Chorale [S, A, T, B]

 
 

This chorale is a paraphrase Psalm 124. For convenience Luther's translation of the Psalm and the King James version are printed here first:

Der 124. Psalm

 

German Text

English Translation (King James)

1

Ein Lied Davids im höhern Chor. Wo der HErr nicht bei uns wäre, so sage Israel,

(A Song of degrees of David.) If [it had not been] the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;

2

wo der HErr nicht bei uns wäre, wenn die Menschen sich wider uns setzen,

2 If [it had not been] the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

3

so verschlängen sie uns lebendig, wenn ihr Zorn über uns ergrimmete,

3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

4

so ersäufte uns Wasser, Ströme gingen über unsere Seele;

4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

5

es gingen Wasser allzu hoch über unsere Seele.

5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

6

Gelobet sei der HErr, daß er uns nicht gibt zum Raube in ihre Zähne!

6 Blessed [be] the LORD, who hath not given us [as] a prey to their teeth.

7

Unsere Seele ist entronnen wie ein Vogel dem Stricke des Voglers.
Der Strick ist zerrissen, und wir sind los.

7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

8

Unsere Hilfe stehet im Namen des HErrn, der Himmel und Erde gemacht

8 Our help [is] in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

 

Paraphrase by Justus Jonas

 

German Text (verses in bold print set by Bach)

English Translation

1

Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält,
wenn unsre Feinde toben,
und er unsrer Sach nicht zufällt,
im Himmel hoch dort oben ;
wo er Israels Schutz nicht ist,
und selber bricht der Feinde List ;
so ists mit uns verloren.

If the Lord God does not stay with us
when our enemies rage
and if he does not support our cause
in heaven high above,
if he is not Israel's protection
and does not himself break the enemy 's cunning,
then all is lost with us.

2

Was Menschen Kraft und Witz anfäht
soll uns billig nicht schrecken ;
er sitzet an der höchsten Stätt,
er wird ihr'n Rath aufdecken.
Wenn sies aufs klügste greifen an,
so geht doch Gott ein andre Bahn,
es steht in seinen Händen.

What human power and intelligence contrive
should not easily terrify us;
He sits in the highest place,
he will uncover their plan.
When they attack with the greatest cunning,
then God goes another way:
It is in
his hands.

3

Sie wüten fast und fahren her,
als wollten sie uns fressen ;
zu würgen steht all ihr Begehr,
Gott ist bei ihn'n vergessen.
Wie Meereswellen einher gehn,
nach Leib und Leben sie uns stehn :
des wird sich Gott erbarmen.

They rage greatly and come towards us
as if they wanted to eat us;
all their desire is set on murder,
God is forgotten by them.
Like waves of the sea they come,
they threaten our bodies and lives :
God will pity this.

4

Sie stellen uns wie Ketzern nach,
nach unserm Blut sie trachten ;
noch rühmen sie sich Christen hoch,
die Gott allein groß achten.
Ach Gott, der theure Name dein
muß ihrer Schalkheit Deckel seyn ;
du wirst einmal aufwachen.

They persecute us as heretics,
and thirst after our blood;
they boast that they also are Christians
who greatly esteem only God
Ah God,your precious name
has to be a cover for their wickedness,
One day you will wake up to this.

5

Aufsperren sie den Rachen weit,
und wollen uns verschlingen :
Lob und Dank sei Gott allezeit,
es wird ihn'n nicht gelingen :
er wird ihr'n Strick zerreissen gar,
und stürzen ihre falsche Lehr,
sie werdens Gott nicht wehren.

They open wide their jaws
and want to swallow us down.
May God be thanked and praised for ever,
they will not succeed:
he will break asunder their traps
and destroy their false teaching,
They will have no defence against God.

6

Ach Herr Gott, wie reich tröstest du,
die gänzlich sind verlassen :
der Gnaden Thür steht nimmer zu,
Vernunft kann das nicht fassen.
Sie spricht : es ist nun alls verlorn ;
da doch das Kreuz hat neu gebohrn,
die deiner Hilf erwarten.

Ah Lord God, how richly you console
those who have been completely forsaken:
the door of your mercy is never closed
Reason cannot grasp this‘
It says :“all is now lost” -
when howver the cross has given new life
to those who wait on your help.

7

Die Feind sind all in deiner Hand,
darzu all ihr Gedanken :
ihr Anschläg sind dir wohl bekannt ;
hilf nur daß wir nicht wanken.
Vernunft wider den Glauben ficht,
aufs künftig will sie trauen nicht,
da du wirst selber trösten.

Our enemies are all in your hand
along with all their thoughts;
what they attempt is known to you, Lord,
Help us only so that
we do not waver.
If
reason fights against faith,
in future we will not trust it
since you yourself will give us consolation.

8

Den Himmel und auch die Erden
hast du, Herr Gott, gegründet ;
dein Licht laß uns helle werden :
das Herz uns werde entzündet
in rechter Lieb des Glaubens dein,
laß uns ans End beständig seyn ;
die Welt laß immer murren.

The heaven and also the Earth
have been founded, Lord God, by you
make your light become bright for us
and let our hearts be enkindled
in true love of your faith,
constant to the end.
Let the world go on complaining forever.

--

   

English Translation by Francis Browne (August 2011)
Contributed by Francis Browne (August 2011)

Cantata BWV 178: Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions
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Chorales BWV 250-438
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Last update: ýSeptember 2, 2011 ý14:01:25