337. Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come

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1 Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

2 Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns:
let all their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 No more let sin and sorrow grow
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

4 He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.

Text Information
First Line: Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Title: Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come
Author: Isaac Watts (1719)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: CM with repeats
Scripture: Psalm 98:4; Psalm 96; Genesis 3:17-18
Topic: King, God/Christ as; Songs for Children: Hymns; Christmas (1 more...)
Language: English
Tune Information
Composer: Lowell Mason (1848)
Meter: CM with repeats
Key: D Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1-3 = Ps. 98
st. 2 = Ps. 96:11-12
st. 3 = Gen. 3:17-18

Isaac Watts (PHH 155) wrote this text as a paraphrase of Psalm 98. He published it in his Psalms of David Imitated (1719) under the heading “The Messiah's Coming and Kingdom.” The paraphrase is Watts' Christological interpretation.

Consequently, he does not emphasize with equal weight the various themes of Psalm 98. In stanzas 1 and 2 Watts writes of heaven and earth rejoicing at the coming of the king. An interlude that depends more on Watts' interpretation than the psalm text, stanza 3 speaks of Christ's blessings extending victoriously over the realm of sin. The cheerful repetition of the non-psalm phrase "far as the curse is found" has caused this stanza to be omitted from some hymnals. But the line makes joyful sense when understood from the New Testament eyes through which Watts interprets the psalm. Stanza 4 celebrates Christ's rule over the nations.

Liturgical Use
Christmas Day, but also at any other time of year in relation to Psalm 98. Raised eyebrows at singing "Joy to the World!" in July will lower as soon as the relationship to Psalm 98 becomes clear.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

ANTIOCH borrows ideas from two choruses and a tenor recitative from Handel's Messiah–"Lift Up Your Heads," "Glory to God in the Highest," and "Comfort Ye My People." The hymn tune is essentially an adaptation and arrangement by Lowell Mason (PHH 96), published in his Occasional Psalms and Hymn Tunes (1836). Mason named the tune ANTIOCH after the New Testament city in which the "followers of the Way" were first called Christians.

With its exuberant air and melodic repeats and sequences, requiring the repetition of textual lines, ANTIOCH has become an enduring favorite for the Watts text. Sing Stanzas 1 and 3 in harmony and give tenors and basses solid accompaniment on their entries in the third line. Sing stanza 4 in unison, possibly with an alternate harmonization on full organ.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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