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Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar

Representative Text

1. Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar,
Erschien den Hirten offenbar,
Sie sagten ihn'n: Ein Kindlein zart,
Das liegt dort in der Krippen hart.

2. Zu Bethlehem in Davids Stadt,
Wie Micha das verkündet hat.
Es ist der Herre Jesus Christ,
Der euer aller Heiland ist.

3. Des sollt ihr billig fröhlich sein,
Daß Gott it euch ist worden ein,
Er ist geborn eur Fleisch und Blut,
Eur Bruder ist das ewig Gut.

4. Was kann euch thun die Sünd und Tod?
Ihr habt mit euch den wahren Gott.
Laßt zürnen Teufel und die Höll:
Gotts Sohn ist worden eur Gesell.

5. Er will und kann euch lassen nicht,
Setzt ihr auf ihn eur Zuversicht.
Es mögen euch viel fechten an:
Dem sei Trotz, ders nicht lassen kann.

6. Zuletzt müßt ihr doch haben recht,
Ihr seid nun worden Gotts Geschlecht.
Des danket Gott in ewigkeit,
Geduldig, fröhlich allezeit.

Source: Kirchenbuch für Evangelisch-Lutherische Gemeinden #37

Author: Martin Luther

Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody. i. Hymn Books. 1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German h… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar
Author: Martin Luther
Language: German
Notes: Polish translation: See "Pasterzom w świętej nocy Bóg"; English translation: "To shepherds as they watched by night" by Richard Massie
Copyright: Public Domain


Suggested tune: VOM HIMMEL HOCH
Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar. M. Luther. [Christmas.] This is founded on St. Luke ii. 10, 11, and St. Matt, ii. 6; and was apparently written in 1543, and meant for use when his other Christmas hymn ("Vom Himmel hoch") was thought to be too long. It was first published in the Geistlicite Lieder, Wittenberg, 1543, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and thence in Wachernagel, iii. p. 28. Also in Schirck's ed. of Luther's Geistliche Lieder, 1854, p. 15, and in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen 8.9 1851. Translated as:—
1. From yon ethereal heavens . This is a paraphrase, in 54 lines, by Miss Fry, in her Hymns of the Reformation , 1845, p. 20. From this a cento in 5 stanzas of S.M., recast and beginning, "Let all our hearts rejoice," is No. 5 in Whittemore's Supplement to All Hymn Books, 1860.
2. To shepherds as they watched by night. In full, by R. Massie in his Martin Luther's Spiritual Songs, 1854, p. 7. Included in the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal, 1880, and by Dr. Bacon in his Hymns of Martin Luther, 1884, p. 66.
Other translations are:—
(l) "A band of angels from the sky," as No. 145 in pt. i. of the Moravian Hymn Book, I754. (2) "Sing! sing! ye ransomed mortals, sing." By Sir John Bowring in his Hymns, 1825, No. 81. (3) "The humble shepherds, tending." By J. Anderson, 1846, p. 1 (1847, p. 31). (4) "From heaven there came an angel throng." By Dr. J. Hunt, 1853, p. 33. (5) "From heaven angel hosts did fly." By Miss Manington, 1864, p. 32. (6) "The angels came down in their cohorts so bright." By S. Garratt in his Hymns & Translations, 1867, p. 37. (7) "From heaven the angel-troop came near." By Dr. G. Macdonald in the Sunday Magazine , 1867, p. 256; altered in his Exotic , 1876, p. 48. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Initially Luther used the folk melody associated with his first stanza as the tune for this hymn. Later he composed this new tune for his text. VOM HIMMEL HOCH was first published in Valentin Schumann's Geistliche Lieder in 1539. Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) used Luther's melody in three places in his wel…

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Evangelisches Gesangbuch #25

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