1 When Israel out of Egypt went,
and did his dwelling change,
when Jacob’s house went out from those
that were of language strange,
2 Judah became his holy place,
Israel his own domain;
3 the sea beheld, and quickly fled,
Jordan turned back again.
4 Like rams the mountains, and like lambs
the hills skipped to and fro.
5 O sea, why fledd’st thou? Jordan, back
why wast thou driven so?
6 Ye mountains great, wherefore was it
that ye did skip like rams?
And wherefore was it, little hills,
that ye did leap like lambs?
7 O at the presence of the Lord,
earth, tremble thou for fear,
what time the presence of the God
of Jacob doth appear:
8 who in the desert from the rock
did pools of water bring;
and by his power did turn the flint
into a water-spring.
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…