22 Jun 2007

Song of the Three Youths

I have posted on my Genevan Psalter website my most recent song, a metrical versification of the Song of the Three Youths, variously known also as the Song of the Three Holy Children or simply the Song of the Three. This marvellous hymn of praise is traditionally ascribed to Daniel's three companions from within the fiery furnace after they had been cast there by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. It does not appear in the Hebrew canon, but it is found in the Septuagint and later translations based on it, where it is inserted into the third chapter of Daniel. Though not strictly regarded as canonical by Christians of the Reformation, it has nevertheless found its way into the church's sung canticles, as found in the Book of Common Prayer and the Lutheran liturgy. Both text and tune I wrote earlier this week. The tune I have titled BENEDICITE, after the Latin name for the canticle, Benedicite Omnia Opera.

This morning I was privileged to examine an ancient edition of the Geneva Bible published in England towards the end of the 16th century. Following the text of the Scriptures itself is a section with liturgical resources, in which the Benedicite finds an honoured place. Indeed it deserves to be known and sung widely by all Christians of every tradition.