BWV 17 Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown (Christoph Helm?);(1) PT (Rudolstadt, 1726).

1. Ps. 50:23; 4. Lk. 17: 15-16; 7. Johann Gramann, verse 3 of "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren," 1530 (Wackernagel, I, #455).

9 September 1726, Leipzig; Parody: 1 ---> Mass in G Major, BWV 236/6.

BG 2; NBA I/21.



First Part

1. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B)

Who thanks giveth, he praiseth me, and this is the way that I shall show to him God's healing.

2. Recit. (A)

Thus ought the whole wide world become a silent witness
Of God's exalted majesty,
Air, water, firmament and earth now
While in their order as a line(2) they move;
And nature tells his praise in all the countless blessings
Which he within her lap hath laid;
And all that draweth breath
Shall have a greater portion in him
When it to give him praise both tongue and wing doth stir.

3. Aria (S)

Lord, thy goodwill extends as far as heaven is,
And this thy truth doth reach as far as clouds are coursing.(3)
Knew I no other way how glorious is thy might,
Yet could I with great ease from thine own works observe it.
How could we not with thanks for this forever praise thee?
For thou shalt in return salvation's way then show us.

Second Part

4. Recit. (T)

One, however, in their number, upon seeing
that he to health was restored, turned back
again and gave praise to God with a loud
voice then and fell down upon his face
before his feet there and gave thanks to
him, and he a Samaritan was.

5. Aria (T)

To me what wealth of favor
Thou dost give!
But what shall thee my spirit
Give in turn?
Lord, I know nought else to offer
Than my thanks and praise to sing thee.

6. Recit. (B)

My purpose now regard, for I know what I am:
Flesh, reason and my life, my health and strength and mind,
Which I through thee enjoy---and tell it gladly,
Are streams of thy dear grace which over me thou pourest.
Love, peace, true righteousness, thy Holy Spirit's joy(4)
Are treasures through which thou to me e'en here dost show
What favor thou dost plan to grant me there in heaven,
In body and in soul to bring me perfect healing.

7. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

As hath a father mercy
For all his children, young and small,
The Lord forgives us also,
When we as children fear him pure.
He knows that we are poor creatures,
God knows we are but dust.
Like as the grass in mowing,
A bud and leaf in fall,
The wind need merely blow it,
And it's no longer there:
E'en so man's life is passing,
His end is ever near.


1. W. Blankenburg, BJ (1977) suggests Helm as the possible author.

2. Cf. Ps. 19:5 which Luther translates "Ihre Schnur gehet aus in alle Lande" ("Their line goeth out
into every land"). Luther means here "plumb-line." English versions, following another Hebrew reading, have "voice" or
"sound" instead of "line."

3. Cf. Ps. 57:11 and 36:6.

4. Cf. Rom. 14:17.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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