BWV 244 Matthäus-Passion

(Passio Domini nostri J. C. secundum Evangelistam Matthaeum)

Good Friday (Vespers).

Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), Ernst-Schertzhaffte und Satyrische Gedichte, Teil II (Leipzig, 1729, 2nd ed., 1734); Facs: Neumann T, p. 321; Borrowings: Movements 13 (19), 19(25), 39(47), 49(58), 68(78) from Picander's Erbauliche Gedancken auf den Grünen Donnerstag und Charfreytag (Leipzig, 1725); Movements 64(74) and 5(9) from Salomo Franck, Geist- und Weltliche Poesien (Jena, 1711 and 1716); Movement 27b(33) from Barthold Heinrich Brockes, Der für die Sünde der Welt Gemarterte und Sterbende Jesus, aus den IV Evangelisten (Hamburg, 1712 and 1715).

Chorales: 1. Interpolation of the Nikolaus Decius' German "Agnus Dei," before 1529 (Wackernagel, III, #619f.); 3. Johann Heermann, verse 1 of this hymn, 1630 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #334); 10. (16.) Paul Gerhardt, verse 5 of "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben," 1647 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #387); 15.(21.) Paul Gerhardt, verse 5 of "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden," 1656 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #467); 17.(23.) Paul Gerhardt, verse 6 of "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden," 1656 (ibid.); 19.(25.) Interpolation of Johann Heermann, verse 3 of "Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen," 1630 (Fischer- Tümpel, I, #334); 25.(31.) Margrave Albrecht von Brandenburg, verse 1 of this hymn, 1547 (Wackernagel, I, #683); 29.(35.) Sebald Heyden, verse 1 of this hymn, 1525 (Wackernagel, III, #603); 32.(38.) Adam Reusner, verse 5 of "In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr," 1533 (Wackernagel, I, #286); 37.(44). Paul Gerhardt, verse 3 of "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben," 1647 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #387); 40.(48.) Johann Rist, verse 6 of "Werde munter, mein Gemüte," 1642 (Fischer-Tümpel, II, #199); 44.(53.) Paul Gerhardt, verse 1 of this hymn, 1653 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #435); 46.(55.) Johann Heermann, verse 4 of "Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen," 1630 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #334); 54.(63.) Paul Gerhardt, verses 1 and 2 of this hymn, 1656 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #467); 62.(72.) Paul Gerhardt, verse 9 of "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden," 1656 (ibid.).

Biblical Text: Mt. 26-27; S. of S. 6:1, Movement 30(36).

15 April 1729, Leipzig; Parody: 6(10), 8(12) → BWV 244a/3, 5; 13(19), 20(26), 23(29) → BWV 244a/22, 19, 17; 39(47), 49(58), 57(66), 65(75), 68(78) → BWV 244a/10, 12, 15, 20, 24. 17, 19, 20, 22, 24.

BG 4; NBA II/5.

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Matthew the Evangelist

First Part

The Daughter of Zion (Chorus I: S, A, T, B), The Faithful (Chorus II: S, A, T, B),

Evangelist (T), Jesus (B), Judas (B), Peter (B), Two Witnesses (A, T),

Chief Priest (B), First Maid (S), Second Maid (S), Pilate (B), Pilate's Wife (S)

1. Chorus(1) (Chorus I, II) Daughter of Zion, The Faithful and Chorale (S) (Zion)

Come, ye daughters, share my mourning,
See ye ---(Faithful) whom? --- (Zion, et sim.) the bridegroom there,
See him --- how? --- just like a lamb!

    O Lamb of God, unspotted
    Upon the cross's branch slaughtered,
    See ye, --- what? --- see him forbear,
    Alway displayed in thy patience,
    How greatly wast thou despiséd.
    Look --- where, then? --- upon our guilt;
    All sin hast thou borne for us,
    Else we had lost all courage.
    See how he with love and grace
    Wood as cross himself now beareth!
    Have mercy on us, O Jesus!

2. Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

When Jesus, then, had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples:


Ye know well that in two days will be
Passover, and the Son of man is then to
be handed over, that he be crucifiéd.

3. Chorale (Chorus I and II)

O dearest Jesus, how hast thou offended,
That such a cruel sentence hath been spoken?
What is thy guilt, what were the evil doings
Thou hast committed?

4a.(4.) Evangelist (I: T)

There assembled themselves the high priests and the scribes together, and the elders of the people within the palace of the chief priest, whose name was Caiphas; and there took counsel, how with stealth they might capture Jesus and put him to death. They said however:

4b.(5.) Chorus I, II

Not upon the feast, lest there be an uproar in the people.

4c.(6.) Evangelist (I: T)

When now Jesus visited Bethany and was in the house of the leper called Simon, unto him came a woman who carried a jar of precious ointment and poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when his disciples saw it, they became indignant and said:

4d.(7.) Chorus I

What end serveth all this nonsense? For this ointment might indeed have been sold for much, and the sum to the poor been given.

4e.(8.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

But when Jesus noticed this, said he unto them:

Why trouble ye so this woman? For she hath done a good deed for me! Ye always have the poor with you, me though will ye not have always. That she hath poured this ointment over my body hath she done because I am to be buried. Truly I say to you: wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, there will be told also in memory of her what she hath done.

5.(9.) Recit. (I: A)

Belove'd Savior thou,
Midst thy disciples' foolish quarrel,
Because this loyal dame
Thy body with her oils
To bury would make ready,
O in the meanwhile grant me this,
From these mine eyes' own streams of weeping
To pour upon thy head an ointment!

6.(10.) Aria (I: A)

Guilt and pain
Break the sinful heart in twain,

    So the teardrops of my weeping
    A most soothing precious balm,
    Faithful Jesus, thee doth offer.

7.(11.) Evangelist, Judas (I: T, B)

Then there went one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, forth unto the chief priests and said:

What would ye then give me? I would to you betray him.

And they offered him thirty silver pieces. And from thence forth he sought an opportunity when he might betray him.

8.(12.) Aria (II: S)

Bleed alway, O thou my heart!

    Ah, a child which thou hast nurtured,
    Which at thine own breast hath suckled,
    Bodes his keeper now to murder,
    For it hath become a serpent.(2)

9a.(13.) Evangelist (I: T)

But on the first day of Unleavened Bread came the disciples to Jesus and said unto him:

9b.(14.) Chorus I

What place wouldst thou have us prepare thee, the paschal lamb to eat now?

9c.(15.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

He said:

Go ye forth to the town, to one there and say to him: The Master sends thee this message: Now my time is here, I would in thy house keep the Passover with my disciples.

The disciples did this, as Jesus had commanded them, and made ready there the paschal lamb. And at evening he sat down at the table with the twelve. And while they ate there, he said:

Truly, I say to you: there is one of you who will betray me.

9d. Evangelist (I: T)

And they were then very sad and they began, each one of them in turn, to say unto him:

9e. Chorus I

Lord, is it I?

10.(16.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

'Tis I, I must be sorry,
With hands and feet together
Bound fast, must lie in hell.
The scourges and the fetters
And all that thou hast suffered,
All this deserveth now my soul.

11.(17.) Evangelist, Jesus, Judas (I: T, B, B,)

He answeréd thus and said:

He who his hand with me in the dish now dippeth, this one will betray me. The Son of man indeed goeth hence, as it hath been written of him; but woe to that man through whom the Son of man hath been betrayed! It were better for him if this very man had never been born.

Then answeréd Judas, who betrayed him, and said:

Is it I, Rabbi?

He said to him:

Thou sayest.

But when they had eaten, did Jesus take bread, gave thanks and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

Take, eat, this is my Body.

And he took the cup and, giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying:

Drink, all of you, from this; this is my Blood of the New Testament, which hath been poured out here for many in remission of their sins. I say to you: I shall from this moment forth no more drink from this the fruit of the grapevine until the day
when I shall drink it anew with you within my Father's kingdom.

12.(18.) Recit. (I: S)

In truth my heart in tears doth swim,
That Jesus doth from me depart,
But I am by his Testament consoled:
His Flesh and Blood, O precious gift,
Bequetheth he to mine own hands now.
Just as he in the world unto his people
Could never offer malice,
He loveth them until the finish.

13.(19.) Aria (I: S)

I will thee my heart now offer,
Merse thyself, my health, in it!
I would merse myself within thee;
If to thee the world's too small,
Ah, then shalt thou me alone
More than world and heaven be.

14.(20.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

But after the song of praise had been recited, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And there Jesus said to them:

In this same night ye will all become annoyed for my sake. For it standeth in the scripture: I shall strike down then the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will by themselves be scattered. When, however, I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

15.(21.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

Acknowledge me, my keeper,
My shepherd, make me thine!
From thee, source of all blessings,
Have I been richly blest.
Thy mouth hath oft refreshed me
With milk and sweetest food,
Thy Spirit hath endowed me
With many heav'nly joys.

16.(22.) Evangelist, Peter, Jesus (I: T, B, B)

Peter, however, then answeréd and said to him.

Although the others all be annoyed because of thee, yet will I myself not ever feel annoyance.

Jesus said to him:

Truly, I say to thee: in this same night, before the cock croweth, wilt thou three times have denied me.

Peter said to him:

And even if I must die with thee, I will not ever deny thee.

And so declared all the other disciples.

17.(23.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

I will here by thee stand now;
O put me not to scorn!
From thee will I go never,
While thee thy heart doth break.
When thy heart doth grow pallid
Within death's final stroke,
E'en then will I enfold thee
Within my arms and lap.

18.(24.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

Then came Jesus with them to a garden, known as Gethsemane, and said to his disciples:

Sit ye down here, while I go over there and pray.

And taking Peter with him and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to mourn and to be troubled. Then said Jesus unto them:

Now my soul is sore distressed, even to death; tarry here and keep watch with me.

19.(25.) Recit. (I: T) Zion and Chorale (Chorus II) The Faithful

O pain!
Here trembleth the tormented heart;
How it doth sink, how pale his countenance!
What is the reason for all these great torments?
The judge conveys him to the court.
Here is no hope, and helper none.
Alas, my sins, they have thee sorely stricken;
He suffers all of hell's own torture,
He must for others' theft make payment.
I, ah Lord Jesus, have this debt encumbered
Which thou art bearing.
Ah, would that now my love for thee,
My health, thy trembling and thy terror
Could lighten or could help thee carry.
How gladly would I stay!

20.(26.) Aria (I: T, Chorus II) Zion, The Faithful

I will be with my Jesus watching,

That slumber may our sins enfold.

Mine own death
Is redeemed by his soul's woe;
His sorrow filleth me with gladness.

Thus for us his most worthy passion
Most bitter and yet sweet must be.

21.(27.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

He went on a little, fell down upon his
face and, having prayed, he said:

My Father, if possible, allow this cup to pass from me; but not as I will, rather as thou wilt.

22.(28.) Recit. (II: B)

The Savior falls before his Father prostrate;
Thereby he raiseth me and all men
From our corruption
Aloft again to God's dear mercy.
He is prepared
The cup, the bitterness of death,
To drink now,
In which the sins of this our world
Have been infused, now loathsome reeking,
Because God wills it so to be.

23.(29.) Aria (II: B)

Gladly would I be most willing
Cross and chalice to accept now,
Drinking from my Savior's cup.
For his mouth,
Which with milk and honey floweth,
Hath the earth,
And all sorrow's bitter taste
With the very first draught sweetened.

24.(30.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

And he came to his disciples and found them sleeping and said unto them:

Could ye then not watch with me even for one hour? Watch ye and pray, that ye not fall into temptation! The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

A second time he went off, prayed and said:

My Father, if it cannot be that this cup pass from me, unless I have drunk it, then let thy will be done.

25.(31.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

What my God will, be done alway,
His will, it is the best will;
To help all those he is prepared
Whose faith in him is steadfast.
He frees from want, this righteous God,
And punisheth with measure:
Who trusts in God, on him relies,
Him will he not abandon.

26.(32.) Evangelist, Jesus, Judas (I: T, B, B)

And he came and found them once more sleeping, and now their eyes were heavy with sleep. And he left them and went off once again a third time and said again the very same words. Then came he to his disciples and said unto them:

Ah, would ye now sleep and rest? Lo now, the hour is come when the Son of man is delivered over to the hands of sinners. Rise ye up, let us be going; see there, he is come, who doth betray me.

And while he was speaking still, behold, there came Judas, one of the twelve, and with him came a great crowd with swords and with clubs from the chief priests and elders of the people. And the betrayer had given them a signal already and had said: "He whom I shall kiss, is he, him take ye!" At that he went up to Jesus and said:

My greetings to thee, Rabbi!

And gave him a kiss. Jesus, though, said to him:

My friend, wherefore art thou come here?

Then came the others forth and, laying their hands upon Jesus, they captured him.

27a.(33.) Aria (I: S, A; Chorus II) Zion, The Faithful

(I: S, A)
Thus hath my Jesus now been taken.

(Chorus II, et sim.)
Free him, hold off, bind him not!
Moon and light
Are in sorrow set and hidden,
For my Jesus hath been taken.
Free him, hold off, bind him not!
They lead him off, he is in fetters.

27b. Chorus I, II

Hath lightning, hath thunder in clouds fully vanished?
Lay open thy fire's raging chasm, O hell, then,
Now ruin, demolish, devour, now shatter
With suddenmost wrath
The lying betrayer, that murderous blood!

28.(34.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

And lo now, one of that number, who were there with Jesus, did stretch out his hand then and struck the slave of the chief priest and cut off his ear. Then
said Jesus to him:

Put back thy sword into its place; for all who take the sword must by the sword perish. Or dost thou then think that I could not appeal unto my Father that to me he send forth more than twelve legions of angels? How would the scripture, though, be fulfilled? It must be this way.

At this hour said Jesus to the many:

Ye are now come forward as against a murderer, with swords and with clubs now to take me; but I have daily been sitting with you and have been there teaching in the temple, and ye did not ever seize me. But all this is now come to pass, to bring fulfillment to the scriptures of the prophets.

Then did all the disciples flee and forsake him.

29.(35.) Chorus [Chorale] (Chorus I and II)

O man, bewail thy sins so great,
For which Christ did his Father's lap
Reveal and came to earth here;
And of a virgin pure and mild
For us he here to birth did come
To be the Intercessor.
Unto the dead he granted life
And put off all infirmity
Until the time pressed forward
That he for us be sacrificed;
He bore our sins' most grievous weight
Upon the cross, long suff'ring.

Second Part

30.(36.) Aria (Chorus I, II) Zion, The Faithful

Ah, now is my Jesus gone!

Where is then thy friend now departed,
O thou fairest of all the women?
Is it granted, can I see him?
Where hath he thy friend gone away?
Ah, my lamb in tiger's clutches,
Ah, where is my Jesus gone?
We will with thee now go and seek him.
Ah, what shall I say to my spirit
When it doth in anguish ask me:
Ah, where is my Jesus gone?

31.(37.) Evangelist (I: T)

But those, however, who had seized Jesus led him away to the chief priest, who was Caiphas, there where the learned scribes and the elders already had assembled. Peter, though, had followed him from a distance up to the palace of the chief priest and went inside and sat himself near the servants, that he might see what the outcome would be. The chief priests, though, and also the elders and the whole assembly sought untrue witness against Jesus in order to kill him, and they did find none.

32.(38.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

The world hath judged me with deceit,
With lying and with false conceit,
With nets and snares in secret.
Lord, me regard
In this distress,
Guard me from false deceptions.

33.(39.) Evangelist, Two Witnesses (I: T; II: A, T)

And although there came there many false witnesses, they still did find none. At last entered therein two false informants and said:

He hath declared: "God's temple can I fully demolish and within three days' time I can rebuild it."

And the chief priest then stood up and said to him:

(Chief Priest)
Replies thou nought to that which they have witnessed against thee?

But Jesus kept silent.

34.(40.) Recit. (II: T)

My Jesus keeps
Amidst false lies his silence,
To show us by example
That his dear mercy's full intention
For us to suffer now inclines,
In order that within such pain
We should resemble him,
In persecution keep our silence.

35.(41.) Aria (II: T)


    Though deceiving tongues may sting me!
    Though I suffer, innocent,
    Mocking scorn,
    Ah, then may the Lord above
    Give my guiltless heart its vengeance.

36a.(42.) Evangelist, Chief Priest, Jesus (I: T, B, B)

And the chief priest then, answering, spake thus to him:

(Chief Priest)
I adjure thee in the name of the living God, that thou shouldst tell us, if thou art the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus said to him:

Thou sayest. But I say to you: from henceforth it will happen that ye shall behold the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Thereupon the chief priest rent his clothes asunder and said:

(Chief Priest)
God hath he blasphemed; what need we of further witness? See here, now have ye heard his blasphemy against God. What is your judgment?

They answeréd and said:

36b. The Council (Chorus I, II)

He is of death deserving!

36c.(43.) Evangelist (I: T)

Then did they spit upon his countenance and struck him with their fists. Some, though, there were who struck him upon his face and said:

36d. The Council (Chorus I, II)

Foretell it us, Christ Lord, tell us who struck thee!

37.(44.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

Who hath thee thus so smitten,
My health, and thee tormented,
So evilly abused?
Thou art indeed no sinner
Like us and our descendants;
Of evil deeds thou knowest not.

38a.(45.) Evangelist, First Maid, Second Maid, Peter (I: T, S, S, B)

Peter, meanwhile, sat outside in the court; and there came to him a maid and said:

(First Maid)
And thou was also with Jesus of Galilee.


But he then denied this before them all and said:

I know not what thou sayest.

But when he went out to the porch, he was seen by another maid, who said to those who were there:

(Second Maid)
This man was also with Jesus of Nazareth.

And once more did he deny it and with an oath:

I know nothing of the man.

And when a little time had passed, there came to him those who were present and said to Peter:

38b.(46.) Bystanders (Chorus II)

Truly, thou art one of those men also; for thine own speech doth betray thee.

38c. Evangelist (I: T, B)

Then he began to invoke a curse upon himself and to swear:

I know nothing of the man.

And at this moment the cock crew. Then Peter thought back to the words of
Jesus, when he said unto him: "Before the cock shall have crowed, wilt three times thou have denied me." And he went out and wept with great bitterness.

39.(47.) Aria (I: A)

Have mercy Lord,

    My God, because of this my weeping!
    Look thou here,
    Heart and eyes now weep for thee

40.(48.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

Though I now have thee forsaken,
I will once again return;
For thy Son hath reconciled us
Through his agony and death.
I deny no whit my guilt;
But thy mercy and thy grace
Are much greater than the failings
Which I ever find within me.

41a.(49.) Evangelist, Judas (I: T, B)

When morning came, however, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took council concerning Jesus, that they might put him to death. And binding him, they led him away and handed him over unto the governor Pontius Pilatus. And when Judas saw this, the one who had betrayed him, that he had been condemned to death, it gave him great remorse, and, bringing back again the thirty silver pieces unto the chief priests and elders, he said:

I have committed a sin, for I have innocent blood here betrayed.

They said:

41b. Chief Priests and Elders (Chorus I, II)

How doth that us concern? See to it thyself!

41c.(50.) Evangelist, Chief Priests (I: T, B, B)

And he cast the silvers pieces in the temple, rose up from there, went forth and then hanged himself at once. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said:

(Chief Priests)
We cannot lawfully put them in the temple treasury, for this is blood money.

42.(51.) Aria (II: B)

Give back this my Jesus to me!

    See the price, this murder's wage,
    Thrown by this the fallen son
    At your feet before you!

43.(52.) Evangelist, Pilate, Jesus (I: T, B, B)

So they took counsel once again and bought with them a potter's field set aside for the burial of strangers. Therefore is this selfsame field also known as the Field of Blood from then to this very day. Thus is fulfilléd what was told before by the prophet Jeremiah, when he saith: "And they have accepted thirty silver pieces, with which to pay the price of one purchased, whom they had purchased from the children of Israel, and they have given it to buy a potter's field, as the Lord hath commanded me." Jesus meanwhile stood before the governor; and the governor questioned him and said:

Art thou the King of the Jews?

Jesus then replied to him:

Thou sayest it.

And when he was charged by the chief priests and the elders, he made no reply. Then said Pilate unto him:

Hearest thou not how harshly they accuse thee?

And he answeréd him to never a word, such that the governor was also much amazed at him.

44.(53.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

Commend thou all thy pathways
And all that grieves thy heart
To the most faithful keeping
Of him who ruleth heav'n.
To clouds and air and breezes
He gives their course to run,
He will find pathways also
Whereon thy foot may walk.

45a.(54.) Evangelist, Pilate, Pilate's Wife, Crowd (I: T, B, S; Chorus I, II)

But upon this feast the governor had the custom of setting free a prisoner to the people, whom they had chosen. He had, however, on this occasion a prisoner, who stood out above the others, whose name was Barabbas. And when they had come together, Pilate said unto them:

Which one would ye have that I release unto you? Barabbas or Jesus, of whom it is said that he is the Christ?

For he knew full well that it was for envy that they had delivered him. And as he sat upon the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him and gave this message:

(Pilate's Wife)
Have thou nothing to do with this righteous man; for I today have suffered much in a dream because of him!

Nevertheless the chief priests and the elders had now persuaded the crowd, that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. And in answer now, the governor said unto them:

Which one would ye have of these two men here, that I set free to you?

And they said:


And Pilate said unto them:

What shall I then do with Jesus, of whom is said that he is Christ?

And they all said:

45b. Crowd (Chorus I, II)

Have him crucified!

46.(55.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

How awe-inspiring is indeed this sentence!
The worthy shepherd for his flock now suffers;
The debt he pays, the master, he the righteous,
For all his servants.

47.(56.) Evangelist, Pilate (I: T, B)

The governor said then:

Why, what evil hath this man done?

48.(57.) Recit. (I: S)

He hath us all so richly blessed,
The blind he hath returned their sight,
The lame he leaveth walking,
He tells us of his Father's word,
He drives the devil forth,
The troubled hath he lifted up,
He took the sinners to himself.
Else hath my Jesus nothing done.

49.(58.) Aria (I: S)

For love now,
For love now would my Savior perish,
Of any sin he knoweth nought.
That eternal condemnation
And the sentence of the court
Not upon my soul continue.

50a.(59.) Evangelist (I: T)

They cried again even more and said:

50b. Crowd (Chorus I, II)

Have him crucified!

50c. Evangelist, Pilate (I: T, B)

But when Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, rather that a much greater disturbance grew, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd and said:


I am not guilty for the blood of this just person, see ye to it.


Thereupon answered all the people and said:

50d. Crowd (Chorus I, II)

His blood come upon us then and on our children.

50e. Evangelist (I: T)

To them he then set Barabbas free; but he had Jesus scourged and then delivered him up, that he might be crucifiéd.

51.(60.) Recit. (II: A)

Have mercy, God!
Here stands the Savior, bound and fettered.
Such scourging this, such blows, such wounding!
Ye hangmen, stop your work!
Do ye not feel
Your spirit's grief,
The vision of such pain and woe?
Ah yes! Ye have a heart
Which must be like the whipping post
And e'en much harder still.
Have mercy, stop your work!

52.(61.) Aria (II: A)

If the tears upon my cheeks can
Nought accomplish,
Oh, then take my heart as well!

    But then let amidst the streaming
    Of the wounds abundant bleeding
    Be the sacrificial cup!

53a.(62.) Evangelist (I: T)

And then did the governor's soldiers take Jesus into the praetorium and gathered before him there all the troops, and they did strip him and put upon him a purple robe and plaited a crown of thorns and set it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand and then they bent their knees before him, both mocking him and saying:

53b. Soldiers (Chorus I, II)

All hail now to thee, King of the Jews!

53c. Evangelist (I: T)

And spat upon his face and, taking the reed, they struck him upon his head.

54.(63.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

O head of blood and wounding,
Of pain and scorn so full,
O Head, for spite now fettered
Beneath a crown of thorns,
O head, once fair and lovely,
With highest praise adorned,
But highly now insulted,
All hail to thee, I say!
Thou countenance so noble,
At which should shrink and quail
The mighty world's great burden,
How spat upon thou art;
How pale thou art become now!
Who hath thine eyes' bright light,
Alike no other light once,
So shamefully abused?

55.(64.) Evangelist (I: T)

And after they had mocked and scorned him, they removed the robe from him and put his own raiment upon him and led him away, that they might crucify him. And after they went out, they found a man who came from Cyrene, whose name was Simon; and they compelled him to bear his cross.

56.(65.) Recit. (I: B)

Yea truly, would in us our flesh and blood
Be forced upon the cross;
The more it doth our spirit good,
The grimmer it becomes.

57.(66.) Aria (I: B)

Come, O sweet cross, thus I'll confess it:
My Jesus, give it evermore!

    Whene'er my burden be too grave,
    Then thou thyself dost help me bear it.

58a.(67.) Evangelist (I: T)

And when they came unto a place with the name of Golgotha, which is to say, the place of a skull, they did give him vinegar to drink which had been mixed with gall; and when he tasted it, he refused to drink it. But after they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots for them, that it might be accomplished what had once been said by the prophet: "They have divided all my garments among them and over mine own vesture did they cast lots." And they sat all around and guarded him there. And over his head they fastened the reason for his death in writing, namely: "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews." And with him were two murderers also crucified, one on the right hand, another on the left. And those who there passed by derided him both wagging their heads before him and saying:

58b. Passersby (Chorus I, II)

Thou who dost God's own temple destroy and buildest it within three days' time, save thyself now! If thou art God's Son, then climb down from the cross!

58c. Evangelist (I: T)

In like wise did also the chief priests ridicule him and together with the scribes and elders say:

58d. Chief Priests and Elders (Chorus I, II)

Others brought he salvation and can himself yet not save now. Is he the King of Israel? Let him climb down from the cross and we will then believe him. In God hath he trusted, let him save him then now, if he will, for he hath declared: "I am Son of God."

58e.(68.) Evangelist (I: T)

In like wise did the murderers also mock him, who with him had been crucified.

59.(69.) Recit. (I: A) Zion

Ah Golgotha, unhappy Golgotha!
The Lord of majesty must scornfully here perish,
The saving blessing of the world
Is placed as scorn upon the cross.
Creator of both earth and heaven
From earth and air must now be taken.
The guiltless must here die guilty,
Which pierceth deep into my soul;
Ah Golgotha, unhappy Golgotha!

60.(70.) Aria (I: A; Chorus II) Zion, The Faithful

See ye, Jesus hath his hand,
Us to capture, now outstretched,
Come! --- (Faithful) Where to? --- (Zion, et sim.) In Jesus' bosom
Seek redemption, take his mercy,
Seek it --- Where? --- in Jesus' bosom!
Living, dying, rest ye here,
Ye forsaken little chicks,
Bide ye --- where? --- in Jesus' bosom.

61a.(71.) Evangelist, Jesus (I: T, B)

And from the sixth hour on there was a darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried aloud and said:

Eli, Eli, lama asabthani(3)?


That is: "My God, my God, wherefore hast thou me forsaken? But there were some who stood about there who, when they heard that, spake thus:

61b. Bystanders (Chorus I)

He calleth to Elias!

61c. Evangelist (I: T)

And straightway one of them ran forth, who took a sponge and, filling it with vinegar, and placing it upon a reed, gave him to drink. The others said, however:

61d. Bystanders (Chorus II)

Stop! Let us see if Elias will come forth and save him.

61e. Evangelist (I: T)

But Jesus cried again aloud and was dead.

62.(72.) Chorale (Chorus I and II)

When I one day must leave here,
Yet do thou not leave me;
When I my death must suffer,
Come forth thou then to me!
And when most anxious trembling
Hath once my heart possessed,
Then free me from my anguish
Through thine own fear and pain!

63a.(73.) Evangelist (I: T)

And lo, behold: the curtain of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And the earth was filled with quaking, and the cliffs split asunder, and the graves themselves opened up, and there rose up the bodies of many saints who were sleeping, and they came out of the graves after his resurrection and came into the holy city and appeared to many. But the centurion and those who were with him and were watching over Jesus, when they witnessed the earthquake and all that there occurred, were sore afraid and said:

63b. Soldiers (Chorus I and II)

Truly, this man was God's own Son most truly.

63c. Evangelist (I: T)

And there were many women there, who looked on from a distance, having followed after him from Galilee and ministered unto him, in whose number was Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the children of Zebedee. At evening, though, there came a wealthy man of Arimathea, whose name was Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus, who went to Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered that it be given to him.

64.(74.) Recit. (I: B)

At eventide, when it was cool,
Was Adam's fall made manifest;
At eventide the Savior overwhelmed him.
At eventide the dove returneth,
Its mouth an olive branch now bearing.
O time so fair! O evening hour!
The pact of peace is now with God complete,
For Jesus hath his cross fulfilled.
His body comes to rest,
Ah, thou my spirit, hearken thou,
Go, let them give thee Jesus' lifeless body,
How healing this, how precious this memorial!

65.(75.) Aria (I: B)

Make thyself, my heart, now pure,
I myself would Jesus bury.

    For he shall henceforth in me
    More and more
    Find in sweet repose his dwelling.
    World, depart, let Jesus in!

66a.(76.) Evangelist (I: T)

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a pure shroud of linen and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had had hewn within a rock, and rolled up a heavy stone in front of the door of this tomb and went away. In this place was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who sat themselves next to the tomb. On the day after, the one after the Preparation, came the chief priests and the Pharisees together unto Pilate and said:

66b. Chief Priests and Pharisees (Chorus I, II)

Sire, we have taken thought how once this deceiver said when he was still alive: "I will in three days' time again stand here arisen." Therefore, command that now the tomb be guarded until the three days pass, so none of his disciples come forth and steal him hence and to the people say: "He is risen from the dead," for thus will the final deceit be worse than the first one!

66c. Evangelist, Pilate (I: T, B)

And Pilate said unto them:

Ye have your watchmen; go ye forth and secure it as best ye can!

So they went forth and made safe the tomb with watchmen and did seal in the stone.

67.(77.) Recit. (I: B, T, A, S; Chorus II) Zion, The Faithful

Now is the Lord brought to his rest.

My Jesus, now good night!

The toil is o'er which all our sins have laid on him.

My Jesus, now good night!

O thou, most blessed body,
See how I weep with grief and sorrow for thee,
That thee my fall to such distress hath brought!

My Jesus, now good night!

Have all my life
For thy great passion countless thanks,
That thou my spirit's health such worth did pay.

My Jesus, now good night!

68.(78.) Chorus(4) (Chorus I, II) Tutti

We lay ourselves with weeping prostrate
And cry to thee within the tomb:
Rest thou gently, gently rest!

    Rest, O ye exhausted members!
    This your tomb and this tombstone
    Shall for ev'ry anguished conscience
    Be a pillow of soft comfort
    And the spirit's place of rest.
    Most content, slumber here the eyes in rest.

1. The PT calls this strophe "Aria." The characterization is drawn from the PT and, with slight variation, from the text of Johann Friedrich Agricola (see the facsimile in NBA II/5a).

2. This powerful image reminds one of Clytemnestra's dream in Aeschylus' Choephori: she dreams that her nursing son Orestes becomes a serpent.

3. This reading is that of Luther's Bible. The usual reading of Greek and English versions is "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani."

4. The PT: Aria. Tutti.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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