Canticle: The Song of the Three Holy Children

The Song of the Three Holy Children or Benedicte is a canticle taken from the book of Daniel in the Apocrypha. (The Greek translation of Daniel contained material not in the original Hebrew.) In the Greek version after Daniel 3:23, the three children, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego  recite or sing this song as they stand in the flames of Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord,
bless the Lord, you heavens.
Bless the Lord, all you waters above the heaven,
bless the Lord, all powers.
Bless the Lord, sun and moon,
bless the Lord, stars of heaven.
Bless the Lord, all rain and dew,
bless the Lord, all winds.
Bless the Lord, fire and heat,
bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat.
Bless the Lord, dews and snows,
bless the Lord, ice and cold.
Bless the Lord, frosts and snows,
bless the Lord, nights and days.
Bless the Lord, light and darkness,
bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds.
Let the earth bless the Lord;
let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, mountains and hills,
bless the Lord, all that grows on the earth.
Bless the Lord, you springs,
bless the Lord, seas and rivers.
Bless the Lord, you whales and all that swim in the waters,
bless the Lord, all birds of the air.
Bless the Lord, all beasts and cattle,
Bless the Lord, you sons of men.
Bless the Lord, O Israel;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord,
bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord.
Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the righteous,
Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart.

Bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Source:  The text of The Song of the Three Children, below is taken from v. 35-65 The Apocrypha, Lutheran Edition with notes, see also Daniel 3:57-87 NRSV Catholic edition.

The Benedicte is sung on various occasions in the Roman rite, especially as a thanksgiving after Mass. Here is a Gregorian chant of the Benedicte in Latin.

British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams composed a setting for the English text:

The hymn “Earth and All Stars” seems to be based partly on “The Song of the Three Holy Children” and partly on Psalm 148.

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pastorstratman

Lutheran pastor serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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