The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children

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The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children is a lengthy passage that appears after Daniel 3:23 in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, as well as in the ancient Greek Septuagint translation. Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England has it listed as non-canonical (but till, with the other Apocryphal texts, "the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners",[1] and the Anglican Church uses it liturgically). The passage is omitted from some Protestant Bibles as an apocryphal addition.

The passage includes the penitential prayer of Azariah (Abednego in Babylonian; see Daniel 1:6–7) while the three youths were in the fiery furnace; a brief account of a figure who met them in the furnace and was unburned (an angel, or interpreted by Christians as a prefigurement or theophany of Jesus Christ, in the same vein as Melchisedek); and the hymn of praise they sang (with the refrain, "Praise and exalt Him above all forever...", repeated many times, each naming a feature of the world) when they realized they were delivered.

The "Song of the Three Holy Youths" is part of the hymn called a canon sung during the Matins and other services in Orthodoxy. It can be found in the Church of England Book of Common Prayer as the canticle called the "Benedicite" and is one of the traditional canticles that can follow the first scripture lesson in the Order of Morning Prayer. It is also an optional song for Matins in Lutheran liturgies, and either an abbreviated or full version of the Song is featured as the Old Testament Canticle in the Lauds liturgy for Sundays and Feasts in the Divine Office of the Roman Catholic Church.

Texts and Origin[edit]

The Prayer and accompanying Song are not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of the Book of Daniel, nor are they cited in any extant ancient Jewish writings. However, the passage does appear in certain ancient witnesses, notably the Greek, Syriac, and Latin.

The origins of these writings are obscure. Whether the accounts were originally composed in Hebrew (or Aramaic) or in Greek is uncertain, although many modern scholars[who?] conclude on the basis of textual evidence that there was probably an original Semitic edition. The date of composition of these documents is also uncertain, although many scholars favor a date either in the second or first century B.C.

Text of the "Song of the Three Holy Children"[edit]

The following is the text of the "Song of the Three Holy Children" from the 1611 edition of the King James Bible, with spelling modernized:

Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying:
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy Name: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the Temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the Cherubims, and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou on the glorious Throne of thy kingdom: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and above all to be praised and glorified for ever.
O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye Sun and Moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye Winter and Summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye things that grow on the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye fountains, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye whales and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Israel bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever: for he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace, and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us.
O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise him, and give him thanks: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Lyrics to the Hymn "Canticle of the Three Children"[edit]

[Solo or Choir] O all you works of the Lord, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, angels of the Lord, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, the heavens of the Lord, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, sun and moon, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, stars of the heav'ns, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, showers and rain, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, all breezes and winds, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, cold and heat, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, nighttime and day, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, mountains and hills, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, all plants of the earth, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, rivers and seas, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, creatures of the sea, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, ev'ry bird in the sky, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, wild beasts and tame, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, children of men, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, priests of the Lord, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.

[Solo or choir] And you, servants of the Lord, bless the Lord:
[All] To him be highest glory and praise forever.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Article VI at episcopalian.org
  2. ^ Worship II: A Hymnal for Roman Catholic Parishes. Chicago, IL: G.I.A. Publications, Inc. 1975. p. 41. 

External links[edit]