It is not known when the work was composed. It was first published in 1821. The publisher claimed to have had access to an autograph score. The work was subsequently catalogued as one of a set of six surviving motets by Bach, BWV 225–230. (This set now seems somewhat arbitrary as modern scholarship includes more works among the motets). It is the only one of the set to be scored for four voices. It is also unusual in that (lightly-scored) instrumental accompaniment is specified.
Some scholars have expressed doubts about the attribution to Bach. but it is included in the New Bach Edition.