Have Mercy on Me, Lord My God

Tune: Erbarm dich mein

The 51st Psalm. Miserere mei, Deus.

  1. Have mercy on me, Lord my God,
    According to Thy gracious heart;
    Wash, cleanse me of each sinful spot;
    I know my sin and feel its smart.
    Against Thee only have I sinned,
    It weighs upon me constantly,
    Before Thee evil cannot stand,
    Thou shalt be just if Thou judg’st me.

  2. Behold, in sin I had my birth,
    In sin my mother did conceive.
    The truth Thou lovest, bringing forth
    Thy wisdom’s hidden glad reprieve.
    Oh, sprinkle me with hyssop, Lord,
    I’m clean if Thou but washest me,
    More white than snow; Thy joy afford,
    Then shall my bones rejoice in Thee.

  3. Lord, look Thou not upon my sin,
    Blot out all mine iniquity,
    And purify my heart within,
    A spirit new prepare in me,
    Cast me not from before Thy face,
    Thy Holy Ghost take not from me,
    The joy of Thy salvation raise,
    Thy willing spirit keep me in Thee.

  4. Transgressors will I teach Thy praise,
    By sinners too it shall be learned,
    That from their false and wicked ways
    They may by Thee to Thee be turned.
    O God of my salvation, Lord,
    Deliver me from guilt of blood,
    My tongue shall sing Thy righteous Word,
    Do Thou my mouth with praises flood.

  5. No off’ring wouldst Thou have of men,
    Else would I fain have giv’n it Thee;
    Accept my broken spirit, then,
    My heart, contrite and bowed with grief;
    Do not despise Thine off’ring, Lord,
    Do good in Thy good-heartedness
    To Zion, where Thy Christians are,
    Who to Thee offer righteousness.

Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott
Erhart Hegenwalt, 1524
Tr. Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2015

German Text (coming soon)

Available Recording: Stanzas 1 and 3 are beautifully performed by the Berlin State and Cathedral Choir and the Lautten Compagney of Berlin on track 3 of their album Eccard: Fröhlich will ich singen (iTunesAmazonMP3 ). A review of the album as a whole is available here.

Author: Erhart Hegenwalt
Source: Erfurt Enchiridion, 1524

This hymn, based upon Psalm 51, first appeared in the Erfurt Enchiridion, the second Lutheran hymnal ever to be printed. Scans are available of its appearance in both the Loersfeld edition and the Maler edition, in both of which it is found on page 30. No translations have come into common use among English speakers. A fine translation by Matthew Carver is available here. The translation at the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book may be freely used and reproduced for any purpose whatever, and is offered with the prayer that it may be for the joy and edification of Christian people everywhere.