Scripture Verse

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34


Words: Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1875, alt.

Music: Va­let will ich dir ge­ben Mel­chi­or Tesch­ner, 1613 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Tesch­ner (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Cecil F. Alexander (1818–1895)


Forgive them, O my Fa­ther,
They know not what they do.

The Sav­ior spoke in ang­uish,
As sharp ir­on nails went through.
No word of an­ger spoke He
To them that shed His blood,
But pray­er and ten­der­est pi­ty
Large as the love of God.

For me was that com­pass­ion,
For me that ten­der care;
I need His wide for­give­ness
As much as any there.
It was my pride and hard­ness
That hung Him on the tree;
Those cru­el nails, O Sav­ior,
Were driv­en in by me.

And oft­en I have slight­ed
Thy gen­tle voice that said:
Forgive me too, Lord Je­sus,
I knew not what I did.
O depth of sweet com­pass­ion!
O love di­vine and true!
Save Thou the souls that slight Thee,
And know not what they do.

Elevation of the Cross
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669)