Scripture Verse

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1


Nahum Tate (1652–1715)

Words: From A New Ver­sion of the Psalms of Da­vid, by Na­hum Tate & Ni­cho­las Bra­dy, 1698.

Music: Pow­er Jo­seph Barn­by (1838–1896) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

If you know when the mu­sic was writ­ten, or where to get a good pic­ture of Bra­dy (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Joseph Barnby (1838–1896)


With restless and ungoverned rage
Why do the heathen storm?
Why in such rash attempts engage,
As they can ne’er perform?

The great in counsel and in might
Their various forces bring;
Against the Lord they all unite,
And His anointed king.

Must we submit to Their commands?
Presumptuously they say;
No, let us break Their slavish bands,
And cast Their chains away.

But God, who sits enthroned on high,
And sees how they combine,
Does their conspiring strength defy,
And mocks their vain design.

Thick clouds of wrath divine shall break
On His rebellious foes;
And thus will He in thunder speak
To all that dare oppose:

Though madly you dispute My will,
The king that I ordain,
Whose throne is fixed on Zion’s hill,
Shall there securely reign.

Attend, O earth, whilst I declare
God’s uncontrolled decree;
“Thou art my Son, this day My heir
Have I begotten Thee.

“Ask and receive Thy full demands;
Thine shall the heathen be;
The utmost limits of the lands
Shall be possessed by Thee.

Thy threat’ning scepter Thou shalt shake,
And crush them every where;
As massy bars of iron break
The potter’s brittle ware.

Learn then, ye princes, and give ear,
Ye judges of the earth;
Worship the Lord with holy fear;
Rejoice with awful mirth.

Appease the Son with due respect,
Your timely homage pay;
Lest He revenge the bold neglect,
Incensed by your delay.

If but in part His anger rise,
Who can endure the flame?
Then blest are they whose hope relies
On His most holy name.