Sunday Music: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Part VI
It is the first Sunday after Christmas. Today’s Bach piece is Part VI of his Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248:
Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 2:13-23:
The Escape to Egypt
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
The Return to Nazareth
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:
Then Herod summoned the sages secretly and cleverly discovered from them when the star had appeared. And he directed them towards Bethlehem and said:
— Go there and seek diligently for the infant, and when you find it, report to me, so that I can also come and pay my devotions to it. —
. . . .
Liar, you seek only to destroy the Lord;
You employ all false trickery
to supplant the Savior;
yet He, whose power no man can measure,
remains in secure hands.
Your heart, your false heart is already,
with all its deceit, very well known
to the Son of the Highest whom you seek to crush.
. . . .
And God commanded them in a dream that they should not journey back to Herod, and they travelled by another way back to their own land.
Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]