Behind the Hymn: Praise To the Lord The Almighty

Praise to the Lord the Almighty is a hymn based on Joachim Neander’s German hymn

Joachim Neander

“Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren”, published in 1680.

Neander was born in 1650 Bremen, Germany.  In his youth, he lived on the wild side before attending a local service and listening to a visiting preacher.  He adopted the beliefs of the Pietist and suffered considerable opposition for his beliefs.  He died at the age of 30.  However, he wrote over 60 songs in his life time.   Most are hymns of joyful praise, even though they were written at a time when Neander was living under considerable stress.

Neander’s hymn was first published in 1665.  The tune is believed to be based on a German folk tune.  The text paraphrases Psalm 103 and Psalm 150.

Catherine Winkworth

Johann Sebastian Bach used the chorale as the base for his chorale cantata Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137, in 1724. Although only the text of the outer stanzas was kept completely.

In 1800, King Frederick William III of Prussia first heard the hymn.  The hymn became his favorite.

In 1863, Catherine Winkworth translated the German poem into English.