The O Antiphons: Scriptural Bases

For Advent

Words: Veni, Veni, Emanuel (the "O" Antiphons),
Authorship Unknown, 8th Century Latin;
Published: Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, Kln, 1710.

Music: "Veni Emmanuel," 15th Century French Plain Song melody,
Arranged and harmonized by Thomas Helmore in
Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)
.
Based on a 15th Century French Processional
(Some sources give a Gregorian, 8th Century origin.)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

See: Notes on the Great O Antiphons and Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Isaiah 9:6-7. "For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

Each of the Great O Antiphons in the Advent address Christ by one of His Scriptural titles. Different authorities give various verses from the Bible for each of the Antiphons. Sources include:

Latin text from Brevarium Romanum, Vol. I, Pars Hiemalis (Antuerpi, 1747) p. 173.

Prose translations and additional Scriptural citations from John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted - Parts I and II. (London: Novello, 1856), pp. 207-209, and John Mason Neale, The Words of the Hymnal Noted, Complete With Scripural References. (London: J. A. Novello and J. Masters), pp. 130-132.

Scriptural citations from the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) translation of the Holy Bible.

December 17: "O Sapientia..." (O Wisdom)

O Sapintia, qu ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens
fine usque ad finem frtiter,
suavit
rque dispnens mnia:
veni ad doc
ndum nos viam prudnti.

O Wisdom, Which camest forth out of the mouth of the Most High,
and reachest from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things;
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Scriptural Citations:

  • Isaiah 11:2-3: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears."

  • Isaiah 28:29: "This also is come forth from the Lord God of hosts, to make his counsel wonderful, and magnify justice."

  • Sirach [Ecclesiasticus] 24:5 I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures:"

  • Wisdom [Sapienti] 8:1. She reacheth therefore from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly.

  • Isaiah 40:14. "With whom hath he consulted, and who hath instructed him, and taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and shewed him the way of understanding?"

  • Proverbs 1:20; 8; 9: "Wisdom preacheth abroad, she uttereth her voice in the streets:...My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:...That grace may be added to thy head, and a chain of gold to thy neck."

  • I Corinthians 1:30. "But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption...."

  • Revelation 22:20. "He that giveth testimony of these things, saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

December 18: "O Adonai..." (O Lord and Ruler of the House of Isrl)

O Adonai, et dux domus Isral,
qui Moyse in igne flamm
rubi apparusti,
et ei in Sina legem ded
sti:
veni ad redim
ndum nos in brchio extnto.

O Lord and Ruler of the House of Isrl,
Who appearedst unto Moses in a flame of fire in the bush,
and gavest unto him the Law of Sinai:
Come redeem us with a stretched-out arm.

Scriptural Citations:

  • Isaiah 11:4-5: "But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: land he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins."

  • Isaiah 33:22: "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: he will save us."

  • Micah 5:2: "AND THOU, BETHLEHEM Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity."

  • Matthew 2:6: "And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel."

  • Judith 16:16. "O Adonai, Lord, great art thou, and glorious in thy power, and no one can overcome thee."

  • Exodus 8:3. " And the river shall bring forth an abundance of frogs: which shall come up, and enter into thy house, and thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and in the houses of thy servants, and to thy people, and into thy ovens, and into the remains of thy meats;"

  • I Chronicles [Paralipomenon] 17:7. "Now therefore thus shalt thou say to my servant David: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I took thee from the pastures, from following the flock, that thou shouldst be ruler of my people Israel."

  • Exodus 3:2. "And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he saw that the bush was on fire and was not burnt."

  • Acts 7:30. "And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the desert of mount Sina, an angel in a flame of fire in a bush."

  • Exodus 6:3. "That appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; and my name ADONAI I did not shew them."

  • Exodus 6:6. " Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am the Lord who will bring you out from the work prison of the Egyptians, and will deliver you from bondage: and redeem you with a high arm, and great judgments."

  • Reg. 17:36. [???]

  • See also Exodus 3. Opens in a new window at the Bible Gateway web site.

December 19: "O Radix Jesse..." (O Root of Jesse)

Prose Version:

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populrum,
super quem contin
bunt reges os suum,
quem gentes deprecab
ntur:
veni ad liber
ndum nos, jam noli tardre.

O Root of Jesse, Who standest for an ensign of the people,
at Whom Kings shall shut their mouths,
unto Whom the Gentiles shall pray:
Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Scriptural Citations:

  • Isaiah 11:1. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root."

  • Isaiah 11:10: " In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious."

  • Romans 15:12: "And again Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope."

  • Isaiah 52:15. He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him: for they to whom it was not told of him, have seen: and they that heard not, have beheld.

Note: Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in Davids city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

  • Psalm 39:18. "But I am a beggar and poor: the Lord is careful for me. Thou art my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack."

  • Hebrews 10:37: "For yet a little and a very little while, and he that is to come, will come, and will not delay."

  • Revelation [Apocalypse] 5:5: "And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."

Note: The lion is said to be the biblical symbol of the tribe of Judah.

December 20: "O Clavis David..." (O Key of David):

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Isral,
qui
peris, et nemo claudit:
claudis, et nemo
peruit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo c
rceris,
sed
ntem in tnebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, and Scepture of the House of Isrl,
Thou That openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest, and no man openeth:
Come, and lose the prisoner from the prison house,
and him that sitteth in darkness, from the shadow of death.

Scriptural Citations:

Isaiah 22:22. "And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open."

Isaiah 42:7. "To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."

Isaiah 9:2. "The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen."

Apocalypse [Revelation] 3:7. And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, write: These things saith the Holy One and the true one, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth:

Genesis 49:10: "The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations."

Luc. 1:79. "To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace."

December 21: "O Oriens..." (O Dawn of the East) (Dayspring)

O riens, splendor lucis trn, et sol justiti:
veni, et ill
mina sdentes in tnebris, et umbra mortis.

O Orient, Brightest of the Eternal Light,
and Sun of Righteousness:
Come and lighten them that sit in darkness,
and in the shadow of death.

Scriptural Citations:

  • Isaiah 9:2: "The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen."

  • Luke 1:78-79.  Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us: To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.

  • Malachi [Malachias] 4:2. "But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd."

  • Zach. [Zechariah] 6:12. "And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: BEHOLD A MAN, THE ORIENT IS HIS NAME: and under him shall he spring up, and shall build a temple to the Lord."

  • Sap. [Wisdom] 7:26. "For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness."

December 22: "O Rex Gentium" (O King of the Gentiles) (Nations)

O Rex Gntium, et desidertus erum,
lap
sque angulris, qui facis traque unum:
veni, et salva h
minem, quem de limo formsti.

O King of the Gentiles, and their Desire,
the Corner-stone, Who madest both one:
Come and save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth.

Scriptural Citations:

  • Isaiah 9:6-7. "For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

  • Isaiah 2:4. "And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war."

  • Haggai 2:8. And I will move all nations: AND THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME: and I will fill this house with glory: saith the Lord of hosts.

  • Ephesians 2:14, 19-20. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh: ... Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God, Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: [The original citation was for verses 14 & 20, but we have included verse 19 in order to complete the thought and put it into a fuller context. Ed.]

  • Jeremiah 10:7. "Who shall fear thee, O king of nations? for thine is the glory: among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms there is none like unto thee."

  • Ephesians 2:14. "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh"

  • Genesis 2:7. "And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." [American Standard Version; The Douay Rheims version translates "dust of the ground" as "slime of the ground," which isn't compatible with the sense of this Antiphon. Ed.]

  • Revelation 15:3. "and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
         Great and wonderful are your works,
              Lord God almighty.
         Just and true are your ways,
              O king of the nations."

  • Psalm 118:22. "The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone."

  • Isaiah 28:16. "Therefore, thus says the Lord God:
         See, I am laying a stone in Zion,
    a stone that has been tested,
         A precious cornerstone as a sure foundation;
    whoever puts faith in it will not waver."

  • Matthew 21:42. "Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the scriptures:
    The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
    by the Lord has this been done,
    and it is wonderful in our eyes?"

  • Mark 12:10. "Have you not read this scripture passage:
    The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;"

  • Luke 20:17. "But he looked at them and asked, What then does this scripture passage mean:
    The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone?"

  • Acts 4:11. "He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone."

  • I Peter 2:6. "For it says in scripture:
    Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
    a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
    and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.

  • Haggai [Aggaeus] 2:8. "And I will move all nations: AND THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME: and I will fill this house with glory: saith the Lord of hosts."

December 23: "O Emmanuel..." (God With Us)

O Emmnul, Rex et lgifer noster,
exp
cttio Gntium, et Salvtor erum:
veni ad salvandum nos, D
mine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all Nations, and their Saviour:
Come and save us,
O Lord our God.

Scriptural Citations:

  • Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel."

  • Matthew 1:23. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,
    which means God is with us."

  • Isaiah 8:8. "It shall roll on into Judah,
         it shall rage and pass on
         up to the neck it shall reach.
    But his outspread wings will fill
         the width of your land, Emmanuel!"

  • Isaiah 33:22. "For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
    the Lord is our king;
    he it is who will save us."

  • Isaiah 37:10. "Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by saying, Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. "

  • Genesis 49:10. The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
         or the mace from between his feet,
    Until tribute comes to him,
         and he receives the peoples obedience.

  • Haggai [Aggeus] 2:7. "I will shake all the nations,
        so that the treasures of all the nations will come in.
    And I will fill this house with glory
        says the Lord of hosts."

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