The Mighty Foe at Eden Yearned

Geistliche Lieder auffs new gebessert, Wittenberg, 1535, ed. Joseph Klug
The Star Proclaims the King Is Here (LSB 399)
Meter: LM
Text: Aaron T. Fenker, Sr. © 2020

1. The mighty foe at Eden yearned
To conquer all humanity.
Their hearts unto that tree he turned,
Whose fruit brought death, captivity.

2. The Lord would not let that remain
The end for those who from it ate;
Life would from death the vict’ry gain:
“Her Seed shall crush the serpent’s pate.”

3. That promise made that dreadful day
Was promise kept in depth of night
When angel host raised joyful lay,
“God’s Son is born, your LORD and Christ!”

4. Our Lord invaded the domain
Of Satan and his demon horde
To bind them with the iron chain
Of His almighty Gospel Word.

5. The plunder Christ most sought to gain,
For which He came to bleed and die,
Was not the gold of kings and men.
His heritage is you and I!

6. This Gospel frees us from our sin
And vows that we shall live again
And gifts a peaceful heart within
And muzzles, binds the armed strong man.

7. For it bestows His liberty
To us, for whom He bled and died;
Captive was led captivity
When rising He ascended high.

8. Our chains enchained, we now receive
The pastors Christ sends unto us,
That we would trust Him and believe
His Holy Word and be saved thus.

9. Since through His Word we’re safe and sound,
And all our thoughts captive to Him,
We fear not him who prowls around,
Firm in our Christ who conquered him.

10. With horn and string and voice’s song
To You, our Shield and great Reward,
We’ll sing this praise forever long,
“Your vict’ry’s ours, O Christ, our Lord!”

Sources and Inspiration

Stanzas 1–3: Genesis 3; Luke 2
Stanzas 4–6: Matthew 12/Luke 11
Stanzas 7–8: Ephesians 4
Stanza 9: 2 Corinthians 10; 1 Peter 5
Stanza 10: Psalm 149*, 150; Genesis 15

* While eventually only inspiring the last stanza, the phrase “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!” (Psalm 149:3) actually serves as the genesis of this hymn, along with the similar themes in Psalm 150. After being confronted with and stuck by Psalm 149:3, the phrase “Take all things captive to His praise” came to mind, which also echoes 2 Corinthians 10:5. From this phrase, which never made it into the hymn, the above Christus Victor hymn about the Lord Jesus rescuing us from captivity to the devil, sin, and death came to be.

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