January 01, 2006

342R Turn Back

Original Title: "Turn Back, O Man, Forswear Thy Foolish Ways," Clifford Bax, OLD 124TH (, Genevan Psalter (1551); New Title: "Turn Back," rev. REH (2008), same hymn tune. Ezekiel 18:32 (NRSV), "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live;" 2 Samuel 1:7-8, "Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad?" 2 Samuel 7:10, "And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more;" 2 Samuel 18:7-8, "The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country;" 2 Samuel 23:3-4, "One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning." See also Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4. The hymn appears in Singing the Living tradition as hymn no. 120 also as "Turn Back;" it differs from the words here inasmuch as the SLT version assigns earth definitively to the "neutral" pronoun "it," rather than leaving earth's gender ambiguous as here. The words below likewise do not make use of the adjective "fair" in describing the earth, unlike in SLT and in the original version.

OLD 124TH (

1. Turn back, turn back, for-swear thy fool-ish ways;
Old now is earth, and none may count the days;
Yet thou, earth's child, whose head is crowned with flame;
Still wilt not hear thine in-ner God pro-claim,
"Turn back, turn back, for-swear thy fool-ish ways."

2. Earth might be free; all peo-ple glad and wise;
Age after age our tra-gic em-pires rise;
Built while we dream, and in that dream-ing weep:
Would we but wake from out our haunt-ed sleep;
Earth might be free; all peo-ple glad and wise.

3. Earth shall be free, and all earth's peo-ple one:
Nor till that hour shall God's whole will be done.
Now, even now, once more from earth to sky;
Peals forth in joy the old un-daunt-ed cry:
"Earth shall be free and all earth's folk be one!"

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