Our Father Who Art In Heaven – a Song by Jimmie Deal

 

Our Father Who Art In Heaven
new music and revised lyrics – by Jimmie Deal
Click here for a PDF of the lyrics and chords
Piano version in C April 5, 2020

Notes Regarding
The Lord’s Prayer
A Prayer Revised and Put To Music
by Jimmie Deal

Click here to listen to the song.

 

I like the Lord’s Prayer, but I have never liked the music that accompanies the lyrics. So, I decided to write my own new music. In the process of writing my new music, I had to decide whether to rewrite the lyrics. I did, and I hope you like my new lyrics.

 

The Lord’s Prayer focuses on right living, not about believing any correct doctrine regarding unknowable things. Except for the Embolism, which was added much later, it is completely non-denominational. A Christian, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu, or even an agnostic could pray it in good conscience.

 

The Lord’s Prayer was originally prayed in Hebrew or Aramaic. It was transmitted orally before it was written down in Hebrew or Aramaic. Later the Lord’s Prayer was translated into Greek and transmitted orally before it was written down in Greek.

 

Thus, there were possibilities, even certainties, that errors were made in translation and transmission. The proof is in the fact that there are least four versions of the Lord’s Prayer.

 

Luke 11:2-4, the shortest version;

Matthew 6:9-15 which is longer;

Didache 9:5, which is the longest and the only one to add “for thine is the power, and the glory”, although it omits “the kingdom” in the Doxology; and

the Byzantine version of Matthew 6:9-13, the Textus Receptus found in today’s King James Version, which includes “the kingdom”.

 

Compare John 15:17:

 

I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.

 

The full doxology, including “the kingdom” is found in most ancient texts, but not in Codex Vaticanus or Codex Sinaiticus. See: https://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/DOXOLOG.HTM

 

The version found at Luke 11:2-4, the shortest version, says:

 

Father, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread;

and forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us;

and lead us not into temptation.

 

A longer version found at Matthew 6:9-15 reads thus:

 

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;
but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

The version found at Didache 8 says:

 

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
as in heaven, so on earth.
Give us today our daily (needful) bread,
and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors.
And bring us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one (or evil),
for Yours is the power and the glory for ever.

Thrice in the day thus pray.

 

The Byzantine version of Matthew 6: 9-13, or the Textus Receptus, as found in the King James Version, adds “the kingdom” and says:

 

Our Father which art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done

in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Amen.

 

Next, I have added one line to the song, one which I suggest was originally present but which was deleted through errors in translation and oral transmission. In the third doublet I have added the line in bold caps:

 

Give us this day our daily bread,
AS WE SHARE WITH THOSE IN NEED.

 

Although this line is missing from all known versions of the prayer, there is reason to believe that this line or something similar to it was originally part of the prayer. First, Hebrew prayers generally were written in doublets. Either the same idea is repeated with different wording or there is a paring of linked thoughts. There is frequent alliteration in Hebrew poetry, but little or no rhyming.

 

The 23rd Psalm is a good example: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want …”. Theologians call it Hebrew parallelism. It was the way the Hebrews did poetry.

 

So, from a structural point of view, without “as we share with those in need”, there is no parallelism to follow the “give us this day our daily bread” line.

 

Second, from a logical point of view, it would have been unlikely for one to ask God for daily bread without saying something about our sharing our bread with others. On this point James had this to say in James 2:15:

 

If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?

 

Next, I rewrote or reinterpreted the following doublet:

 

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

 

I propose that this was a bad translation from Aramaic into Greek. My reasoning derives from the book of James, in my opinion actually written by Jesus’ brother, who survived Jesus by 30 years and was the leader of the Jerusalem Essene disciples of Jesus.

 

The book of James focuses not on theology but on right living. The book of James may represent the closest we can come to the teachings of Jesus himself. James may have heard the incorrectly translated doublet in Greek asking God not to lead us into temptation. James may have been responding to the mistranslation when he wrote the following remarks found at James 1:12-13:

 

Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.

 

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

 

 

So I have rewritten this doublet to reflect James’ criticism:

 

May we not be tested;
But if we are, may we survive the test.

 

On December 8, 2016, Pope Francis was quoted by the New York Times as saying that the common rendering of one line in the prayer — “lead us not into temptation” — was “not a good translation” from ancient texts. “Do not let us fall into temptation,” you suggested, might be better because God does not lead people into temptation; Satan does.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/world/europe/pope-francis-lords-prayer-translation-temptation.html

 

I agree.

 

What I do not agree with is those who refer to Jesus as an illiterate peasant fisherman. If Jesus teachings resembled those of James, he would have not been illiterate. Nor do I agree with those who say that the book of James could not have been written by James, the brother of Jesus, because the Greek is the most polished of any book in the New Testament.

 

A better theory is that James himself did write the book of James, that he was an educated man, a polyglot as many Jews were and are today. It would be reasonable that James would speak Greek because Greek had been the language of rulers since the time of Alexander the Great.

 

Moreover, if James’ Greek was not good enough, he might have had help from from Greek speaking Judeo-Christian Essene Therapeutae from Alexandria. The Therapeutae were vegetarians as were the Essenes, and as were Jesus and his apostles.

 

Most scholars believe that the Epistle of James was written by someone other than James the brother of Jesus. The book appeared late in church history. However, it is important to note that it was first championed by Origen, who is connected with the church in Alexandria, where the Therapeutae may have preserved it.

 

I would contend that all of the Epistle of James was written by Jesus’ brother, except perhaps for James 2:10-11, which appears to be a probable Pauline interpolation and an incorrect disparagement of Jewish law:

 

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.  For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

 

Regarding the final lines of the prayer, “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Amen”, I would add the following speculation on my part:

 

It is possible that Jesus and his followers were students of the mystical and secret kabbalah, which in my opinion is a description of the mind of God, and because we are made in the image of God, a description of the human mind.

 

The Essenes, the vegetarian sect into which Jesus was probably born, the church before Jesus, studied a “twofold philosophy of ” … “the contemplation of God’s being and the origin of the universe.” (Philo, Quod Omnis Probus Liber, xii.; “Gnosticism,” “Cabala,” www.JewishEncyclopedia.com.)

 

The bottom three sefirot of the kabbalistic tree in descending order are Yod, Yesod, and Malkuth, which in reverse order are “the kingdom, the power, and the glory” of the Lord’s Prayer. (Matthew 6:9-15.) Although these words are missing from the versions in Matthew and Luke, they are to be found in Didache 9:5 and in the Byzantine version.

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Sincerely,

James Robert Deal
Real Estate Attorney & Real Estate Managing Broker

James@JamesDeal.com
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