Johann Sebastian Bach

St. Matthew Passion

Part II








Chorus (groups, crowds)


Daughter of Zion:


Aria (Alto) with Chorus
Ah! My Jesus has gone now.
Where then is your friend gone,
0 fairest among women?
Is it possible? Can I see it?
Where has your friend strayed?
Ah! My lamb in the tiger's clutches!
Ah!  Where has my Jesus gone?
Then we will see him with you.
Ah! What shall I tell my soul
when it asks me full of fear?
Ah! Where has my Jesus gone?


Evangelist Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome. The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.


The world has judged me deceitfully
with lies and with false promises,
with many a snare and secret plot.
Lord, guard me in this danger,
shield me from false deceits.




But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared,

This fellow said, "I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days."


Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus,

My Jesus holds his peace
before false lies,
so as to show us
that his merciful will
is bent on suffering for our sake;
and that, in like agony,
we should be like him,
and hold our peace in time of persecution.
High Priest Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?


But Jesus remained silent.


Recit (Tenor)


Aria (Tenor)
Patience, patience,
even when false tongues sting me.
Contrary to my guilt I suffer
abuse and mockery.
Ah, then, may dear God
avenge my heart's innocence.
Patience, patience . . .



The high priest said to him,

High Priest I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.


Jesus replied,


Yes, it is as you say. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.


Then the high priest tore his clothes and said,

High Priest He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?


They answered,



He is worthy of death.



Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said,



Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?


Who has buffeted You so,
my Salvation, and with torments
so harshly used You?
You are indeed not a sinner
like us and our children;
of misdeeds You know nothing.
38a Evangelist

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him and said,

Woman You also were with Jesus of Galilee.


But he denied it before them all, saying,

Peter I don't know what you're talking about.


Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there,

Woman This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.


He denied it again, with an oath, saying,

Peter I don't know the man!


After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said,

38b Bystanders

Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.


Have mercy,
my God, for my tears' sake;
Look here, my heart and eyes
weep bitterly before you.
Have mercy!
my God, for my tears' sake.
38c Evangelist

Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, saying,

Peter I don't know the man!


Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.


Aria (Alto)


Although I have strayed from You,
yet I have returned again;
for your Son has reconciled us
through his agony and mortal pain.
I do not deny my guilt
but my grace and favour
is far greater than the sin
which I ever confess in myself.
41a Evangelist

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders, saying,

Judas I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood.


And they said,

41b Priests

What is that to us? That's your responsibility.

41c Evangelist

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said,

Chief Priests It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.


Aria (Bass)
Give me back my Jesus!
See, the money, the wages of murder,
the lost son throws at you,
down at your feet.
Give me back my Jesus!


43 Evangelist

So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me." Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him,

Pilate Are you the king of the Jews?


Jesus replied,


Yes, it is as you say.


When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him,

Pilate Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?


But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge--to the great amazement of the governor.


Commend your way
and whatever troubles your heart
to the sure care of him,
who controls the heavens;
he who gives clouds, air and winds
their paths, course and track,
he will also find ways
where your feet can walk.
45a Evangelist

Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them,

Pilate Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?


For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message,

Pilate's Wife Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.


But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. The governor asked them,

Pilate Which of the two do you want me to release to you?


They answered,




Pilate asked,

Pilate What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?

How miraculous indeed is this punishment!
The good shepherd suffers for the sheep;
the Master, righteous as he is, pays the
penalty for his vassals!

They all answered,

45b Crowd

Crucify him!





Pilate asked again,

He has done good to us all.
He gave sight to the blind,
the lame he made to walk;
he told us his father's word,
he drove the devils forth;
the wretched he has raised up;
he received and sheltered sinners;
nothing else has my Jesus done.
Pilate Why? What crime has he committed?


Recitative (Soprano)


Aria (Soprano)
Out of love my Saviour is willing to die,
though he knows nothing of any sin,
so that eternal ruin
and the punishment of judgment
may not rest upon my soul.
Out of love . . .

50a Evangelist

But they shouted all the louder,

50b Crowd

Crucify him!

50c Evangelist

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said,

Pilate I am innocent of this man's blood, It is your responsibility!


All the people answered,

Have mercy, God!
Here stands the Saviour bound.
0 scourging, o blows, o wounds!
You tormentors, cease!
Are you not softened by the pain
of your souls,
nor by the sight of such grief?
Ah yes, you have a heart,
that must be like the whipping post
or even harder still.
Have mercy, cease!
50d Crowd

Let his blood be on us and on our children!



Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.


Recitative (Alto)


Aria (Alto)
If the tears on my cheeks can
achieve nothing,
O, then take my heart!,
But let it, for the streams,
when the wounds bleed gently,
also be the sacrificial cup.
53a Evangelist

Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him, saying,

53b Soldiers

Hail, king of the Jews!

0 head, full of blood and wounds,
full of sorrow and full of scoffing!
0 head, wreathed for mockery
with a crown of thorns!
0 head, once beautifully adorned
with highest honour and renown,
but now highly abused:
Let me hail You!

Your noble countenance,
before which shrinks and cowers
the mightiest of world powers,
how You are spat upon!
How pallid You are,
who has treated your eyes! light,
that no light else can equal,
so shamefully amiss?

53c Evangleist

They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.


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After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

Yes! gladly is the flesh and blood in us
compelled to the Cross;
the more it benefits our souls,
the more painfully it weighs.


Recit (Bass)


Aria (Bass)
Come, sweet cross, I will say then:
My Jesus, give it always to me.
Should my pain become too heavy,
then help me to carry it myself.
58a Evangelist

They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying,

58b Onlookers

You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God

58c Evangelist

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him, saying,

58d Scribes

He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, "I am the Son of God."

Alas, Golgotha, hapless Golgotha!
The Lord of Glory
must wretchedly perish here;
the blessing and salvation of the world
is placed on the cross like a curse.
From the Creator of heaven and earth,
earth and air shall be taken away.
The guiltless must die here guilty.
That strikes deeply into my soul;
Alas, Golgotha, hapless Golgotha!
58e Evangelist

In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.


Recit (Alto)

Daughter of Zion:


Aria (Alto) with Chorus
See, Jesus had his hand streched out to grasp us.
In Jesus' arms Seek redemption, find mercy.
In Jesus' arms; live, die, rest there,
you forsaken chickens.
In Jesus' arms.
61a Evangelist

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice


Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?


--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of those standing there heard this, they said,

61b Onlookers

He's calling Elijah.

61c Evangelist

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said,

61d Onlookers

Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.

61e Evangelist

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.



When once I must depart,
do not depart from me!
When I must suffer death,
then stand by me!
When I most full of fear
at heart shall be,
then snatch me from the terrors
of fear and pain by your strength.



At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed,

63b Onlookers

Surely he was the Son of God!

63c Evangelist

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.

In the evening, when it was cool,
Adam's fall was manifest.
In the evening the Redeemer casts him down;
In the evening the dove returned
and carried an olive leaf in its mouth.
0 beautiful time! 0 evening hour!
Peace is now made with God,
for Jesus has endured his cross.
His body comes to rest.
Ah, dear soul, I pray you
go, bid them give you the dead Jesus.
0 wholesome, 0 precious keepsake!
64 Recitative (Bass)


Aria (Bass)
Make yourself clean, my heart,
I will myself entomb Jesus,
for He shall henceforth in me,
for ever and ever,
take his sweet rest.
World, begone, let Jesus in!
Make yourself . . .
66a Evangelist

Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate, and said,

66b Pharisees

Sir, we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, "After three days I will rise again." So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.

Daughter of Zion:
Now the Lord ist brought to rest.
My Jesus, good night!
The toil is done which our sins made for him.
My Jesus, good night!
0 blessed limbs, see, how I weep for You
with penance and remorse
that my fall brought You into such distress.
My Jesus, good night!
Take, while life lasts,
a thousand thanks for your Passion,
for prizing my soul's good so dearly.
My Jesus, good night!
66c Evangelist

Pilate answered,

Pilate Take a guard, go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.


So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.


Recitative (Bass, Tenor, Alto, Soprano) with Chorus


We sit down in tears
and call to You in the tomb:
Rest softly, softly rest!
Rest, exhausted limbs,
Rest softly, rest well.
Your grave and tombstone
shall for the unquiet conscience
be a comfortable pillow
and the soul's resting place.
In utmost bliss the eyes slumber there.
We sit down . . .




--- End of Part II ---

--- End of St. Matthew Passion ---

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