A Picture Worth a Thousand Words - by Rolf A. F. Witzsche


‘Jesu Meine Freude,’

EIRNS/Gene Schenk


John Sigerson conducting LaRouche Youth Movement chorus, 

The Science of Music
performing Bach Motet, ‘Jesu Meine Freude,’ in Jan. 2005, in Washington, D.C,

Jesu Mine Freude

Click to play the music it -- or right-click to download

Notes on the translation:

by Alan Ogden


  1. I am offering this translation for the benefit of those in the LaRouche Youth Movement (and others) who are studying the motet, but who may not be readers of German and should not be tempted to rely on the English language version of the text written in the choral score below the German original. That existing translation, though singable, is usually misleading as to the actual meaning of Bach's German text: often the meaning is watered down and obscured, or worse. I think my translation, though not metrical, rhyming, or singable, is far closer to the intended meaning, and will therefore help those studying the motet.

  2. Of the eleven sections of this motet, Bach’s choices of the text for sections 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, are taken directly from the New Testament, verses 1, 2, 9, 10, and 11, respectively, of the eighth chapter of the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans. Rather than a line-by-line translation of Bach's German language Bible text into English, I simply set the common English King James Version text of the same verses next to the German text.

  3. In many cases, including the Bible verses, Bach's choral setting involves repetitions of phrases or parts of phrases. For clarity I have left out most of these repetitions, simply writing once, what may repeated many times in the choral text.


1.) Choral, S-A-T-B in 4/4

Jesu, meine Freude
Meines herzens Weide,
Jesu meine Zier,
Ach, wie lang,
Ach lange is dem Herzen bange,
Und verlangt nach dir!
Gottes Lamm, mein Braeutigam,
Ausser dir
soll mir auf Erden
Nichts liebers werde

(2.) S-S-A-T-B in 3/2 (Poco Adagio)
(See Romans 8:1)

Es ist nun nichts, nichts,
nichts Verdammliches
an denen, die
in Christo Jesu sind,
die nicht nach dem Fleische wandeln,
sondern nach dem Geist.

(3) Chorals S-S-S-T-B in 4/4/

Unter deinem Schirmen
Bin ich vor den Stuerm
Aller Feinde frei.
Lass den Satan wittern,
Lass dem Feind erbittern,
mir steht Jesus bei!
Ob es itzt
gleich kracht und blitzt,
Ob gleich Suend und Hoelle schrecken;
Jesus will mich dekken.

(4.) S-S-A in 3/4

Denn das Gesetz des Geistes,
der da lebendi machet
in Christo Jesu,
hat mich frei gemacht,
hat mich frei von den Gesetz
der Suende und des Todes

(5.) S-S-A-T-B in 3/4
(L'istesso tempo)

Trotz, trotz dem alten Drachen
dem alten Drachen,
Trotz, trotz des Todes Rachen
Trotz der Furcht darzu!

Tobe, tobe, tobe Welt,
und springe;
Ich steh hier und singe
in gar sich'rer Ruh!

Gottes Macht haelt mir
in acht;
Erd und Abgrund,
Erd und Abgrund
muss verstummen,
Ob sie noch so brummen

(6.) S-S-A-T-B
(allegro non tanto) in 4/4 
(See Romans 8:9)

Ihr aber seid nicht fleischlich,
sondern geistlich.
So anders Gottes Geist
in euch wohnet. //
Aber Christi Geist nicht hat
der ist nicht sein.

(7.) Chorale S-A-T-B in 4/4

Weg mit allen Schaetzen
Du bist mein Ergoetzen,
Jesu meine Lust!
Weg, ihr eitlen Ehren,
Ich mag euch nicht hoeren,
Bleibt mir unbewusst!
Elend, Not, Kreuz,
Schmach und Tod
Soll mich, ob es viel
muss leiden,
Nicht von Jesu scheiden.

(8.) A-T-B in 12/8

So aber Christus, in euch ist
So ist der Leib zwar tot
Um der Suende willen
der Geist aber ist das Lebe
um der Gerechtigkeit willen.

(9.) S-S-A- in2/4

Gute Nacht, o Wesen,
Das die Welt erlesen,
Gute Nacht, o Wesen,
Mir gefaellst du nicht!
Gute nacht ihr Suenden,
Bleibet weit dahinten,
Kommt nicht mehr ans Licht!
Gute Nacht du Stolz und Pracht,

Gute Nacht!
Dir sei ganz, du Lasterleben
Gute Nacht, gute Nacht gegeben.

(10.) S-S-A-T-B in 3/2
(See Romans 8:11)

So nun der Geist,
des, der Jesum von den Toten
   auferwekket hat,
in euch wohnet,
so wird auch derselbige
der Christum von den Toten
auferwekket hat,
eure sterbliche Leiber
   lebendig machen,
um des willen,
dass sein Geist wohnet,
um des willen
   dass sein Geist in euch wohnet

(11.) Chorale S-A-T-B in 4/4

Weicht, ihr Trauergeister,

dem mein Freudenmeister,
Jesu tritt herein.
Denen, die Gott lieben,
muss auch ihr Betreuben
Lauter Wonne sein.
Duld ich schon hier
   Spott und Hohn,
Dennoch bleibst du
   auch im Leide,**
Jesu meine Freude
** “das Leiden Christi” is a term
 for "the Passion of Christ"


Jesus, my joy,
The food of my heart,
Jesus my Honor,
Ah, how long,
How long will my heart be anxious
And longing for Thee!
Lamb of God, my bridegroom,
Outside of Thee,
Could nothing on earth
be dear for me

There is therefore now
no condemnation
to them who
are in Christ Jesus,
who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit

Under Thy shelter,
before the tumult
am I free of all enemies.
Let Satan smell it,
Let the Foe be incensed,
Jesus stands by me!
Whether it terrifies at the moment
like thunder and lightning,
Whether like sin and hell,
Jesus will protect me.

For the law of the Spirit
of life
in Christ Jesus
hath made me free
from the law
of sin and death.

Defy, defy the old Dragon,
the old Dragon,
Defy, defy the jaws of death
Defy the fear of it!

Rage, rage, rage, world,
and break;
I stand here and sing
in absolutely certain peace!

The power of God holds me
in its attention;
Earth and the Abyss
Earth and the Abyss
must be struck dumb,
even would they snarl.

But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Sprit of God
dwell in you. //

Now if any man have not
the spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.

Away with all treasures,
Thou art my delight —
Jesus my desire!
Away, you vain honors,
I am not willing to hear you,
Remain unknown to me!
Misery, distress, the Cross,
insult, and death —
though I must
suffer much — shall not
separate me from Jesus

And if Christ be in you
The body is dead,
Because of sin;
but the spirit is life
because of righteousness.

Good night, oh existence,
which the world selects,
Good night, oh existence,
You do not please me.
Good night you sins,
Stay far behind me,
Come no more into the light!
Good night you arrogance and luxury,
Good night!
To you, you life of depravity
Good night, I say good night.

But if the spirit
of him who raised
Jesus from the dead
dwell in you,
He that raised
Christ from the dead,

will raise your
mortal bodies,
by his spirit

that dwelleth in you.

Give way, you spirits
of sadness,
to my Master of joy,
Jesus enters in.
For them who love God,
must their afflictions also
be pure delight.
No doubt, here I suffer
mockery and scorn,
Yet you also endure
Jesus, my joy.


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