There were ninety and nine that safely lay

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
  In the shelter of the flock,
But one was out on the hills away,
  Far off in the cold and dark;
Away on the mountains wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
  Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
  Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”
But none of the ransomed ever knew
  How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night which the Lord passed through
  Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the bleak desert He heard its cry—
All bleeding and helpless, and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
  That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
  Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”
And all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
  And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a cry to the gate of heaven,
  “Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”
(Repeat the last line of each stanza)

A classic much used and much blessed under the labor of D. L. Moody

Carol Sankey Huff

Pittsburgh, PA, United States

It is wonderful to read the comments about my distant relative. Indeed, it is a beautiful hymn.

Jeanne Blakely

Canandaigua, NY, United States

Just love this, as did my mother. We have so many lost sheep!!!!!

Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

In Fergus, Ontario, Canada, lies the body of the man for whom was written the hymn “The Ninety and Nine“… George Clephane, was known as a remittance man, came to Canada to try farming about the year 1842. His efforts at farming were not a success, a failure which led to indulgence in strong drink. The habit grew with his despondency, and during one of these bouts, while living with a medical doctor friend at Fergus, he died.

His sister Elizabeth had her brother in mind when she penned these now famous lines which were not in print until after her death. They were first published in the “Children’s Hour” and then copied in various magazines. It was Mr. Sankey who saw the poem in a magazine, cut it out and put it in his note case.

At an evangelistic meeting in Edinburgh Scotland, in 1874, a sister of George and Elizabeth Clephane happened to be in the audience when Mr. moody—after his talk on the Good Shepherd—remarked to Sankey, “sing something appropriate, Sankey. ”

Sankey said that he prayed for a tune. The answer came as he put his hands on the organ keys, and sang for the first time tender lines of the hymn penned by a sister for her brother in a far-away Canada.

Levi's Mom

Starkville, Mississippi, United States

Steve Miller of Detroit Michigan. You commented in 2014 with the story behind this poem/song. Thank you. I'm certain the author is Ira David Sankey, but I thought I should ask.

Olive Martin Lewis

Tobago, Trinidad And Tobago

The Spirit of the LORD brought this hymn to my mind as I prayed for backsliders. Precious LORD JESUS did it all for our souls. Deep searching lyrics.. some verses never heard. Bless you . Thanks alot for the song in JESUS Mighty Name.

Heidi Browning

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States

What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!

What a wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord!


Southington, CT, United States

What a beautiful picture in song of our loving Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ!


SI, New York, United States

Wow! God is always good. CHRIST died for everyone and ANYONE. GOD IS LOVE.

Ashley Hardingham

Altrincham, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Only loosely based on Luke 15. Read it and find where the shepherd left the 99!

Stanley Simpson

Clarence Creek, ON, Canada

I am sure the author had Luke 15 in mind when he penned this song, it brings me to tears whenever I think about it.