Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
  Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
  His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
  To set the captive free;
To take away transgression,
  And rule in equity.
He shall come down like showers
  Upon the fruitful earth;
And love, joy, hope, like flowers,
  Spring in His path to birth:
Before Him on the mountains
  Shall peace, the herald, go;
And righteousness, in fountains,
  From hill to valley flow.
Kings shall fall down before Him,
  And gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore Him,
  His praise all people sing;
For He shall have dominion
  O’er river, sea, and shore,
Far as the eagle’s pinion,
  Or dove’s light wing can soar.
To Him shall prayer unceasing
  And daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing,
  A kingdom without end.
The mountain dews shall nourish
  A seed in weakness sown,
Whose fruit shall spread and flourish,
  And shake like Lebanon.
O’er every foe victorious
  He on His throne shall rest,
From age to age more glorious,
  All-blessing and all-blest.
The tide of time shall never
  His covenant remove;
His Name shall stand forever,
  His changeless Name of Love.
Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

James Montgomery (says Dr. Breed) is “distinguished as the only layman besides William Cowper among hymn writers of the front rank in the English language. ” How many millions have recited and sung his fine descriptive poem, ––

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,

–– selections from almost any part of the poem which are perfect definitions, and have been standard hymns on prayer for many generations. English hymnody also highly regards his missionary hymns, —

The King of glory we proclaim.

Hark, the song of Jubilee!

— and greatest of all, the lyric of prophecy and praise which heads this stanza;

Hail to the Lord’s anointed,

King David’s greater Son!

Hail, in time appointed

His reign on earth begun.

This hymn is really the 72nd psalm in meter, and it could be considered to be as high in vision as that of Isaac Watts. Montgomery wrote it as a Christmas ode. It was sung December 25, 1821, at a Moravian Convocation, but in 1822 he recited at a great missionary meeting in Liverpool, and Dr. Adam Clark was so pleased with it that he inserted it in his famous “Commentary”. Soon thereafter, it found its way into general use.

The spirit of his missionary parents was Montgomery’s Christian legacy, and in exalted poetical moments it stirred him as the divine inspiration which kindled the spirit of the prophets of old.

(Brown and Butterworth)

Coralee J. Smith

Nassau, Bahamas

Thank you so much! One of my favourite hymns! Whenever I hear it, I know Christmas is near!

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

In April, 1822 James Montgomery was speaking in Liverpool at a Methodist missionary meeting. It was a time when the English were waking up to foreign missions, and numerous meetings like this one were presenting worldwide needs and commissioning new workers. Montgomery himself was a Moravian and already a noted hymnwriter. He loved to promote missionary zeal whenever he could.

As the hymnwriter spoke, the lights suddenly went out in the building. Then there was a loud crash as the back of a seat was broken in the darkness. For a moment it seemed that mass panic might ensue. But then the chairman [Adam Clarke] of the meeting called out, "There is still light within," and Montgomery resumed speaking. The crowd calmed down, listening in the darkness. Montgomery concluded his words by reciting this newly written hymn, "Hail to the Lord's Anointed." - Great Songs of Faith by Brown and Norton


This hymn is based on Psalm 72. Adam Clark used this hymn in his famous commentary on that psalm.


There are additional stanzas. The 2nd & 3rd stanzas are:

2. He comes in succor speedy

to those who suffer wrong;

To help the poor and needy,

and bid the weak be strong;

To give them songs for sighing,

their darkness turn to light,

Whose souls, condemned and dying,

were precious in His sight.


3. By such shall He be fearèd

while sun and moon endure;

Beloved, obeyed, reverèd;

for He shall judge the poor

Through changing generations,

with justice, mercy, truth,

While stars maintain their stations,

or moons renew their youth.


The 5th stanza following hymnal.net stanza #2:

5. Arabia’s desert ranger

to Him shall bow the knee;

The Ethiopian stranger

His glory come to see;

With offerings of devotion

ships from the isles shall meet,

To pour the wealth of oceans

in tribute at His feet.