The importance of the “O Antiphons” is twofold. First, each one is a title for the Messiah. Secondly, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. The Latin antiphons are from the Breviarium Romanum, and the English versions, which are not always literal translations of the Latin, are from the Church of England’s Common Worship liturgy. Biblical quotations are from the NRSV.
- O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
- O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
[Verse 3] O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Antiphon Chant: O Radix Jesse
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Isaiah had prophesied:
- “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1
- “On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10
Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Also compare Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.