Understanding Bach’s Saint Matthew’s Passion: three clues

Three classic typologies one has to know, to understand the opening Chorus of the SMP, and the role of the dramatis personae in the Passion. All three are neatly presented to the attentive listener in the Opening Chorus. They refer to Christ and suggest an interpretation of the events that will be told in the ‘Passion’:
The Lamb
the Groom (+ Bride[smaids], the daughters of Sion)
Isaac, Abraham’s son.

Come, ye daughters, help me lament,
Behold! Whom? The Bridegroom.
Behold him! How? Like a lamb.
O lamb of God, innocent
slaughtered on the stem of the cross,
Behold! What? Behold his patience.
always found patient,
although you were despised.
Behold! Where? Behold our guilt.
you have borne all sin,
otherwise we would have to despair.
Behold Him, out of love and graciousness,
Himself carrying the wood of the cross.
Have mercy on us, o Jesus!
Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen,
Sehet – Wen? – den Bräutigam,
Seht ihn – Wie? – als wie ein Lamm!
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig
Am Stamm des Kreuzes geschlachtet,
Sehet, – Was? – seht die Geduld,
Allzeit erfunden geduldig,
Wiewohl du warest verachtet.
Seht – Wohin? – auf unsre Schuld;
All Sünd hast du getragen,
Sonst müßten wir verzagen.
Sehet ihn aus Lieb und Huld
Holz zum Kreuze [selber] tragen!
Erbarm dich unser, o Jesu!
  1. the Paschal Lamb, sacrificial animal, slaughtered at Pesach. Its blood rescued the Israelites from the Angel of Death, ushering in the Exodus. In Christian theology this imagery is incorporated in Christ when he is called the Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi (German choral: O Lamm Gottes unschuldig).
  2. Jesus as the Bridegroom, whose fate is bemoaned by the women along the road (Gospel of Matthew). These women are addressed by Jesus as the Daughters of Sion/Jerusalem. They are invited to help telling the story of Jesus’ passion correctly. It’s a reference to the friends of the girl/Bride, the bridesmaids from the Song of Songs, The allegorical reading of this Bible Book was quintessential to the Spirituality of the (Lutheran) Church. There is also a reference to the parables of the bridesmaids waiting for the Groom to arrive. The Bride has a twofold reference:
    A. Community of Believers (collectivum), the Church;
    B. The Soul of the believer (individual)
  3. Isaac, Abraham’s son, carrying the ‘wood’ for his own sacrifice (typos of Christ carrying his cross), also quoted for his willingness to comply with his F(f)ather’s command, to be sacrificed.

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