O Clavis David – O Key of David Antiphon for December 20

Today is O Antiphon #4

O Clavis David ~ O Key of David

Keys are interesting things. They come in all kinds of sizes from small to large. They open things, close things, lock things up, start things and the list goes on. Keys are used in the Bible as a means to explain or illustrate different concepts. I am reminded of our Catechism study in preparation for Confirmation. We learned about the Office of the Keys.

The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22–23)

St. Peter was given the Keys to the Kingdom of heaven in Matthew 16: 13-20 and specifically:

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16: 19

But what of the O Clavis David, or the Keys of David? The prophecy comes from Isaiah:

“I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.” Isaiah 22:22

“His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.” Isaiah 9:7

“…To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Isaiah 42:7

Latin Verse:

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;

qui aperis, et nemo claudit;

claudis, et nemo aperit:

veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,

sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

English Translation:

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;

you open and no one can shut;

you shut and no one can open:

Come and lead the prisoners from the prision house,

those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.


Yesterday, we noted that O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Hymn 357 in LSB (Lutheran Service Book), had special verses for each of the Antiphons. All of the verses to date are listed below.  For those of other faiths, please check your hymnal or songbook for  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

December 17:

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth

of the Most High, pervading and

Permeating all creation, mightily

ordering | all things:*

Come and teach us the way

of | prudence.

December 18:

O Adonai and ruler of the house of

Israel, who appeared to Moses in

the burning bush and gave him the

Law on | Sinai:*

Come with an outstretched arm

and re- | deem us.

December 19:

O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign

before the peoples, before whom all

kings are mute, to whom the nations

will do | homage:*

Come quickly to de- | liver us.

December 20:

O Key of David and scepter of the 

house of Israel, You open and no one

can close, You close and no one

can | open:*

Come and rescue the prisoners who

are in darkness and the shad- | ow

of death.


The words of the hymn are very similar.


For those interested in learning more about today’s antiphons – please visit with your pastor. Maybe this will inspire a few Bible studies to delve into this the O Antiphons.

Soli Deo Gloria



The O Clavis David design is available on custom created church vestments and altar hangings as well as a machine embroidery design for those who wish to create their own items.

For more information please contact us at Ecclesiastical Sewing.





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