Elizabeth Clephane 1830-1869
The words of this hymn were written as a poem published in a newspaper in Edinburgh. It was read by Dwight L. Moody as he was traveling by train to deliver a message on The Good Shepherd. As he finished the sermon Moody asked Ira Sankey to sing an appropriate song. He could think of nothing but the poem. He sat down at the organ and prayed as he begins to compose the music with the words one note at a time. The music has remained the same as he played it on that first day.
The Ninety and Nine
There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold; But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold. Away on the mountains wild and bare; Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“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-riv’n, And up from the rocky steep, There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n, “Rejoice! I have found My sheep!” And the angels echoed around the throne, “Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”