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The biblical roots of the “O Key of David” antiphon

king David playing harp

Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/19/22

The "O Key of David" antiphon refers to a biblical prophecy found in the book of Isaiah.

The fourth Great Antiphon in the last week of Advent refers to the “Key of David,” which is mentioned in another prophecy from the book of Isaiah.

The current translation of the antiphon is below.

O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

The reference to the “Key of David” is a prophecy from the book of Isaiah.

I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;
    what he opens, no one will shut,
    what he shuts, no one will open.

Isaiah 22:22

The original Latin antiphon also talks about the “Scepter” of the House of Israel, which is a reference to the book of Genesis.

The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
    or the mace from between his feet,
Until tribute comes to him,
    and he receives the people’s obedience.

Genesis 49:10

The Messiah is the one who will open to us the gates of Heaven and free us from our prison of darkness.

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