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Knights Templar History

The Templars’ battle prayer

Praying Knight TemplarBefore engaging in battles, the Knights Templar responded to the sound of the trumpet by singing the psalm containing the Order’s famous motto: Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam (‘Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Thy name give glory’). This battle hymn would be often followed by a full-scale cavalry charge, the most impressive display of force known in the Middle Ages.

It is likely that the Knights rarely had the time to sing the entire Psalm. But it is also worth mentioning that the division of chapters in the book of Psalms during that time was different from what you will normally encounter in a modern Bible. As a result, simply looking at the text of KJV or NIV might be confusing. In modern editions the Templar motto begins Psalm 115. In actuality, the complete battle hymn probably resembled what we see in medieval manuscripts. The two texts, now known as Psalm 114 and Psalm 115, were combined into a single Psalm, now identified as Psalm 113  in the Vulgate (the commonly used text of the Latin Bible). This Psalm begins with the words In exitu Israhel de Aegypto (‘When Israel went out of Egypt’). The entire congregation would typically kneel during this phrase.


Fragment of ‘The Alphonso Psalter’ (c 1284-1316)

Psalmi 113 alleluia in exitu Israhel de Aegypto domus Iacob de populo barbaro

facta est Iudaea sanctificatio eius Israhel potestas eius

mare vidit et fugit Iordanis conversus est retrorsum

montes exultaverunt ut arietes colles sicut agni ovium

quid est tibi mare quod fugisti et tu Iordanis quia conversus es retrorsum

montes exultastis sicut arietes et colles sicut agni ovium

a facie Domini mota est terra a facie Dei Iacob

qui convertit petram in stagna aquarum et rupem in fontes aquarum

non nobis Domine non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam

10 super misericordia tua et veritate tua nequando dicant gentes ubi est Deus eorum

11 Deus autem noster in caelo omnia quaecumque voluit fecit

12 simulacra gentium argentum et aurum opera manuum hominum

13 os habent et non loquentur oculos habent et non videbunt

14 aures habent et non audient nares habent et non odorabuntur

15 manus habent et non palpabunt pedes habent et non ambulabunt non clamabunt in gutture suo

16 similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea et omnes qui confidunt in eis

17 domus Israhel speravit in Domino adiutor eorum et protector eorum est

18 domus Aaron speravit in Domino adiutor eorum et protector eorum est

19 qui timent Dominum speraverunt in Domino adiutor eorum et protector eorum est

20 Dominus memor fuit nostri et benedixit nobis benedixit domui Israhel benedixit domui Aaron

21 benedixit omnibus qui timent Dominum pusillis cum maioribus

22 adiciat Dominus super vos super vos et super filios vestros

23 benedicti vos Domino qui fecit caelum et terram

24 caelum caeli Domino terram autem dedit filiis hominum

25 non mortui laudabunt te Domine neque omnes qui descendunt in infernum

26 sed nos qui vivimus benedicimus Domino ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum


Psalm 114 When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language;

Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.

The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.

The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?

Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs?

Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;

Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

Psalm 115 Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?

But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

11 Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

12 The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

13 He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.

14 The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.

15 Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.

16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

17 The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

18 But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.



Psalm 113 (Vlg.) in ‘The Alphonso Psalter’

See also:

Knights Templar Prayer

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