Sebhat laAmlak (1925)

The first edition of Sebhat laAmlak was edited by Rev. Olle Eriksson (SEM) in cooperation with Josef Svensson (SMBV). It was published in 1917 A.M. [1924/25 A.D.].

Source: Marianne Nilsson collection

For further study

Arén, Gustav (1999). Envoys of the Gospel in Ethiopia: In the Steps of the Evangelical Pioneers 1898-1936 (Studia Missionalia Upsaliensis, 75). Stockholm: EFS förlaget; Addis Ababa: The [Ethiopian] Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.

Qes Gebre-Sillassé`s pastoral ministry gave Eriksson more time for literary work. An enlarged edition of the hymnbook Sebhat LeAmlak was ready for the printing-press in 1924.
The new edition had been prepared jointly by the Swedish Mission Bibeltrogna Vänner [SMBV] and the Swedish Evangelical Mission [SEM].
It contained 135 hymns.
Fifty-two were taken from Lundahl’s hymnbook after due revision of all but six hymns.

Of the new hymns
fifty were attributed to Eriksson,
ten to ‘B.V.’ (Bibeltrogna Vänner) and
twelve to various Ethiopian hymnists [Q: Add names?].
Five hymns might have Waldensian background,
whereas the origin of the remaining five is uncertain.

[Fn 90: The hymnbook appeared from the SEM printing-press in Asmera in 1925. The foreword was signed by Mr Josef Svensson for the SMBV and by Rev. O. Eriksson for the SEM.]

All the hymns were patterned on western models for singing to western melodies. No attempt was yet made to compose Ethiopian hymns for congregational singing to indigenous strains. [p. 206]

Yet, a change can be traced. Eriksson had made liturgical chant a regular feature of the order of Sunday worship.
[Fn 91: See p. 193]

The hymns of Sebhat LeAmlak were followed by eleven versicles taken from the psalms of David
[Fn 92: The versicles were from Psalms 1, 24, 39, 42, 48, 51, 65, 71, 84, 92, and 137]

in orthodox circles the most highly esteemed portion of Holy Scripture. The versicles were arranged after different patterns. The various short sentences might be said or sung alternately by the leader and the congregation, or by the women alternately with the men and everybody assembled. Like the hymns the versicles should be used both at home and in church.

[Fn 93: See ‘Preface’ and pp. 202-208. No melodies were indicated. Mezmur Selam, the Tigrinya hymnbook of 1923, included the same eleven versicles but only for alternate singing by one person and a choir.]

Arén (1999), p. 205-06 [Some linebreaks added]