Brain Freeze: Joe Biden Attributes ‘On Eagle’s Wings’ Hymn to Psalm 23

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden visits Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden cited a Catholic hymn during a community meeting at the Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday, misattributing the hymn’s lyrics to the biblical Psalm 23.

Speaking at the church as part of his presidential campaign, Mr. Biden said he had recently spoken by phone to shooting victim Jacob Blake, who told him “nothing was going to defeat him” and “whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up.”

“We talked about a Psalm in my church, father, based on the 23rd Psalm,” Biden said, looking up at the Rev. Jonathan Barker. “May he raise you up on eagles’ wings and bear you on the breath of dawn until we … And keep you and hold you in the palm of his hand until we meet again”:

Biden was citing the lyrics of the 1979 Catholic hymn by Father Michael Joncas called “On Eagles’ Wings.” The refrain to that song reads, “And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand.”

The words of the refrain are not taken from any psalm but are loosely inspired by Exodus 19:4, Isaiah 49:16, and Matthew 13:43.

Psalm 23, which the former vice president referenced, is perhaps the most famous of the 150 Psalms in the Bible and begins with “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Biden has recently come under fire from Catholic prelates who have questioned his self-description as a good and faithful Catholic, noting his public stance against Church teaching regarding abortion, same-sex marriage, and school choice.


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