This hymn was originally a 14th-century metrical version of the Jewish Doxology, traditionally used in daily morning synagogue services. After hearing a Jewish cantor sing the tune, the English hymnist Thomas Olivers translated the work and wrote a hymn around it. It was one of only a handful of hymns attributed to Olivers, who said of the work:
“I have rendered it from the Hebrew, giving it, as far as I could, a Christian character, and I have called on Leoni [the cantor Lyon] who has given me a synagogue melody to suit it.”
Olivers was a cobbler who lived such an ungodly life that he was forced to leave his hometown, Montgomeryshire. He was brought to faith after hearing a sermon from George Whitefield and eventually became a Methodist preacher.