The sayings spoken by Jesus as he died on the cross – also known as the seven last words from the cross – are recorded in the four Gospels. Haydn's Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze is part of a long tradition of setting those 'seven last words' to music.
John XIX: 17-18
Then they seized hold of Jesus. And carrying his own cross, he started out towards what is known as “the place of the skull”, in Hebrew “Golgotha”. There, they crucified him.
Susceperunt Jesum, et eduxerunt. Et bajulants sibi, exivit in eum qui dicitur Calvariae locum, hebraice autem Golgotha, ubi crucificrunt cum.
Luke XXIII: 34
As well as the criminals, one to his right and one to his left. Jesus said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Et latrones, unum a dextris, et alterum a sinitris. Jesus autem decebat: "Pater, dimitte illis ; non enim sciunt quid faciunt".
Luke XXII: 39-43
One of the criminals hanging from a nailed to the cross insulted him: "Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us as well.” The other one, rebuking him, said in reply: “You have no fear of God, though you are under the same sentence! We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom”. And Jesus answered him: "Truly, I say to you: today you will be with me in Paradise."
Unus autem de his qui pendebant latronibus, blasphemabat eum, dicens: Si tu es Christus, salvum fac temetipsum, et nos. Respondens autem alter increpabat eum, ducens : Neque tu times eum, Quod in cadem damnatione es. Et nos quidem juste, nam digna factis recipimus, hie Jesum : Domine memento mei, cum veneris in regnum tuum. Et dixit illi Jesus. Amen dico tibi, "hodie mecum eris in Paradisio".
John XIX: 25-27
Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary the Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and his beloved disciple, he said to his mother: "Woman, here is your son".
Stabant autum juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus, et sonor matris ejus. Maria Cleophae, et Maria Magdalene. Cum vidisset ergo Jesus matrem, et discipulum standem quem diligebat, dicit matri suae: "Mulier ecce filius tuus."
Matthew XXVII: 45-47
From the sixth hour, darkness came over all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" That is to say: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
A sexta autem hora tenebrae factae sunt super universam terram usque ad horam nonam. Et circa horam nonam clamavit Jesus voce magna, dicens: "Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani ?" hoc est: "Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquistime ?"
John XIX: 28-29
Knowing that everything had now been accomplished, so Scripture may be fulfilled, Jesus said: "I thirst". A jar full of vinegar stood there, so they attached a sponge soaked with vinegar on a hyssop branch and lifted it to his lips. After Jesus drank the vinegar, he said: "It is finished".
Postea sciens Jesus quia omnia consummata sunt, ut consummaretur Scriptura dixit: "Sitio". Vas ergo erat positum aceto plenum. Illi autem spongian plenam aceto, hyssopo circumponentes, obtulerunt oris ejus. Cum ergo accepisset Jesus acetum, dixit: "Consummatum est".
Luke XXIII: 44-46
Darkness fell over the earth... And the veil of the temple was torn in two Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit".
Tenebrae factae sunt in universam terram... Et obscuratus est sol, et velum templi scissum est medium. Et clamans voce magna Jesus ait: "Pater, in manus tuas comendo spiritum meum".