the benedictus is the song of Zechariah, after his child John was born. Zechariah's was struck dumb after he was told by the angel that his elderly and barren wife would bear his son. after the birth of the child, Zechariah agrees to name the child John as the angel had directed, and immediately thereafter he could speak, and proclaimed this song to his son. it is found at luke 1:68–79 in the bible.

this canticle has a special place in morning prayers, perhaps because of the line the dawn from on high shall break upon us.

blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
    he has come to his people and set them free.
he has raised up for us a mighty savior,
    born of the house of his servant David.
through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies,
    from the hands of all who hate us.
he promised to show mercy to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant.
this was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
    to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
    holy and righteous in his sight
    all the days of our life.
you, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
    by the forgiveness of their sins.
in the tender compassion of our God
    the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
    and to guide our feet into the way of peace.