(Meditative; of Asaph’s.)
78 Give ear to my instructions, my people,
bend your ears to the say of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a lesson of history,
will stream mysterious facts from ancient time.
3 What we have heard and know
and our fathers have told us
4 We will not conceal from their children,
telling the tale to a later generation,
Jehovah’s praises and his feats of might
and the wonders that he did
5 And set up a testimony in Jacob
and established a code of instructions in Israel
Which he commanded our fathers
to make known to their children,
6 In order that a later generation might know,
children that were to be born,
Might stand up and tell the story to their children,
7 to have them set their confidence in God
And not forget Deity’s doings
but keep his commandments,
8 And not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that had not set its heart firm
and whose spirit was not loyal to Deity;
9 Sons of Ephraim who, archers armed,
turned round on a day of combat.
10 They did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to go by his instructions,
11 And forgot his deeds
and his wonders that he had showed them.
12 Before their fathers he did wonderfully,
in Egypt, the countryside of Soan.
13 He split a sea and brought them through,
standing the water up as if in a heap,
14 And guided them by a cloud by day
and at night by a light of fire.
15 He cracked open rocks in the wilderness
and gave drink as abundant as the deeps,
16 And brought out a flow from a crag
and made water come down like rivers.
17 But they went right on sinning against him,
disobeying the Most High in the land of drought,
18 And had the thought of putting Deity on trial,
asking for food for their appetites,
19 And talked at God, said
“Can Deity set a table in the wilderness?
20 Here he has struck a rock
and water ran out and arroyos ran in freshet,
Can he give bread too
or provide meat for his people?”
21 So Jehovah heard and was furious,
and a fire broke out in Jacob
and anger at Israel came up withal,
22 Because they did not have faith in God
nor put their trust in his salvation;
23 And he gave orders to the heavens above
and opened the doors of the sky,
24 And rained on them manna for food
and gave them corn of heaven.
25 A man ate the bread of angels;
he sent them all the provision they required.
26 He had an east wind set out in the sky,
drove on a south wind by his power,
27 And rained meat on them like the soil they trod on
and winged birds like the sand of the seas,
28 And let it fall within their camp,
around their lodges,
29 And they ate and had every bit they could hold,
and he brought them what they craved.
30 They were not cloyed from their craving,
they still had their food in their mouths,
31 And God’s anger against them came up
and he killed among their plumpest
and brought down Israel’s young men.
32 With all this they still sinned
and did not have faith in his wonders;
33 And he finished off their days with prostration
and their years with palpitation.
34 If he killed them they invoked him,
and came back in quest of Deity,
35 And remembered that God was their Rock
and the Deity on high their Friend in need,
36 And cajoled him with their mouths
and lied to him with their tongues,
37 But their hearts were not firmly with God
and they were not loyal to his covenant.
38 But he is tenderhearted,
purging away guilt and not dealing destruction,
And does much of turning back his anger
and does not stir up his ire,
39 And he remembered that they were mortals,
a wind that goes and does not come back.
40 How often they disobeyed him in the wilderness,
grieved him in desert land,
41 And put Deity on trial over again
and brought regret to the Holy One of Israel!
42 They did not remember his hand,
the day he redeemed them from distress,
43 Exhibited his tokens in Egypt
and his miracles in the countryside of Soan,
44 And turned the branches of their Nile to blood,
and their waters were undrinkable;
45 He sent among them ʽarob flies that ate them up
and frogs that infested them;
46 He gave their growing things to the fall grasshoppers
and what had come of their toil to the spring grasshoppers;
47 He killed their grapevines with hail
and their sycamore trees with frost;
48 He handed their cattle over to the hail
and their stock to the firebolts.
49 He let loose his anger upon them,
wrath and hostility and belligerency,
A sending of evil angels;
50 he saw to a path for his anger.
He did not hold back their souls from death
but handed their lives over to the pestilence,
51 And struck every eldest son in Egypt,
the firstfruit of their powers in the homes of Ham,
52 And set his people in motion like so many sheep
and drove them along in the wilderness like a flock,
53 And led them in secure confidence, they felt no dread,
and the sea covered their enemies.
54 And he brought them into his sacred territory,
that highland his right hand had gained,
55 And expelled nations before them
and allotted them as definite estate,
and settled in their homes the tribes of Israel.
56 But they put the Most High God on trial and disobeyed him,
and did not keep to his lessons,
57 But fell away and were faithless like their fathers,
turned over like an unreliable bow,
58 And provoked him with their heights
and stirred his jealousy with their rock-carvings.
59 God heard and was furious
and utterly spurned Israel,
60 And abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,
the tent he had set up for presence among men,
61 And gave his power into captivity
and his magnificence into the hands of a foe,
62 And handed his people over to the sword
and was in wrath at his estate.
63 Fire consumed its young men
and its maidens raised no death-song.
64 Its priests fell by the sword
and its widows did not weep.
65 But the Lord woke up like one who had been asleep,
like a champion who had been overcome by wine,
66 And drove his foes back,
put them to perpetual ignominy,
67 And repudiated Joseph’s tent
and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68 But chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Sion which he loves,
69 And built his sanctuary like the peaks,
like the earth whose foundations he has fixed forever,
70 And chose his servant David
and took him from the work of the sheep,
71 Brought him from behind ewes in milk
to shepherd his people Jacob
and his estate Israel;
72 And he shepherded them with sincere heart
and guided them with intelligent hands.