An Appeal against the Devastation of the Land by the Enemy.
A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Asaph.
74 O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? 2 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; Remember Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. 3 Turn your footsteps [quickly] toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. 4 In the midst of Your meeting place Your enemies have roared [with their battle cry]; They have set up their own emblems for signs [of victory]. 5 It seems as if one had lifted up An axe in a forest of trees [to set a record of destruction]. 6 And now all the carved work [of the meeting place] They smash with hatchets and hammers. 7 They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; They have profaned the dwelling place of Your [a]name. 8 They said in their heart, “Let us completely subdue them.” They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land. 9 We do not see our symbols; There is no longer any prophet [to guide us], Nor does any among us know for how long. 10 O God, how long will the adversary scoff? Is the enemy to revile Your name forever? 11 Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand [from judging the enemy]? Remove Your hand from Your chest, destroy them!
12 Yet God is my King of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the [Red] Sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the [b]sea monsters in the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of [c]Leviathan (Egypt); You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 15 You broke open fountains and streams; You dried up ever-flowing rivers. 16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours; You have established and prepared the [heavenly] light and the sun. 17 You have defined and established all the borders of the earth [the divisions of land and sea and of the nations]; You have made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, O Lord, the enemy has scoffed, And a foolish and impious people has spurned Your name. 19 Oh, do not hand over the soul of your turtledove to the wild beast; Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever. 20 Consider the covenant [You made with Abraham], For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. 21 Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name.
22 Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man scoffs at You all day long. 23 Do not forget the [clamoring] voices of Your adversaries, The uproar of those who rise against You, which ascends continually [to Your ears].
God Abases the Proud, but Exalts the Righteous.
To the Chief Musician; set to [the tune of] “Do Not Destroy.” A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
75 We give thanks and praise to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your [wonderful works declare that Your] [d]name is near; People declare Your wonders. 2 “When I select an appointed time, I will judge with equity,” [says the Lord]. 3 “The earth and all the inhabitants of it melt [in tumultuous times]. It is I who will steady its pillars. Selah. 4 “I said to the arrogant, ‘Do not boast;’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn [of self-glorification]. 5 ‘Do not lift up your [defiant and aggressive] horn on high, Do not speak with a stiff neck.’”
6 For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation. 7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and lifts up another. 8 For a cup [of His wrath] is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; It is well mixed and fully spiced, and He pours out from it; And all the wicked of the earth must drain it and drink down to its dregs.
9 But as for me, I will declare it and rejoice forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 10 All the horns of the wicked He will cut off, But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.
The Victorious Power of the God of Jacob.
To the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
76 God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel. 2 His tabernacle is in Salem (Jerusalem); His dwelling place is in Zion. 3 There He broke the flaming arrows, The shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah.
4 You are glorious and resplendent, More majestic than the mountains of prey. 5 The stouthearted have been stripped of their spoil, They have slept the sleep [of death]; And none of the warriors could use his hands. 6 At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both rider and horse were cast into a dead sleep [of death]. 7 You, even You, are to be feared [with the submissive wonder of reverence]; Who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?
8 You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was quiet 9 When God arose to [establish] judgment, To save all the humble of the earth. Selah. 10 For the wrath of man shall praise You; With a remnant of wrath You will clothe and arm Yourself.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared [with awe-inspired reverence]. 12 He will cut off the spirit of princes; He is awesome and feared by the kings of the earth.
Comfort in Trouble from Recalling God’s Mighty Deeds.
To the Chief Musician; according to Jeduthun [one of David’s three chief musicians, founder of an official musical family]. A Psalm of Asaph.
77 My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I [desperately] sought the Lord; In the night my hand was [e]stretched out [in prayer] without weariness; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remember God; then I am disquieted and I groan; I sigh [in prayer], and my spirit grows faint. Selah. 4 You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I have considered the ancient days, The years [of prosperity] of long, long ago. 6 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit searches:
7 Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? 8 Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Have His promises ended for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah. 10 And I said, “This is my grief, That the right hand of the Most High has changed [and His lovingkindness is withheld].”
11 I will [solemnly] remember the deeds of the Lord; Yes, I will [wholeheartedly] remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will meditate on all Your works And thoughtfully consider all Your [great and wondrous] deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy [far from sin and guilt]. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the [awesome] God who works [powerful] wonders; You have demonstrated Your power among the people. 15 You have with Your [great] arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16 The waters [of the Red Sea] saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were in anguish; The deeps also trembled. 17 The clouds poured down water; The skies sent out a sound [of rumbling thunder]; Your arrows (lightning) flashed here and there. 18 The voice of Your thunder was in the [f]whirlwind; The lightnings illumined the world; The earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way [of escape for Your people] was through the sea, And Your paths through the great waters, And Your footprints were not traceable. 20 You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron [to the promised goal].
God’s Guidance of His People in Spite of Their Unfaithfulness.
A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Asaph.
78 Listen, O my people, to my teaching; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth [and be willing to learn]. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable [to instruct using examples]; I will utter dark and puzzling sayings of old [that contain important truth]— 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, But [we will] tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, And [tell of] His great might and power and the wonderful works that He has done.
5 For He established a testimony (a specific precept) in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach to their children [the great facts of God’s transactions with Israel], 6 That the generation to come might know them, that the children still to be born May arise and recount them to their children, 7 That they should place their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers— A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart to know and follow God, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9 The sons of Ephraim were armed as archers and carrying bows, Yet they turned back in the day of battle. 10 They did not keep the covenant of God And refused to walk according to His law; 11 And they forgot His [incredible] works And His miraculous wonders that He had shown them. 12 He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided]. 13 He divided the [Red] Sea and allowed them to pass through it, And He made the waters stand up like [water behind] a dam. 14 In the daytime He led them with a cloud And all the night with a light of fire. 15 He split rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant [water to] drink like the ocean depths. 16 He brought streams also from the rock [at Rephidim and Kadesh] And caused waters to run down like rivers.
17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him By rebelling against the Most High in the desert. 18 And in their hearts they put God to the test By asking for food according to their [selfish] appetite. 19 Then they spoke against God; They said, “Can God prepare [food for] a table in the wilderness? 20 “Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out And the streams overflowed; Can He give bread also? Or will He provide meat for His people?”
21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was full of wrath; A fire was kindled against Jacob, And His anger mounted up against Israel, 22 Because they did not believe in God [they did not rely on Him, they did not adhere to Him], And they did not trust in His salvation (His power to save). 23 Yet He commanded the clouds from above And opened the doors of heaven; 24 And He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate the bread of angels; God sent them provision in abundance. 26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His [unlimited] power He guided the south wind. 27 He rained meat upon them like the dust, And winged birds (quail) like the sand of the seas. 28 And He let them fall in the midst of their camp, Around their tents. 29 So they ate and were well filled, He gave them what they craved. 30 Before they had satisfied their desire, And while their food was in their mouths, 31 The wrath of God rose against them And killed some of the strongest of them, And subdued the choice young men of Israel. 32 In spite of all this they still sinned, For they did not believe in His wonderful and extraordinary works. 33 Therefore He consumed their days like a breath [in emptiness and futility] And their years in sudden terror.
34 When He killed [some of] them, then those remaining sought Him, And they returned [to Him] and searched diligently for God [for a time]. 35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. 36 Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths And lied to Him with their tongues. 37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful to His covenant. 38 [g]But He, the source of compassion and lovingkindness, forgave their wickedness and did not destroy them; Many times He restrained His anger And did not stir up all His wrath. 39 For He [graciously] remembered that they were mere [human] flesh, A wind that goes and does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Again and again they tempted God, And distressed the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember [the miracles worked by] His [powerful] hand, Nor the day when He redeemed them from the enemy, 43 How He worked His miracles in Egypt And His wonders in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided], 44 And turned their rivers into blood, And their streams, so that they could not drink. 45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, And frogs which destroyed them. 46 He also gave their crops to the grasshopper, And the fruit of their labor to the locust. 47 He destroyed their vines with [great] hailstones And their sycamore trees with frost. 48 He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones, And their flocks and herds to thunderbolts. 49 He sent upon them His burning anger, His fury and indignation and distress, A band of angels of destruction [among them]. 50 He leveled a path for His anger [to give it free run]; He did not spare their souls from death, But turned over their lives to the plague. 51 He killed all the firstborn in Egypt, The first and best of their strength in the tents [of the land of the sons] of Ham. 52 But God led His own people forward like sheep And guided them in the wilderness like [a good shepherd with] a flock. 53 He led them safely, so that they did not fear; But the sea engulfed their enemies.
54 So He brought them to His holy land, To this mountain [Zion] which His right hand had acquired. 55 He also drove out the nations before the sons of Israel And allotted their land as an inheritance, measured out and partitioned; And He had the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents [the tents of those who had been dispossessed]. 56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God And did not keep His testimonies (laws). 57 They turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers; They were twisted like a warped bow [that will not respond to the archer’s aim]. 58 For they provoked Him to [righteous] anger with their high places [devoted to idol worship] And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images [by denying Him the love, worship, and obedience that is rightfully and uniquely His]. 59 When God heard this, He was filled with [righteous] wrath; And utterly rejected Israel, [greatly hating her ways], 60 So that He abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh, The tent in which He had dwelled among men, 61 And gave up His strength and power (the ark of the covenant) into captivity, And His glory into the hand of the enemy (the Philistines). 62 He also handed His people over to the sword, And was infuriated with His inheritance (Israel). 63 The fire [of war] devoured His young men, And His [bereaved] virgins had no wedding songs. 64 His priests [Hophni and Phinehas] fell by the sword, And His widows could not weep.
65 Then the Lord awakened as from sleep, Like a [mighty] warrior who awakens from the sleep of wine [fully conscious of his power]. 66 He drove His enemies backward; He subjected them to lasting shame and dishonor. 67 Moreover, He rejected the tent of Joseph, And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim [in which the tabernacle stood]. 68 But He chose the tribe of Judah [as Israel’s leader], Mount Zion, which He loved [to replace Shiloh as His capital]. 69 And He built His sanctuary [exalted] like the heights [of the heavens], Like the earth which He has established forever. 70 He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds; 71 [h]From [i]tending the ewes with nursing young He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. 72 So David shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart; And guided them with his skillful hands.
Psalm 77:18Lit wheel, possibly referring instead to the wheels on God’s chariot.
Psalm 78:38The ancient Sopherim, the Jewish scholars whose responsibility it was to do counts of all the letters, words, and verses of the OT, said that this verse marks the halfway point in Psalms.
Psalm 78:71The first impression one might receive from this passage is that God elevated David from the lowliest position in Israel to the highest. But the ancient rabbis said that God tested David’s skills and wisdom as a shepherd. For example, it is said that David held back the bigger sheep from the pasture and brought out the smaller ones first to graze on the tender grass. The rabbis represented God as saying, “He who knows how to shepherd the sheep, each one in proportion to its strength, shall come and shepherd My people.”
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