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Israel from Moses to David

Psalm 78

A contemplative song of Asaph.
Listen, my people, to my teaching.
Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable.
I will utter perplexing sayings from of old,
which we have heard and known,
    and our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
telling to the next generation the praises of Adonai
    and His strength and the wonders He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob
and ordained Torah in Israel,
which He commanded our fathers to teach their children,
so that the next generation might know,
    even the children yet to be born:
    they will arise and tell their children.
Then they will put their trust in God,
not forgetting the works of God,
but keeping His mitzvot.
So they will not be like their fathers—
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that did not prepare its heart,
    whose spirit was not loyal to God.
The sons of Ephraim were archers armed with bows,
yet they turned back in the day of battle.
10 They did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to walk in His Torah.
11 They forgot His deeds
and His wonders that He had shown them.
12 He did miracles in front of their fathers
in the land of Egypt, in the plain of Zoan.
13 He split the sea and led them through,
and He made the water stand like a wall.
14 By day He led them with a cloud
and all night with a light of fire.
15 He split apart rocks in the wilderness
and gave them drink as abundant as the depths.
16 So He brought streams out of a rock,
and made waters flow down like rivers.[a]
17 Yet they added more sinning against Him,
rebelling against Elyon in the desert.
18 They put God to the test in their heart
by demanding food for their craving.
19 Then they spoke against God, saying,
“Can God set a table in the wilderness?
20 See, He struck the rock,
waters gushed out, streams overflowed.
But can He give bread?
Will He provide meat for His people?”

21 When Adonai heard, He was angry.
A fire was kindled against Jacob,
and fury also rose against Israel.
22 For they did not believe in God
or trust in His salvation.
23 Yet He commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven,
24 and rained down manna upon them to eat,
and gave them grain of heaven.[b]
25 Man did eat the bread of angels.
He sent them abundant provision.
26 He loosed the east wind in the skies,
and by His power He drove the south wind.
27 He rained meat upon them like dust,
and winged fowl like sand of the seas.
28 And He let it fall amidst their camp,
all around their tents.
29 So they ate and were very full—
for He gave them their desire.
30 No longer a stranger from their desire,
while their food was still in their mouths,
31 the anger of God rose against them
    and slew the stoutest of them,
    and struck down young men of Israel.
32 Despite all this they sinned still more,
and did not trust in His wonders.
33 So He ended their days in futility
and their years in terror.
34 But when He slew them,
then they sought Him, and turned back,
and desired God eagerly.
35 Then they remembered that God was their Rock
and El Elyon their Redeemer.
36 But they flattered Him with their mouth
and kept lying to Him with their tongue.
37 For their heart was not steadfast with Him,
nor were they faithful to His covenant.
38 But He is compassionate,
    forgives iniquity and does not destroy.
Yes, many times He restrains His anger,
    and does not stir up all His wrath.
39 For He remembered that they are but flesh,
a passing breath that never returns.

40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness,
and grieved Him in the desert!
41 Again and again they tested God,
and pained the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His hand—
the day He redeemed them from the foe,
43 when He displayed His signs in Egypt
and His wonders in the plain of Zoan.
44 He turned their rivers into blood,
so they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent on them flies to devour them,
    and frogs to devastate them,
46 and gave their crops to the grasshopper,
    and their labor to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail,
    and their sycamore trees with frost,
48 and gave over their cattle to the hail,
    and their flocks to fiery bolts.
49 He sent on them the fury of His anger
—wrath and indignation and trouble—
a band of evil angels.
50 He cleared a path for His anger.
He spared not their soul from death,
but gave their life over to the plague.
51 He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52 But He brought His people out like sheep,
and led them in the wilderness like a flock.
53 He led them to safety, so they did not fear,
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54 Then He brought them to His holy territory,
to the mountain His right hand had gotten.
55 He drove out nations before them,
and allotted them an inheritance.
He settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

56 Yet they tested and rebelled against El Elyon,
and did not keep His decrees.
57 Like their fathers they turned and were treacherous.
They turned aside like a faulty bow.
58 For they provoked Him
    with their high places,
so they aroused His jealousy
    with their graven images.
59 God heard and was furious,
and He greatly detested Israel.
60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,
the tent He pitched among men.
61 He gave up His strength into captivity,
and His glory into the adversary’s hand.
62 He gave His people over to the sword,
when He was angry at His inheritance.
63 Fire consumed their young men,
and their virgins had no wedding songs.
64 Their priests fell by the sword,
and their widows could not weep.

65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
as a warrior shaking off wine.
66 He beat back His foes,
putting them to lasting scorn.
67 Then He detested Joseph’s tent
and chose not the tribe of Ephraim.
68 Instead He chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which He loved.
69 He built His Sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth that He established forever.
70 He also chose David His servant
and took him from the sheepfolds,
71 from following nursing ewes.
He brought him to shepherd Jacob His people,
and Israel His inheritance.
72 So He shepherded them with the integrity of His heart,
and led them with His skillful hands.