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Psalm 78:1-39 Common English Bible (CEB)

Psalm 78

A maskil[a] of Asaph.

78 Listen, my people, to my teaching;
    tilt your ears toward the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a proverb.
    I’ll declare riddles from days long gone—
        ones that we’ve heard and learned about,
        ones that our ancestors told us.
We won’t hide them from their descendants;
    we’ll tell the next generation
    all about the praise due the Lord and his strength—
    the wondrous works God has done.
He established a law for Jacob
    and set up Instruction for Israel,
        ordering our ancestors
        to teach them to their children.
This is so that the next generation
    and children not yet born will know these things,
        and so they can rise up and tell their children
    to put their hope in God—
        never forgetting God’s deeds,
        but keeping God’s commandments—
    and so that they won’t become like their ancestors:
    a rebellious, stubborn generation,
        a generation whose heart wasn’t set firm
        and whose spirit wasn’t faithful to God.

The children of Ephraim, armed with bows,
    retreated on the day of battle.
10 They didn’t keep God’s covenant;
    they refused to walk in his Instruction.
11 They forgot God’s deeds
    as well as the wondrous works he showed them.
12 But God performed wonders in their ancestors’ presence—
    in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 God split the sea and led them through,
    making the waters stand up like a wall.
14 God led them with the cloud by day;
    by the lightning all through the night.
15 God split rocks open in the wilderness,
    gave them plenty to drink—
    as if from the deep itself!
16 God made streams flow from the rock,
    made water run like rivers.

17 But they continued to sin against God,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 They tested God in their hearts,
    demanded food for their stomachs.
19 They spoke against God!
    “Can God set a dinner table in the wilderness?” they asked.
20 “True, God struck the rock
    and water gushed and streams flowed,
        but can he give bread too?
        Can he provide meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard this, he became furious.
        A fire was ignited against Jacob;
    wrath also burned against Israel
22         because they had no faith in God,
        because they didn’t trust his saving power.
23 God gave orders to the skies above,
    opened heaven’s doors,
24     and rained manna on them so they could eat.
        He gave them the very grain of heaven!
25 Each person ate the bread of the powerful ones;[b]
    God sent provisions to satisfy them.
26 God set the east wind moving across the skies
    and drove the south wind by his strength.
27 He rained meat on them as if it were dust in the air;
    he rained as many birds as the sand on the seashore!
28 God brought the birds down in the center of their camp,
    all around their dwellings.
29 So they ate and were completely satisfied;
    God gave them exactly what they had craved.
30 But they didn’t stop craving—
    even with the food still in their mouths!
31 So God’s anger came up against them:
    he killed the most hearty of them;
        he cut down Israel’s youth in their prime.
32 But in spite of all that, they kept sinning
    and had no faith in God’s wondrous works.
33 So God brought their days to an end,
    like a puff of air,
    and their years in total ruin.
34 But whenever God killed them, they went after him!
    They would turn and earnestly search for God.
35 They would remember that God was their rock,
    that the Most High was their redeemer.
36 But they were just flattering him with lip service.
    They were lying to him with their tongues.
37 Their hearts weren’t firmly set on him;
    they weren’t faithful to his covenant.
38 But God, being compassionate,
    kept forgiving their sins,
    kept avoiding destruction;
    he took back his anger so many times,
    wouldn’t stir up all his wrath!
39 God kept remembering that they were just flesh,
    just breath that passes and doesn’t come back.


  1. Psalm 78:1 Perhaps instruction; the root is used in Ps 32:8.
  2. Psalm 78:25 Or everyone ate the bread from heaven; Heb uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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