78 My friends, I beg you to listen as I teach. 2 I will give instruction and explain the mystery of what happened long ago. 3 These are things we learned from our ancestors, 4 and we will tell them to the next generation. We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds and the mighty miracles of the Lord.
5 God gave his Law to Jacob’s descendants, the people of Israel. And he told our ancestors to teach their children, 6 so that each new generation would know his Law and tell it to the next. 7 Then they would trust God and obey his teachings, without forgetting anything God had done. 8 They would be different from their ancestors, who were stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful to God.
9 The warriors from Ephraim were armed with arrows, but they ran away when the battle began. 10 They broke their agreement with God, and they turned their backs on his teaching. 11 They forgot all he had done, even the mighty miracles 12 he did for their ancestors near Zoan[a] in Egypt.
13 God made a path in the sea and piled up the water as he led them across. 14 He guided them during the day with a cloud, and each night he led them with a flaming fire. 15 God made water flow from rocks he split open in the desert, and his people drank freely, as though from a lake. 16 He made streams gush out like rivers from rocks.
17 But in the desert, the people of God Most High kept sinning and rebelling. 18 They stubbornly tested God and demanded from him what they wanted to eat. 19 They challenged God by saying, “Can God provide food out here in the desert? 20 It’s true God struck the rock and water gushed out like a river, but can he give his people bread and meat?”
21 When the Lord heard this, he was angry and furious with Jacob’s descendants, the people of Israel. 22 They had refused to trust him, and they had doubted his saving power.
23 But God gave a command to the clouds, and he opened the doors in the skies. 24 From heaven he sent grain that they called manna.[b] 25 He gave them more than enough, and each one of them ate this special food.
26 God’s mighty power brought a strong wind from the southeast, 27 and it brought birds that covered the ground, like sand on the beach. 28 Then God made the birds fall in the camp of his people near their tents.
29 God gave his people all they wanted, and each of them ate until they were full. 30 But before they had swallowed the last bite, 31 God became angry and killed the strongest and best from the families of Israel.
32 But the rest kept on sinning and would not trust God’s miracles. 33 So he cut their lives short and made them terrified. 34 After he killed some of them, the others turned to him with all their hearts. 35 They remembered God Most High, the mighty rock[c] that kept them safe. 36 But they tried to flatter God, and they told him lies; 37 they were unfaithful and broke their promises.
38 Yet God was kind. He kept forgiving their sins and didn’t destroy them. He often became angry, but never lost his temper. 39 God remembered that they were made of flesh and were like a wind that blows once and then dies down.
40 While they were in the desert, they often rebelled and made God sad. 41 They kept testing him and caused terrible pain for the Holy One of Israel. 42 They forgot about his power and how he had rescued them from their enemies.
43 God showed them all kinds of wonderful miracles near Zoan[d] in Egypt. 44 He turned the rivers of Egypt into blood, and no one could drink from the streams. 45 He sent swarms of flies to pester the Egyptians, and he sent frogs to cause them trouble.
46 God let worms and grasshoppers eat their crops. 47 He destroyed their grapevines and their fig trees with hail and floods.[e] 48 Then he killed their cattle with hail and their other animals with lightning.
49 God was so angry and furious that he went into a rage and caused them great trouble by sending swarms of destroying angels. 50 God gave in to his anger and slaughtered them in a terrible way. 51 He killed the first-born son of each Egyptian family.
52 Then God led his people out of Egypt and guided them in the desert like a flock of sheep. 53 He led them safely along, and they were not afraid, but their enemies drowned in the sea.
54 God brought his people to the sacred mountain that he had taken by his own power. 55 He made nations run from the tribes of Israel, and he let the tribes take over their land.
56 But the people tested God Most High, and they refused to obey his laws. 57 They were as unfaithful as their ancestors, and they were as crooked as a twisted arrow. 58 God demanded all their love, but they made him angry by worshiping idols.
59 So God became furious and completely rejected the people of Israel. 60 Then he deserted his home at Shiloh, where he lived here on earth. 61 He let enemies capture the sacred chest[f] and let them dishonor him.
62 God took out his anger on his chosen ones and let them be killed by enemy swords. 63 Fire destroyed the young men, and the young women were left with no one to marry. 64 Priests died violent deaths, but their widows were not allowed to mourn.
65 Finally the Lord woke up, and he shouted like a drunken soldier. 66 God scattered his enemies and made them ashamed forever.
67 Then the Lord decided not to make his home with Joseph’s descendants in Ephraim.[g] 68 Instead he chose the tribe of Judah, and he chose Mount Zion, the place he loves. 69 There he built his temple as lofty as the mountains and as solid as the earth that he had made to last forever.
70 The Lord God chose David to be his servant and took him from tending sheep 71 and from caring for lambs. Then God made him the leader of Israel, his own nation. 72 David treated the people fairly and guided them with wisdom.
78.12Zoan: A city in the eastern part of the Nile Delta.
78.24manna: When the people of Israel were wandering through the desert, the Lord gave them a special kind of food to eat. It tasted like a wafer and was called “manna,” which in Hebrew means, “What is this?”
78.61sacred chest: The Hebrew text has “his power,” which refers to the sacred chest. In Psalm 132.8 it is called “powerful.”
78.67with. . . Ephraim: Ephraim was Joseph’s youngest son. One of the twelve tribes was named after him, and sometimes the northern kingdom of Israel was also known as Ephraim. The town of Shiloh was in the territory of Ephraim, but the place where God was worshiped was moved from there to Zion (Jerusalem) in the territory of Judah.
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