78 1 He showeth how God of his mercy chose his Church of the posterity of Abraham, 8 Reproaching the stubborn rebellion of their fathers, that the children might not only understand. 11 That God of his free mercy made his Covenant with their ancestors, 17 But also seeing them so malicious and perverse, might be ashamed, and so turn wholly to God.  In this Psalm the holy Ghost hath comprehended, as it were, the sum of all God’s benefits, to the intent the ignorant and gross people might see in few words the effect of the whole histories of the Bible.

A Psalm to give [a]instruction, committed to Asaph.

Hear my [b]doctrine, O my people: incline your ears unto the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in a parable: I will declare high sentences of old.

Which we have heard and known, and our [c]fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children, but to the generation to come we will show the praise of the Lord, his power also, and his wonderful works that he hath done:

How he established a [d]testimony in Jacob, and ordained a Law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should teach their children:

That the [e]posterity might know it, and the children, which should be born, should stand up, and declare it to their children.

That they might [f]set their hope on God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

And not to be as their [g]fathers, a disobedient and rebellious generation: a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful unto God.

The children of [h]Ephraim being armed and shooting with the bow, turned back in the day of battle.

10 They kept not the Covenant of God, but refused to walk in his Law,

11 And forgate his acts, and his wonderful works that he had showed them.

12 He did marvelous things in the sight of their [i]fathers in the land of Egypt; even in the field of Zoan.

13 (A)He divided the Sea, and led them through: he made also the waters to stand as an heap.

14 (B)In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

15 (C)He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as of the great depths.

16 (D)He brought floods also out of the stony rock, so that he made the waters to descend like the rivers.

17 Yet they [j]sinned still against him, and provoked the Highest in the wilderness,

18 And tempted God in their hearts in [k]requiring meat for their lust.

19 (E)They spake against God also, saying, Can God [l]prepare a table in the wilderness?

20 (F)Behold, he smote the rock, that the water gushed out, and the streams overflowed: can he give bread also? or prepare flesh for his people?

21 Therefore the Lord heard, and was angry, and the (G)fire was kindled in Jacob, and also wrath came upon Israel,

22 Because they believed not in God, and [m]trusted not in his help.

23 Yet he had commanded the [n]clouds above, and had opened the doors of heaven,

24 And had rained down Manna upon them for to eat, and had given them of the wheat of heaven.

25 (H)Man did eat the bread of Angels: he sent them meat enough.

26 He caused the [o]East wind to pass in the heaven: and through his power he brought in the South wind.

27 He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowl as the sand of the sea.

28 And he made it fall in the midst of their camp, even round about their habitations.

29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their desire.

30 They were not turned from their [p]lusts, but the meat was yet in their mouths,

31 When the wrath of God came even upon them, and slew [q]the strongest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

32 For all this they [r]sinned still, and believed not his wondrous works.

33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years hastily.

34 And when he [s]slew them, they sought him, and they returned, and sought God early.

35 And they remembered that God was their strength, and the most high God their redeemer.

36 But they flattered him with their mouth, and dissembled with him with their tongue.

37 For their [t]heart was not upright with him: neither were they faithful in his covenant.

38 Yet he being merciful, [u]forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not, but oft times called back his anger, and did not stir up all his wrath.

39 For he remembered that they were flesh: yea, a wind that passeth and cometh not again.

40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness? and grieve him in the desert?

41 Yea, they [v]returned and tempted God, and [w]limited the Holy one of Israel.

42 They [x]remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy,

43 Nor him that set his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan,

44 And turned their rivers into blood, and their floods, that they could not drink.

45 He sent [y]a swarm of flies among them, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them.

46 He [z]gave also their fruits unto the caterpillar, and their labor unto the grasshopper.

47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their wild fig trees with the hailstone.

48 He gave their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to the thunderbolts.

49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, indignation and wrath, and vexation by the sending out of [aa]evil angels.

50 He made a way to his anger: he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life to the pestilence,

51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, even the [ab]beginning of their strength in the tabernacles of [ac]Ham.

52 But he made his people to go out like sheep, and led them in the wilderness like a flock.

53 Yea, he carried them out safely, and they [ad]feared not, and the Sea covered their enemies.

54 And he brought them unto the borders of his [ae]Sanctuary: even to this Mountain which his right hand purchased.

55 (I)He cast out the heathen also before them, and caused them to fall to the lot of his inheritance, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tabernacles.

56 Yet they tempted, and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies,

57 But turned back, and dealt [af]falsely like their fathers: they turned like a deceitful bow.

58 And they [ag]provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to wrath with their graven images.

59 God heard this and was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel,

60 So that he [ah]forsook the habitation of Shiloh, even the Tabernacle where he dwelt among men,

61 And delivered his [ai]power into captivity, and his beauty into the enemy’s hand.

62 And he gave up his people to the sword, and was angry with his inheritance.

63 The fire [aj]devoured their chosen men, and their maids were not [ak]praised.

64 Their Priests fell by the sword, and their [al]widows lamented not.

65 But the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and as a strong man that after his [am]wine crieth out,

66 And smote his enemies in the hinder parts, and put them to a perpetual shame.

67 Yet he refused the tabernacle of [an]Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:

68 But chose the tribe of Judah, and mount Zion which he loved.

69 And he [ao]built his Sanctuary as an high palace, like the earth, which he established forever.

70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds.

71 Even from behind the ewes with young, brought he him to feed his people in Jacob, and his inheritance in Israel.

72 So [ap]he fed them according to the simplicity of his heart, and guided them by the discretion of his hands.


  1. Psalm 78:1 Read Ps. 32.
  2. Psalm 78:1 The Prophet under the name of a teacher calleth the people his, and the doctrine his, as Paul calleth the Gospel his, whereof he was but the preacher, as Rom. 2:16 and 16:25.
  3. Psalm 78:3 Which were the people of God.
  4. Psalm 78:5 By the testimony, and law, he meaneth the law written, which they were commanded to teach their children, Deut. 6:7.
  5. Psalm 78:6 He showeth wherein the children should be like their fathers: that is, in maintaining God’s pure Religion.
  6. Psalm 78:7 He showeth wherein the use of this doctrine standeth: in faith, in the meditation of God’s benefits, and in obedience.
  7. Psalm 78:8 Though these fathers were the seed of Abraham and the chosen people, yet he showeth by their rebellion, provocation, falsehood, and hypocrisy, that the children ought not to follow their examples.
  8. Psalm 78:9 By Ephraim he meaneth also the rest of the tribes, because they were most in number: whose punishment declareth that they were unfaithful to God, and by their multitude and authority had corrupt all others.
  9. Psalm 78:12 He proveth that not only the posterity but also their forefathers were wicked and rebellious to God.
  10. Psalm 78:17 Their wicked malice could be overcome by no benefits, which were great and many.
  11. Psalm 78:18 Then to require more than is necessary, and to separate God’s power from his will, is to tempt God.
  12. Psalm 78:19 Thus when we give place to sin, we are moved to doubt of God’s power, except he will always be ready to serve our lust.
  13. Psalm 78:22 That is, in his fatherly providence, whereby he careth for his, and provideth sufficiently.
  14. Psalm 78:23 So that they had that, which was necessary and sufficient: but their lust made them to covet that which they knew God had denied them.
  15. Psalm 78:26 God used the means of the wind to teach them that all elements were at his commandment, and that no distance or place could let his working.
  16. Psalm 78:30 Such is the nature of concupiscence, that the more it hath, the more it lusteth.
  17. Psalm 78:31 Though others were not spared, yet chiefly they suffered, which trusted in their strength against God.
  18. Psalm 78:32 Thus sin by continuance maketh man insensible, so that by no plagues they can be amended.
  19. Psalm 78:34 Such was their hypocrisy, that they sought unto God for fear of punishment, though in their heart they loved him not.
  20. Psalm 78:37 Whatsoever cometh not from the pure fountain of the heart, is hypocrisy.
  21. Psalm 78:38 Because he would ever have some remnant of a Church to praise his Name in earth, he suffered not their sins to overcome his mercy.
  22. Psalm 78:41 That is, they tempted him oft times.
  23. Psalm 78:41 As they all do that measure the power of God by their capacity.
  24. Psalm 78:42 The forgetfulness of God’s benefits is the root of rebellion and all vice.
  25. Psalm 78:45 This word signifieth a confused mixture of flies and venomous worms. Some take it for all sorts of serpents: some for all wild beasts.
  26. Psalm 78:46 He repeateth not here all the miracles that God did in Egypt, but certain which might be sufficient to convince the people of malice and ingratitude.
  27. Psalm 78:49 So called either of the effect, that is, of punishing the wicked: or else because they were wicked spirits, whom God permitted to vex men.
  28. Psalm 78:51 The firstborn are so called, as Gen. 49:3.
  29. Psalm 78:51 That is, Egypt: for it was called Mizraim, or Egypt of Mizraim that was the son of Ham.
  30. Psalm 78:53 That is, they had none occasion to fear, forasmuch as God destroyed their enemies, and delivered them safely.
  31. Psalm 78:54 Meaning, Canaan, which God had consecrated to himself, and appointed to his people.
  32. Psalm 78:57 Nothing more displeaseth God in the children, than when they continue in that wickedness, which their fathers had begun.
  33. Psalm 78:58 By serving God otherwise than he had appointed.
  34. Psalm 78:60 For their ingratitude he suffered the Philistines to take the Ark, which was the sign of his presence, from among them.
  35. Psalm 78:61 The Ark is called his power and beauty, because thereby he defended his people, and beautifully appeared unto them.
  36. Psalm 78:63 They were suddenly destroyed, 1 Sam. 4:10.
  37. Psalm 78:63 They had no marriage songs: that is, they were not married.
  38. Psalm 78:64 Either they were slain before, or taken prisoners of their enemies, and so were forbidden.
  39. Psalm 78:65 Because they were drunken in their sins, they judged God’s patience to be a slumbering, as though he were drunken, therefore he answering their beastly judgment, saith, he will awake and take sudden vengeance.
  40. Psalm 78:67 Showing that he spared not altogether the Israelites, though he punished their enemies.
  41. Psalm 78:69 By building the Temple, and established the kingdom, he declareth that the signs of his favor were among them.
  42. Psalm 78:72 He showeth wherein a king’s charge standeth: to wit, to provide faithfully for his people, to guide them by counsel, and defend them by power.