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Psalm 78

A maskil by Asaph.

Open your ears to my teachings, my people.
    Turn your ears to the words from my mouth.
I will open my mouth to illustrate points.
    I will explain what has been hidden long ago,
        things that we have heard and known about,
        things that our parents have told us.
            We will not hide them from our children.
            We will tell the next generation
                about Yahweh’s power and great deeds
                    and the miraculous things he has done.

He established written instructions for Jacob’s people.
    He gave his teachings to Israel.
    He commanded our ancestors to make them known to their children
so that the next generation would know them.
    Children yet to be born would learn them.
        They will grow up and tell their children
            to trust Elohim, to remember what he has done,
                and to obey his commands.
        Then they will not be like their ancestors,
            a stubborn and rebellious generation.
                Their hearts were not loyal.
                Their spirits were not faithful to El.

The men of Ephraim, well-equipped with bows and arrows,
    turned and ran on the day of battle.
10 They had not been faithful to Elohim’s promise.[a]
    They refused to follow his teachings.
11 They forgot what he had done—
    the miracles that he had shown them.

12 In front of their ancestors he performed miracles
    in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through it.
    He made the waters stand up like a wall.
14 He guided them by a cloud during the day
    and by a fiery light throughout the night.
15 He split rocks in the desert.
    He gave them plenty to drink, an ocean of water.
16 He made streams come out of a rock.
    He made the water flow like rivers.

17 They continued to sin against him,
    to rebel in the desert against Elyon.
18 They deliberately tested Elohim by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against Elohim by saying,
    “Can El prepare a banquet in the desert?
20 True, he did strike a rock,
    and water did gush out,
        and the streams did overflow.
    But can he also give us bread or provide us, his people, with meat?”

21 When Yahweh heard this, he became furious.
    His fire burned against Jacob
        and his anger flared up at Israel
22 because they did not believe Elohim
    or trust him to save them.

23 In spite of that, he commanded the clouds above
    and opened the doors of heaven.
24 He rained manna down on them to eat
    and gave them grain from heaven.
25 Humans ate the bread of the mighty ones,
    and Elohim sent them plenty of food.

26 He made the east wind blow in the heavens
    and guided the south wind with his might.
27 He rained meat down on them like dust,
    birds like the sand on the seashore.
28 He made the birds fall in the middle of his camp,
    all around his dwelling place.

29 They ate more than enough.
    He gave them what they wanted,
30 but they still wanted more.
    While the food was still in their mouths,
31 the anger of Elohim flared up against them.
    He killed their strongest men
    and slaughtered the best young men in Israel.

32 In spite of all this, they continued to sin,
    and they no longer believed in his miracles.
33 He brought their days to an end like a whisper in the wind.
    He brought their years to an end in terror.
34 When he killed some of them, the rest searched for him.
    They turned from their sins and eagerly looked for El.
35 They remembered that Elohim was their rock,
    that El Elyon was their Go’el.
36 They flattered him with their mouths
    and lied to him with their tongues.
37 Their hearts were not loyal to him.
    They were not faithful to his promise.

38 But he is compassionate.
    He forgave their sin.
        He did not destroy them.
    He restrained his anger many times.
        He did not display all of his fury.
39 He remembered that they were only flesh and blood,
    a breeze that blows and does not return.

40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness!
    How often they caused him grief in the desert!
41 Again and again they tested Elohim,
    and they pushed Qedosh Yisrael to the limit.
42 They did not remember his power—
    the day he freed them from their oppressor,
43 when he performed his miraculous signs in Egypt,
    his wonders in the fields of Zoan.

44 He turned their rivers into blood
    so that they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent a swarm of flies that bit them
    and frogs that ruined them.
46 He gave their crops to grasshoppers
    and their produce to locusts.
47 He killed their vines with hail
    and their fig trees with frost.
48 He let the hail strike their cattle
    and bolts of lightning strike their livestock.
49 He sent his burning anger, rage, fury, and hostility against them.
    He sent an army of destroying angels.
50 He cleared a path for his anger.
    He did not spare them.
    He let the plague take their lives.
51 He slaughtered every firstborn in Egypt,
    the ones born in the tents of Ham when their fathers were young.

52 But he led his own people out like sheep
    and guided them like a flock through the wilderness.
53 He led them safely.
    They had no fear while the sea covered their enemies.
54 He brought them into his holy land,
    to this mountain that his power had won.
55 He forced nations out of their way
    and gave them the land of the nations as their inheritance.
        He settled the tribes of Israel in their own tents.

56 They tested Elohim Elyon and rebelled against him.
    They did not obey his written instructions.
57 They were disloyal and treacherous like their ancestors.
    They were like arrows shot from a defective bow.
58 They made him angry because of their illegal worship sites.
    They made him furious because they worshiped idols.

59 When Elohim heard, he became furious.
    He completely rejected Israel.
60 He abandoned his dwelling place in Shiloh,
    the tent where he had lived among humans.
61 He allowed his power to be taken captive
    and handed his glory over to an oppressor.
62 He let swords kill his people.
    He was furious with those who belonged to him.
63 Fire consumed his best young men,
    so his virgins heard no wedding songs.
64 His priests were cut down with swords.
    The widows of his priests could not even weep for them.
65 Then Adonay woke up like one who had been sleeping,
    like a warrior sobering up from too much wine.
66 He struck his enemies from behind
    and disgraced them forever.

67 He rejected the tent of Joseph.
    He did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
    Mount Zion which he loved.
69 He built his holy place to be like the high heavens,
    like the earth which he made to last for a long time.

70 He chose his servant David.
    He took him from the sheep pens.
71 He brought him from tending the ewes that had lambs
    so that David could be the shepherd of the people of Jacob,
        of Israel, the people who belonged to Yahweh.
72 With unselfish devotion David became their shepherd.
    With skill he guided them.


  1. Psalm 78:10 Or “covenant.”