A maskil of Asaph.1 My people, give ear to my teaching:
bend your ears to the words of my mouth,
2 as I open my mouth in a poem
on the riddling story of the past.
3 What we have heard and known,
and what our ancestors have told us,
4 we will not hide from their children.
We will tell to the next generation
the praises and might of the Lord,
and the wonders that he has done.
5 He set up a testimony in Jacob,
a law he appointed in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to make known to their children,
6 that the next generation should know it,
that the children yet to be born
should arise and tell their children;
7 that in God they might put their confidence,
and not forget God’s works;
but that they might keep his commandments,
8 and not be like their ancestors,
a generation defiant and stubborn,
a generation with heart unsteady,
and spirit unfaithful towards God.
9 Ephraimites, armed bowmen,
turned back in the day of battle.
10 They did not keep God’s covenant,
they refused to walk in his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
and the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did wonders before their ancestors
in the country of Zoan in Egypt.
13 Through the sea which he split he brought them,
making waters stand up like a heap;
14 he led them by day with a cloud,
all the night with a light of fire.
15 From the rocks which he split in the wilderness,
he gave them to drink as of ocean’s abundance.
16 He brought streams out of the rock,
and made water run down like rivers.
17 Yet they still went on sinning against him,
they defied the Most High in the desert.
18 They wilfully challenged God,
demanding the food that they longed for.
19 “Is God able,“ such was their challenge,
“to spread in the desert a table?
20 From the rock that he struck there gushed water,
and torrents that overflowed;
but can he also give bread,
or provide his people with meat?”
21 When the Lord heard this, he was furious,
and fire was kindled on Jacob,
anger flared up against Israel.
22 For they put no trust in God,
no confidence in his help.
23 So he summoned the clouds above;
and, opening the doors of heaven,
24 he rained manna upon them for food,
and grain of heaven he gave them.
25 Everyone ate the bread of angels;
he sent them food to the full.
26 He launched the east wind in the heavens,
and guided the south by his power.
27 He rained meat upon them like dust,
winged bird like the sand of the sea.
28 In the midst of their camp he dropped it,
all around their tents.
29 They ate and were more than filled;
he had brought them the thing they desired.
30 But the thing they desired became loathsome:
while their food was still in their mouths,
31 the wrath of God rose against them.
He slew the stoutest among them,
and laid low the young men of Israel.
32 Yet for all this they sinned yet more,
and refused to believe in his wonders.
33 So he ended their days in a breath,
and their years in sudden dismay.
34 When he slew them, then they sought after him,
they turned and sought God with diligence.
35 They remembered that God was their rock,
and the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they flattered him with their mouth,
and lied to him with their tongue.
37 Their heart was not steady with him,
they were faithless to his covenant.
38 But he is full of pity:
he pardons sin and destroys not.
Often he turns his anger away,
without stirring his wrath at all.
39 So he remembered that they were but flesh,
breath that passes and does not return.
40 But how often they rebelled in the desert,
and caused him grief in the wilderness,
41 tempting God again and again,
provoking the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his strength,
nor the day he redeemed from the foe,
43 how he set his signs in Egypt,
in the country of Zoan his wonders.
44 He turned their canals into blood,
their streams undrinkable.
45 He sent forth flies, which devoured them;
frogs, too, which destroyed them.
46 Their crops he gave to the caterpillar,
and the fruits of their toil to the locust.
47 He slew their vines with hail,
and their sycamore trees with frost.
48 He delivered their cattle to the hail,
and their flocks to bolts of fire.
49 He let loose his hot anger among them,
fury and wrath and distress,
a band of destroying angels.
50 He cleared a path for his anger,
did not spare them from death,
but gave them over to pestilence.
51 He struck down all the first-born in Egypt,
the first fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52 He led forth his people like sheep,
he was guide to his flock in the desert.
53 Securely he led them, and free from fear,
while their foes were drowned in the sea.
54 To his holy realm he brought them,
to the mountain his right hand had purchased.
55 He drove out the nations before them,
and allotted their land for possession,
and their tents for Israel to live in.
56 Yet they tempted and angered the Most High God,
they did not observe his decrees.
57 They drew back, false like their ancestors;
they failed like a treacherous bow.
58 Their shrines stirred him to anger,
their idols moved him to jealousy.
59 When God heard of this, he was furious,
and he spurned Israel utterly.
60 He abandoned his home in Shiloh,
the tent he had pitched among people.
61 He gave his strength up to captivity,
his glory to the hands of the foe.
62 He gave his people to the sword,
he was furious with his own.
63 Fire devoured their young men,
and their maidens had no marriage-song.
64 Their priests fell by the sword,
and their widows could not weep.
65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
like a warrior flushed with wine;
66 and he beat back his foes,
putting them to perpetual scorn.
67 He disowned the tent of Joseph,
he rejected the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loves.
69 And he built like the heights his sanctuary,
like the earth which he founded forever.
70 And he chose David his servant,
taking him from the sheepfolds.
71 From the mother-ewes he brought him,
to be shepherd to Jacob his people,
and to Israel his inheritance.
72 With upright heart did he shepherd them,
and with skilful hands did he guide them.
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