Psalm 78

Words: Brady and  Tate, A New Version of the Psalms of David


 1  Hear, O my people; to my law
       devout attention lend;
    Let the instruction of my mouth
       deep in your hearts descend.

 2  My tongue, by inspiration taught,
       shall parables unfold,
    Dark oracles, but understood,
       and owned for truths of old.

 3  Which we from sacred registers
       of ancient times have known,
    And our forefathers' pious care
       to us have handed down.

 4  We will not hide them from our sons;
       our offspring shall be taught,
    The praises of the Lord, whose strength
       has works of wonder wrought.

 5  For Jacob he this law ordained;
       this league with Israel made'
    With charge to be from age to age,
       from race to race conveyed.

 6  That generations yet to come
       should to their unborn heirs
    Religiously transmit the same,
       and they again to theirs.

 7  To teach them that in God alone
       their hope securely stands;
    That they should ne'er his works forget,
       but keep his just commands.

 8  Lest, like their fathers, they might prove 
       a stiff rebellious race,
    False-hearted, fickle to their God,
       unsteadfast in his grace.

 9  Such were revolting Ephraim's sons,
       who, though to warfare bred,
    And skilful archers armed with bows,
      From field ignobly fled.

    They falsified their league with God, 
       his orders disobeyed,
    Forgot his works and miracles
       before their eyes displayed.

12  Nor wonders which their fathers saw
       did they ill mind retain;
    Prodigious things in Egypt done,
       and Zoan's fertile plain.

13  He cut the seas to let them pass,
       restrained the pressing flood;
    While, piled in heaps, oil either side
       the solid waters stood.

14  A wondrous pillar led them on,
       composed of shade and light;
    A shelt'ring cloud it proved by day,
       a leading fire by night.

15  When drought oppressed them, where no stream 
       the wilderness supplied,
    He cleft the rock, whose flinty breast
       dissolved into a tide.

16  Streams from the solid rock he brought, 
       which down in rivers fell,
    That, trav'ling with their camp, each day 
       renewed the miracle.

17  Yet there they sinned against him more, 
       provoking the Most High,
    In that same desert, where he did
       their fainting souls supply.

18  They first incensed him in their hearts, 
       that did his pow'r distrust,
    And longed for meat, not urged by want, 
       but to indulge their lust.

19  Then uttered their blaspheming doubts, 
       "Can God (say they) prepare
    "A table in the wilderness,
       set out with various fare?

20  "He smote the flinty rock, 'tis true,
       and-gushing streams ensued;
    "But can he corn and flesh provide
       for such a multitude?"

21  The Lord with indignation heard:
       from heav'n avenging flame
    On Jacob fell, consuming wrath
       on thankless Israel came.

22  Because their unbelieving hearts
       in God would not confide,
    Nor trust his care, who had from heav'n
       their wants so oft supplied.

23  Though he had made his clouds discharge 
       provisions down in show'rs;
    And, when earth failed, relieved their needs 
       from his celestial stores.

24  Though tasteful manna was rained down, 
       their hunger to relieve;
    Though front the stores of heav'n they did
       sustaining corn receive.

25  Thus man, with angels' sacred food,
       ungrateful man, was fed;
    Not sparingly, for still they found
       a plenteous table spread.

26  From heav'n he made an east wind blow, 
       then did the south command,
27  To rain down flesh, like dust, and fowls 
       like sea's unnumbered sand.

28  Within their trenches he let fall
       the luscious easy prey,
    And all around their spreading camp,
       the ready booty lay.

29       They fed, were filled: he gave them leave 
             their appetites to feast; 
30,31    Yet still their wanton lust craved on, 
            nor with their hunger ceased.

    But whilst in their luxurious mouths
       they did their dainties chew,
    The wrath of God smote down their chiefs, 
       and Israel's chosen slew.

   The Second Part. 

32  Yet still they sinned, nor would afford 
       his miracles belief;
33  Therefore through fruitless travels he 
       consumed their lives in grief. 

34  When some were slain, the rest returned 
       to God with early cry;
35  Owned him the rock of their defence,
       their Savior, God most high.

36  But this was feigned submission all;
       their heart their tongue belied;
37  Their heart was still perverse, nor would 
       firm in his league abide.

38  Yet, full of mercy, he forgave,
       nor did with death chastise;
    But turned his kindled wrath aside,
       nor would not let it rise.

39  For he remembered they were flesh
       that could not long remain;
    A murm'ring wind that's quickly past,
       and ne'er returns again.

40  How oft did they provoke him there,
       how oft his patience grieve,
    In that same desert where he did
       their fainting souls relieve!

41  They tempted him by turning back,
       and wickedly repined,
    When Israel's God refused to be
       by their desires confined.

42  Nor called to mind the hand and day
       that their redemption brought;
43  His signs in Egypt, wondrous works
       in Zoan's valley wrought.

44  He turned their rivers into blood,
       that man and beast forbore,
    And rather chose to die of thirst,
       than drink the putrid gore.

45  He sent devouring swarms of flies;
       hoarse frogs annoyed their soil;
46  Locusts and caterpillars reaped
       the harvest of their toil.

47  Their vines with butt'ring hail were broke, 
       with frost the fig-tree dies;
48  Lightning and hail made flocks and herds 
       one general sacrifice.

49  He turned his anger loose, and set
       no time for it to cease;
    And, with their plagues, bad angels sent
       their torments to increase.

50  He cleared a passage for his wrath
       to ravage uncontrolled;
    The murrain on their firstlings seized
       in ev'ry field and fold.

51  The deadly pest from beast to man,
       from field to city came;
    It slew their heirs, their eldest hopes,
       through all the tents of Ham.

52  But his own tribe, like folded sheep,
       he brought from their distress,
    And them conducted like a flock
       throughout the wilderness.

53  He led them on, and in their way
       no cause of fear they found;
    But marched securely through those deeps,
       in which their foes were drowned.

54  Nor ceased his care till them he brought 
       safe to his promised land,
    And to his holy mount, the prize
       of his victorious hand.

55  To them the outcast heathen's land
       he did by lot divide;
    And in their foes' abandoned tents
       made Israels tribes reside.

   The Third Part.

56  Yet still they tempted, still provoked
       the wrath Of God most high;
    Nor would to practice his commands
       their stubborn hearts apply.

57  But in their faithless fathers' steps
       perversely chose to go;
    They turn aside, like arrows shot
       from some deceitful bow.

58  For him to fury they provoked
       with alters set on high;
    And with their graven images
       inflamed his jealousy.

59  When God heard this, on Israel's tribes 
       his wrath and hatred fell;
60  He quitted Shiloh, and the tents
       where once he chose to dwell.

61  To vile captivity his ark,
       his glory to disdain,
62  His people to the sword he gave,
       nor would his wrath restrain.

63  Destructive war their ablest youth
       untimely did confound;
    No virgin was to th' altar led
       with nuptial garlands crowned.

64  In fight the sacrificer fell,
       the priest a victim bled;
    And widows, who their death should mourn, 
       themselves of grief were dead.

65  Then, as a giant roused from sleep,
       whom wine had thoroughly warmed,
    Shouts out aloud, the Lord awaked,
       and his proud foe alarmed.

66  He smote their hosts, that from the field 
       a scattered remnant came,
    With wounds imprinted on their backs
       of everlasting shame.

67  With conquests crowned, he Joseph's tents 
       and Ephraim's tribe forsook;
68  But Judah chose, and Zion's mount
       for his loved dwelling took.

69  His temple he erected there,
       with spires exalted high,
    While deep and fixed, as that of earth,
       the strong foundations lie.

70  His faithful servant David too
       he for his choice did own,
    And from the sheepfolds him advanced
       to sit on Judah's throne.

71  From tending on the teeming ewes,
       he brought him forth to feed
    His own inheritance, the tribes
       of Israel's chosen seed.

72  Exalted thus the monarch proved
       a faithful shepherd still;
    He fed them with an upright heart,
       and guided them with skill.

Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God
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Page last modified on: 07/29/2004