Psalm 78         J.H.

Words: Sternhold and Hopkins, The Whole Book of Psalms Collected into English Metre

Common Metre Tunes

  1  Attend, my people, to my law,
        and to my words incline:
     My mouth shall speak strange parables,
        and sentences divine;

  2  Which we ourselves have heard and learnt 
        e'en of our fathers old;
     And which for our instruction
        our fathers have us told:

  3  Because we should not keep it close
        from them that after came,
     Who should God's mighty power declare
        and wondrous works proclaim.

  4  To Jacob he commandment gave
        how Israel should live;
     Willing our fathers should the same
        unto their children give.

  5  That they and their posterity,
        that were not sprung up then,
     Should have the knowledge of the law,
        and teach it their children.

  6  That they might have the better hope
        in God that is above;
     And not forget to keep his laws,
        and his commands in love.

  7  Not being as their fathers, who
        rebelled in God's sight;
     And would not frame their wicked hearts
        to know their God aright.

  8  How went the sons of Ephraim
        their neighbours for to spoil?
     Shooting their darts in day of war,
        and yet receiv'd the foil!

  9  For why? they did not keep with God
        the cov'nant that was made,
     Nor yet would walk or lead their lives
        according as he said;

 10  But put into oblivion
        his counsel and his will,
     And all his works magnificent
        which he declar-ed still.

   The Second Part.

 11  What wonders to our forefathers
        did he himself disclose,
     In Egypt's land within the field
        that called is Thaneos!

 12  He did divide and part the sea,
        through which he made a way
     For them to pass, and on a heap
        the waters made to stay.

 13  He led them secret in a cloud
        by day when it was bright;
     And in the night when it was dark
        with fire he gave them light.

 14  He clave the rocks in wilderness,
        and gave the people drink,
     As plentiful as when the deeps
        do flow up to the brink.

 15  He drew forth rivers out of rocks
        that were both dry and hard,
     in such abundance that no floods
        to them might be compared.

 16  Yet, for all this, against the Lord
        their sin they did increase;
     And did provoke the most Highest
        to wrath in wilderness.

 17  And in their hearts they tempted God,
        like people of mistrust;
     Requiring such a kind of meat
        as serv-ed to their lust.

 18  Yea, they against him spake, and thus
        their boldness did express;
     Can God prepare a table in
        this barren wilderness?

 19  Behold, he smote the stony rock,
        and floods forthwith did flow,
     But call he now give to his folk
        both bread and flesh also.

 20  When God heard this he wax-ed worth
        with Jacob and his seed;
     His indignation also did
        against Israel proceed.

   The Third Part. 

 21  Because they did not faithfully
        believe, and hope that he
     Could always help and succor them
        in their necessity:

 22  Wherefore he did command the clouds,
        forthwith they brake in sunder,
     And rained down manna for to eat,
        a food of mighty wonder.

 23  When earthly men with angels food
        did plentifully feast;
     He made the east-wind blow away,
        and brought in the south-west:

 24  He rained down flesh as thick as dust,
        and fowls as thick as sand,
     Which he did cast amidst the place
        where all their tents did stand.

 25  Then did they eat exceedingly,
        and all men had their fills;
     Yet more and more they did desire
        to serve their lusts and wills:

 26  But as the meat was in their mouths
        His wrath upon them fell,
     And slew the strength of all their youth,
        and choice of Israel.

 27  Yet fell they to their wonted sin,
        and still they did him grieve;
     For all the wonders that he wrought,
        they would not him believe.

 28  Their days therefore he shortened, and
        did make their honor vain,
     Their years did waste and pass away
        with terror and with pain:

 29  But ever when he plagu-ed them,
        they sought him speedily;
     Rememb'ring that he was their strength, 
        their help, and God most high.

 30  Though with their mouths they nothing did 
        but flatter with the Lord,
     And with their tongues, and in their hearts 
        dissembled ev'ry word.

   The Fourth Part.

 31  For why? their hearts were nothing bent 
        to him, nor what he said,
     Nor yet to keep or to perform
        the cov'nant he had made.

 32  Yet was he still so merciful,
        when they deserved to die,
     That he forgave them, and would not
        them utterly destroy.

 33  Yea, many times he stayed his wrath,
        and did not them surprise,
     And would not suffer that his whole
        displeasure should arise;

 34  Consid'ring that they were but flesh,
        or like to wind and rain,
     Passing away, which never doth
        return and come again.

 35  How often in the wilderness
        did they the Lord provoke!
     How did they move and stir him up
        to plague them with his stroke!

 36  Yet did they turn again to sin,
        and tempt him very soon,
     Prescribing to the mighty God
        what things they would have done;

 37  Not thinking of his mighty hand,
        nor of the day when he
     Delivered them out of the hand
        of the fierce enemy;

 38  Nor how he wrought his miracles
        (as they themselves beheld)
     In Egypt, and the wonders that
        he did in Zoan's field;

 39  Nor how he turn-ed by his pow'r
        their waters into blood,
     That no man might receive his drink
        at river or at flood;

 40  Nor how he sent them swarms of flies, 
        which did them sore annoy;
     And filled their country full with frogs,
        which did their land destroy.

   The Fifth Part.

 41  Nor how he did their fruits unto
        the caterpillar give,
     And of the labor of their hands
        locusts did them deprive:

 42  With hail-stones he destroyed their vines,
        so that they all were lost,
     And likewise all their sycamores
        he did consume with frost.

 43  With hail-stones also once again
        the Lord their cattle smote,
     And all their flocks and herds likewise
        with thunder-bolts full hot:

 44  He cast upon them his fierce wrath,
        and indignation sore,
     Amongst them evil angels sent,
        which troubled them yet more!

 45  Then to his wrath he made a way,
        and spar-ed not the least,
     But gave unto the pestilence
        the man as well as beast:

 46  He smote also all the first-born
        that up in Egypt came,
     And all the chief of men and beasts
        within the tents of Ham:

 47  But as for his own people, he
        did them preserve and keep,
     And carried them through wilderness
        e'en like a flock of sheep:

 48  Without all fear, both safe and sound
        He brought them out of thrall;
     Whereas their foes with rage of seas
        were overwhelm-ed all.

 49  And brought them out into the coasts
        of his own holy land,
     E'en to the mount which he had got
        by his strong arm and hand;

 50  And thee cast out the heathen folk,
        and did their land divide,
     And in their tents he set the tribes
        Of Israel t'abide.

 51  Yet, for all this, the God most high
        they moved and tempted still,
     And would not keep his testament,
        nor yet obey His will;

 52  But as their fathers turn-ed back,
        e'en so they went astray,
     Much like a bow that will not bend,
        but slips and starts away;

   The Sixth Part.

 53  And grieved him with their hill-altars,
        with offerings and fire,
     And with their idols grievously
        Provok-ed him to ire.

 54  For which his wrath began again
        to kindle in his breast,
     The wickedness of Israel
        he did so much detest:

 55  The tabernacle he forsook
        of Silo where he was
     Right conversant with earthly men
        E'en as his dwelling-place.

 56  Then suffered he his might and power
        in bondage for to be,
     And gave the honor of his ark
        unto the enemy;

 57  And did commit them to the sword,
        wroth with his heritage;
     Their young men were consumed with fire,
        Maids had no marriage:

 58  And with the sword the priests also
        did perish every one,
     And not a widow left alive
        Their death for to bemoan.

 59  Then did the Lord awake as one
        whom sleep could not confine,
     And like a mighty giant that
        Refresh-ed is with wine:

 60  With em'roids in the hinder parts
        his enemies he smote,
     And put them into such a shame
        As should not be forgot:

 61  The tent and tabernacle he
        of Joseph did refuse,
     Also the tribe of Ephriam
        He would in no wise choose:

 62  But he the tribe of Judah chose,
        that he therein might dwell,
     E'en the most noble mount Zion,
        Which he did love so well:

 63  And there he did his temple build,
        both sumptously and sure,
     Like as the earth which he hath made
        For ever to endure.

 64  Then chose he David him to serve,
        his people for to keep,
     Whom he took up and brought away
        E'en from the folds of sheep:

 65  From following the ewes with young
        the Lord did him advance,
     To feed his people Israel,
        And his inheritance.

 66  Thus David with a faithful heart
        his flock and charge did feed,
     And prudently with all his pow'r
        Did govern them indeed.

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Page last modified on: 07/29/2004