Amplified Bible

Psalm 78

God’s Guidance of His People in Spite of Their Unfaithfulness.

A skillful song, or a didactic or reflective poem, of Asaph.

1Listen, O my people, to my teaching;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth [and be willing to learn].

I will open my mouth in a parable [to instruct using examples];
I will utter dark and puzzling sayings of old [that contain important truth]—

Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,
But [we will] tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
And [tell of] His great might and power and the wonderful works that He has done.


For He established a testimony (a specific precept) in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach to their children [the great facts of God’s transactions with Israel],

That the generation to come might know them, that the children still to be born
May arise and recount them to their children,

That they should place their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,

And not be like their fathers—
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart to know and follow God,
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.


The sons of Ephraim were armed as archers and carrying bows,
Yet they turned back in the day of battle.
10 
They did not keep the covenant of God
And refused to walk according to His law;
11 
And they forgot His [incredible] works
And His miraculous wonders that He had shown them.
12 
He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers
In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided].
13 
He divided the [Red] Sea and allowed them to pass through it,
And He made the waters stand up like [water behind] a dam.
14 
In the daytime He led them with a cloud
And all the night with a light of fire.
15 
He split rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant [water to] drink like the ocean depths.
16 
He brought streams also from the rock [at Rephidim and Kadesh]
And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 
Yet they still continued to sin against Him
By rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 
And in their hearts they put God to the test
By asking for food according to their [selfish] appetite.
19 
Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare [food for] a table in the wilderness?
20 
“Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out
And the streams overflowed;
Can He give bread also?
Or will He provide meat for His people?”

21 
Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was full of wrath;
A fire was kindled against Jacob,
And His anger mounted up against Israel,
22 
Because they did not believe in God [they did not rely on Him, they did not adhere to Him],
And they did not trust in His salvation (His power to save).
23 
Yet He commanded the clouds from above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24 
And He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them the grain of heaven.
25 
Man ate the bread of angels;
God sent them provision in abundance.
26 
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens
And by His [unlimited] power He guided the south wind.
27 
He rained meat upon them like the dust,
And winged birds (quail) like the sand of the seas.
28 
And He let them fall in the midst of their camp,
Around their tents.
29 
So they ate and were well filled,
He gave them what they craved.
30 
Before they had satisfied their desire,
And while their food was in their mouths,
31 
The wrath of God rose against them
And killed some of the strongest of them,
And subdued the choice young men of Israel.
32 
In spite of all this they still sinned,
For they did not believe in His wonderful and extraordinary works.
33 
Therefore He consumed their days like a breath [in emptiness and futility]
And their years in sudden terror.

34 
When He killed [some of] them, then those remaining sought Him,
And they returned [to Him] and searched diligently for God [for a time].
35 
And they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer.
36 
Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths
And lied to Him with their tongues.
37 
For their heart was not steadfast toward Him,
Nor were they faithful to His covenant.
38 
[a]But He, the source of compassion and lovingkindness, forgave their wickedness and did not destroy them;
Many times He restrained His anger
And did not stir up all His wrath.
39 
For He [graciously] remembered that they were mere [human] flesh,
A wind that goes and does not return.

40 
How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness
And grieved Him in the desert!
41 
Again and again they tempted God,
And distressed the Holy One of Israel.
42 
They did not remember [the miracles worked by] His [powerful] hand,
Nor the day when He redeemed them from the enemy,
43 
How He worked His miracles in Egypt
And His wonders in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided],
44 
And turned their rivers into blood,
And their streams, so that they could not drink.
45 
He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
46 
He also gave their crops to the grasshopper,
And the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47 
He destroyed their vines with [great] hailstones
And their sycamore trees with frost.
48 
He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones,
And their flocks and herds to thunderbolts.
49 
He sent upon them His burning anger,
His fury and indignation and distress,
A band of angels of destruction [among them].
50 
He leveled a path for His anger [to give it free run];
He did not spare their souls from death,
But turned over their lives to the plague.
51 
He killed all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first and best of their strength in the tents [of the land of the sons] of Ham.
52 
But God led His own people forward like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like [a good shepherd with] a flock.
53 
He led them safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea engulfed their enemies.

54 
So He brought them to His holy land,
To this mountain [Zion] which His right hand had acquired.
55 
He also drove out the nations before the sons of Israel
And allotted their land as an inheritance, measured out and partitioned;
And He had the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents [the tents of those who had been dispossessed].
56 
Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God
And did not keep His testimonies (laws).
57 
They turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers;
They were twisted like a warped bow [that will not respond to the archer’s aim].
58 
For they provoked Him to [righteous] anger with their high places [devoted to idol worship]
And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images [by denying Him the love, worship, and obedience that is rightfully and uniquely His].
59 
When God heard this, He was filled with [righteous] wrath;
And utterly rejected Israel, [greatly hating her ways],
60 
So that He abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh,
The tent in which He had dwelled among men,
61 
And gave up His strength and power (the ark of the covenant) into captivity,
And His glory into the hand of the enemy (the Philistines).
62 
He also handed His people over to the sword,
And was infuriated with His inheritance (Israel).
63 
The fire [of war] devoured His young men,
And His [bereaved] virgins had no wedding songs.
64 
His priests [Hophni and Phinehas] fell by the sword,
And His widows could not weep.

65 
Then the Lord awakened as from sleep,
Like a [mighty] warrior who awakens from the sleep of wine [fully conscious of his power].
66 
He drove His enemies backward;
He subjected them to lasting shame and dishonor.
67 
Moreover, He rejected the tent of Joseph,
And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim [in which the tabernacle stood].
68 
But He chose the tribe of Judah [as Israel’s leader],
Mount Zion, which He loved [to replace Shiloh as His capital].
69 
And He built His sanctuary [exalted] like the heights [of the heavens],
Like the earth which He has established forever.
70 
He also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 
[b]From [c]tending the ewes with nursing young He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72 
So David shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart;
And guided them with his skillful hands.

Notas al pie

  1. Psalm 78:38 The ancient Sopherim, the Jewish scholars whose responsibility it was to do counts of all the letters, words, and verses of the OT, said that this verse marks the halfway point in Psalms.
  2. Psalm 78:71 The first impression one might receive from this passage is that God elevated David from the lowliest position in Israel to the highest. But the ancient rabbis said that God tested David’s skills and wisdom as a shepherd. For example, it is said that David held back the bigger sheep from the pasture and brought out the smaller ones first to graze on the tender grass. The rabbis represented God as saying, “He who knows how to shepherd the sheep, each one in proportion to its strength, shall come and shepherd My people.”
  3. Psalm 78:71 Lit following.

New International Reader's Version

Psalm 78

Psalm 78

A maskil of Asaph.

My people, listen to my teaching.
    Pay attention to what I say.
I will open my mouth and tell a story.
    I will speak about things that were hidden.
    They happened a long time ago.
We have heard about them and we know them.
    Our people who lived before us have told us about them.
We won’t hide them from our children.
    We will tell them to those who live after us.
We will tell them what the Lord has done that is worthy of praise.
    We will talk about his power and the wonderful things he has done.
He gave laws to the people of Jacob.
    He gave Israel their law.
He commanded our people who lived before us
    to teach his laws to their children.
Then those born later would know his laws.
    Even their children yet to come would know them.
    And they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God.
    They would not forget what he had done.
    They would obey his commands.
They would not be like their people who lived long ago.
    Those people were stubborn. They refused to obey God.
They turned away from him.
    Their spirits were not faithful to him.

The soldiers of Ephraim were armed with bows.
    But they ran away on the day of battle.
10 They didn’t keep the covenant God had made with them.
    They refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done.
    They didn’t remember the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did miracles right in front of their people who lived long ago.
    At that time they were living in Egypt, in the area of Zoan.
13 God parted the Red Sea and led them through it.
    He made the water stand up like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud during the day.
    He led them with the light of a fire all night long.
15 He broke the rocks open in the desert.
    He gave them as much water as there is in the oceans.
16 He brought streams out of a rocky cliff.
    He made water flow down like rivers.

17 But they continued to sin against him.
    In the desert they refused to obey the Most High God.
18 They were stubborn and tested God.
    They ordered him to give them the food they wanted.
19 They spoke against God. They said,
    “Can God really put food on a table in the desert?
20 It is true that he struck the rock, and streams of water poured out.
    Huge amounts of water flowed down.
But can he also give us bread?
    Can he supply meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard what they said, he was very angry.
    His anger broke out like fire against the people of Jacob.
    He became very angry with Israel.
22 That was because they didn’t believe in God.
    They didn’t trust in his power to save them.
23 But he gave a command to the skies above.
    He opened the doors of the heavens.
24 He rained down manna for the people to eat.
    He gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Mere human beings ate the bread of angels.
    He sent them all the food they could eat.
26 He made the east wind blow from the heavens.
    By his power he caused the south wind to blow.
27 He rained down meat on them like dust.
    He sent them birds like sand on the seashore.
28 He made the birds come down inside their camp.
    The birds fell all around their tents.
29 People ate until they couldn’t eat any more.
    He gave them what they had wanted.
30 But even before they had finished eating, God acted.
    He did it while the food was still in their mouths.
31 His anger rose up against them.
    He put to death the strongest among them.
    He struck down Israel’s young men.

32 But even after all that, they kept on sinning.
    Even after the wonderful things he had done, they still didn’t believe.
33 So he brought their days to an end like a puff of smoke.
    He ended their years with terror.
34 Every time God killed some of them, the others would seek him.
    They gladly turned back to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock.
    They remembered that God Most High had set them free.
36 But they didn’t mean it when they praised him.
    They lied to him when they spoke.
37 They turned away from him.
    They weren’t faithful to the covenant he had made with them.
38 But he was full of tender love.
    He forgave their sins
    and didn’t destroy his people.
Time after time he held back his anger.
    He didn’t let all his burning anger blaze out.
39 He remembered that they were only human.
    He remembered they were only a breath of air
    that drifts by and doesn’t return.

40 How often they refused to obey him in the desert!
    How often they caused him sorrow in that dry and empty land!
41 Again and again they tested God.
    They made the Holy One of Israel sad and angry.
42 They didn’t remember his power.
    They forgot the day he set them free
    from those who had treated them so badly.
43 They forgot how he had shown them his signs in Egypt.
    They forgot his miracles in the area of Zoan.
44 He turned the river of Egypt into blood.
    The people of Egypt couldn’t drink water from their streams.
45 He sent large numbers of flies that bit them.
    He sent frogs that destroyed their land.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshoppers.
    He gave their food to the locusts.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail.
    He destroyed their fig trees with sleet.
48 He killed their cattle with hail.
    Their livestock were struck by lightning.
49 Because he was so angry with Egypt, he caused them to have great trouble.
    In his great anger he sent destroying angels against them.
50 God prepared a path for his anger.
    He didn’t spare their lives.
    He gave them over to the plague.
51 He killed the oldest son of each family in Egypt.
    He struck down the oldest son in every house in the land of Ham.
52 But he brought his people out like a flock.
    He led them like sheep through the desert.
53 He guided them safely, and they weren’t afraid.
    But the Red Sea swallowed up their enemies.
54 And so he brought his people to the border of his holy land.
    He led them to the central hill country he had taken by his power.
55 He drove out the nations to make room for his people.
    He gave to each family a piece of land to pass on to their children.
    He gave the tribes of Israel a place to make their homes.

56 But they tested God.
    They refused to obey the Most High God.
    They didn’t keep his laws.
57 They were like their people who lived long ago.
    They turned away from him and were not faithful.
They were like a bow that doesn’t shoot straight.
    They couldn’t be trusted.
58 They made God angry by going to their high places.
    They made him jealous by worshiping the statues of their gods.
59 When God saw what the people were doing, he was very angry.
    He turned away from them completely.
60 He deserted the holy tent at Shiloh.
    He left the tent he had set up among his people.
61 He allowed the ark to be captured.
    Into the hands of his enemies he sent the ark where his glory rested.
62 He let his people be killed by swords.
    He was very angry with them.
63 Fire destroyed their young men.
    Their young women had no one to marry.
64 Their priests were killed by swords.
    Their widows weren’t able to weep.

65 Then the Lord woke up as if he had been sleeping.
    He was like a warrior waking up from the deep sleep caused by wine.
66 He drove back his enemies.
    He put them to shame that will last forever.
67 He turned his back on the tents of the people of Joseph.
    He didn’t choose to live in the tribe of Ephraim.
68 Instead, he chose to live in the tribe of Judah.
    He chose Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 There he built his holy place as secure as the heavens.
    He built it to last forever, like the earth.
70 He chose his servant David.
    He took him from the sheep pens.
71 He brought him from tending sheep
    to be the shepherd of his people Jacob.
    He made him the shepherd of Israel, his special people.
72 David cared for them with a faithful and honest heart.
    With skilled hands he led them.