The Message

Psalm 78

An Asaph Psalm

11-4 Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth,
    bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
    I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers,
    counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
    we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
    the marvelous things he has done.

5-8 He planted a witness in Jacob,
    set his Word firmly in Israel,
Then commanded our parents
    to teach it to their children
So the next generation would know,
    and all the generations to come—
Know the truth and tell the stories
    so their children can trust in God,
Never forget the works of God
    but keep his commands to the letter.
Heaven forbid they should be like their parents,
    bullheaded and bad,
A fickle and faithless bunch
    who never stayed true to God.

9-16 The Ephraimites, armed to the teeth,
    ran off when the battle began.
They were cowards to God’s Covenant,
    refused to walk by his Word.
They forgot what he had done—
    marvels he’d done right before their eyes.
He performed miracles in plain sight of their parents
    in Egypt, out on the fields of Zoan.
He split the Sea and they walked right through it;
    he piled the waters to the right and the left.
He led them by day with a cloud,
    led them all the night long with a fiery torch.
He split rocks in the wilderness,
    gave them all they could drink from underground springs;
He made creeks flow out from sheer rock,
    and water pour out like a river.

17-20 All they did was sin even more,
    rebel in the desert against the High God.
They tried to get their own way with God,
    clamored for favors, for special attention.
They whined like spoiled children,
    “Why can’t God give us a decent meal in this desert?
Sure, he struck the rock and the water flowed,
    creeks cascaded from the rock.
But how about some fresh-baked bread?
    How about a nice cut of meat?”

21-31 When God heard that, he was furious—
    his anger flared against Jacob,
    he lost his temper with Israel.
It was clear they didn’t believe God,
    had no intention of trusting in his help.
But God helped them anyway, commanded the clouds
    and gave orders that opened the gates of heaven.
He rained down showers of manna to eat,
    he gave them the Bread of Heaven.
They ate the bread of the mighty angels;
    he sent them all the food they could eat.
He let East Wind break loose from the skies,
    gave a strong push to South Wind.
This time it was birds that rained down—
    succulent birds, an abundance of birds.
He aimed them right for the center of their camp;
    all round their tents there were birds.
They ate and had their fill;
    he handed them everything they craved on a platter.
But their greed knew no bounds;
    they stuffed their mouths with more and more.
Finally, God was fed up, his anger erupted—
    he cut down their brightest and best,
    he laid low Israel’s finest young men.

32-37 And—can you believe it?—they kept right on sinning;
    all those wonders and they still wouldn’t believe!
So their lives dribbled off to nothing—
    nothing to show for their lives but a ghost town.
When he cut them down, they came running for help;
    they turned and pled for mercy.
They gave witness that God was their rock,
    that High God was their redeemer,
But they didn’t mean a word of it;
    they lied through their teeth the whole time.
They could not have cared less about him,
    wanted nothing to do with his Covenant.

38-55 And God? Compassionate!
    Forgave the sin! Didn’t destroy!
Over and over he reined in his anger,
    restrained his considerable wrath.
He knew what they were made of;
    he knew there wasn’t much to them,
How often in the desert they had spurned him,
    tried his patience in those wilderness years.
Time and again they pushed him to the limit,
    provoked Israel’s Holy God.
How quickly they forgot what he’d done,
    forgot their day of rescue from the enemy,
When he did miracles in Egypt,
    wonders on the plain of Zoan.
He turned the River and its streams to blood—
    not a drop of water fit to drink.
He sent flies, which ate them alive,
    and frogs, which bedeviled them.
He turned their harvest over to caterpillars,
    everything they had worked for to the locusts.
He flattened their grapevines with hail;
    a killing frost ruined their orchards.
He pounded their cattle with hail,
    let thunderbolts loose on their herds.
His anger flared,
    a wild firestorm of havoc,
An advance guard of disease-carrying angels
    to clear the ground, preparing the way before him.
He didn’t spare those people,
    he let the plague rage through their lives.
He killed all the Egyptian firstborns,
    lusty infants, offspring of Ham’s virility.
Then he led his people out like sheep,
    took his flock safely through the wilderness.
He took good care of them; they had nothing to fear.
    The Sea took care of their enemies for good.
He brought them into his holy land,
    this mountain he claimed for his own.
He scattered everyone who got in their way;
    he staked out an inheritance for them—
    the tribes of Israel all had their own places.

56-64 But they kept on giving him a hard time,
    rebelled against God, the High God,
    refused to do anything he told them.
They were worse, if that’s possible, than their parents:
    traitors—crooked as a corkscrew.
Their pagan orgies provoked God’s anger,
    their obscene idolatries broke his heart.
When God heard their carryings-on, he was furious;
    he posted a huge No over Israel.
He walked off and left Shiloh empty,
    abandoned the shrine where he had met with Israel.
He let his pride and joy go to the dogs,
    turned his back on the pride of his life.
He turned them loose on fields of battle;
    angry, he let them fend for themselves.
Their young men went to war and never came back;
    their young women waited in vain.
Their priests were massacred,
    and their widows never shed a tear.

65-72 Suddenly the Lord was up on his feet
    like someone roused from deep sleep,
    shouting like a drunken warrior.
He hit his enemies hard, sent them running,
    yelping, not daring to look back.
He disqualified Joseph as leader,
    told Ephraim he didn’t have what it takes,
And chose the Tribe of Judah instead,
    Mount Zion, which he loves so much.
He built his sanctuary there, resplendent,
    solid and lasting as the earth itself.
Then he chose David, his servant,
    handpicked him from his work in the sheep pens.
One day he was caring for the ewes and their lambs,
    the next day God had him shepherding Jacob,
    his people Israel, his prize possession.
His good heart made him a good shepherd;
    he guided the people wisely and well.

New American Standard Bible

Psalm 78

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

A [a]Maskil of Asaph.

1Listen, O my people, to my [b]instruction;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should [c]teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put 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 [d]prepare its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The sons of Ephraim [e]were archers equipped with bows,
Yet they turned back in the day of battle.
10 They did not keep the covenant of God
And refused to walk in His law;
11 They forgot His deeds
And His [f]miracles that He had shown them.
12 He wrought wonders before their fathers
In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through,
And He made the waters stand up like a heap.
14 Then He led them with the cloud by day
And all the night with a light of fire.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.
16 He brought forth streams also from the rock
And caused waters to run down like rivers.

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

21 Therefore the Lord heard and [h]was full of wrath;
And a fire was kindled against Jacob
And anger also mounted against Israel,
22 Because they did not believe in God
And did not trust in His salvation.
23 Yet He commanded the clouds above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24 He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them [i]food from heaven.
25 Man did eat the bread of [j]angels;
He sent them [k]food [l]in abundance.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens
And by His [m]power He directed the south wind.
27 When He rained [n]meat upon them like the dust,
Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas,
28 Then He let them fall in the midst of [o]their camp,
Round about their dwellings.
29 So they ate and were well filled,
And their desire He gave to them.
30 [p]Before they had satisfied their desire,
While their food was in their mouths,
31 The anger of God rose against them
And killed [q]some of their stoutest ones,
And [r]subdued the choice men of Israel.
32 In spite of all this they still sinned
And did not believe in His wonderful works.
33 So He brought their days to an end in [s]futility
And their years in sudden terror.

34 When He killed them, then they sought Him,
And returned and searched diligently for God;
35 And they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer.
36 But they deceived Him with their mouth
And lied to Him with their tongue.
37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him,
Nor were they faithful in His covenant.
38 But He, being compassionate, [t]forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them;
And often He [u]restrained His anger
And did not arouse all His wrath.
39 Thus He remembered that they were but flesh,
A [v]wind that passes 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 [w]tempted God,
And pained the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His [x]power,
The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,
43 When He performed His signs in Egypt
And His marvels in the field of Zoan,
44 And turned their rivers to blood,
And their streams, they could not drink.
45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
46 He gave also their crops to the grasshopper
And the product of their labor to the locust.
47 He [y]destroyed their vines with hailstones
And their sycamore trees with frost.
48 He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones
And their herds to bolts of lightning.
49 He sent upon them His burning anger,
Fury and indignation and trouble,
[z]A band of destroying angels.
50 He leveled a path for His anger;
He did not spare their soul from death,
But gave over their life to the plague,
51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.
52 But He led forth His own people like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like 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 [aa]land,
To this [ab]hill country which His right hand had gained.
55 He also drove out the nations before them
And apportioned them for an inheritance by measurement,
And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.
56 Yet they [ac]tempted and rebelled against the Most High God
And did not keep His testimonies,
57 But turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers;
They turned aside like a treacherous bow.
58 For they provoked Him with their high places
And aroused His jealousy with their graven images.
59 When God heard, He [ad]was filled with wrath
And greatly abhorred Israel;
60 So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh,
The tent [ae]which He had pitched among men,
61 And gave up His strength to captivity
And His glory into the hand of the adversary.
62 He also delivered His people to the sword,
And [af]was filled with wrath at His inheritance.
63 Fire devoured [ag]His young men,
And [ah]His virgins had no wedding songs.
64 [ai]His priests fell by the sword,
And [aj]His widows could not weep.

65 Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep,
Like a warrior [ak]overcome by wine.
66 He [al]drove His adversaries backward;
He put on them an everlasting reproach.
67 He also rejected the tent of Joseph,
And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68 But chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion which He loved.
69 And He built His sanctuary like the heights,
Like the earth which He has founded forever.
70 He also chose David His servant
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 From [am]the care of the [an]ewes with suckling lambs He brought him
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.

Notas al pie

  1. Psalm 78:1 Possibly, Contemplative, or Didactic, or Skillful Psalm
  2. Psalm 78:1 Or law, teaching
  3. Psalm 78:5 Lit make them known
  4. Psalm 78:8 Or put right
  5. Psalm 78:9 Or being
  6. Psalm 78:11 Or wonderful works
  7. Psalm 78:20 Lit flesh
  8. Psalm 78:21 Or became infuriated
  9. Psalm 78:24 Lit grain
  10. Psalm 78:25 Lit mighty ones
  11. Psalm 78:25 Or provision
  12. Psalm 78:25 Lit to satiation
  13. Psalm 78:26 Or strength
  14. Psalm 78:27 Lit flesh
  15. Psalm 78:28 Lit His
  16. Psalm 78:30 Lit They were not estranged from
  17. Psalm 78:31 Lit among their fat ones
  18. Psalm 78:31 Lit caused to bow down
  19. Psalm 78:33 Lit vanity, a mere breath
  20. Psalm 78:38 Lit covered over, atoned for
  21. Psalm 78:38 Lit turned away
  22. Psalm 78:39 Or breath
  23. Psalm 78:41 Or put God to the test
  24. Psalm 78:42 Lit hand
  25. Psalm 78:47 Lit was killing
  26. Psalm 78:49 Lit A deputation of angels of evil
  27. Psalm 78:54 Lit border, territory
  28. Psalm 78:54 Or mountain
  29. Psalm 78:56 Or put to the test
  30. Psalm 78:59 Or became infuriated
  31. Psalm 78:60 Some ancient versions read where He dwelt
  32. Psalm 78:62 Or became infuriated
  33. Psalm 78:63 Or their
  34. Psalm 78:63 Or their
  35. Psalm 78:64 Or their
  36. Psalm 78:64 Or their
  37. Psalm 78:65 Or sobered up from
  38. Psalm 78:66 Lit smote
  39. Psalm 78:71 Lit following
  40. Psalm 78:71 Lit ewes which gave suck, He...