A contemplation by Asaph.
1Hear my teaching, my people.
Turn your ears to the words of my mouth.
2I will open my mouth in a parable.
I will utter dark sayings of old,
3Which we have heard and known,
and our fathers have told us.
4We will not hide them from their children,
telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
his strength, and his wondrous deeds that he has done.
5For he established a covenant in Jacob,
and appointed a teaching in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers,
that they should make them known to their children;
6that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born;
who should arise and tell their children,
7that they might set their hope in God,
and not forget God’s deeds,
but keep his commandments,
8and might not be as their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that didn’t make their hearts loyal,
whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
9The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows,
turned back in the day of battle.
10They didn’t keep God’s covenant,
and refused to walk by his Torah.
11They forgot his doings,
his wondrous deeds that he had shown them.
12He did marvellous things in the sight of their fathers,
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13He split the sea, and caused them to pass through.
He made the waters stand as a heap.
14In the daytime he also led them with a cloud,
and all night with a light of fire.
15He split rocks in the wilderness,
and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
16He brought streams also out of the rock,
and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17Yet they still went on to sin against him,
to rebel against the Most High in the desert.
18They tempted God in their heart
by asking food according to their desire.
19Yes, they spoke against God.
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20Behold, he struck the rock, so that waters gushed out,
and streams overflowed.
Can he give bread also?
Will he provide meat for his people?”
21Therefore the Lord heard, and was angry.
A fire was kindled against Jacob,
anger also went up against Israel,
22because they didn’t believe in God,
and didn’t trust in his salvation [yeshuat].
23Yet he commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven.
24He rained down manna on them to eat,
and gave them food from the sky.
25Man ate the bread of angels.
He sent them food to the full.
26He caused the east wind to blow in the sky.
By his power he guided the south wind.
27He also rained meat on them as the dust,
winged birds as the sand of the seas.
28He let them fall in the middle of their camp,
around their habitations.
29So they ate, and were well filled.
He gave them their own desire.
30They didn’t turn from their cravings.
Their food was yet in their mouths,
31when the anger of God went up against them,
killed some of their fattest,
and struck down the young men of Israel.
32For all this they still sinned,
and didn’t believe in his wondrous works.
33Therefore he consumed their days in vanity,
and their years in terror.
34When he killed them, then they enquired after him.
They returned and sought God earnestly.
35They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God, their redeemer.
36But they flattered him with their mouth,
and lied to him with their tongue.
37For their heart was not right with him,
neither were they faithful in his covenant.
38But he, being merciful, forgave iniquity, and didn’t destroy them.
Yes, many times he turned his anger away,
and didn’t stir up all his wrath.
39He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes away, and doesn’t come again.
40How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness,
and grieved him in the desert!
41They turned again and tempted God,
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42They didn’t remember his hand,
nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary;
43how he set his signs in Egypt,
his wonders in the field of Zoan,
44he turned their rivers into blood,
and their streams, so that they could not drink.
45He sent amongst them swarms of flies, which devoured them;
and frogs, which destroyed them.
46He gave also their increase to the caterpillar,
and their labour to the locust.
47He destroyed their vines with hail,
their sycamore fig trees with frost.
48He gave over their livestock also to the hail,
and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
49He threw on them the fierceness of his anger,
wrath, indignation, and trouble,
and a band of angels of evil.
50He made a path for his anger.
He didn’t spare their soul from death,
but gave their life over to the pestilence,
51and struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52But he led out his own people like sheep,
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53He led them safely, so that they weren’t afraid,
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54He brought them to the border of his sanctuary,
to this mountain, which his right hand had taken.
55He also drove out the nations before them,
allotted them for an inheritance by line,
and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God,
and didn’t keep his testimonies,
57but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers.
They were twisted like a deceitful bow.
58For they provoked him to anger with their high places,
and moved him to jealousy with their engraved images.
59When God heard this, he was angry,
and greatly abhorred Israel,
60so that he abandoned the tent of Shiloh,
the tent which he placed amongst men,
61and delivered his strength into captivity,
his glory into the adversary’s hand.
62He also gave his people over to the sword,
and was angry with his inheritance.
63Fire devoured their young men.
Their virgins had no wedding song.
64Their priests fell by the sword,
and their widows couldn’t weep.
65Then the Lord awakened as one out of sleep,
like a mighty man who shouts by reason of wine.
66He struck his adversaries backward.
He put them to a perpetual reproach.
67Moreover he rejected the tent of Joseph,
and didn’t choose the tribe of Ephraim,
68But chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion which he loved.
69He built his sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth which he has established forever.
70He also chose David his servant,
and took him from the sheepfolds;
71from following the ewes that have their young,
he brought him to be the shepherd of Jacob, his people,
and Israel, his inheritance.
72So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart,
and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.