LXXVIII. Psalm LXXVIII

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.

Text Information
First Line: Attend my people to my law
Title: Psalm LXXVIII
Author: J. H.
Publication Date: 1812
Scripture: Psalm 78
Language: English
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