A contemplation by Asaph. Hear my teaching, my people. Turn 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 hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Yahweh, his strength, and his wondrous deeds that he has done.
For 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;
that the generation to come might know, even the children who should be born; who should arise and tell their children,
that they might set their hope in God, and not forget God’s deeds, but keep his commandments,
and 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.
The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
They didn’t keep God’s covenant, and refused to walk in his law.
They forgot his doings, his wondrous deeds that he had shown them.
He did marvelous things in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
He split the sea, and caused them to pass through. He made the waters stand as a heap.
In the daytime he also led them with a cloud, and all night with a light of fire.
He split rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as out of the depths.
He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
Yet they still went on to sin against him, to rebel against the Most High in the desert.
They tempted God in their heart by asking food according to their desire.
Yes, they spoke against God. They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
Behold, he struck the rock, so that waters gushed out, and streams overflowed. Can he give bread also? Will he provide meat for his people?”
Therefore Yahweh heard, and was angry. A fire was kindled against Jacob, anger also went up against Israel,
because they didn’t believe in God, and didn’t trust in his salvation.
Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down manna on them to eat, and gave them food from the sky.
Man ate the bread of angels. He sent them food to the full.
He caused the east wind to blow in the sky. By his power he guided the south wind.
He also rained meat on them as the dust, winged birds as the sand of the seas.
He let them fall in the middle of their camp, around their habitations.
So they ate, and were well filled. He gave them their own desire.
They didn’t turn from their cravings. Their food was yet in their mouths,
when the anger of God went up against them, killed some of their strongest, and struck down the young men of Israel.
For all this they still sinned, and didn’t believe in his wondrous works.
Therefore he consumed their days in vanity, and their years in terror.
When he killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue.
For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant.
But 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.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away, and doesn’t come again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness, and grieved him in the desert!
They turned again and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They didn’t remember his hand, nor the day when he redeemed them from the adversary;
how he set his signs in Egypt, his wonders in the field of Zoan,
he turned their rivers into blood, and their streams, so that they could not drink.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
He also gave their increase to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail, their sycamore fig trees with frost.
He also gave over their livestock to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
He threw on them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, and a band of angels of evil.
He made a path for his anger. He didn’t spare their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence,
and struck all the firstborn in Egypt, the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.
But he led out his own people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them safely, so that they weren’t afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
He brought them to the border of his sanctuary, to this mountain, which his right hand had taken.
He 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.
Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God, and didn’t keep his testimonies,
but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers. They were twisted like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their engraved images.
When God heard this, he was angry, and greatly abhorred Israel,
so that he abandoned the tent of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men,
and delivered his strength into captivity, his glory into the adversary’s hand.
He also gave his people over to the sword, and was angry with his inheritance.
Fire devoured their young men. Their virgins had no wedding song.
Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows couldn’t weep.
Then the Lord awakened as one out of sleep, like a mighty man who shouts by reason of wine.
He struck his adversaries backward. He put them to a perpetual reproach.
Moreover he rejected the tent of Joseph, and didn’t choose the tribe of Ephraim,
But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved.
He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which he has established forever.
He also chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the ewes that have their young, he brought him to be the shepherd of Jacob, his people, and Israel, his inheritance.
So he was their shepherd according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.