God's Faithfulness to His Unfaithful People
78 1 Give ear, O my people, to my law; let your ears be bent down to the words of my mouth. 2 Opening my mouth I will give out a story, even the dark sayings of old times; 3 Which have come to our hearing and our knowledge, as they were given to us by our fathers. 4 We will not keep them secret from our children; we will make clear to the coming generation the praises of the Lord and his strength, and the great works of wonder which he has done. 5 He put up a witness in Jacob, and made a law in Israel; which he gave to our fathers so that they might give knowledge of them to their children; 6 So that the generation to come might have knowledge of them, even the children of the future, who would give word of them to their children; 7 So that they might put their hope in God, and not let God's works go out of their minds, but keep his laws; 8 And not be like their fathers, a stiff-necked and uncontrolled generation; a generation whose heart was hard, whose spirit was not true to God.
9 The children of Ephraim, armed with bows, were turned back on the day of the fight. 10 They were not ruled by God's word, and they would not go in the way of his law; 11 They let his works go out of their memory, and the wonders which he had made them see. 12 He did great works before the eyes of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. 13 The sea was cut in two so that they might go through; the waters were massed together on this side and on that. 14 In the daytime he was guiding them in the cloud, and all through the night with a light of fire. 15 The rocks of the waste land were broken by his power, and he gave them drink as out of the deep waters. 16 He made streams come out of the rock; and waters came flowing down like rivers. 17 And they went on sinning against him even more, turning away from the Most High in the waste land; 18 Testing God in their hearts, requesting meat for their desire. 19 They said bitter words against God, saying, Is God able to make ready a table in the waste land? 20 See, the rock was cut open by his power, so that the water came rushing out, and overflowing streams; is he able to give us bread? is he able to get meat for his people? 21 So these things came to the Lord's ears, and he was angry; and a fire was lighted against Jacob, and wrath came up against Israel; 22 Because they had no faith in God, and no hope in his salvation. 23 And he gave orders to the clouds on high, and the doors of heaven were open; 24 And he sent down manna like rain for their food, and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man took part in the food of strong ones; he sent them meat in full measure. 26 He sent an east wind from heaven, driving on the south wind by his power. 27 He sent down meat on them like dust, and feathered birds like the sand of the sea, 28 And he let it come down into their resting-place, round about their tents. 29 So they had food and were full; for he gave them their desire; 30 But they were not turned from their desires; and while the food was still in their mouths, 31 The wrath of God came on them, and put to death the fattest of them, and put an end to the young men of Israel. 32 For all this they went on sinning even more, and had no faith in his great wonders. 33 So their days were wasted like a breath, and their years in trouble. 34 When he sent death on them, then they made search for him; turning to him and looking for him with care; 35 In the memory that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their saviour. 36 But their lips were false to him, and their tongues were untrue to him; 37 And their hearts were not right with him, and they did not keep their agreement with him. 38 But he, being full of pity, has forgiveness for sin, and does not put an end to man: frequently turning back his wrath, and not being violently angry. 39 So he kept in mind that they were only flesh; a breath which is quickly gone, and will not come again.
40 How frequently did they go against him in the waste land, and give him cause for grief in the dry places! 41 Again they put God to the test, and gave pain to the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not keep in mind the work of his hand, or the day when he took them from the power of their haters; 43 How he had done his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan; 44 So that their rivers were turned to blood, and they were not able to get drink from their streams. 45 He sent different sorts of flies among them, poisoning their flesh; and frogs for their destruction. 46 He gave the increase of their fields to worms, the fruits of their industry to the locusts. 47 He sent ice for the destruction of their vines; their trees were damaged by the bitter cold. 48 Ice was rained down on their cattle; thunderstorms sent destruction among the flocks. 49 He sent on them the heat of his wrath, his bitter disgust, letting loose evil angels among them. 50 He let his wrath have its way; he did not keep back their soul from death, but gave their life to disease. 51 He gave to destruction all the first sons of Egypt; the first-fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham; 52 But he took his people out like sheep, guiding them in the waste land like a flock. 53 He took them on safely so that they had no fear; but their haters were covered by the sea. 54 And he was their guide to his holy land, even to the mountain, which his right hand had made his; 55 Driving out nations before them, marking out the line of their heritage, and giving the people of Israel their tents for a resting-place. 56 But they were bitter against the Most High God, testing him, and not keeping his laws; 57 Their hearts were turned back and untrue like their fathers; they were turned to one side like a twisted bow. 58 They made him angry with their high places; moving him to wrath with their images. 59 When this came to God's ears he was very angry, and gave up Israel completely; 60 So that he went away from the holy place in Shiloh, the tent which he had put among men; 61 And he let his strength be taken prisoner, and gave his glory into the hands of his hater. 62 He gave his people up to the sword, and was angry with his heritage. 63 Their young men were burned in the fire; and their virgins were not praised in the bride-song. 64 Their priests were put to death by the sword, and their widows made no weeping for them. 65 Then was the Lord like one awaking from sleep, and like a strong man crying out because of wine. 66 His haters were turned back by his blows and shamed for ever. 67 And he put the tent of Joseph on one side, and took not the tribe of Ephraim; 68 But he took the tribe of Judah for himself, and the mountain of Zion, in which he had pleasure. 69 And he made his holy place like the high heaven, like the earth which is fixed by him for ever. 70 He took David to be his servant, taking him from the place of the flocks; 71 From looking after the sheep which were giving milk, he took him to give food to Jacob his people, and to Israel his heritage. 72 So he gave them food with an upright heart, guiding them by the wisdom of his hands.
A Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem
79 1 O God, the nations have come into your heritage; they have made your holy Temple unclean; they have made Jerusalem a mass of broken walls. 2 They have given the bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, and the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth. 3 Their blood has been flowing like water round about Jerusalem; there was no one to put them in their last resting-place. 4 We are looked down on by our neighbours, we are laughed at and made sport of by those who are round us. 5 How long, O Lord? will you be angry for ever? will your wrath go on burning like fire?
6 Let your wrath be on the nations who have no knowledge of you, and on the kingdoms who have not made prayer to your name. 7 For they have taken Jacob for their meat, and made waste his house. 8 Do not keep in mind against us the sins of our fathers; let your mercy come to us quickly, for we have been made very low. 9 Give us help, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; take us out of danger and give us forgiveness for our sins, because of your name. 10 Why may the nations say, Where is their God? Let payment for the blood of your servants be made openly among the nations before our eyes. 11 Let the cry of the prisoner come before you; with your strong arm make free the children of death; 12 And give punishment seven times over into the breast of our neighbours for the bitter words which they have said against you, O Lord. 13 So we your people, and the sheep of your flock, will give you glory for ever: we will go on praising you through all generations.