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Scottish Psalter: Psalm 78

Psalm 78: Attend, my people, to my law

Maschil of Asaph.

Meter: C.M. (8,6,8,6)

1 Attend, my people, to my law; thereto give thou an ear; The words that from my mouth proceed attentively do hear.

2 My mouth shall speak a parable, and sayings dark of old; 3 The same which we have heard and known, and us our fathers told.

4 We also will them not conceal from their posterity; Them to the generation to come declare will we:

The praises of the Lord our God, and his almighty strength, The wondrous works that he hath done, we will shew forth at length.

5 His testimony and his law in Isr’el he did place, And charg’d our fathers it to show to their succeeding race;

6 That so the race which was to come might well them learn and know; And sons unborn, who should arise, might to their sons them show:

7 That they might set their hope in God, and suffer not to fall His mighty works out of their mind, but keep his precepts all:

8 And might not, like their fathers, be a stiff rebellious race; A race not right in heart; with God whose sp’rit not stedfast was.

9 The sons of Ephraim, who nor bows nor other arms did lack, When as the day of battle was, they faintly turned back.

10 They brake God’s cov’nant, and refus’d in his commands to go; 11 His works and wonders they forgot, which he to them did show.

12 Things marvellous he brought to pass; their fathers them beheld Within the land of Egypt done, yea, ev’n in Zoan’s field.

13 By him divided was the sea, he caus’d them through to pass; And made the waters so to stand, as like an heap it was.

14 With cloud by day, with light of fire all night, he did them guide. 15 In desert rocks he clave, and drink, as from great depths, supply’d.

16 He from the rock brought streams, like floods made waters to run down. 17 Yet sinning more, in desert they provok’d the Highest One.

18 For in their heart they tempted God, and, speaking with mistrust, They greedily did meat require to satisfy their lust.

19 Against the Lord himself they spake, and, murmuring, said thus, A table in the wilderness can God prepare for us?

20 Behold, he smote the rock, and thence came streams and waters great; But can he give his people bread? and send them flesh to eat?

21 The Lord did hear, and waxed wroth; so kindled was a flame ’Gainst Jacob, and ‘gainst Israel up indignation came.

22 For they believ’d not God, nor trust in his salvation had; 23 Though clouds above he did command, and heav’n’s doors open made,

24 And manna rain’d on them, and gave them corn of heav’n to eat. 25 Man angels’ food did eat; to them he to the full sent meat.

26 And in the heaven he did cause an eastern wind to blow; And by his power he let out the southern wind to go.

27 Then flesh as thick as dust he made to rain down them among; And feather’d fowls, like as the sand which li’th the shore along.

28 At his command amidst their camp these show’rs of flesh down fell, All round about the tabernacles and tents where they did dwell.

29 So they did eat abundantly, and had of meat their fill; For he did give to them what was their own desire and will.

30 They from their lust had not estrang’d their heart and their desire; But while the meat was in their mouths, which they did so require,

31 God’s wrath upon them came, and slew the fattest of them all; So that the choice of Israel, o’erthrown by death, did fall.

32 Yet, notwithstanding of all this, they sinned still the more; And though he had great wonders wrought, believ’d him not therefore:

33 Wherefore their days in vanity he did consume and waste; And by his wrath their wretched years away in trouble past.

34 But when he slew them, then they did to seek him shew desire; Yea, they return’d, and after God right early did enquire.

35 And that the Lord had been their Rock, they did remember then; Ev’n that the high almighty God had their Redeemer been.

36 Yet with their mouth they flatter’d him, and spake but feignedly; And they unto the God of truth with their false tongues did lie.

37 For though their words were good, their heart with him was not sincere; Unstedfast and perfidious they in his cov’nant were.

38 But, full of pity, he forgave their sin, them did not slay; Nor stirr’d up all his wrath, but oft his anger turn’d away.

39 For that they were but fading flesh to mind he did recall; A wind that passeth soon away, and not returns at all.

40 How often did they him provoke within the wilderness! And in the desert did him grieve with their rebelliousness!

41 Yea, turning back, they tempted God, and limits set upon Him, who in midst of Isr’el is the only Holy One.

42 They did not call to mind his pow’r, nor yet the day when he Deliver’d them out of the hand of their fierce enemy;

43 Nor how great signs in Egypt land he openly had wrought; What miracles in Zoan’s field his hand to pass had brought.

44 How lakes and rivers ev’ry where he turned into blood; So that nor man nor beast could drink of standing lake or flood.

45 He brought among them swarms of flies, which did them sore annoy; And divers kinds of filthy frogs he sent them to destroy.

46 He to the caterpillar gave the fruits of all their soil; Their labours he deliver’d up unto the locusts’ spoil.

47 Their vines with hail, their sycamores he with the frost did blast: 48 Their beasts to hail he gave; their flocks hot thunderbolts did waste.

49 Fierce burning wrath he on them cast, and indignation strong, And troubles sore, by sending forth ill angels them among.

50 He to his wrath made way; their soul from death he did not save; But over to the pestilence the lives of them he gave.

51 In Egypt land the first-born all he smote down ev’ry where; Among the tents of Ham, ev’n these chief of their strength that were.

52 But his own people, like to sheep, thence to go forth he made; And he, amidst the wilderness, them, as a flock, did lead.

53 And he them safely on did lead, so that they did not fear; Whereas their en’mies by the sea quite overwhelmed were.

54 To borders of his sanctuary the Lord his people led, Ev’n to the mount which his right hand for them had purchased.

55 The nations of Canaan, by his almighty hand, Before their face he did expel out of their native land;

Which for inheritance to them by line he did divide, And made the tribes of Israel within their tents abide.

56 Yet God most high they did provoke, and tempted ever still; And to observe his testimonies did not incline their will:

57 But, like their fathers, turned back, and dealt unfaithfully: Aside they turned, like a bow that shoots deceitfully.

58 For they to anger did provoke him with their places high; And with their graven images mov’d him to jealousy.

59 When God heard this, he waxed wroth, and much loath’d Isr’el then: 60 So Shiloh’s tent he left, the tent which he had plac’d with men.

61 And he his strength delivered into captivity; He left his glory in the hand of his proud enemy.

62 His people also he gave o’er unto the sword’s fierce rage: So sore his wrath inflamed was against his heritage.

63 The fire consum’d their choice young men; their maids no marriage had; 64 And when their priests fell by the sword, their wives no mourning made.

65 But then the Lord arose, as one that doth from sleep awake; And like a giant that, by wine refresh’d, a shout doth make:

66 Upon his en’mies’ hinder parts he made his stroke to fall; And so upon them he did put a shame perpetual.

67 Moreover, he the tabernacle of Joseph did refuse; The mighty tribe of Ephraim he would in no wise chuse:

68 But he did chuse Jehudah’s tribe to be the rest above; And of mount Sion he made choice, which he so much did love.

69 And he his sanctuary built like to a palace high, Like to the earth which he did found to perpetuity.

70 Of David, that his servant was, he also choice did make, And even from the folds of sheep was pleased him to take:

71 From waiting on the ewes with young, he brought him forth to feed Israel, his inheritance, his people, Jacob’s seed.

72 So after the integrity he of his heart them fed; And by the good skill of his hands them wisely governed.