Psalm 78
Contemporary English Version

(A special psalm by Asaph.)

What God Has Done for His People

1My friends, I beg you

to listen as I teach.

2 I will give instruction

and explain the mystery

of what happened long ago.

3These are things we learned

from our ancestors,

4and we will tell them

to the next generation.

We won't keep secret

the glorious deeds

and the mighty miracles

of the Lord.

5God gave his Law

to Jacob's descendants,

the people of Israel.

And he told our ancestors

to teach their children,

6so that each new generation

would know his Law

and tell it to the next.

7Then they would trust God

and obey his teachings,

without forgetting anything

God had done.

8They would be different

from their ancestors,

who were stubborn, rebellious,

and unfaithful to God.

9The warriors from Ephraim

were armed with arrows,

but they ran away

when the battle began.

10They broke their agreement

with God,

and they turned their backs

on his teaching.

11They forgot all he had done,

even the mighty miracles

12 he did for their ancestors

near Zoan+ in Egypt.

13 God made a path in the sea

and piled up the water

as he led them across.

14 He guided them during the day

with a cloud,

and each night he led them

with a flaming fire.

15 God made water flow

from rocks he split open

in the desert,

and his people drank freely,

as though from a lake.

16He made streams gush out

like rivers from rocks.

17But in the desert,

the people of God Most High

kept sinning and rebelling.

18 They stubbornly tested God

and demanded from him

what they wanted to eat.

19They challenged God by saying,

“Can God provide food

out here in the desert?

20It's true God struck the rock

and water gushed out

like a river,

but can he give his people

bread and meat?”

21When the Lord heard this,

he was angry and furious

with Jacob's descendants,

the people of Israel.

22They had refused to trust him,

and they had doubted

his saving power.

23But God gave a command

to the clouds,

and he opened the doors

in the skies.

24 From heaven he sent grain

that they called manna.+

25He gave them more than enough,

and each one of them ate

this special food.

26God's mighty power

sent a strong wind

from the southeast,

27and it brought birds

that covered the ground,

like sand on the beach.

28Then God made the birds fall

in the camp of his people

near their tents.

29God gave his people

all they wanted,

and each of them ate

until they were full.

30But before they had swallowed

the last bite,

31God became angry and killed

the strongest and best

from the families of Israel.

32But the rest kept on sinning

and would not trust

God's miracles.

33So he cut their lives short

and made them terrified.

34After he killed some of them,

the others turned to him

with all their hearts.

35They remembered God Most High,

the mighty rock+

that kept them safe.

36But they tried to flatter God,

and they told him lies;

37 they were unfaithful

and broke their promises.

38Yet God was kind.

He kept forgiving their sins

and didn't destroy them.

He often became angry,

but never lost his temper.

39God remembered that they

were made of flesh

and were like a wind

that blows once

and then dies down.

40While they were in the desert,

they often rebelled

and made God sad.

41They kept testing him

and caused terrible pain

for the Holy One of Israel.

42They forgot about his power

and how he had rescued them

from their enemies.

43God showed them all kinds

of wonderful miracles

near Zoan+ in Egypt.

44 He turned the rivers of Egypt

into blood,

and no one could drink

from the streams.

45 He sent swarms of flies

to pester the Egyptians,

and he sent frogs

to cause them trouble.

46 God let worms and grasshoppers

eat their crops.

47 He destroyed their grapevines

and their fig trees

with hail and floods.+

48Then he killed their cattle

with hail

and their other animals

with lightning.

49God was so angry and furious

that he went into a rage

and caused them great trouble

by sending swarms

of destroying angels.

50God released his anger

and slaughtered them

in a terrible way.

51 He killed the first-born son

of each Egyptian family.

52 Then God led his people

out of Egypt

and guided them in the desert

like a flock of sheep.

53 He led them safely along,

and they were not afraid,

but their enemies drowned

in the sea.

54 God brought his people

to the sacred mountain

that he had taken

by his own power.

55 He made nations run

from the tribes of Israel,

and he let the tribes

take over their land.

56 But the people tested

God Most High,

and they refused

to obey his laws.

57They were as unfaithful

as their ancestors,

and they were as crooked

as a twisted arrow.

58God demanded all their love,

but they made him angry

by worshiping idols.

59So God became furious

and completely rejected

the people of Israel.

60 Then he deserted his home

at Shiloh, where he lived

here on earth.

61 He let enemies capture

the sacred chest+

and let them dishonor him.

62God took out his anger

on his chosen ones

and let them be killed

by enemy swords.

63Fire destroyed the young men,

and the young women were left

with no one to marry.

64Priests died violent deaths,

but their widows

were not allowed to mourn.

65Finally the Lord woke up,

like a soldier

startled from a drunken sleep.

66God scattered his enemies

and made them ashamed


67Then the Lord decided

not to make his home

with Joseph's descendants

in Ephraim.+

68Instead he chose the tribe

of Judah,

and he chose Mount Zion,

the place he loves.

69There he built his temple

as lofty as the mountains

and as solid as the earth

he made to last forever.

70 The Lord God chose David

to be his servant and took him

from tending sheep

71and from caring for lambs.

Then God made him the leader

of Israel, his own nation.

72David treated the people fairly

and guided them with wisdom.


78.12 Zoan: A city in the eastern part of the Nile Delta.
78.24 manna: When the people of Israel were wandering through the desert, the Lord gave them a special kind of food to eat. It tasted like a wafer and was called “manna,” which in Hebrew means, “What is this?”
78.35 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
78.43 Zoan: See the note at 78.12.
78.47 floods: Or “frost.”
78.61 sacred chest: The Hebrew text has “his power,” which refers to the sacred chest. In Psalm 132.8 it is called “powerful.”
78.67 with … Ephraim: Ephraim was Joseph's youngest son. One of the twelve tribes was named after him, and sometimes the northern kingdom of Israel was also known as Ephraim. The town of Shiloh was in the territory of Ephraim, but the place where God was worshiped was moved from there to Zion (Jerusalem) in the territory of Judah.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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