Bible Book List

Psalm 78 International Standard Version (ISV)

An instruction[a] of Asaph

Remembering God in Times of Trouble

78 Listen, my people, to my instruction.
    Hear[b] the words of my mouth.
I will tell[c] a parable,
    speaking riddles from long ago—
things that we have heard and known
    and that our ancestors related to us.
We will not withhold them from their descendants;
    we’ll declare to the next generation the praises of the Lord
        his might and awesome deeds that he has performed.

He established a decree in Jacob,
    and established the Law in Israel,
that he commanded our ancestors
    to reveal to their children
in order that the next generation—
    children yet to be born—
will know them and
    in turn teach them to their children.
Then they will put their trust in God
    and they will not forget his awesome deeds.
        Instead, they will keep his commandments.
They will not be like the rebellious generation of their ancestors,
    a rebellious generation,
whose heart was not steadfast,
    and whose spirits were unfaithful to God.
The descendants of Ephraim were sharp shooters with the bow,
    but they retreated in the day of battle.
10 They did not keep God’s covenant,
    and refused to live by his Law.
11 They have forgotten what he has done,
    his awesome deeds that they witnessed.

12 He performed marvelous things
    in the presence of their ancestors
in the land of Egypt—
    in the fields of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea so that they were able to cross;
    he caused the water to stand in a single location.
14 He led them with a cloud during the day,
    and during the night with light from the fire.
15 He caused the rocks to split in the wilderness,
    and gave them water[d] as from an abundant sea.
16 He brought streams from rock,
    causing water to flow like a river.

17 But time and again, they sinned against him,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 To test God was in their minds,
    when they demanded food to satisfy their cravings.[e]
19 They spoke against God by asking,
    “Is God able to prepare a feast[f] in the desert?
20 It’s true that[g] Moses[h] struck the rock so that water flowed forth
    and torrents of water gushed out,
but is he also able to give bread
    or to supply meat for his people?”

21 Therefore, when the Lord heard this, he was angry,
    and fire broke out against Jacob.
Moreover, his anger flared against Israel,
22 because they didn’t believe in God
        and didn’t trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above
    and the doors of the heavens to open,
24 so that manna rained down on them for food
    and he sent them the grain of heaven.
25 Mortal men[i] ate the food of angels;
    he sent provision to them in abundance.

26 He stirred up the east wind in the heavens
    and drove the south wind by his might.
27 He caused meat to rain on them like dust
    and winged birds as the sand of the sea.
28 He caused these to fall in the middle of the camp
    and all around their tents.
29 So they ate and were very satisfied,
    because he granted their desire.
30 However, before they had fulfilled their desire,
    while their food was still in their mouths,
31 the anger of God flared against them,
    and he killed the strongest men
        and humbled Israel’s young men.

32 In spite of all of this, they kept on sinning
    and didn’t believe in his marvelous deeds.
33 So he made their days end in futility,
    and their years with sudden terror.
34 When he struck them, they sought him;
    they repented, and eagerly sought God.
35 Then they remembered that God was their rock,
    and the Most High God was their deliverer.
36 But they deceived him with their mouths;
    they lied to him with their tongues.
37 For their hearts weren’t committed to him,
    and they weren’t faithful to his covenant.
38 But he, being merciful, forgave their iniquity
    and didn’t destroy them;
He restrained his anger
    and didn’t vent all his wrath.
39 For he remembered that they were only flesh,
    a passing wind that doesn’t return.

40 How they rebelled against him in the desert,
    grieving him in the wilderness!
41 They tested God again and again,
    provoking the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power—
    the day he delivered them from their adversary,
43 when he set his signs in Egypt
    and his wonders in the plain of Zoan.

44 He turned their rivers into blood
    and made their streams undrinkable.
45 He sent swarms of insects to bite them
    and frogs to destroy them.
46 He gave their crops to caterpillars
    and what they worked for to locusts.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail
    and their sycamore[j] trees with frost.
48 He delivered their beasts to hail
    and their livestock to lightning bolts.
49 He inflicted his burning anger,
    wrath, indignation, and distress,
        sending destroying angels among them.
50 He blazed a path for his anger;
    he did not stop short from killing them,
        but handed them over to pestilence.
51 He struck every firstborn in Egypt,
    the first fruits of their manhood in the tents of Ham.
52 Yet he led out his people like sheep,
    guiding them like a flock in the desert.
53 He led them to safety so they would not fear.
    As for their enemies, the sea covered them.
54 He brought the people[k] to the border of his holy mountain,
    which he acquired by his might.
55 He drove out nations before them
    and allotted their tribal inheritance,
        settling the tribes of Israel in their tents.

56 But they tested the Most High God by rebelling against him,
    and they did not obey his statutes.
57 They fell away and were as disloyal as their ancestors.
    They became unreliable, like a defective bow;
58 they angered him with their high places
    and with their carved images they made him jealous.

59 God heard and became furious,
    and he completely rejected Israel.
60 He abandoned the tent at Shiloh,
    the tent that he established among mankind.
61 Then he sent his might[l] into captivity
    and his glory into the control of the adversary.
62 He delivered his people over to the sword
    and was angry with his possession.
63 The young men were consumed by fire,
    and the virgins had no marriage celebrations.[m]
64 The priests fell by the sword,
    yet their widows couldn’t weep.

65 The Lord awoke as though from sleep,
    like a mighty warrior stimulated by wine.
66 He beat back his adversaries,
    permanently disgracing them.

67 He rejected the clan[n] of Joseph;
    and the tribe of Ephraim he did not choose.
68 But he chose the tribe of Judah,
    the mountain of Zion, which he loves.
69 He built his sanctuary, high as the heavens,
    like the earth that he established forever.
70 Then he chose his servant David,
    whom he took from the sheepfold.
71 He brought him from birthing sheep
    to care for Jacob, his people,
        Israel, his possession.
72 David[o] shepherded them with a devoted heart,
    and led them with skillful hands.


  1. Psalm 78:1 Lit. maskil
  2. Psalm 78:1 Lit. Stretch out your ear
  3. Psalm 78:2 Lit. will open my mouth in
  4. Psalm 78:15 Lit. drink
  5. Psalm 78:18 Lit. food for their soul
  6. Psalm 78:19 Or table
  7. Psalm 78:20 Lit. Indeed,
  8. Psalm 78:20 Lit. he
  9. Psalm 78:25 Lit. A man
  10. Psalm 78:47 The sycamore fruit tree native to Israel bears figs
  11. Psalm 78:54 Lit. brought them
  12. Psalm 78:61 I.e. the Ark of the Covenant
  13. Psalm 78:63 Lit. virgins sang no wedding song
  14. Psalm 78:67 Lit. tent
  15. Psalm 78:72 Lit. He
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

Psalm 78 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 78

A maskil[a] of Asaph.

My people, hear my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
    I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known,
    things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
    whose spirits were not faithful to him.

The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
    turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant
    and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
    the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors
    in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through;
    he made the water stand up like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud by day
    and with light from the fire all night.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness
    and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag
    and made water flow down like rivers.

17 But they continued to sin against him,
    rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test
    by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God;
    they said, “Can God really
    spread a table in the wilderness?
20 True, he struck the rock,
    and water gushed out,
    streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
    Can he supply meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard them, he was furious;
    his fire broke out against Jacob,
    and his wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God
    or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above
    and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat,
    he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Human beings ate the bread of angels;
    he sent them all the food they could eat.
26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens
    and by his power made the south wind blow.
27 He rained meat down on them like dust,
    birds like sand on the seashore.
28 He made them come down inside their camp,
    all around their tents.
29 They ate till they were gorged—
    he had given them what they craved.
30 But before they turned from what they craved,
    even while the food was still in their mouths,
31 God’s anger rose against them;
    he put to death the sturdiest among them,
    cutting down the young men of Israel.

32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;
    in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he ended their days in futility
    and their years in terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;
    they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock,
    that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths,
    lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him,
    they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful;
    he forgave their iniquities
    and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
    and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a passing breeze that does not return.

40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved him in the wasteland!
41 Again and again they put God to the test;
    they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power—
    the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,
43 the day he displayed his signs in Egypt,
    his wonders in the region of Zoan.
44 He turned their river into blood;
    they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them,
    and frogs that devastated them.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper,
    their produce to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail
    and their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail,
    their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger,
    his wrath, indignation and hostility—
    a band of destroying angels.
50 He prepared a path for his anger;
    he did not spare them from death
    but gave them over to the plague.
51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,
    the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.
52 But he brought his people out like a flock;
    he led them like sheep through the wilderness.
53 He guided them safely, so they were unafraid;
    but the sea engulfed their enemies.
54 And so he brought them to the border of his holy land,
    to the hill country his right hand had taken.
55 He drove out nations before them
    and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance;
    he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.

56 But they put God to the test
    and rebelled against the Most High;
    they did not keep his statutes.
57 Like their ancestors they were disloyal and faithless,
    as unreliable as a faulty bow.
58 They angered him with their high places;
    they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
59 When God heard them, he was furious;
    he rejected Israel completely.
60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,
    the tent he had set up among humans.
61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity,
    his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
62 He gave his people over to the sword;
    he was furious with his inheritance.
63 Fire consumed their young men,
    and their young women had no wedding songs;
64 their priests were put to the sword,
    and their widows could not weep.

65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
    as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine.
66 He beat back his enemies;
    he put them to everlasting shame.
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph,
    he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
    Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights,
    like the earth that he established forever.
70 He chose David his servant
    and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
    to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
    of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
    with skillful hands he led them.


  1. Psalm 78:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Psalm 78 King James Version (KJV)

78 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline 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, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.

10 They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;

11 And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.

12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.

14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.

16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.

18 And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.

19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?

20 Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?

21 Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;

22 Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:

23 Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,

24 And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.

25 Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.

26 He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.

27 He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:

28 And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.

29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;

30 They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,

31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

32 For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.

33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.

34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.

35 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.

36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.

37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.

38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!

41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.

43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan.

44 And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.

45 He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.

46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.

47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.

48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.

49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.

50 He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;

51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:

52 But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.

55 He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.

56 Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:

57 But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.

59 When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:

60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;

61 And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.

62 He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.

63 The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.

64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.

65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.

66 And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.

67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:

68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.

69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:

71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.

72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

Viewing of
Cross references