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Psalm 78 Good News Translation (GNT)

God and His People[a]

78 Listen, my people, to my teaching,
    and pay attention to what I say.
I am going to use wise sayings
    and explain mysteries from the past,
    things we have heard and known,
    things that our ancestors told us.
We will not keep them from our children;
    we will tell the next generation
    about the Lord's power and his great deeds
    and the wonderful things he has done.

He gave laws to the people of Israel
    and commandments to the descendants of Jacob.
He instructed our ancestors
    to teach his laws to their children,
so that the next generation might learn them
    and in turn should tell their children.
In this way they also will put their trust in God
    and not forget what he has done,
    but always obey his commandments.
They will not be like their ancestors,
    a rebellious and disobedient people,
whose trust in God was never firm
    and who did not remain faithful to him.

The Ephraimites, armed with bows and arrows,
    ran away on the day of battle.
10 They did not keep their covenant with God;
    they refused to obey his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
    the miracles they had seen him perform.
12 While their ancestors watched, God performed miracles
    in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13 He divided the sea and took them through it;
    he made the waters stand like walls.
14 By day he led them with a cloud
    and all night long with the light of a fire.
15 He split rocks open in the desert
    and gave them water from the depths.
16 He caused a stream to come out of the rock
    and made water flow like a river.

17 But they continued to sin against God,
    and in the desert they rebelled against the Most High.
18 They deliberately put God to the test
    by demanding the food they wanted.
19 They spoke against God and said,
    “Can God supply food in the desert?
20 It is true that he struck the rock,
    and water flowed out in a torrent;
but can he also provide us with bread
    and give his people meat?”

21 And so the Lord was angry when he heard them;
    he attacked his people with fire,
    and his anger against them grew,
22 because they had no faith in him
    and did not believe that he would save them.
23 But he spoke to the sky above
    and commanded its doors to open;
24 he gave them grain from heaven,
    by sending down manna for them to eat.
25 So they ate the food of angels,
    and God gave them all they wanted.
26 He also caused the east wind to blow,
    and by his power he stirred up the south wind;
27 and to his people he sent down birds,
    as many as the grains of sand on the shore;
28 they fell in the middle of the camp
    all around the tents.
29 So the people ate and were satisfied;
    God gave them what they wanted.
30 But they had not yet satisfied their craving
    and were still eating,
31 when God became angry with them
    and killed their strongest men,
    the best young men of Israel.

32 In spite of all this the people kept sinning;
    in spite of his miracles they did not trust him.
33 So he ended their days like a breath
    and their lives with sudden disaster.
34 Whenever he killed some of them,
    the rest would turn to him;
    they would repent and pray earnestly to him.
35 They remembered that God was their protector,
    that the Almighty came to their aid.
36 But their words were all lies;
    nothing they said was sincere.
37 They were not loyal to him;
    they were not faithful to their covenant with him.

38 But God was merciful to his people.
    He forgave their sin
    and did not destroy them.
Many times he held back his anger
    and restrained his fury.
39 He remembered that they were only mortal beings,
    like a wind that blows by and is gone.

40 How often they rebelled against him in the desert;
    how many times they made him sad!
41 Again and again they put God to the test
    and brought pain to the Holy God of Israel.
42 They forgot his great power
    and the day when he saved them from their enemies
43     and performed his mighty acts and miracles
    in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
44 He turned the rivers into blood,
    and the Egyptians had no water to drink.
45 He sent flies among them, that tormented them,
    and frogs that ruined their land.
46 He sent locusts to eat their crops
    and to destroy their fields.
47 He killed their grapevines with hail
    and their fig trees with frost.
48 He killed their cattle with hail
    and their flocks with lightning.[b]
49 He caused them great distress
    by pouring out his anger and fierce rage,
    which came as messengers of death.
50 He did not restrain his anger
    or spare their lives,
    but killed them with a plague.
51 He killed the first-born sons
    of all the families of Egypt.

52 Then he led his people out like a shepherd
    and guided them through the desert.
53 He led them safely, and they were not afraid;
    but the sea came rolling over their enemies.
54 He brought them to his holy land,
    to the mountains which he himself conquered.
55 He drove out the inhabitants as his people advanced;
    he divided their land among the tribes of Israel
    and gave their homes to his people.

56 But they rebelled against Almighty God
    and put him to the test.
They did not obey his commandments,
57     but were rebellious and disloyal like their ancestors,
    unreliable as a crooked arrow.
58 They angered him with their heathen places of worship,
    and with their idols they made him furious.
59 God was angry when he saw it,
    so he rejected his people completely.
60 He abandoned his tent in Shiloh,[c]
    the home where he had lived among us.
61 He allowed our enemies to capture the Covenant Box,
    the symbol of his power and glory.
62 He was angry with his own people
    and let them be killed by their enemies.
63 Young men were killed in war,
    and young women had no one to marry.
64 Priests died by violence,
    and their widows were not allowed to mourn.

65 At last the Lord woke up as though from sleep;
    he was like a strong man excited by wine.
66 He drove his enemies back
    in lasting and shameful defeat.
67 But he rejected the descendants of Joseph;
    he did not select the tribe of Ephraim.
68 Instead he chose the tribe of Judah
    and Mount Zion, which he dearly loves.
69 There he built his Temple
    like his home in heaven;
he made it firm like the earth itself,
    secure for all time.

70 He chose his servant David;
    he took him from the pastures,
71     where he looked after his flocks,
    and he made him king of Israel,
    the shepherd of the people of God.
72 David took care of them with unselfish devotion
    and led them with skill.


  1. Psalm 78:1 HEBREW TITLE: A poem by Asaph.
  2. Psalm 78:48 hail … lightning; or terrible disease … deadly plague.
  3. Psalm 78:60 The central place of worship for the people of Israel before the time of King David.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

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)

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