Open your ears to my teachings, my people. Turn your ears to the words from my mouth.
I will open my mouth to illustrate points. I will explain what has been hidden long ago,
things that we have heard and known about, things that our parents have told us.
We will not hide them from our children. We will tell the next generation about the LORD's power and great deeds and the miraculous things he has done.
He established written instructions for Jacob's people. He gave his teachings to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make them known to their children
so that the next generation would know them. Children yet to be born [would learn them]. They will grow up and tell their children
to trust God, to remember what he has done, and to obey his commands.
Then they will not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation. Their hearts were not loyal. Their spirits were not faithful to God.
The men of Ephraim, well-equipped with bows [and arrows], turned [and ran] on the day of battle.
They had not been faithful to God's promise. They refused to follow his teachings.
They forgot what he had done-- the miracles that he had shown them.
In front of their ancestors he performed miracles in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and led them through it. He made the waters stand up like a wall.
He guided them by a cloud during the day and by a fiery light throughout the night.
He split rocks in the desert. He gave them plenty to drink, an ocean of water.
He made streams come out of a rock. He made the water flow like rivers.
They continued to sin against him, to rebel in the desert against the Most High.
They deliberately tested God by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God by saying, "Can God prepare a banquet in the desert?
True, he did strike a rock, and water did gush out, and the streams did overflow. But can he also give us bread or provide us, his people, with meat?"
When the LORD heard this, he became furious. His fire burned against Jacob and his anger flared up at Israel
because they did not believe God or trust him to save them.
In spite of that, he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained manna down on them to eat and gave them grain from heaven.
Humans ate the bread of the mighty ones, and God sent them plenty of food.
He made the east wind blow in the heavens and guided the south wind with his might.
He rained meat down on them like dust, birds like the sand on the seashore.
He made the birds fall in the middle of his camp, all around his dwelling place.
They ate more than enough. He gave them what they wanted,
but they still wanted more. While the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God flared up against them. He killed their strongest men and slaughtered the best young men in Israel.
In spite of all this, they continued to sin, and they no longer believed in his miracles.
He brought their days to an end like a whisper in the wind. He brought their years to an end in terror.
When he killed [some of] them, [the rest] searched for him. They turned from their sins and eagerly looked for God.
They remembered that God was their rock, that the Most High was their defender.
They flattered him with their mouths and lied to him with their tongues.
Their hearts were not loyal to him. They were not faithful to his promise.
But he is compassionate. He forgave their sin. He did not destroy them. He restrained his anger many times. He did not display all of his fury.
He remembered that they were only flesh and blood, a breeze that blows and does not return.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness! How often they caused him grief in the desert!
Again and again they tested God, and they pushed the Holy One of Israel to the limit.
They did not remember his power-- the day he freed them from their oppressor,
when he performed his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers into blood so that they could not drink from their streams.
He sent a swarm of flies that bit them and frogs that ruined them.
He gave their crops to grasshoppers and their produce to locusts.
He killed their vines with hail and their fig trees with frost.
He let the hail strike their cattle and bolts of lightning strike their livestock.
He sent his burning anger, rage, fury, and hostility against them. He sent an army of destroying angels.
He cleared a path for his anger. He did not spare them. He let the plague take their lives.
He slaughtered every firstborn in Egypt, the ones born in the tents of Ham when their fathers were young.
But he led his own people out like sheep and guided them like a flock through the wilderness.
He led them safely. They had no fear while the sea covered their enemies.
He brought them into his holy land, to this mountain that his power had won.
He forced nations out of their way and gave them the land of the nations as their inheritance. He settled the tribes of Israel in their own tents.
They tested God Most High and rebelled against him. They did not obey his written instructions.
They were disloyal and treacherous like their ancestors. They were like arrows shot from a defective bow.
They made him angry because of their illegal worship sites. They made him furious because they worshiped idols.
When God heard, he became furious. He completely rejected Israel.
He abandoned his dwelling place in Shiloh, the tent where he had lived among humans.
He allowed his power to be taken captive and handed his glory over to an oppressor.
He let swords kill his people. He was furious with those who belonged to him.
Fire consumed his best young men, so his virgins heard no wedding songs.
His priests were cut down with swords. The widows [of his priests] could not even weep [for them].
Then the Lord woke up like one who had been sleeping, like a warrior sobering up from [too much] wine.
He struck his enemies from behind and disgraced them forever.
He rejected the tent of Joseph. He did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved.
He built his holy place to be like the high heavens, like the earth which he made to last for a long time.
He chose his servant David. He took him from the sheep pens.
He brought him from tending the ewes that had lambs so that David could be the shepherd of the people of Jacob, of Israel, the people who belonged to the LORD.
With unselfish devotion David became their shepherd. With skill he guided them.