O my people, hear my teaching;1 listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in parables,2 I will utter hidden things, things from of old--
what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.34
We will not hide them from their children;4 we will tell the next generation5 the praiseworthy deeds6 of the LORD, his power, and the wonders7 he has done.
He decreed statutes8 for Jacob9 and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born,10 and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget11 his deeds but would keep his commands.128
They would not be like their forefathers13-- a stubborn14 and rebellious15 generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,16 turned back on the day of battle;1710
they did not keep God's covenant18 and refused to live by his law.1911
They forgot what he had done,20 the wonders he had shown them.
He did miracles21 in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt,22 in the region of Zoan.2313
He divided the sea24 and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall.2514
He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.2615
He split the rocks27 in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.
But they continued to sin28 against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
They willfully put God to the test29 by demanding the food they craved.3019
They spoke against God,31 saying, "Can God spread a table in the desert?
When he struck the rock, water gushed out,32 and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat33 for his people?"
When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out34 against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel,
for they did not believe in God or trust35 in his deliverance.
Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;3624
he rained down manna37 for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.
Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
He let loose the east wind38 from the heavens and led forth the south wind by his power.
He rained meat down on them like dust, flying birds39 like sand on the seashore.
He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.
They ate till they had more than enough,40 for he had given them what they craved.
But before they turned from the food they craved, even while it was still in their mouths,4131
God's anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest42 among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.
In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;43 in spite of his wonders,44 they did not believe.4533
So he ended their days in futility46 and their years in terror.
Whenever God slew them, they would seek47 him; they eagerly turned to him again.
They remembered that God was their Rock,48 that God Most High was their Redeemer.4936
But then they would flatter him with their mouths,50 lying to him with their tongues;
their hearts were not loyal51 to him, they were not faithful to his covenant.
Yet he was merciful;52 he forgave53 their iniquities54 and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger55 and did not stir up his full wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,56 a passing breeze57 that does not return.
How often they rebelled58 against him in the desert59 and grieved him60 in the wasteland!
Again and again they put God to the test;61 they vexed the Holy One of Israel.6242
They did not remember63 his power-- the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,6443
the day he displayed his miraculous signs65 in Egypt, his wonders66 in the region of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood;67 they could not drink from their streams.
He sent swarms of flies68 that devoured them, and frogs69 that devastated them.
He gave their crops to the grasshopper,70 their produce to the locust.7147
He destroyed their vines with hail72 and their sycamore-figs with sleet.
He gave over their cattle to the hail, their livestock73 to bolts of lightning.
He unleashed against them his hot anger,74 his wrath, indignation and hostility-- a band of destroying angels.7550
He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague.
He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,76 the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.7752
But he brought his people out like a flock;78 he led them like sheep through the desert.
He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; but the sea engulfed79 their enemies.8054
Thus he brought them to the border of his holy land, to the hill country his right hand81 had taken.
He drove out nations82 before them and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance;83 he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.
But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes.
Like their fathers84 they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.8558
They angered him86 with their high places;87 they aroused his jealousy with their idols.8859
When God heard89 them, he was very angry;90 he rejected Israel91 completely.
He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,92 the tent he had set up among men.9361
He sent [the ark of] his might94 into captivity,95 his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
He gave his people over to the sword;96 he was very angry with his inheritance.9763
Fire consumed98 their young men, and their maidens had no wedding songs;9964
their priests were put to the sword,100 and their widows could not weep.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,101 as a man wakes from the stupor of wine.
He beat back his enemies; he put them to everlasting shame.10267
Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;10368
but he chose the tribe of Judah,104 Mount Zion,105 which he loved.
He built his sanctuary106 like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.
He chose David107 his servant and took him from the sheep pens;
from tending the sheep108 he brought him to be the shepherd109 of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;110 with skillful hands he led them.