Psalms 78

 

מַשְׂכִּיל לְאָסָף הַאֲזִינָה עַמִּי תּוֹרָתִי הַטּוּ אָזְנְכֶם לְאִמְרֵי־פִי׃   78:1

Psal. 78:1   Asaph's contemplative poem:

                     My people, hear my teaching.

                              Extend your ear to the words of my mouth.

אֶפְתְּחָה בְמָשָׁל פִּי אַבִּיעָה חִידוֹת מִנִּי־קֶדֶם׃   78:2

Psal. 78:2   I will open my mouth with parable,

                              I will raise mysteries from of old,

אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ וַנֵּדָעֵם וַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ סִפְּרוּ־לָנוּ׃   78:3

Psal. 78:3   that we have heard and known,

                              that our fathers recounted to us.

לֹא נְכַחֵד מִבְּנֵיהֶם לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן מְסַפְּרִים תְּהִלּוֹת יְהוָה וֶעֱזוּזוֹ וְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה׃   78:4

Psal. 78:4   We would not conceal from their children,

                               recounting the praises of the Lord to the following generation,

                      and His strength,

                               and His wonders that He fashioned,

וַיָּקֶם עֵדוּת בְּיַעֲקֹב וְתוֹרָה שָׂם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהוֹדִיעָם לִבְנֵיהֶם׃   78:5

Psal. 78:5   that He confirmed testimony with Jacob

                               and set the Torah with Israel,

                     which He commanded our fathers

                                to declare them to their children,

לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דּוֹר אַחֲרוֹן בָּנִים יִוָּלֵדוּ יָקֻמוּ וִיסַפְּרוּ לִבְנֵיהֶם׃   78:6

Psal. 78:6   so that the children to be born of the following generation shall know,

                                arise, and recount to their children,

וְיָשִׂימוּ בֵאלֹהִים כִּסְלָם וְלֹא יִשְׁכְּחוּ מַעַלְלֵי־אֵל וּמִצְוֺתָיו יִנְצֹרוּ׃   78:7

Psal. 78:7   so they might place their confidence in God,

                                and not forget the acts of God,

                      that they would keep His commandments,

וְלֹא יִהְיוּ כַּאֲבוֹתָם דּוֹר סוֹרֵר וּמֹרֶה דּוֹר לֹא־הֵכִין לִבּוֹ וְלֹא־נֶאֶמְנָה אֶת־אֵל רוּחוֹ׃   78:8

Psal. 78:8   and not become like their fathers,

                                a stubborn and rebellious generation,

                      a generation whose heart was not prepared,

                                and whose spirit was not firm with God.

בְּנֵי־אֶפְרַיִם נוֹשְׁקֵי רוֹמֵי־קָשֶׁת הָפְכוּ בְּיוֹם קְרָב׃   78:9

Psal. 78:9   The children of Ephraim were equipped,

                                shooters of the bow

                       -- they turned back in time of war.

לֹא שָׁמְרוּ בְּרִית אֱלֹהִים וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ מֵאֲנוּ לָלֶכֶת׃   78:10

Psal. 78:10   They did not keep the covenant of God,

                                 and refused to walk in His Torah.

וַיִּשְׁכְּחוּ עֲלִילוֹתָיו וְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָם׃   78:11

Psal. 78:11   And they forgot His deeds and His wonders

                                 that He had shown them.

נֶגֶד אֲבוֹתָם עָשָׂה פֶלֶא בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׂדֵה־צֹעַן׃   78:12

Psal. 78:12   In the sight of their fathers

                                 He produced a marvel in the land of Egypt, the field of Zoan.

בָּקַע יָם וַיַּעֲבִירֵם וַיַּצֶּב־מַיִם כְּמוֹ־נֵד׃   78:13

Psal. 78:13   He split a sea and had them pass through,

                                 and He made the waters stand like a heap.

וַיַּנְחֵם בֶּעָנָן יוֹמָם וְכָל־הַלַּיְלָה בְּאוֹר אֵשׁ׃   78:14

Psal. 78:14   Then He guided them with a cloud in the daytime

                                 and all through the nights with a light of fire.

יְבַקַּע צֻרִים בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיַּשְׁקְ כִּתְהֹמוֹת רַבָּה׃   78:15

Psal. 78:15   He would split rocks in the wilderness,

                                  and gave to drink abundantly as if of the depths.

וַיּוֹצִא נוֹזְלִים מִסָּלַע וַיּוֹרֶד כַּנְּהָרוֹת מָיִם׃   78:16

Psal. 78:16   So He brought forth streams from rock

                                  and brought down water like rivers.

וַיֹּוסִיפוּ עֹוד לַחֲטֹא־לֹו לַמְרֹות עֶלְיֹון בַּצִּיָּה׃   78:17

Psal. 78:17   But they continued to sin further with regard to Him,

                                  disobeying the Most High in the desert.

וַיְנַסּוּ־אֵל בִּלְבָבָם לִשְׁאָל־אֹכֶל לְנַפְשָׁם׃   78:18

Psal. 78:18   Then they tried God in their heart,

                                  asking food for their craving.

וַיְדַבְּרוּ בֵּאלֹהִים אָמְרוּ הֲיוּכַל אֵל לַעֲרֹךְ שֻׁלְחָן בַּמִּדְבָּר׃   78:19

Psal. 78:19   And they spoke about God;

                                  they said, “Would God be able to prepare a table in the wilderness?”

הֵן הִכָּה־צוּר וַיָּזוּבוּ מַיִם וּנְחָלִים יִשְׁטֹפוּ הֲגַם־לֶחֶם יוּכַל תֵּת אִם־יָכִין שְׁאֵר לְעַמּוֹ׃   78:20

Psal. 78:20   “Behold! He smote a rock and water gushed out,

                                   that streams might overflow.

                        Could He also be able to give bread?

                                  Or could He prepare flesh for His people?”

לָכֵן שָׁמַע יְהוָה וַיִּתְעַבָּר וְאֵשׁ נִשְּׂקָה בְיַעֲקֹב וְגַם־אַף עָלָה בְיִשְׂרָאֵל׃   78:21

Psal. 78:21   The Lord heard thus, and became so “angry”

                                  that a flame was kindled toward Jacob,

                         and “anger” also went up toward Israel,

כִּי לֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ בֵּאלֹהִים וְלֹא בָטְחוּ בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ׃   78:22

Psal. 78:22   that they did not believe in God,

                                  and did not trust in His salvation.

וַיְצַו שְׁחָקִים מִמָּעַל וְדַלְתֵי שָׁמַיִם פָּתָח׃   78:23

Psal. 78:23   Yet He commanded the skies from above,

                                  and the gates of heaven opened,

וַיַּמְטֵר עֲלֵיהֶם מָן לֶאֱכֹל וּדְגַן־שָׁמַיִם נָתַן לָמוֹ׃   78:24

Psal. 78:24   and sent a rain of manna for food upon them,

                                  and gave them the grain of heaven.

לֶחֶם אַבִּירִים אָכַל אִישׁ צֵידָה שָׁלַח לָהֶם לָשֹׂבַע׃   78:25

Psal. 78:25   Everyone ate the bread of angels;

                                  He sent provision to them in abundance.

יַסַּע קָדִים בַּשָּׁמָיִם וַיְנַהֵג בְּעֻזּוֹ תֵימָן׃   78:26

Psal. 78:26   He would cause the east wind to set out in heaven,

                                  and guide with His might the south wind.

וַיַּמְטֵר עֲלֵיהֶם כֶּעָפָר שְׁאֵר וּכְחוֹל יַמִּים עוֹף כָּנָף׃   78:27

Psal. 78:27   And He sent a rain upon them like dust of flesh,

                                  and of winged fowl as sand of the seas,

וַיַּפֵּל בְּקֶרֶב מַחֲנֵהוּ סָבִיב לְמִשְׁכְּנֹתָיו׃   78:28

Psal. 78:28   and it fell in the midst of his camp

                                  all around his dwelling places.

וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׂבְּעוּ מְאֹד וְתַאֲוָתָם יָבִא לָהֶם׃   78:29

Psal. 78:29   And they ate and were completely satisfied,

                                  as He would bring their desires to them.

לֹא־זָרוּ מִתַּאֲוָתָם עוֹד אָכְלָם בְּפִיהֶם׃   78:30

Psal. 78:30   They were not detached from their desires,

                                  their food was still in their mouths,

וְאַף אֱלֹהִים עָלָה בָהֶם וַיַּהֲרֹג בְּמִשְׁמַנֵּיהֶם וּבַחוּרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִכְרִיעַ׃   78:31

Psal. 78:31   and the “anger” of God rose up over them,

                                 and He slew those fattest among them

                        and brought low the young men of Israel.

בְּכָל־זֹאת חָטְאוּ־עוֹד וְלֹא־הֶאֱמִינוּ בְּנִפְלְאוֹתָיו׃   78:32

Psal. 78:32   With all this, they still sinned

                                 and did not believe in His wonders.

וַיְכַל־בַּהֶבֶל יְמֵיהֶם וּשְׁנוֹתָם בַּבֶּהָלָה׃   78:33

Psal. 78:33   So He consumed their days in a breath,

                                 and their years in dismay.

אִם־הֲרָגָם וּדְרָשׁוּהוּ וְשָׁבוּ וְשִׁחֲרוּ־אֵל׃   78:34

Psal. 78:34   When He slew them,

                                 then they would seek Him,

                         and they would turn and look diligently for God.

וַיִּזְכְּרוּ כִּי־אֱלֹהִים צוּרָם וְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן גֹּאֲלָם׃   78:35

Psal. 78:35   Then they remembered that God was their Rock,

                                  the Most High God was their Redeemer.

וַיְפַתּוּהוּ בְּפִיהֶם וּבִלְשׁוֹנָם יְכַזְּבוּ־לוֹ׃   78:36

Psal. 78:36   But they tried to seduce Him with their mouths,

                                  and with their tongue would lie to Him,

וְלִבָּם לֹא־נָכוֹן עִמּוֹ וְלֹא נֶאֶמְנוּ בִּבְרִיתוֹ׃   78:37

Psal. 78:37   as their heart was not firmly with Him,

                                  nor were they faithful in His covenant.

וְהוּא רַחוּם יְכַפֵּר עָוֺן וְלֹא־יַשְׁחִית וְהִרְבָּה לְהָשִׁיב אַפּוֹ וְלֹא־יָעִיר כָּל־חֲמָתוֹ׃   78:38

Psal. 78:38   But He, compassionate,

                                 would pardon iniquity and not destroy,

                        and often, turning back His “anger,”

                                 He would not stir up all His “wrath.”

וַיִּזְכֹּר כִּי־בָשָׂר הֵמָּה רוּחַ הוֹלֵךְ וְלֹא יָשׁוּב׃   78:39

Psal. 78:39   And He would “remember” that they were flesh,

                                 a passing breath that would not return.

כַּמָּה יַמְרוּהוּ בַמִּדְבָּר יַעֲצִיבוּהוּ בִּישִׁימוֹן׃   78:40

Psal. 78:40   How they would rebel against Him in the wilderness,

                                 grieve Him in the desert!

וַיָּשׁוּבוּ וַיְנַסּוּ אֵל וּקְדֹושׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל הִתְווּ׃   78:41

Psal. 78:41   And they would turn back and try God,

                                 and they caused the Holy One of Israel much “pain.”

לֹא־זָכְרוּ אֶת־יָדוֹ יוֹם אֲשֶׁר־פָּדָם מִנִּי־צָר׃   78:42

Psal. 78:42   They did not remember His “hand”

                                 the day He redeemed them from distress,

אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם בְּמִצְרַיִם אֹתוֹתָיו וּמוֹפְתָיו בִּשְׂדֵה־צֹעַן׃   78:43

Psal. 78:43   that He had directed His signs in Egypt

                                 and His miracles in the field of Zoan,

The mention of Zoan is a reference to the ancient capital of Egypt, the land of Goshen.

וַיַּהֲפֹךְ לְדָם יְאֹרֵיהֶם וְנֹזְלֵיהֶם בַּל־יִשְׁתָּיוּן׃   78:44

Psal. 78:44   when He turned their streams to blood

                                 and they could not drink of their flow.

יְשַׁלַּח בָּהֶם עָרֹב וַיֹּאכְלֵם וּצְפַרְדֵּעַ וַתַּשְׁחִיתֵם׃   78:45

Psal. 78:45   He would send among them a plague of swarms

                                 and it would consume them,

                        and a plague of frogs

                                 and it would destroy them.

וַיִּתֵּן לֶחָסִיל יְבוּלָם וִיגִיעָם לָאַרְבֶּה׃   78:46

Psal. 78:46   And He gave their produce to the caterpillar

                                 and their labor to the locust.

יַהֲרֹג בַּבָּרָד גַּפְנָם וְשִׁקְמוֹתָם בַּחֲנָמַל׃   78:47

Psal. 78:47   With hail He would kill their vine,

                                 and their sycamore trees with frost.

וַיַּסְגֵּר לַבָּרָד בְּעִירָם וּמִקְנֵיהֶם לָרְשָׁפִים׃   78:48

Psal. 78:48   And He delivered up their cattle to hail,

                                 and their flocks to fiery bolts.

יְשַׁלַּח־בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים׃   78:49

Psal. 78:49   He would extend among them the ferocity of His “anger,”

                                 “fury” and “indignation” and “trouble,”

                        sending messengers of evil.

יְפַלֵּס נָתִיב לְאַפּוֹ לֹא־חָשַׂךְ מִמָּוֶת נַפְשָׁם וְחַיָּתָם לַדֶּבֶר הִסְגִּיר׃   78:50

Psal. 78:50   He would level a path for His “anger,”

                                  He did not spare their soul from death,

                        and delivered up their life to pestilence.

וַיַּךְ כָּל־בְּכוֹר בְּמִצְרָיִם רֵאשִׁית אוֹנִים בְּאָהֳלֵי־חָם׃   78:51

Psal. 78:51   And He smote every firstborn in Egypt,

                                   the first of their strength in the tents of Ham.

Ham is the father of the Egyptians (Mizraim).  See Gene. 10:6.                            [Return to Psal. 105:23]

וַיַּסַּע כַּצֹּאן עַמּוֹ וַיְנַהֲגֵם כַּעֵדֶר בַּמִּדְבָּר׃   78:52

Psal. 78:52   Then He led His people out like sheep

                                   and guided them like a flock in the wilderness.

וַיַּנְחֵם לָבֶטַח וְלֹא פָחָדוּ וְאֶת־אוֹיְבֵיהֶם כִּסָּה הַיָּם׃   78:53

Psal. 78:53   And He led them safely and they were not afraid,

                                   and the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

וַיְבִיאֵם אֶל־גְּבוּל קָדְשׁוֹ הַר־זֶה קָנְתָה יְמִינוֹ׃   78:54

Psal. 78:54   Then He brought them to the territory of His holiness,

                                   the mountain which His right “hand” had acquired.

וַיְגָרֶשׁ מִפְּנֵיהֶם גּוֹיִם וַיַּפִּילֵם בְּחֶבֶל נַחֲלָה וַיַּשְׁכֵּן בְּאָהֳלֵיהֶם שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   78:55

Psal. 78:55   And He drove out nations from before them,

                                  and allotted them an inheritance in measured portion,

                        and caused the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.

וַיְנַסּוּ וַיַּמְרוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהִים עֶלְיוֹן וְעֵדוֹתָיו לֹא שָׁמָרוּ׃   78:56

Psal. 78:56   But they tried, and disobeyed, the Most High God,

                                  as they did not keep His testimonies.

וַיִּסֹּגוּ וַיִּבְגְּדוּ כַּאֲבוֹתָם נֶהְפְּכוּ כְּקֶשֶׁת רְמִיָּה׃   78:57

Psal. 78:57   When they turned back and dealt treacherously like their fathers,

                                   they were discarded like a slack bow.

וַיַּכְעִיסוּהוּ בְּבָמוֹתָם וּבִפְסִילֵיהֶם יַקְנִיאוּהוּ׃   78:58

Psal. 78:58   And they provoked Him with their high places,

                                   and made Him “jealous” with their graven images.

שָׁמַע אֱלֹהִים וַיִּתְעַבָּר וַיִּמְאַס מְאֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃   78:59

Psal. 78:59   God heard, and He was “angered,”

                                    and He had deep “hatred” toward Israel.

וַיִּטֹּשׁ מִשְׁכַּן שִׁלוֹ אֹהֶל שִׁכֵּן בָּאָדָם׃   78:60

Psal. 78:60   So He forsook the Shiloh Tabernacle,

                                    the tent He had established among humankind,

וַיִּתֵּן לַשְּׁבִי עֻזּוֹ וְתִפְאַרְתּוֹ בְיַד־צָר׃   78:61

Psal. 78:61   and delivered His strength into captivity,

                                   and His glory into the hand of an adversary.

וַיַּסְגֵּר לַחֶרֶב עַמּוֹ וּבְנַחֲלָתוֹ הִתְעַבָּר׃   78:62

Psal. 78:62   And He delivered His people up to the sword,

                                   as He was so “angered” by His possession.

Verses. 60, 61, and 62 provide good evidence that this psalm was written after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel.

בַּחוּרָיו אָכְלָה־אֵשׁ וּבְתוּלֹתָיו לֹא הוּלָּלוּ׃   78:63

Psal. 78:63   Fire consumed its young men,

                                   so its virgins were not made praiseworthy.

כֹּהֲנָיו בַּחֶרֶב נָפָלוּ וְאַלְמְנֹתָיו לֹא תִבְכֶּינָה׃   78:64

Psal. 78:64   Its priests fell by the sword,

                                   and its widows could not lament.

After the “aside” of the last five verses, the psalmist seems to have remembered he left the thread of his story and reverts back to earlier times again in the remaining verses.

וַיִּקַץ כְּיָשֵׁן אֲדֹנָי כְּגִבּוֹר מִתְרוֹנֵן מִיָּיִן׃   78:65

Psal. 78:65   Then the Master became active as one who had been sleeping,

                                   as a mighty man who had been overcome from wine,

וַיַּךְ־צָרָיו אָחוֹר חֶרְפַּת עוֹלָם נָתַן לָמוֹ׃   78:66

Psal. 78:66   and He smote His enemies backward,

                                   He set a reproach perpetually because of it.

וַיִּמְאַס בְּאֹהֶל יוֹסֵף וּבְשֵׁבֶט אֶפְרַיִם לֹא בָחָר׃   78:67

Psal. 78:67   And He had “hatred” toward the tent of Joseph

                                   and did not decide on the tribe of Ephraim;

וַיִּבְחַר אֶת־שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה אֶת־הַר צִיּוֹן אֲשֶׁר אָהֵב׃   78:68

Psal. 78:68   instead He chose the tribe of Judah,

                                  Mount Zion, which He loves.

That’s where He had established the site for His Temple.

וַיִּבֶן כְּמוֹ־רָמִים מִקְדָּשׁוֹ כְּאֶרֶץ יְסָדָהּ לְעוֹלָם׃   78:69

Psal. 78:69   And He built His sanctuary as the highest,

                                   as He had established the earth forever.

וַיִּבְחַר בְּדָוִד עַבְדּוֹ וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ מִמִּכְלְאֹת צֹאן׃   78:70

Psal. 78:70   And He decided on David, His servant,

                                  and took him from the sheep fold.

מֵאַחַר עָלוֹת הֱבִיאוֹ לִרְעוֹת בְּיַעֲקֹב עַמּוֹ וּבְיִשְׂרָאֵל נַחֲלָתוֹ׃   78:71

Psal. 78:71   He brought him from being after sucklings,

                                  to be a shepherd to Jacob, His people,

                        and to Israel, His possession,

וַיִּרְעֵם כְּתֹם לְבָבוֹ וּבִתְבוּנוֹת כַּפָּיו יַנְחֵם׃   78:72

Psal. 78:72   and he shepherded them according to the integrity of his “heart,”

                                  and guided them with the skillfulness of his “hands.”

 

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