Psalms 78
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  A maskil of Asaf. Give ear, my people, to my teaching, turn your ear to what I say.

א  מַשְׂכִּיל לְאָסָף הַאֲזִינָה עַמִּי תּוֹרָתִי הַטּוּ אָזְנְכֶם לְאִמְרֵי־פִי׃

2  I will expound a theme, hold forth on the lessons of the past,

ב  אֶפְתְּחָה בְמָשָׁל פִּי אַבִּיעָה חִידוֹת מִנִּי־קֶדֶם׃

3  things we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.

ג  אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ וַנֵּדָעֵם וַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ סִפְּרוּ־לָנוּ׃

4  We will not withhold them from their children, telling the coming generation the praises of Hashem and His might, and the wonders He performed.

ד  לֹא נְכַחֵד מִבְּנֵיהֶם לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן מְסַפְּרִים תְּהִלּוֹת יְהוָה וֶעֱזוּזוֹ וְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה׃

5  He established a decree in Yaakov, ordained a teaching in Yisrael, charging our fathers to make them known to their children,

ה  וַיָּקֶם עֵדוּת בְּיַעֲקֹב וְתוֹרָה שָׂם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהוֹדִיעָם לִבְנֵיהֶם׃

6  that a future generation might know —children yet to be born— and in turn tell their children

ו  לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דּוֹר אַחֲרוֹן בָּנִים יִוָּלֵדוּ יָקֻמוּ וִיסַפְּרוּ לִבְנֵיהֶם׃

7  that they might put their confidence in Hashem, and not forget Hashem’s great deeds, but observe His commandments,

ז  וְיָשִׂימוּ בֵאלֹהִים כִּסְלָם וְלֹא יִשְׁכְּחוּ מַעַלְלֵי־אֵל וּמִצְוֺתָיו יִנְצֹרוּ׃

8  and not be like their fathers, a wayward and defiant generation, a generation whose heart was inconstant, whose spirit was not true to Hashem.

ח  וְלֹא יִהְיוּ כַּאֲבוֹתָם דּוֹר סוֹרֵר וּמֹרֶה דּוֹר לֹא־הֵכִין לִבּוֹ וְלֹא־נֶאֶמְנָה אֶת־אֵל רוּחוֹ׃

9  Like the Efraimite bowmen who played false in the day of battle,

ט  בְּנֵי־אֶפְרַיִם נוֹשְׁקֵי רוֹמֵי־קָשֶׁת הָפְכוּ בְּיוֹם קְרָב׃

10  they did not keep Hashem’s covenant, they refused to follow His instruction;

י  לֹא שָׁמְרוּ בְּרִית אֱלֹהִים וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ מֵאֲנוּ לָלֶכֶת׃

11  they forgot His deeds and the wonders that He showed them.

יא  וַיִּשְׁכְּחוּ עֲלִילוֹתָיו וְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָם׃

12  He performed marvels in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, the plain of Zoan.

יב  נֶגֶד אֲבוֹתָם עָשָׂה פֶלֶא בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׂדֵה־צֹעַן׃

13  He split the sea and took them through it; He made the waters stand like a wall.

יג  בָּקַע יָם וַיַּעֲבִירֵם וַיַּצֶּב־מַיִם כְּמוֹ־נֵד׃

14  He led them with a cloud by day, and throughout the night by the light of fire.

יד  וַיַּנְחֵם בֶּעָנָן יוֹמָם וְכָל־הַלַּיְלָה בְּאוֹר אֵשׁ׃

15  He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as if from the great deep.

טו  יְבַקַּע צֻרִים בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיַּשְׁקְ כִּתְהֹמוֹת רַבָּה׃

16  He brought forth streams from a rock and made them flow down like a river.

טז  וַיּוֹצִא נוֹזְלִים מִסָּלַע וַיּוֹרֶד כַּנְּהָרוֹת מָיִם׃

17  But they went on sinning against Him, defying the Most High in the parched land.

יז  וַיּוֹסִיפוּ עוֹד לַחֲטֹא־לוֹ לַמְרוֹת עֶלְיוֹן בַּצִּיָּה׃

18  To test Hashem was in their mind when they demanded food for themselves.

יח  וַיְנַסּוּ־אֵל בִּלְבָבָם לִשְׁאָל־אֹכֶל לְנַפְשָׁם׃

19  They spoke against Hashem, saying, “Can Hashem spread a feast in the wilderness?

יט  וַיְדַבְּרוּ בֵּאלֹהִים אָמְרוּ הֲיוּכַל אֵל לַעֲרֹךְ שֻׁלְחָן בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

20  True, He struck the rock and waters flowed, streams gushed forth; but can He provide bread? Can He supply His people with meat?”

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

21  Hashem heard and He raged; fire broke out against Yaakov, anger flared up at Yisrael,

כא  לָכֵן שָׁמַע יְהוָה וַיִּתְעַבָּר וְאֵשׁ נִשְּׂקָה בְיַעֲקֹב וְגַם־אַף עָלָה בְיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

22  because they did not put their trust in Hashem, did not rely on His deliverance.

כב  כִּי לֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ בֵּאלֹהִים וְלֹא בָטְחוּ בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ׃

23  So He commanded the skies above, He opened the doors of heaven

כג  וַיְצַו שְׁחָקִים מִמָּעַל וְדַלְתֵי שָׁמַיִם פָּתָח׃

24  and rained manna upon them for food, giving them heavenly grain.

כד  וַיַּמְטֵר עֲלֵיהֶם מָן לֶאֱכֹל וּדְגַן־שָׁמַיִם נָתַן לָמוֹ׃

25  Each man ate a hero’s meal; He sent them provision in plenty.

כה  לֶחֶם אַבִּירִים אָכַל אִישׁ צֵידָה שָׁלַח לָהֶם לָשֹׂבַע׃

26  He set the east wind moving in heaven, and drove the south wind by His might.

כו  יַסַּע קָדִים בַּשָּׁמָיִם וַיְנַהֵג בְּעֻזּוֹ תֵימָן׃

27  He rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sands of the sea,

כז  וַיַּמְטֵר עֲלֵיהֶם כֶּעָפָר שְׁאֵר וּכְחוֹל יַמִּים עוֹף כָּנָף׃

28  making them come down inside His camp, around His dwelling-place.

כח  וַיַּפֵּל בְּקֶרֶב מַחֲנֵהוּ סָבִיב לְמִשְׁכְּנֹתָיו׃

29  They ate till they were sated; He gave them what they craved.

כט  וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׂבְּעוּ מְאֹד וְתַאֲוָתָם יָבִא לָהֶם׃

30  They had not yet wearied of what they craved, the food was still in their mouths

ל  לֹא־זָרוּ מִתַּאֲוָתָם עוֹד אָכְלָם בְּפִיהֶם׃

31  when Hashem’s anger flared up at them. He slew their sturdiest, struck down the youth of Yisrael.

לא  וְאַף אֱלֹהִים עָלָה בָהֶם וַיַּהֲרֹג בְּמִשְׁמַנֵּיהֶם וּבַחוּרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִכְרִיעַ׃

32  Nonetheless, they went on sinning and had no faith in His wonders.

לב  בְּכָל־זֹאת חָטְאוּ־עוֹד וְלֹא־הֶאֱמִינוּ בְּנִפְלְאוֹתָיו׃

33  He made their days end in futility, their years in sudden death.

לג  וַיְכַל־בַּהֶבֶל יְמֵיהֶם וּשְׁנוֹתָם בַּבֶּהָלָה׃

34  When He struck them, they turned to Him and sought Hashem once again.

לד  אִם־הֲרָגָם וּדְרָשׁוּהוּ וְשָׁבוּ וְשִׁחֲרוּ־אֵל׃

35  They remembered that Hashem was their rock, Hashem Most High, their Redeemer.

לה  וַיִּזְכְּרוּ כִּי־אֱלֹהִים צוּרָם וְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן גֹּאֲלָם׃

36  Yet they deceived Him with their speech, lied to Him with their words;

לו  וַיְפַתּוּהוּ בְּפִיהֶם וּבִלְשׁוֹנָם יְכַזְּבוּ־לוֹ׃

37  their hearts were inconstant toward Him; they were untrue to His covenant.

לז  וְלִבָּם לֹא־נָכוֹן עִמּוֹ וְלֹא נֶאֶמְנוּ בִּבְרִיתוֹ׃

38  But He, being merciful, forgave iniquity and would not destroy; He restrained His wrath time and again and did not give full vent to His fury;

לח  וְהוּא רַחוּם יְכַפֵּר עָוֺן וְלֹא־יַשְׁחִית וְהִרְבָּה לְהָשִׁיב אַפּוֹ וְלֹא־יָעִיר כָּל־חֲמָתוֹ׃

39  for He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breath that does not return.

לט  וַיִּזְכֹּר כִּי־בָשָׂר הֵמָּה רוּחַ הוֹלֵךְ וְלֹא יָשׁוּב׃

40  How often did they defy Him in the wilderness, did they grieve Him in the wasteland!

מ  כַּמָּה יַמְרוּהוּ בַמִּדְבָּר יַעֲצִיבוּהוּ בִּישִׁימוֹן׃

41  Again and again they tested Hashem, vexed the Holy One of Yisrael.

מא  וַיָּשׁוּבוּ וַיְנַסּוּ אֵל וּקְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל הִתְווּ׃

42  They did not remember His strength, or the day He redeemed them from the foe;

מב  לֹא־זָכְרוּ אֶת־יָדוֹ יוֹם אֲ‍שֶׁר־פָּדָם מִנִּי־צָר׃

43  how He displayed His signs in Egypt, His wonders in the plain of Zoan.

מג  אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם בְּמִצְרַיִם אֹתוֹתָיו וּמוֹפְתָיו בִּשְׂדֵה־צֹעַן׃

44  He turned their rivers into blood; He made their waters undrinkable.

מד  וַיַּהֲפֹךְ לְדָם יְאֹרֵיהֶם וְנֹזְלֵיהֶם בַּל־יִשְׁתָּיוּן׃

45  He inflicted upon them swarms of insects to devour them, frogs to destroy them.

מה  יְשַׁלַּח בָּהֶם עָרֹב וַיֹּאכְלֵם וּצְפַרְדֵּעַ וַתַּשְׁחִיתֵם׃

46  He gave their crops over to grubs, their produce to locusts.

מו  וַיִּתֵּן לֶחָסִיל יְבוּלָם וִיגִיעָם לָאַרְבֶּה׃

47  He killed their vines with hail, their sycamores with frost.

מז  יַהֲרֹג בַּבָּרָד גַּפְנָם וְשִׁקְמוֹתָם בַּחֲנָמַל׃

48  He gave their beasts over to hail, their cattle to lightning bolts.

מח  וַיַּסְגֵּר לַבָּרָד בְּעִירָם וּמִקְנֵיהֶם לָרְשָׁפִים׃

49  He inflicted His burning anger upon them, wrath, indignation, trouble, a band of deadly messengers.

מט  יְשַׁלַּח־בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים׃

50  He cleared a path for His anger; He did not stop short of slaying them, but gave them over to pestilence.

נ  יְפַלֵּס נָתִיב לְאַפּוֹ לֹא־חָשַׂךְ מִמָּוֶת נַפְשָׁם וְחַיָּתָם לַדֶּבֶר הִסְגִּיר׃

51  He struck every first-born in Egypt, the first fruits of their vigor in the tents of Ham.

נא  וַיַּךְ כָּל־בְּכוֹר בְּמִצְרָיִם רֵאשִׁית אוֹנִים בְּאָהֳלֵי־חָם׃

52  He set His people moving like sheep, drove them like a flock in the wilderness.

נב  וַיַּסַּע כַּצֹּאן עַמּוֹ וַיְנַהֲגֵם כַּעֵדֶר בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

53  He led them in safety; they were unafraid; as for their enemies, the sea covered them.

נג  וַיַּנְחֵם לָבֶטַח וְלֹא פָחָדוּ וְאֶת־אוֹיְבֵיהֶם כִּסָּה הַיָּם׃

54  He brought them to His holy realm the mountain His right hand had acquired.

נד  וַיְבִיאֵם אֶל־גְּבוּל קָדְשׁוֹ הַר־זֶה קָנְתָה יְמִינוֹ׃

55  He expelled nations before them, settled the tribes of Yisrael in their tents, allotting them their portion by the line.

נה  וַיְגָרֶשׁ מִפְּנֵיהֶם גּוֹיִם וַיַּפִּילֵם בְּחֶבֶל נַחֲלָה וַיַּשְׁכֵּן בְּאָהֳלֵיהֶם שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

56  Yet they defiantly tested Hashem Most High, and did not observe His decrees.

נו  וַיְנַסּוּ וַיַּמְרוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהִים עֶלְיוֹן וְעֵדוֹתָיו לֹא שָׁמָרוּ׃

57  They fell away, disloyal like their fathers; they played false like a treacherous bow.

נז  וַיִּסֹּגוּ וַיִּבְגְּדוּ כַּאֲבוֹתָם נֶהְפְּכוּ כְּקֶשֶׁת רְמִיָּה׃

58  They vexed Him with their high places; they incensed Him with their idols.

נח  וַיַּכְעִיסוּהוּ בְּבָמוֹתָם וּבִפְסִילֵיהֶם יַקְנִיאוּהוּ׃

59  Hashem heard it and was enraged; He utterly rejected Yisrael.

נט  שָׁמַע אֱלֹהִים וַיִּתְעַבָּר וַיִּמְאַס מְאֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

60  He forsook the Mishkan of Shilo, the tent He had set among men.

va-yi-TOSH mish-KAN shi-LO O-hel shi-KAYN ba-a-DAM

ס  וַיִּטֹּשׁ מִשְׁכַּן שִׁלוֹ אֹהֶל שִׁכֵּן בָּאָדָם׃

78:60   The Mishkan of Shilo

Psalm 78 rebukes the nation of Israel with a history lesson. The psalmist reminds his audience about the days of old, to exhort them to follow Hashem’s commandments. Much of the psalm is dedicated to the plight of the Israelites in exile during the period of servitude in Egypt and afterwards in the desert. The rebuke continues with the period after Israel entered the Promised Land. There as well, they provoked Hashem by following their hearts that led them astray. In response, God removed His presence from the Mishkan in Shilo. Due to the corruption of the priests and the ignorance of the populace, the Tabernacle was destroyed (see Samuel I 4), the Ark of the Covenant was taken in battle by the Philistines and the high priest, Eli, and his two sons died.1 comment

61  He let His might go into captivity, His glory into the hands of the foe.

סא  וַיִּתֵּן לַשְּׁבִי עֻזּוֹ וְתִפְאַרְתּוֹ בְיַד־צָר׃

62  He gave His people over to the sword; He was enraged at His very own.

סב  וַיַּסְגֵּר לַחֶרֶב עַמּוֹ וּבְנַחֲלָתוֹ הִתְעַבָּר׃

63  Fire consumed their young men, and their maidens remained unwed.

סג  בַּחוּרָיו אָכְלָה־אֵשׁ וּבְתוּלֹתָיו לֹא הוּלָּלוּ׃

64  Their kohanim fell by the sword, and their widows could not weep.

סד  כֹּהֲנָיו בַּחֶרֶב נָפָלוּ וְאַלְמְנֹתָיו לֹא תִבְכֶּינָה׃

65  Hashem awoke as from sleep, like a warrior shaking off wine.

סה  וַיִּקַץ כְּיָשֵׁן אֲדֹנָי כְּגִבּוֹר מִתְרוֹנֵן מִיָּיִן׃

66  He beat back His foes, dealing them lasting disgrace.

סו  וַיַּךְ־צָרָיו אָחוֹר חֶרְפַּת עוֹלָם נָתַן לָמוֹ׃

67  He rejected the clan of Yosef; He did not choose the tribe of Efraim.

סז  וַיִּמְאַס בְּאֹהֶל יוֹסֵף וּבְשֵׁבֶט אֶפְרַיִם לֹא בָחָר׃

68  He did choose the tribe of Yehuda, Mount Tzion, which He loved.

סח  וַיִּבְחַר אֶת־שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה אֶת־הַר צִיּוֹן אֲשֶׁר אָהֵב׃

69  He built His Sanctuary like the heavens, like the earth that He established forever.

סט  וַיִּבֶן כְּמוֹ־רָמִים מִקְדָּשׁוֹ כְּאֶרֶץ יְסָדָהּ לְעוֹלָם׃

70  He chose David, His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds.

ע  וַיִּבְחַר בְּדָוִד עַבְדּוֹ וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ מִמִּכְלְאֹת צֹאן׃

71  He brought him from minding the nursing ewes to tend His people Yaakov, Yisrael, His very own.

עא  מֵאַחַר עָלוֹת הֱבִיאוֹ לִרְעוֹת בְּיַעֲקֹב עַמּוֹ וּבְיִשְׂרָאֵל נַחֲלָתוֹ׃

72  He tended them with blameless heart; with skillful hands he led them.

 

עב  וַיִּרְעֵם כְּתֹם לְבָבוֹ וּבִתְבוּנוֹת כַּפָּיו יַנְחֵם׃

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Psalms 77
Psalms 79

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Psalms 78

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