Hear my teaching, O my people; *
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
That which we have heard and known,
and what our forefathers have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.
We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord, *
and the wonderful works he has done.
He gave his decrees to Jacob
and established a law for Israel, *
which he commanded them to teach their children;
That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn; *
that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
So that they might put their trust in God, *
and not forget the deeds of God,
but keep his commandments;
And not be like their forefathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation, *
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, *
turned back in the day of battle;
They did not keep the covenant of God, *
and refused to walk in his law;
They forgot what he had done, *
and the wonders he had shown them.
He worked marvels in the sight of their forefathers, *
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
He split open the sea and let them pass through; *
he made the waters stand up like walls.
He led them with a cloud by day, *
and all the night through with a glow of fire.
He split the hard rocks in the wilderness *
and gave them drink as from the great deep.
He brought streams out of the cliff, *
and the waters gushed out like rivers.
But they went on sinning against him, *
rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
They tested God in their hearts, *
demanding food for their craving.
They railed against God and said, *
“Can God set a table in the wilderness?
True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; *
but is he able to give bread
or to provide meat for his people?”
When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath; *
a fire was kindled against Jacob,
and his anger mounted against Israel;
For they had no faith in God, *
nor did they put their trust in his saving power.
So he commanded the clouds above *
and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down manna upon them to eat *
and gave them grain from heaven.
So mortals ate the bread of angels; *
he provided for them food enough.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens *
and led out the south wind by his might.
He rained down flesh upon them like dust *
and wingèd birds like the sand of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp *
and round about their dwellings.
So they ate and were well filled, *
for he gave them what they craved.
But they did not stop their craving, *
though the food was still in their mouths.
So God’s anger mounted against them; *
he slew their strongest men
and laid low the youth of Israel.
In spite of all this, they went on sinning *
and had no faith in his wonderful works.
So he brought their days to an end like a breath *
and their years in sudden terror.
Whenever he slew them, they would seek him, *
and repent, and diligently search for God.
They would remember that God was their rock, *
and the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths *
and lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him, *
and they were not faithful to his covenant.
But he was so merciful that he forgave their sins
and did not destroy them; *
many times he held back his anger
and did not permit his wrath to be roused.
For he remembered that they were but flesh, *
a breath that goes forth and does not return.
Image: “Galaxy NGC 60” by Raven Vasquez is licensed under CC BY 2.0.