Attend, my people, to my law; Thereto give thou an ear

Attend, my people, to my law; Thereto give thou an ear

Author: Thomas Sternhold
Published in 10 hymnals

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Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Attend, my people, to my law;
thereto give thou an ear;
the words that from my mouth proceed
attentively do hear.
2 My mouth shall speak a parable,
and sayings dark of old;
3 the same which we have heard and known,
and us our fathers told.

4 We also will them not conceal
from their posterity;
but to the race that is to come
declare them faithfully.
The praises of the Lord our God,
and his almighty strength,
the wondrous works that he hath done,
we will show forth at length.

5 His testimony and his law
in Israel he did place,
and charged our fathers it to show
to their succeeding race;
6 that so the race which was to come
might well them learn and know;
and sons unborn, who should arise,
might to their sons them show:

7 That they might set their hope in God,
and suffer not to fall
his mighty works out of their mind,
but keep his precepts all:
8 and might not, like their fathers, be
a stiff rebellious race;
a race not right in heart; with God
whose spirit faithless was.

9 The sons of Ephraim nor bows
nor other arms did lack;
yet, when the day of battle came,
faint-hearted they turned back.
10 They brake God’s covenant, and refused
in his commands to go;
11 his works and wonders they forgot,
which he to them did show.

12 Things marvellous he brought to pass;
their fathers them beheld
within the land of Egypt done,
yea, even in Zoan’s field.
13 The sea asunder he did cleave,
he led them through the deep;
and made the waters stand on high,
as though they were an heap.

14 With cloud by day, with light of fire
all night, he did them guide.
15 He in the desert clave the rocks,
and drink as floods supplied.
16 He from the rock brought streams, like floods
made waters down to run.
17 yet sinned they still, in desert they
provoked the Highest One.

18 For in their heart they tempted God,
and, speaking with mistrust,
they greedily did meat require
to satisfy their lust.
19 Against the Lord himself they spake,
and, murmuring, said thus,
A table in the wilderness
can God prepare for us?

20 Behold, he smote the rock, and streams
forth gushed and waters wide:
but can he give his people bread,
and flesh for them provide?
21 The Lord did hear, and waxed wroth;
so kindled was a flame
’gainst Jacob, and ‘gainst Israel
up indignation came.

22 For they believed not God, nor trust
in his salvation had;
23 though clouds above he did command,
and heaven’s doors open made,
24 and manna rained on them, and gave
them corn of heaven to eat.
25 Man angels’ food did eat; to them
he to the full sent meat.

26 And in the heaven he did cause
an eastern wind to blow;
and by his power he did direct
the southern wind to go.
27 Then flesh as thick as dust he made
to rain down them among;
And feathered fowls, like to the sand
which lies the shore along.

28 At his command amidst their camp
these showers of flesh down fell,
all round about the tabernacles
and tents where they did dwell.
29 So they did eat abundantly,
and had of meat their fill;
for he did give to them what was
their own desire and will.

30 They from their lust had not estranged
their heart and their desire;
but while the meat was in their mouths,
which they did so require,
31 God’s wrath upon them came, and slew
the fattest of them all;
so that the choice of Israel,
o’erthrown by death, did fall.

32 Yet after all the Lord had done
they still went on in sin;
nor did believe, although his works
so wonderful had been.
33 Wherefore their days in vanity
he did consume and waste;
and by his wrath their wretched years
away in grief did haste.

34 But when he slew them, then they did
to seek him shew desire;
yea, they returned, and after God
right early did enquire.
35 And thus the Lord had been their Rock,
they did remember then;
even that the high almighty God
had their Redeemer been.

36 Yet with their mouth they flattered him,
and with their tongues they lied;
37 their heart not steadfast was; they from
his covenant turned aside.
38 But, full of pity, he forgave
their sin, them did not slay,
nor stirred up all his wrath, but oft
his anger turned away.

39 For that they were but fading flesh
to mind he did recall;
a wind that passeth soon away,
nor doth return at all.
40 How often did they him provoke
within the wilderness!
And in the desert did him grieve
with their rebelliousness!

41 Yea, turning back, they tempted God,
and limits they did place
upon the High and Holy One,
the God of Israel's race.
42 They did not call to mind his power,
nor yet the day when he
delivered them out of the hand
of their fierce enemy;

43 When wonders he in Egypt wrought,
and signs in Zoan’s field;
44 their rivers turned into blood;
their streams no drink did yield.
45 He sent the fly which them devoured,
the frog which did them spoil;
46 He gave the worm their increase all,
the locust all their toil.

47 Their vines with hail, their sycamores
he with the frost did blast:
48 hail on their beasts, hot thunderbolts
upon their flocks, he cast.
49 Fierce anger he let loose on them,
and indignation strong,
distress and trouble, angels sent
of evil them among.

50 He for his wrath made way; their soul
from death he did not save;
but over to the pestilence
their life in judgment gave.
51 In Egypt he the first-born all
did smite down everywhere;
among the tents of Ham, even those
chief of their strength that were.

52 But his own people, like to sheep,
thence to go forth he made;
and he, amidst the wilderness,
them, as a flock, did lead.
53 And he in safety led them on,
so that they did not fear;
whereas their enemies by the sea
quite overwhelmed were.

54 Unto his holy border then
the Lord his people led,
even to the mount which his right hand
for them had purchased.
55 The nations which in Canaan dwelt,
by his almighty hand
before his people's face he drove
out of their native land;

Which for inheritance to them
by line he did divide,
and made the tribes of Israel
within their tents abide.
56 Yet God most high they did provoke,
and him they tempted still;
his testimonies to observe
did not incline their will;

57 But like their fathers turned back,
and dealt unfaithfully:
aside they turned, like a bow
that shoots deceitfully.
58 For they to anger did provoke
him with their places high;
and with their graven images
moved him to jealousy.

59 When God heard this, he waxed wroth,
and much loathed Israel then:
60 so Shiloh’s tent he left, the tent
which he had pitched with men.
61 And he his strength delivered
into captivity;
he left his glory in the hand
of his proud enemy.

62 His people also he gave o’er
unto the sword’s fierce rage:
and hotly did his anger burn
against his heritage.
63 The fire consumed their choice young men;
their maids no marriage had;
64 and when their priests fell by the sword,
their wives no mourning made.

65 But then the Lord arose, as one
who from his sleep awakes;
and like a strong man who from wine
a shout of triumph makes.
66 Upon his enemies’ backs he made
his heavy stroke to fall;
to a perpetual reproach
and shame he put them all.

67 Moreover, he the tabernacle
of Joseph did refuse;
the mighty tribe of Ephraim
he would in no wise choose:
68 but he the tribe of Judah chose
to be the rest above;
and of mount Zion he made choice,
which he so much did love.

69 He also like unto the heights
did build his sanctuary,
like to a palace high,
Like to the earth which he did found
to perpetuity.
70 Of David, that his servant was,
he also choice did make,
and even from the folds of sheep
was pleased him to take:

71 From waiting on the ewes with young,
he brought him forth to feed
Israel, his inheritance,
his people, Jacob’s seed.
72 And so in his integrity
of heart he did them feed;
and with a wise and skillful hand
them prudently did lead.

Source: The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #P78

Author: Thomas Sternhold

Thomas Sternhold was Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII and Edward VI. With Hopkins, he produced the first English version of the Psalms before alluded to. He completed fifty-one; Hopkins and others composed the remainder. He died in 1549. Thirty-seven of his psalms were edited and published after his death, by his friend Hopkins. The work is entitled "All such Psalms of David as Thomas Sternhold, late Groome of the King's Majestye's Robes, did in his Lyfetime drawe into Englyshe Metre." Of the version annexed to the Prayer Book, Montgomery says: "The merit of faithful adherence to the original has been claimed for this version, and need not to be denied, but it is the resemblance which the dead bear to the living." Wood, in his "Athe… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Attend, my people, to my law; Thereto give thou an ear
Author: Thomas Sternhold
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



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