1 Hear, O my people, to my law
Your most devout attention lend;
Let the instructions of my mouth,
Deep in your faithful hearts descend,
My tongue shall parables unfold,
And bring to light dark things of old.
2 Which our fore-fathers pious care,
From ancient times has handed down;
Nor will we hide them from our sons,
But to our offspring make them known,
That they the praises may be taught
Of God, who hath such wonders wrought.
3 For Jacob he this law ordain'd,
This solemn league with Isr'el made,
With charge to be from age to age,
From race to race with care convey'd;
To be transmitted to their heirs,
Which they again might give to their's.
4 That they might God's commands obey,
And in his strength their safety place;
And not like their forefathers, prove
A stubborn and rebellious race,
Who still the paths of error trod,
Nor put their stedfast hope in God.
5 Such were revolting Ephraim's sons,
Who from the field ingnobly fled;
Tho' skilful archers arm'd with bows,
And to a constant warfare bred;
Tho' God to them his works display'd,
Yet they his orders disobey'd.
6 The wonders which their fathers saw,
They in their minds did not retain;
Prodigious things in Egypt done,
And miracles in Zoan's plain:
For them he did the sea divide,
And pil'd in heaps the pressing tide.
7 A wond'rous pillar led them on,
Compos'd of shade and radiant Light;
A shelt'ring cloud it prov'd by day,
And was a leading fire by night.
Thus went they thro' a desert land,
Conducted by his powerful hand.
8 When drought oppress'd them, where no streams
The parched wilderness supply'd,
He cleft the rock, whose flinty breast
Dissolv'd into a cooling tide,
Which down in plenteous rivers fell,
And prov'd a constant miracle.
9 Yet there they sin'd against him more,
Provoking still the Lord most high,
In that same desert, where he did
Their fainting souls with strength supply;
His pow'r supreme, they did distrust
And long'd for meat to feed their lust.
10 Then utter'd their blaspheming doubts,
"Can God, say they, for us prepare
"A table in the wilderness,
"And set it out with various fare?
"'Tis true he did the rock divide,
"But can he corn and flesh provide?"
11 The Lord with indignation heard,
And from the heav'ns avenging flame
On Jacob fell; consuming wrath
On most ungrateful Isr'el came:
For they would not in God confide,
Who had so oft their wants supply'd.
12 Tho' God had from the fruitful clouds,
Around their camp his manna spread,
And had the angels sacred food,
Ungrateful man in plenty fed;
Which from his own celestial stores,
Was rained down in frequent show'rs.
13 From heav'n he made an east wind blow,
And likewise did the south command
To rain down flesh, like dust, and fowls
Like the sea shore's unnumber'd sands,
Around their tents an easy prey,
The flutt'ring, feather'd booty lay.
14 Thus gave he them their heart's desire,
And they luxurious eat the same;
But whilst the meat was in their mouths,
God's heavy wrath upon them came;
He slew the wealthiest of them all,
And Israel's chiefs were made to fall.
15 Yet still they sin'd, nor would afford
His wond'rous miracles belief;
Therefore thro' fruitless travels he
Consum'd their lives in wasting grief;
When some were slain, with early cry,
They turn'd and sought the Lord most high.
16 But this was feign'd submission all,
Their treach'rous hearts their tongues bely'd,
They still remain'd perverse, nor would
Firm in his covenant abide;
And yet his anger did not rise,
Nor would with death their sins chastise.
17 For he remember'd they were flesh,
And could not long on earth remain;
A murm'ring wind that's quickly past,
And never more return's again;
His mercy knew they were but frail,
And would not let his wrath prevail.
18 How oft did they provoke him there!
How oft did they his patience grieve!
In that same desert, where he did
Their fainting souls with food relieve,
They turned back, and faithless prov'd,
And Isreal's God to anger move'd.
19 Nor did they call to mind the day
When God, with his almighty hand,
Deliver'd them from all their foes,
And show'd them signs in Egypt's land,
When he the tribes from bondage brought,
And wond'rous things in Zoan wrought.
20 Their Rrivers, that they might not drink,
Were turn'd to blood at his command;
Devouring flies in thickest swarms;
And frogs were sent to plague the land;
Locust and worms o'erspread their soil,
And reap'd the harvest of their toil.
21 Their vines with batt'ring hail were broke,
With pinching frost the fig-tree dies;
Lightning and hail made flocks and herds,
To fall one gen'ral sacrifice.
His wrath their trouble to increase,
By evil angels broke their peace.
22 He clear'd a passage for his wrath,
Nor would his anger fierce controul;
But gave their life to pestilence,
Nor spar'd from death the fainting soul.
Upon their heirs destruction came,
The first born in the tents of Ham.
23 But his own tribe, like folded sheep,
He brought in safety from distress,
And like a flock, conducted them
Thro' a long barren wilderness.
Their foes were in the ocean drown'd,
But they no cause of terror found.
24 Nor ceas'd his care, 'till them he brought
In safety to the promis'd Land;
And to his holy mount, the prize
Obtain'd, by his victorious hand;
For them he did his arm extend.
And from the foe their host's defend.
25 To them, the outcast heathen's land,
He did in equal lot divide;
And in their foes abandon'd tents,
Made Israel's tribes secure abide:
For them he quell'd the nations round,
And plac'd them on the promis'd ground.
26 But still they tempted, still provok'd
The anger of the Lord most high;
Nor would, to practise his commands
Their most rebellious hearts apply:
But turn'd like a deceitful bow,
And in their father's steps would go.
27 For God to fury they provok'd
With idol altars set on high,
And with their graven images,
Inflam'd to wrath his jealousy;
On Israel then his hatred fell,
And Shiloh, where he lov'd to dwell.
28 To vile captivity, his ark,
His strength and glory to disdain,
His people to the sword he gave,
Nor would his awful wrath restrain:
Amongst their youth his anger spread,
Nor were their maids to marriage led.
29 In fight the sacrificer fell,
The priest himself a victim bled;
No were there any widows left,
Who should with tears lament the dead.
Then like a giant strong with wine,
The Lord awak'd in wrath divine.
30 He smote his foes, that from the field
Their vanquish'd, scatter'd remnants came,
With wounds imprinted on their backs,
The marks of everlasting shame:
The tents of Joseph he forsook
Nor Ephraim for his dwelling took.
31 But Judah's favour'd tribe he chose,
And made his own peculiar care;
On Sion's mount his temple built,
And fix'd its strong foundations there.
From sheep-folds he did David bring,
And over Judah made him king.
32 From tending on the teeming ewes,
He brought his servant forth to feed
His people, and inheritance,
The Tribes of Isr'el's chosen seed:
And he a faithful shepherd still,
Fed and conducted them with skill.
Source: The Psalms of David: with hymns and spiritual songs: also, the catechism, confession of faith, and liturgy of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands #78