¶ An instruction of Asaph.Hear my law, O my people, incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, and speak of things of old. Which we have heard and known, and such as our fathers have told us. That we should not hide them from the children of the generations to come: but to shew the honour of the LORD, his might and wonderful works that he hath done. He made a covenant with Iacob, and gave Israel a law, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children. That their posterity might know it, and the children which were yet unborn. To the intent that when they came up, they might shew their children the same. That they also might put their trust in God, and not to forget what he had done, but to keep his commandments. And not to be as their forefathers, a froward and overthwart generation, a generation that set not their heart a right, and whose spirit was not true toward God.
¶ Like as the children of Ephraim, which being harnessed and carrying bows, turned themselves back in the time of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and would not walk in his law. They forgot what he had done, and the wonderful works that he had shewed for them. Marvelous things did he in the sight of our fathers in the land of Egypt, even in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and let them go thorow it, and made the waters to stond like a wall. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night thorow with a light of fire. He clave the hard rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink thereof, as it had been out of the great depth. He brought waters out of the stony rock, so that they gushed out like the rivers. Yet for all this they sinned against him, and provoked the most highest in the wilderness. They tempted God in their hearts, and required meat for their lust. For they spake against God, and said: Yea yea, God shall prepare a table in the wilderness, shall he? Lo, he smote the stony rock, that the watery streams gushed out, and the streams flowed withal: but how can he give bread and provide flesh for his people? When the LORD heard this, he was wroth: so the fire was kindled in Iacob, and heavy displeasure against Israel. Because they believed not in God, and put not their trust in his help. So he commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna upon them for to eat, and give them bread from heaven. Then ate they angels' food, for he sent them meat enough. He caused the East wind to blow under the heaven, and thorow his power he brought in the south wind. He made flesh to rain upon them as thick as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: He let it fall among their tents round about their habitations. So they ate, and were filled, for he gave them their own desire. And they were not disappointed of their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths: the heavy wrath of God came upon them, slew the wealthiest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. But for all this they sinned yet more, and believed not his wonderous works. Therefore their days were consumed in vanity, and suddenly their years were gone. When he slew them, they sought him, and turned them early unto God. They thought then that God was their succour, and that the high God was their redeemer. Nevertheless they did but flatter him with their mouths, and dissembled with him in their tongues. For their heart was not whole with him, neither continued they in his covenant. But he was so merciful, that he forgave their misdeeds, and destroyed them not. Yea, many a time turned he his wrath away, and would not suffer his whole displeasure to arise. For he considered that they were but flesh: even a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
¶ O how oft have they grieved him in the wilderness? How many a time have they provoked him in the desert? They turned back, and tempted God, and moved the holy one in Israel. They thought not of his hand, in the day when he delivered them from the hand of the enemy. How he had wrought his miracles in Egypt, and his wonders in the land of Zoan. How he turned their waters into blood, so that they might not drink of the rivers. How he sent lice among them, to eat them up, and frogs to destroy them. How he gave their fruits unto the caterpillar, and their labour unto the grasshopper. How he beat down their vineyards with hail stones, and their mulberry trees with the frost. How he smote their cattle with hail stones, and their flocks with hot thunderbolts. How he sent upon them the furiousness of his wrath, anger and displeasure: with trouble and falling in of evil angels. When he made a way to his fearful indignation, and spared not their souls from death, yea and gave their cattle over to the pestilence. When he smote all the firstborn in Egypt, the most principal and mightest in the dwellings of Ham. But as for his own people, he led them forth like sheep, and carried them in the wilderness like a flock. He brought them out safely, that they should not fear, and overwhelmed their enemies with the sea. He carried them unto the borders of his Sanctuary: even in to this hill, which he purchased with his right hand. He did cast out the Heathen before them, caused their land to be divided among them for an heritage, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents. For all this they tempted and displeased the most high God, and kept not his covenant. But turned their backs, and fell away like their forefathers, starting aside like a broken bow. And so they grieved him with their high places, and provoked him with their images. When God heard this, he was wroth, and took sore displeasure at Israel. So that he forsook the Tabernacle in Silo, even his habitation wherein he dwelt among men. He delivered their power into captivity, and their glory into the enemy's hand. He gave his people over into the sword, for he was wroth with his heritage. The fire consumed their young men, and their maidens were not given to marriage. Their priests were slain with the sword, and there were no widows to made lamentation. So the Lord awakened as one out of sleep, and like a giant refreshed with wine. He smote his enemies in the hinder parts, and put them to a perpetual shame. He refused the Tabernacle of Ioseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim. Nevertheless, he chose the tribe of Iudah, even the hill of Sion which he loved. And there he builded his temple on high, and laid the foundation of it like the ground, that it might perpetually endure. He chose David also his servant, and took him away from the sheepfolds. As he was following the ewes great with young, he took him, that he might feed Iacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them with a faithful and true heart, and ruled them with all the diligence of his power.