1 Hear my teaching, O my people; ♦
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; ♦
I will pour forth mysteries from of old,
3 Such as we have heard and known, ♦
which our forebears have told us.
4 We will not hide from their children,
but will recount to generations to come, ♦
the praises of the Lord and his power
and the wonderful works he has done.
5 He laid a solemn charge on Jacob
and made it a law in Israel, ♦
which he commanded them to teach their children,
6 That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn, ♦
that they in turn might tell it to their children;
7 So that they might put their trust in God ♦
and not forget the deeds of God,
but keep his commandments,
8 And not be like their forebears,
a stubborn and rebellious generation, ♦
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9 The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, ♦
turned back in the day of battle;
10 They did not keep the covenant of God ♦
and refused to walk in his law;
11 They forgot what he had done ♦
and the wonders he had shown them.
12 For he did marvellous things in the sight of their forebears, ♦
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and let them pass through; ♦
he made the waters stand still in a heap.
14 He led them with a cloud by day ♦
and all the night through with a blaze of fire.
15 He split the hard rocks in the wilderness ♦
and gave them drink as from the great deep.
16 He brought streams out of the rock ♦
and made water gush out like rivers.
17 Yet for all this they sinned more against him ♦
and defied the Most High in the wilderness.
18 They tested God in their hearts ♦
and demanded food for their craving.
19 They spoke against God and said, ♦
‘Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20 ‘He struck the rock indeed, so that the waters gushed out
and the streams overflowed, ♦
but can he give bread or provide meat for his people?’
21 When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath; ♦
a fire was kindled against Jacob
and his anger went out against Israel,
22 For they had no faith in God ♦
and put no trust in his saving help.
23 So he commanded the clouds above ♦
and opened the doors of heaven.
24 He rained down upon them manna to eat ♦
and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 So mortals ate the bread of angels; ♦
he sent them food in plenty.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens ♦
and led out the south wind by his might.
27 He rained flesh upon them as thick as dust ♦
and winged fowl like the sand of the sea.
28 He let it fall in the midst of their camp ♦
and round about their tents.
29 So they ate and were well filled, ♦
for he gave them what they desired.
30 But they did not stop their craving; ♦
their food was still in their mouths,
31 When the anger of God rose against them, ♦
and slew their strongest men
and felled the flower of Israel.
32 But for all this, they sinned yet more ♦
and put no faith in his wonderful works.
33 So he brought their days to an end like a breath ♦
and their years in sudden terror.
34 Whenever he slew them, they would seek him; ♦
they would repent and earnestly search for God.
35 They remembered that God was their rock ♦
and the Most High God their redeemer.
36 Yet they did but flatter him with their mouth ♦
and dissembled with their tongue.
37 Their heart was not steadfast towards him, ♦
neither were they faithful to his covenant.
38 But he was so merciful that he forgave their misdeeds
and did not destroy them; ♦
many a time he turned back his wrath
and did not suffer his whole displeasure to be roused.
39 For he remembered that they were but flesh, ♦
a wind that passes by and does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness ♦
and grieved him in the desert!
41 Again and again they tempted God ♦
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power ♦
in the day when he redeemed them from the enemy;
43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt ♦
and his wonders in the field of Zoan.
44 He turned their rivers into blood, ♦
so that they could not drink of their streams.
45 He sent swarms of flies among them, which devoured them, ♦
and frogs which brought them ruin.
46 He gave their produce to the caterpillar, ♦
the fruit of their toil to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hailstones ♦
and their sycamore trees with the frost.
48 He delivered their cattle to hailstones ♦
and their flocks to thunderbolts.
49 He set loose on them his blazing anger: ♦
fury, displeasure and trouble,
a troop of destroying angels.
50 He made a way for his anger
and spared not their souls from death, ♦
but gave their life over to the pestilence.
51 He smote the firstborn of Egypt, ♦
the first fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
52 But he led out his people like sheep ♦
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53 He led them to safety and they were not afraid, ♦
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54 He brought them to his holy place, ♦
the mountain which his right hand took in possession.
55 He drove out the nations before them
and shared out to them their inheritance; ♦
he settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
56 Yet still they tested God Most High
and rebelled against him, ♦
and would not keep his commandments.
57 They turned back and fell away like their forebears, ♦
starting aside like an unstrung bow.
58 They grieved him with their hill altars ♦
and provoked him to displeasure with their idols.
59 God heard and was greatly angered, ♦
and utterly rejected Israel.
60 He forsook the tabernacle at Shiloh, ♦
the tent of his presence on earth.
61 He gave the ark of his strength into captivity, ♦
his splendour into the adversary’s hand.
62 He delivered his people to the sword ♦
and raged against his inheritance.
63 The fire consumed their young men; ♦
there was no one to lament their maidens.
64 Their priests fell by the sword, ♦
and their widows made no lamentation.
65 Then the Lord woke as out of sleep, ♦
like a warrior who had been overcome with wine.
66 He struck his enemies from behind ♦
and put them to perpetual shame.
67 He rejected the tent of Joseph ♦
and chose not the tribe of Ephraim,
68 But he chose the tribe of Judah ♦
and the hill of Zion, which he loved.
69 And there he built his sanctuary like the heights of heaven, ♦
like the earth which he founded for ever.
70 He chose David also, his servant, ♦
and took him away from the sheepfolds.
71 From following the ewes with their lambs he took him, ♦
that he might shepherd Jacob his people
and Israel his inheritance.
72 So he shepherded them with a devoted heart ♦
and with skilful hands he guided them.
Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included here,
is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2000 and published by Church House Publishing.