Psalm 77.  Attendite, popule
God's providence in the history of Israel
To me, too, God was faithful:  I was the faithless one

The Psalm is a sort of poetic chronicle, recording the history of Israel from the exodus out of Egypt up to the crowning of King David.  God's long-suffering patience is vividly depicted.  Despite the constant infidelity of Israel, his patience is not exhausted.  We must figuratively strike our breast when we pray this Psalm; we marvel at God's patience with ourselves.

Hearken unto the lesson of history

Atténdite, pópule meus, legem meam: * inclináte aurem vestram in verba oris mei.
2  Apériam in parábolis os meum: * loquar propositiónes ab inítio.
3  Quanta audívimus et cognóvimus ea: * et patres nostri narravérunt nobis.
4  Non sunt occultáta a fíliis eórum: * in generatióne áltera.
5  Narrántes laudes Dómini, et virtútes ejus: * et mirabília ejus, quæ fecit.

Hear my law, O my people; * incline your ears unto the words of my mouth.
2  I will open my mouth in a parable; * I will declare the propositions from of old;
3  How great things we have heard and known, * and such as our fathers have told us;
4  They have not been hidden from their children : * in another generation.
5  Declaring the praises of the Lord, and his mighty powers : and the wonderful works that he hath done.

The Covenant with Jacob

6  Et suscitávit testimónium in Jacob: * et legem pósuit in Israël.
7  Quanta mandávit pátribus nostris nota fácere ea fíliis suis: * ut cognóscat generátio áltera.
8  Fílii qui nascéntur, et exsúrgent, * et narrábunt fíliis suis.
9  Ut ponant in Deo spem suam, et non obliviscántur óperum Dei: * et mandáta ejus exquírant.
10  Ne fiant sicut patres eórum: * generátio prava et exásperans.
11  Generátio, quæ non diréxit cor suum: * et non est créditus cum Deo spíritus ejus.

6  And he hath stablished a testimony in Jacob, * and made a law in Israel.
7  How great things he commanded our forefathers to teach their children : * that their posterity might know it.
8  The children which were yet unborn, and should rise up, * they shall shew the same also to their children.
9  That they might put their trust in God, and not forget the works of God, * and may seek his commandments.
10  That they might not become as their forefathers, * a perverse and stubborn generation.
11  A generation that set not their heart aright, * and whose spirit was not faithful unto God.

Miracles and goodness of God

In the far past

12  Fílii Ephrem intendéntes et mitténtes arcum: * convérsi sunt in die belli.
13  Non custodiérunt testaméntum Dei: * et in lege ejus noluérunt ambuláre.
14  Et oblíti sunt benefactórum ejus: * et mirabílium ejus quæ osténdit eis.

12  Like as the children of Ephraim, who bending and shooting with the bow, * turned themselves back in the day of battle.
13  They kept not the covenant of God, * and would not walk in his law.
14  But forgat what he had done, * and the wonderful works that he had shewed for them.

In Egypt and the wilderness

15  Coram pátribus eórum fecit mirabília in terra Ægypti: * in campo Táneos.
16  Interrúpit mare, et perdúxit eos: * et státuit aquas quasi in utre.
17  Et dedúxit eos in nube diéi: * et tota nocte in illuminatióne ignis.
18  Interrúpit petram in erémo: * et adaquávit eos velut in abysso multa.
19  Et edúxit aquam de petra: * et dedúxit tamquam flúmina aquas.

15  Marvellous things did he in the sight of their forefathers, in the land of Egypt, * even in the field of Tanis.
16  He divided the sea, and brought them through; * he made the waters to stand on an heap.
17  In the day-time also he led them with a cloud, * and all the night through with a light of fire.
18  He clave the hard rock in the wilderness, * and gave them to drink, as out of the great deep.
19  He brought forth waters out of the rock, * and made waters run out like rivers.

Ingratitude and disbelief

20  Et apposuérunt adhuc peccáre ei: * in iram excitavérunt Excélsum in inaquóso.
21  Et tentavérunt Deum in córdibus suis, * ut péterent escas animábus suis.
22  Et male locúti sunt de Deo: * dixérunt: Numquid póterit Deus paráre mensam in desérto?
23  Quóniam percússit petram, et fluxérunt aquæ: * et torréntes inundavérunt.
24  Numquid et panem póterit dare, * aut paráre mensam pópulo suo?

20  And they added yet more sin against him, * they provoked the Most Highest to wrath in the wilderness.
21  And they tempted God in their hearts, * by asking meat for their desires.
22  They spake ill of God also, * they said : Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
23  For he smote the stony rock, that the waters gushed out, * and the torrents overflowed.
24  But can he give bread also, * or provide a table for his people?

Manna and quail

25  Ideo audívit Dóminus, et dístulit: * et ignis accénsus est in Jacob, et ira ascéndit in Israël.
26  Quia non credidérunt in Deo: * nec speravérunt in salutári ejus :
27  Et mandávit núbibus désuper: * et jánuas cæli apéruit.
28  Et pluit illis manna ad manducándum: * et panem cæli dedit eis.
29  Panem Angelórum manducávit homo, * cibária misit eis in abundántia.
30  Tránstulit Austrum de cælo: * et indúxit in virtúte sua Africum.
31  Et pluit super eos sicut púlverem carnes: * et sicut arénam maris volatília pennáta.
32  Et cecidérunt in médio castrórum eórum: * circa tabernácula eórum.
33  Et manducavérunt, et saturáti sunt nimis, et desidérium eórum áttulit eis: * non sunt fraudáti a desidério suo.

25  Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth; * and a fire was kindled in Jacob, and wrath came up heavy against Israel;
26  Because they believed not in God, * and put not their trust in his salvation.
27  So he commanded the clouds from above, * and opened the gates of heaven.
28  And he rained down manna upon them for to eat, * and gave them the bread of heaven.
29  Man did eat the bread of angels : * he sent them provisions in abundance.
30  He removed the south wind from heaven; * and through his power he brought in the southwest wind.
31  And he rained upon them flesh as dust, * and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea.
32  And they fell in the midst of their camp, * round about their pavilions.
33  So they did eat, and were filled exceedingly, and he gave them their own desire: * they were not disappointed of that which they craved.

Punishment of their unbelief

34  Adhuc escæ eórum erant in ore ipsórum: * et ira Dei ascéndit super eos
35  Et occídit pingues eórum, * et eléctos Israël impedívit.

34  But while the meat was yet in their mouths, * the heavy wrath of God came upon them.
35  And he slew the rich amongst them : * yea, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

Continuation of their punishment

36  In ómnibus his peccavérunt adhuc: * et non credidérunt mirabílibus ejus.
37  Et defecérunt in vanitáte dies eórum: * et anni eórum cum festinatióne.

36  In all these things they sinned still, * and believed not his wondrous works.
37  And their days were consumed in vanity, * and their years in haste.

Their apparent conversion

38  Cum occíderet eos, quærébant eum: * et revertebántur, et dilúculo veniébant ad eum.
39  Et rememoráti sunt quia Deus adjútor est eórum: * et Deus excélsus redémptor eórum est.
40  Et dilexérunt eum in ore suo, * et lingua sua mentíti sunt ei.
41  Cor autem eórum non erat rectum cum eo: * nec fidéles hábiti sunt in testaménto ejus.

38  When he slew them, then they sought him, * and they returned, and came unto him early in the morning.
39  And they remembered that God was their helper, * and the most high God their redeemer.
40  And they loved him with their mouth, * and dissembled with him in their tongue.
41  For their heart was not right with him, * neither continued they stedfast in his covenant.

The pattern is repeated time and again

42  Ipse autem est miséricors, et propítius fiet peccátis eórum: * et non dispérdet eos.
43  Et abundávit ut avérteret iram suam: * et non accéndit omnem iram suam:
44  Et recordátus est quia caro sunt: * spíritus vadens et non rédiens.
45  Quóties exacerbavérunt eum in desérto, *  in iram concitavérunt eum in inaquóso?
46  Et convérsi sunt, et tentavérunt Deum: * et Sanctum Israël exacerbavérunt.

42  But he is merciful, and will forgive their misdeeds, * and will destroy them not.
43  Yea, many a time turned he his wrath away, * and did not enkindle his whole wrath.
44  And he remembered that they are but flesh, * even a wind that goeth, and cometh not again.
45  How often did they provoke him in the wilderness, * and move him to wrath in the desert?
46  And they turned back, and tempted God, * and grieved the Holy One of Israel.

The plagues in Egypt

47  Non sunt recordáti manus ejus, * die qua redémit eos de manu tribulántis.
48  Sicut pósuit in Ægypto signa sua, * et prodígia sua in campo Táneos.
49  Et convértit in sánguinem flúmina eórum: * et imbres eórum, ne bíberent.
50  Misit in eos cœnomyíam, et comédit eos: * et ranam, et dispérdidit eos.
51  Et dedit ærúgini fructus eórum: * et labóres eórum locústæ.
52  Et occídit in grándine víneas eórum: * et moros eórum in pruína.
53  Et trádidit grándini juménta eórum: * et possessiónem eórum igni.
54  Misit  in eos iram indignatiónis suæ: * indignatiónem, et iram, et tribulatiónem: immissiónes per ángelos malos.
55  Viam fecit sémitæ iræ suæ, non pepércit a morte animábus eórum: * et juménta eórum in morte conclúsit.
56  Et percússit omne primogénitum in terra Ægypti: * primítias omnis labóris eórum in tabernáculis Cham.

47  THEY thought not of his hand, * and of the day when he delivered them from the hand of the enemy;
48  How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, * and his wonders in the field of Tanis.
49  He turned their rivers into blood, * and their rain so that they might not drink.
50  He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them up; * and frogs to destroy them.
51  He gave their fruits unto the caterpillar, * and their labour unto the locust.
52  He destroyed their vineyards with hailstones, * and their mulberry trees with the hoarfrost.
53  He gave up their cattle also to the hailstones, * and their stock to the fire.
54  He cast upon them the furiousness of his wrath : * anger, displeasure and trouble, which he sent by evil angels.
55  He made a way for a path to his anger, and spared not their souls from death; * and their cattle he confined in death.
56  And he smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, * the firstfruits of all their labour in the dwellings of Ham.

The promised land

57  Et ábstulit sicut oves pópulum suum: * et perdúxit eos tamquam gregem in desérto.
58  Et dedúxit eos in spe, et non timuérunt: * et inimícos eórum opéruit mare.
59  Et indúxit eos in montem sanctificatiónis suæ: * montem, quem acquisívit déxtera ejus.
60  Et ejécit a fácie eórum Gentes: * et sorte divísit eis terram in funículo distributiónis.
61  Et habitáre fecit in tabernáculis eórum: * tribus Israël.

57  And his own people he led forth like sheep, * and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
58  He brought them out in hope, and they feared not, * and he overwhelmed their enemies with the sea.
59  And brought them within the mountain of his sanctuary, * even to his mountain, which he purchased with his right hand.
60  He cast out the heathen also before them, * and by lot divided their land unto them by a line of distribution.
61  And he made the tribes of Israel * to dwell in their tents.

Unfaithful in the promised land

62  Et tentavérunt, et exacerbavérunt Deum excélsum: * et testimónia ejus non custodiérunt.
63  Et avertérunt se, et non servavérunt pactum: * quemádmodum patres eórum convérsi sunt in arcum pravum.
64  In iram concitavérunt eum in cóllibus suis: * et in sculptílibus suis ad æmulatiónem eum provocavérunt.

62  Yet they tempted and provoked the Most High God, * and kept not his testimonies.
63  And they turned their backs, and kept not the covenant, * even as their forefathers they were turned aside like a broken bow.
64  They moved him to anger on their hills, * and provoked him to jealousy with their graven things.

Defeat at Silo

65  Audívit Deus, et sprevit: * et ad níhilum redégit valde Israël.
66  Et répulit tabernáculum Silo: * tabernáculum suum, ubi habitávit in homínibus.
67  Et trádidit in captivitátem virtútem eórum: * et pulchritúdinem eórum in manus inimíci.
68  Et conclúsit in gládio pópulum suum: * et hereditátem suam sprevit.
69  Júvenes eórum comédit ignis: * et vírgines eórum non sunt lamentátæ.
70  Sacerdótes eórum in gládio cecidérunt: * et víduæ eórum non plorabántur.

65  God heard, and despised them, * and he reduced Israel exceedingly as it were to naught.
66  And he forsook the tabernacle in Silo, * even his tabernacle where he dwelt among men.
67  And he delivered their power into captivity, * and their beauty into the hands of the enemy.
68  And he gave his people over unto the sword, * and he despised his inheritance.
69  The fire consumed their young men, * and their maidens were not lamented.
70  Their priests fell by the sword, * and their widows did not mourn.

Finale:  Juda is chosen

71  Et excitátus est tamquam dórmiens Dóminus: * tamquam potens crapulátus a vino.
72  Et percússit inimícos suos in posterióra: * oppróbrium sempitérnum dedit illis.
73  Et répulit tabernáculum Joseph: * et tribum Ephraim non elégit.
74  Sed elégit tribum Juda, * montem Sion quem diléxit.
75  Et ædificávit sicut unicórnium sanctifícium suum in terra, * quam fundávit in sæcula.
76  Et elégit David, servum suum, et sústulit eum de grégibus óvium: * de post fœtántes accépit eum,
77  Páscere Jacob, servum suum, * et Israël, hereditátem suam:
78  Et pavit eos in innocéntia cordis sui: * et in intelléctibus mánuum suárum dedúxit eos.

71  And the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, * and like a mighty man drunk with wine.
72  He smote his enemies in the hinder parts, * and put them to a perpetual shame.
73  And he rejected the tabernacle of Joseph, * and chose not the tribe of Ephraim;
74  But he chose the tribe of Judah, * even Mount Sion which he loved.
75  And he built his sanctuary as of unicorns, * in the land which he stablished for ever.
76  And he chose David his servant, and took him away from the flocks of sheep : * as he was following the ewes great with young ones he took him.
77  That he might feed Jacob his servant, * and Israel his inheritance.
78  And he fed them in the innocency of his heart, * and led them by the skilfulness of his hands.