Hear my teaching, O my people; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will pour forth mysteries from of old, Such as we have heard and known, which our forebears have told us. 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.
He laid a solemn charge on Jacob and made it a law in Israel, which he commanded them to teach their children, That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn, that they in turn might tell it to their children; So that they might put their trust in God and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments, 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.
The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, turned back in the day of battle; They did not keep the covenant of God and refused to walk in his law; They forgot what he had done and the wonders he had shown them. For he did marvellous things in the sight of their forebears, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through; he made the waters stand still in a heap. He led them with a cloud by day and all the night through with a blaze of fire. He split the hard rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink as from the great deep. He brought streams out of the rock and made water gush out like rivers.
Yet for all this they sinned more against him and defied the Most High in the wilderness. They tested God in their hearts and demanded food for their craving. They spoke against God and said,
‘Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
‘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?’
When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob and his anger went out against Israel, For they had no faith in God and put no trust in his saving help. So he commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven. He rained down upon them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. So mortals ate the bread of angels; he sent them food in plenty.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and led out the south wind by his might.
He rained flesh upon them as thick as dust and winged fowl like the sand of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp and round about their tents.
So they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they desired. But they did not stop their craving; their food was still in their mouths, When the anger of God rose against them, and slew their strongest men and felled the flower of Israel. But for all this, they sinned yet more and put no faith in his wonderful works. So he brought their days to an end like a breath and their years in sudden terror. Whenever he slew them, they would seek him; they would repent and earnestly search for God. They remembered that God was their rock and the Most High God their redeemer.
Yet they did but flatter him with their mouth and dissembled with their tongue. Their heart was not steadfast towards him, neither were they faithful to his covenant. 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. For he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes by and does not return.
But now they make sport of me, those who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands?
All their vigour is gone.
Through want and hard hunger they gnaw the dry and desolate ground,
they pick mallow and the leaves of bushes, and to warm themselves the roots of broom.
They are driven out from society; people shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of wadis they must live, in holes in the ground, and in the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray; under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, disreputable brood, they have been whipped out of the land.
And now they mock me in song; I am a byword to them.
They abhor me, they keep aloof from me; they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
Because God has loosed my bowstring and humbled me, they have cast off restraint in my presence.
On my right hand the rabble rise up; they send me sprawling, and build roads for my ruin.
They break up my path, they promote my calamity; no one restrains them.
As through a wide breach they come; amid the crash they roll on.
Terrors are turned upon me; my honour is pursued as by the wind,
and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With violence he seizes my garment; he grasps me by the collar of my tunic.
He has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you and you do not answer me; I stand, and you merely look at me.
You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me.
You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.
I know that you will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.
Surely one does not turn against the needy, when in disaster they cry for help.
Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?
But when I looked for good, evil came; and when I waited for light, darkness came.
My inward parts are in turmoil, and are never still; days of affliction come to meet me.
I go about in sunless gloom; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
I am a brother of jackals, and a companion of ostriches.
My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat.
My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due.
God our saviour, look on this wounded world in pity and in power; hold us fast to your promises of peace won for us by your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.