Confidence in God During National Distress
1For the leader; According to Jeduthun. A psalm of Asaph.
2I cry aloud to God,
I cry to God to hear me.
3On the day of my distress I seek the Lord;
by night my hands are stretched out unceasingly;a
I refuse to be consoled.
4When I think of God, I groan;
as I meditate, my spirit grows faint.b
5You have kept me from closing my eyes in sleep;
I am troubled and cannot speak.
6I consider the days of old;
the years long past 7I remember.c
At night I ponder in my heart;
and as I meditate, my spirit probes:
8“Will the Lord reject us forever,d
never again show favor?
9Has God’s mercy ceased forever?
The promise to go unfulfilled for future ages?
10Has God forgotten how to show mercy,
in anger withheld his compassion?”
11* I conclude: “My sorrow is this,
the right hand of the Most High has abandoned us.”e
12*I will recall the deeds of the LORD;
yes, recall your wonders of old.f
13I will ponder all your works;
on your exploits I will meditate.
14Your way, God, is holy;
what god is as great as our God?g
15You are the God who does wonders;
among the peoples you have revealed your might.h
16With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.i
17The waters saw you, God;
the waters saw you and lashed about,
even the deeps of the sea* trembled.j
18The clouds poured down their rains;
the thunderheads rumbled;
your arrows flashed back and forth.k
19The thunder of your chariot wheels resounded;
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.l
20Through the sea was your way;
your path, through the mighty waters,
though your footsteps were unseen.m
21You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.n
* [Psalm 77] A community lament in which the speaker (“I”) describes the anguish of Israel at God’s silence when its very existence is at stake (Ps 77:2–11). In response the speaker recites the story of how God brought the people into existence (Ps 77:12–20). The question is thus posed to God: Will you allow the people you created to be destroyed?
* [77:11] I conclude: lit., “I said.” The psalmist, after pondering the present distress and God’s promises to Israel, has decided that God has forgotten the people.
* [77:12] I will recall: the verb sometimes means to make present the great deeds of Israel’s past by reciting them, cf. Ps 78:42; 105:5; 106:7.
* [77:17] The deeps of the sea: Heb. tehom; the same word is used in Gn 1:2, where it alludes to the primeval seas which in ancient Semitic cosmography are tamed by God in creation, cf. Ps 74:12–17; 89:12–13 and notes.
d. [77:8–10] Ps 13:2; 44:24; 74:1; 80:5; 89:47; Lam 3:31.
e. [77:11] Ps 17:7; 18:36; Ex 15:6, 12.
g. [77:14] Ps 18:31; Ex 15:11.
i. [77:16] Gn 46:26–27; Neh 1:10.
j. [77:17] Ps 18:16; 114:3; Na 1:4.
k. [77:18] Ps 18:14–15; 29; 144:6; Jb 37:3–4; Wis 5:21; Hab 3:10–11; Zec 9:14.
l. [77:19] Ps 18:8; 97:4; 99:1; Ex 19:16; Jgs 5:4–5.
m. [77:20] Neh 9:11; Wis 14:3; Is 51:10; Hab 3:15.