Introduction of the law (Ps 78:5-78:8)

“Yahweh established a decree in Jacob.

He appointed a law in Israel.

He commanded our ancestors

To teach their children.

Thus the next generation might know them,

The children yet unborn.

Thus they might rise up.

They then could tell them to their children.

Therefore they should set their hope in God.

They should not forget the works of God.

They should keep his commandments.

They should not be like their ancestors.

They were a stubborn and rebellious generation.

They were a generation

Whose heart was not steadfast.

They were a generation

Whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

In recalling the introduction of the law to Jacob or Israel, Asaph, the psalmist, reminded his audience that their ancestors were not that faithful to the law. There are no specific incidents cited. What was indicated clearly was that they were supposed to teach the law to their children just as their ancestors had done for them. This may be a reference to the “shema” love of God law in Deuteronomy, chapter 6. There is no direct reference to Moses and the 10 Commandments. In one sense, this may be an indication of a non-written oral law that was passed on by word of mouth in an oral tradition. They should set their hope in God. They should remember his great works. In a twist of fate, he reminds them not to be like their ancestors, who were stubborn and rebellious. They did not have steadfast love of God, nor was their spirit faithful to God. This paints a bleak picture of their ancestors. The works of Exodus and Deuteronomy show the so-called warts of their ancestors.

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