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Psalm 77

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 77

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

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John sent people to ask Jesus, "Are you the One that will come, or must we look for someone else?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things that you hear and see. Blind people can see again, people with bad legs can walk again, people that are ill become better, the *deaf hear and the dead come back to life". (Matthew 11: 3 - 5) (The "One that will come" is the Messiah or Christ.)

Psalm 77

  (This is) for the music leader.
(His name is) Jeduthun.
(It is a) psalm of *Asaph.

v1   I cried aloud to God.
  I cried to God so that he could hear me.

v2   When trouble came, I looked for the *Lord.
  All through the night, I lifted my hands (to him while I prayed).
  But I did not get help.

v3   I remembered God and I cried.
  I thought (about my trouble) and my *spirit became weak   *SELAH

v4   (God), you do not let me close my eyes.
  I have so much trouble that I do not know what to say.

v5   I think about days that have gone
  and the years that have passed.

v6   At night I remember the songs (that I sang).
  I ask myself questions and my *spirit looks for answers.

v7   ·   "Will the *Lord always say 'No' to us?"
  ·   "Will he never again be good to us?"

v8   ·   "Will he for ever stop giving us his kind love?"
  ·   "Will he not do what he promised for us and our children?"

v9   ·   "Has God forgotten to be *gracious to us?"
  ·   "Is he so angry with us that he will not love us?"   *SELAH

v10   Then I said, "I will think about the times
  when the *Most High did give us help.

v11   I will remember the things that the *LORD has done.
  Yes, I will remember the *miracles that you did in past times.

v12   I will think about all that you have done.
  I will think about all the great things that you have done".

v13   Your way, God, is *holy.
  What god is as great as our God?

v14   You are the God that does *miracles.
  You show people that you are very powerful.

v15   You saved your people with your strong arm.
  You saved the people of *Jacob and *Joseph.   *SELAH

v16   The waters saw you, God,
  the waters saw you and rolled over and over.
  The deepest seas moved round a lot.

v17   The clouds poured down water.
  The noise of *thunder was in the skies.
  Your *arrows were everywhere.

v18   The voice of your *thunder was in the storm.
  Your *lightning lit all the world.
  The earth moved about and *shook.

v19   Your road went through the sea.
  Your path was through the great waters,
  but nobody saw where your feet went.

v20   You led your people in a group
  with Moses and Aaron at the front.

The Story of Psalm 77

We do not know who wrote Psalm 77. Something bad had happened to him or to his people, the *Jews. God let the bad thing happen, and did not give help. Did this mean that God had forgotten his people? No! The end of the psalm tells us that God gave help in the past. He can send help again to the *psalmist, if the *psalmist waits. The *psalmist may have read the Book of Habakkuk before he wrote Psalm 77. This tells a story *like that in Psalm 77. The *Jews could not understand why God did not give them help. The *prophet Habakkuk wrote that they must have faith. This means they must believe that one day God will send help.

What Psalm 77 means

Study the psalm in 4 parts:

  ·  Verses 1 – 3: The *psalmist thinks about the bad things that happened to him or his people.

  ·  Verses 4 – 9: He asks God if God will ever send help again.

  ·  Verses 10 – 15: The *psalmist remembers what God did a long time ago.

  ·  Verses 16 – 20: The *psalmist remembers when God led his people through the Red Sea when they left Egypt.


Verse 2: The *Jews lifted their hands to God when they prayed. The words in brackets ... ( ) ... are notin the *Hebrew psalm.

Verse 3: Again, the words in brackets are not in the *Hebrew psalm. We do not know what the trouble was.

Verse 4: This means that the *psalmist cannot sleep and does not know what to pray.

Verses 7 – 9: Here are 6 questions which the *psalmist asked. They mean "Will God ever help us again?" Often, we ask these questions. Did the *psalmist get an answer to them?

Verses 10 – 15:

  ·  The *psalmist answers his own questions. First, he remembers the things that God has done, verses 10-12. He remembers that God is a GOD OF *MIRACLES. This means that God does things that nobody else can do, as when he led his people through the Red Sea.

  ·  Then he remembers who God is and what he can still do. God is *holy, God is great, God is very powerful. God saves people. GOD DOES *MIRACLES, verses 13-14. In verse 15 "with your arm" means "what you have done on earth". All through the *Old Testament, "the arm of God" is a picture of God doing something on earth, not in *heaven.

Verses 16 - 20 are about God leading his people from Egypt to their new home. They had to go through the Red Sea. God was so powerful; he pushed the water of the sea back. He made a dry road through the sea for his people.

In verses 10 - 20, we read about what God did, and can do. The *psalmist does not ask God to do these things again, but we think that he said them as a *prayer. It was a *prayer for God to be himself, and to do something again for his people.

Something to do

1.  If you have a Bible, read the Book of Habakkuk.

2.  When you have trouble, read this psalm. Put verses 1-3 into the present tense, as "I am crying aloud to God".

Word List

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

arrows ~ pointed sticks shot by a bow.

Asaph ~ look in the Introduction to the Psalms of David Book 3.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

deaf ~ cannot hear.

gracious ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.

heaven ~ the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really *holy, the land where he lives with his people is also *holy because he is there.

Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abraham’s grandson).

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Joseph ~ another name for the people Israel. (Joseph was Jacob’s son.).

lightning ~ narrow lines of light in the sky during a storm.

like~ another word for "as".

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or 'master'; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

miracles ~ great things that only God can do.

Most High ~ a name for God.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.

prayer ~ words that you say when you pray.

prophet ~ someone that says what God thinks and will do.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

shake ~ move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.

shook ~ past of *shake.

spirit ~ the part of us that lives when our body dies.

thunder ~ loud noise in the sky in a storm.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002

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