Questions and Answers
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 77
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.)
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.
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.
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".
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).
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