Cantemus Domino (Song of Moses)

Oh heavens above listen to what I say,
Let the earth take note of my words today.

My teaching is dropping like rain,
Like dew on the green plains.
Like rain on the young grass
And showers on our plants at last:

For I will honour the Lord’s name
Let our God be named in great fame.

He is a rock indeed,
All His work is complete.
In righteousness He proceeds:
A God of faith without evil,
True and a great upheaval.

They have become untrue,
His children have become less than a few.
Marked with sin all the way through;
They are an evil nation
And a hard-hearted generation.

Is this your answer to the Lord,
O foolish people of the sword?
He is your father, is He not?
That gave you the life that you’ve got.
He has made you in grace
And given you your place!

Keep in mind the days of the past.
Think of the time that went by fast,
Years of generations gone passed:
Let your father reveal to you,
And the old men tell you a story too.

Heritage was given onto them
Separating into groups the children of men,
He had limits of peoples marked out,
Remembering the number no doubt
Of Israel’s children now all around.

For the Lord’s wealth is his nation;
Jacob is the land of his heritage creation.

He came to him in the waste land,
In the unpeopled waste of sand:
Embracing and caring for him and thereby
Keeping him as the light of his eye.

As an eagle, teaching her young to make flight,
With her wings outstretched over their sight,
Takes them up on her feathers’ might:

So the Lord alone was his guide,
No other god was by his side!

He put him on high places of the earth
His food is what the growing fields served;
Honey he sucked out of charred rock,
And oil straight out of solid hard rock;

Butter and milk from his cows and sheep
With fat of his lambs for him to keep
And sheep of Bashan and goats that leap
And the heart of grain so shall he reap;
And a drink for his thirsty shape,
Wine from the blood of the grape.

But Jeshurun became fat twofold,
And would not be controlled:
You have become obese I conclude,
You are thick and full of food:
He was untrue to the God of his creation,
Giving no honour to the Rock of salvation.

His honour they lay in a strange god’s path;
By their disgusting ways he was moved to wrath.

They made offerings to evil spirits which were not God,
To gods who were strange to them and odd,
These gods had newly appeared,
Your fathers did not seem feared.

You have no thought for the Rock, your Curator,
You have no memory of the God your Creator.

And the Lord saw with terrible dread
The evil deeds of his children he once fed.

And he said, I will be veiled they will not see,
I will see what their end will be:
For they are an uncontrolled generation,
There is no faith within this nation.

They have given to the false gods my tribute
Their false worship angers me like a bitter fruit.
Those who are not a people will receive their respect
By a foolish nation anger they will collect,

For my wrath is flaming fire ever so hot,
Burning deep in the underworlds pot,
Burning up the earth with her increase heat,
And firing the deep roots of the mountains’ feet.

Troubles will fall on them like rain,
My arrows will shower on them again.

They will be wasted from the need to feed,
And overcome by burning heat
And bitter destruction indeed;
And teeth of beasts I will send on their mistrust,
With the poison of the worms of the dust.

By sword they will be cut off outside,
And the inner rooms by fear will be tied;
Death will take the virgin and young lad,
The baby and the grey-haired dad.

I said I would send them wandering far away,
I would make all memory of them decay:

For the fear that their enemies might say
That their hands are strong that day
And this is not all the Lord’s way.

A nation without wisdom are they;
No sense or understanding in their tray.

If only they were wise,
If only they could realise,
And they would have given thought
To what the future could have brought!

How would it be possible to chase
A thousand to two away from your face,
And to send ten thousand in flight,
If their Rock did not take away their might?
If the Lord hadn’t make them lose the fight?

For their rock is not our Rock,
Even our enemies stand in shock.

Like the vine of Sodom so is theirs,
And the fields of Gomorrah full of snares:
Their grapes are grapes of gall,
Their clusters are bitter and all:

As the Poison of dragons is their wine,
And the cruel venom of snakes combined.

This is among my secrets is it not?
Sealed up with my treasures I’ve got?

Punishment is mine and the reward is sweet,
At the time of the slipping of their feet:
For the day of their downfall is nigh,
Sudden will their fate come by.

For the Lord will judge his nation,
Save his servants of damnation;
When he sees that they have no power,
They are all done for all hours.

And He will say, Where are their gods and more?
The rock in which they put their faith before?

Your gods who took offerings of fat
And the offerings of drink and that?
Let them come to help your nation,
Let them be your salvation.

See now, I myself am he;
There is no other god but me:
Giver of death, life and feeling,
Wounding and of healing:
No one has power, understand,
To free you from my hand.

To heaven my hand I raise,
And say, I live forever and always.

I sharpen my sword of gold,
And on judgment my hand takes hold.
I will give punishment to my traitors,
And the right reward to my haters.

Their blood will be my arrows’ treat,
My sword will be feasting on their meat,
And the blood of the captives and the dead,
The beginning of revenges on my enemies’ heads.

Rejoice, O his people, over the nations,
He will avenge the blood of his relations,
Punishment to his enemies from his hand,
And take away the sin of his land,
For his people.

Written by Louis van Niekerk on 16-17 December 2009

*Jeshurun – in the Hebrew Bible, is a poetic name for Israel
*Bashan – Is a biblical place

This poem is directly out of the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 32 verse 1-43. It is known as the song of Moses or Cantemus Domino. I would say that this poem/song was not written by me, but rather translated back into poetry. I thought it would be a good idea, as the poetic feel for this piece of scripture has been lost during the translation into English.


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