Psalms 81

Listen to Psalms 81
1 1Sing aloud to God our strength; 2shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
2 Raise a song; sound 3the tambourine, 4the sweet lyre with 5the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at 6the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
4 For it is a statute for Israel, a rule[a] of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it 7a decree in 8Joseph when he 9went out over[b] the land of Egypt. 10I hear a language 11I had not known:
6 "I 12relieved your[c] shoulder of 13the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you 14called, and I delivered you; I 15answered you in the secret place of thunder; I 16tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8 17Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no 18strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a 19foreign god.
10 20I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 21Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11 "But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel 22would not submit to me.
12 So I 23gave them over to their 24stubborn hearts, to follow their own 25counsels.
13 26Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would 27walk in my ways!
14 I would soon subdue their enemies and 28turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the LORD would 29cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.
16 But he would feed you[d] with 30the finest of the wheat, and with 31honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

Psalms 81 Commentary

Chapter 81

God is praised for what he has done for his people. (1-7) Their obligations to him. (8-16)

Verses 1-7 All the worship we can render to the Lord is beneath his excellences, and our obligations to him, especially in our redemption from sin and wrath. What God had done on Israel's behalf, was kept in remembrance by public solemnities. To make a deliverance appear more gracious, more glorious, it is good to observe all that makes the trouble we are delivered from appear more grievous. We ought never to forget the base and ruinous drudgery to which Satan, our oppressor, brought us. But when, in distress of conscience, we are led to cry for deliverance, the Lord answers our prayers, and sets us at liberty. Convictions of sin, and trials by affliction, prove his regard to his people. If the Jews, on their solemn feast-days, were thus to call to mind their redemption out of Egypt, much more ought we, on the Christian sabbath, to call to mind a more glorious redemption, wrought out for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, from worse bondage.

Verses 8-16 We cannot look for too little from the creature, nor too much from the Creator. We may have enough from God, if we pray for it in faith. All the wickedness of the world is owing to man's wilfulness. People are not religious, because they will not be so. God is not the Author of their sin, he leaves them to the lusts of their own hearts, and the counsels of their own heads; if they do not well, the blame must be upon themselves. The Lord is unwilling that any should perish. What enemies sinners are to themselves! It is sin that makes our troubles long, and our salvation slow. Upon the same conditions of faith and obedience, do Christians hold those spiritual and eternal good things, which the pleasant fields and fertile hills of Canaan showed forth. Christ is the Bread of life; he is the Rock of salvation, and his promises are as honey to pious minds. But those who reject him as their Lord and Master, must also lose him as their Saviour and their reward.

Cross References 31

  • 1. [Deuteronomy 32:43]
  • 2. See Psalms 66:1
  • 3. Exodus 15:20
  • 4. Psalms 71:22
  • 5. Psalms 71:22
  • 6. Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 10:10; Numbers 29:1
  • 7. Psalms 122:4; [Psalms 78:5]
  • 8. Psalms 77:15; Psalms 78:67; Psalms 80:1
  • 9. Exodus 11:4
  • 10. Psalms 114:1
  • 11. [Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 5:15]
  • 12. Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 10:27
  • 13. Exodus 1:11
  • 14. Psalms 50:15; [Exodus 2:23; Exodus 14:10]
  • 15. Exodus 19:19; See Psalms 18:11-14
  • 16. Exodus 17:7; Numbers 20:13
  • 17. See Psalms 50:7
  • 18. Psalms 44:20; Isaiah 43:12; [Exodus 20:3]
  • 19. Deuteronomy 32:12
  • 20. Exodus 20:2
  • 21. [Psalms 37:3, 4]
  • 22. Exodus 32:1; Deuteronomy 32:15, 18; Proverbs 1:25, 30
  • 23. Job 8:4; [Acts 7:42; Acts 14:16; Romans 1:24, 26]
  • 24. [Deuteronomy 29:19]
  • 25. Psalms 106:43; Jeremiah 7:24; Micah 6:16
  • 26. Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 32:29; Isaiah 48:18
  • 27. Deuteronomy 5:33
  • 28. Amos 1:8
  • 29. Psalms 18:44
  • 30. Psalms 147:14; Deuteronomy 32:14
  • 31. Deuteronomy 32:13; [Job 29:6; Ezekiel 16:19]

Footnotes 4

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A [Psalm] of Asaph. Of "gittith," See Gill on "Ps 8:1." The Targum renders it, "upon the harp which came from Gath;" and so Jarchi says it was a musical instrument that came from Gath. The Septuagint, and the versions which follow that, render it, "for the winepresses." This psalm, according to Kimchi, is said concerning the going out of the children of Israel from Egypt; and was composed in order to be sung at their new moons and solemn feasts, which were typical of Gospel things in Gospel times; see Colossians 2:16 and so the Syriac version, "a psalm of Asaph, when David by him prepared himself for the solemnities."

Psalms 81 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.