Chapter 81

This psalm was penned, as is supposed, not upon occasion of any particular providence, but for the solemnity of a particular ordinance, either that of the new-moon in general or that of the feast of trumpets on the new moon of the seventh month, Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1. When David, by the Spirit, introduced the singing of psalms into the temple-service this psalm was intended for that day, to excite and assist the proper devotions of it. All the psalms are profitable; but, if one psalm be more suitable than another to the day and observances of it, we should choose that. The two great intentions of our religious assemblies, and which we ought to have in our eye in our attendance on them, are answered in this psalm, which are, to give glory to God and to receive instruction from God, to “behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple;” accordingly by this psalm we are assisted on our solemn feast days, I. In praising God for what he is to his people (Ps. 81:1-3), and has done for them, Ps. 81:4-7. II. In teaching and admonishing one another concerning the obligations we lie under to God (Ps. 81:8-10), the danger of revolting from him (Ps. 81:11, 12), and the happiness we should have if we would but keep close to him, Ps. 81:13-16. This, though spoken primarily of Israel of old, is written for our learning, and is therefore to be sung with application.