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Psalm 81 Expanded Bible (EXB)

A Song for a Holiday

For the director of music. By the gittith [C perhaps a musical term or instrument]. A psalm of Asaph [C a Levitical musician, a descendant of Gershon, at the time of David; 1 Chr. 6:39; 15:17; 2 Chr. 5:12].

81 Sing for joy to God, our strength;
    shout out loud to the God of Jacob [C another name for Israel].
·Begin the music [Lift up a psalm]. ·Play [Sound; L Give] the tambourines [68:25; 149:3; 150:4; Ex. 15:20].
    ·Play pleasant music on the harps [L …the pleasant/sweet harps] and lyres.
Blow the ·trumpet [ram’s horn] at ·the time of the New Moon [L the month; C a monthly religious festival],
    when the moon is full, when our feast begins.
This is the ·law [statute; ordinance; requirement] for Israel;
    it is the ·command [judgment] of the God of Jacob [v. 1].
He ·gave [set] this ·rule [decree; testimony] to the people of Joseph [C reference to the northern tribes]
    when they went out of the land of Egypt [C the exodus; Ex. 12–15].

I heard a ·language [L tongue] I did not know, saying [C God now speaks]:
“I ·took the load off [removed the burden from] their shoulders;
    ·I let them put down their baskets [L Their hands were removed from the baskets].
When you were in ·trouble [distress], you called, and I ·saved [rescued] you.
    I answered you ·with thunder [L in the secret place of thunder; Ex. 19:18–19].
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah [95:8; 106:32; Ex. 17:1–17; Num. 20:1–13]. ·Selah [Interlude]
My people, listen. I ·am warning [bear testimony/witness against] you.
    Israel, please listen to me!
You must not have ·foreign [strange] gods;
    you must not worship any ·false [foreign] god.
10 I, the Lord, am your God,
    who brought you out of Egypt.
·Open [L Widen] your mouth and I will feed you [Deut. 29:6; 32:10–14].

11 “But my people did not listen to ·me [L my voice];
    Israel did not ·want [accept] me.
12 So I ·let them go their stubborn way [L threw them away because of their stubborn hearts]
    and ·follow [walk according to] their own advice.
13 I wish my people would listen to me;
    I wish Israel would ·live [L walk on] my way.
14 Then I would quickly ·defeat [subdue; quell] their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the Lord would ·bow [cringe; cower] before him.
    Their ·punishment [doom] would continue forever.
16 But I would give you the finest wheat [Deut. 32:14]
    and fill you with honey from the rocks [Deut. 32:13].”

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Psalm 81 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 81[a]

For the director of music. According to gittith.[b] Of Asaph.

Sing for joy to God our strength;
    shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
    play the melodious harp and lyre.

Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
    and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
this is a decree for Israel,
    an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
When God went out against Egypt,
    he established it as a statute for Joseph.

I heard an unknown voice say:

“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
    their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
    I answered you out of a thundercloud;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.[c]
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
    if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
    and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
    with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”


  1. Psalm 81:1 In Hebrew texts 81:1-16 is numbered 81:2-17.
  2. Psalm 81:1 Title: Probably a musical term
  3. Psalm 81:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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