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(By Asaph for the music leader.[a])

God Makes Us Strong

81 Be happy and shout to God
    who makes us strong!
    Shout praises to the God
    of Jacob.
Sing as you play tambourines
    and the lovely sounding
    stringed instruments.
Sound the trumpets and start
    the New Moon Festival.[b]
    We must also celebrate
    when the moon is full.
This is the law in Israel,
    and it was given to us
    by the God of Jacob.
The descendants of Joseph
    were told to obey it,
    when God led them out
    from the land of Egypt.

In a language unknown to me,
    I heard someone say:
“I lifted the burden
    from your shoulder
    and took the heavy basket
    from your hands.
When you were in trouble,
    I rescued you,
    and from the thunderclouds,
    I answered your prayers.
    Later I tested you
    at Meribah Spring.[c]

“Listen, my people,
while I, the Lord,
    correct you!
    Israel, if you would only
    pay attention to me!
Don’t worship foreign gods
    or bow down to gods
    you know nothing about.
10 I am the Lord your God.
    I rescued you from Egypt.
    Just ask, and I will give you
    whatever you need.

11 “But, my people, Israel,
    you refused to listen,
    and you would have nothing
    to do with me!
12 So I let you be stubborn
    and keep on following
    your own advice.

13 “My people, Israel,
if only you would listen
    and do as I say!
14 I, the Lord, would quickly
defeat your enemies
    with my mighty power.
15 Everyone who hates me
    would come crawling,
    and that would be the end
    of them.
16 But I would feed you
    with the finest bread
    and with the best honey[d]
    until you were full.”


  1. Psalm 81 leader: See the note at Psalm 8.
  2. 81.3 New Moon Festival: Celebrated on the first day of each new moon, which was the beginning of the month. But this may refer to either the New Year celebration or the Harvest Festival. “The moon is full” suggests a festival in the middle of the month.
  3. 81.7 Meribah Spring: When the people of Israel complained to Moses about the need for water, God commanded Moses to strike a rock with his walking stick, and water came out. The place was then named Massah (“test”) and Meribah (“complaining”).
  4. 81.16 the best honey: The Hebrew text has “honey from rocks,” referring to honey taken from beehives in holes or cracks in large rocks.