81 Be happy and shout to God who makes us strong! Shout praises to the God of Jacob. 2 Sing as you play tambourines and the lovely sounding stringed instruments. 3 Sound the trumpets and start the New Moon Festival.[b] We must also celebrate when the moon is full. 4 This is the law in Israel, and it was given to us by the God of Jacob. 5 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: 6 “I lifted the burden from your shoulder and took the heavy basket from your hands. 7 When you were in trouble, I rescued you, and from the thunderclouds, I answered your prayers. Later I tested you at Meribah Spring.[c]
8 “Listen, my people, while I, the Lord, correct you! Israel, if you would only pay attention to me! 9 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.”
81.3New 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.
81.7Meribah 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”).
81.16the best honey: The Hebrew text has “honey from rocks,” referring to honey taken from beehives in holes or cracks in large rocks.
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