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To the director: On the gittith. One of Asaph’s songs.

81 Be happy and sing to God, our strength.
    Shout with joy to the God of Jacob.
Begin the music.
    Play the tambourines.
    Play the pleasant harps and lyres.
Blow the ram’s horn at the time of the new moon[a]
    and at the time of the full moon,[b] when our festival begins.
This is the law for the people of Israel.
    The God of Jacob gave the command.
God made this agreement with Joseph’s people,
    when he led them out of Egypt.
In a language we didn’t understand, God said,
“I took the load from your shoulder.
    I let you drop the worker’s basket.
When you were in trouble, you called for help, and I set you free.
    I was hidden in the storm clouds, and I answered you.
    I tested you by the water at Meribah.[c]Selah

“My people, I am warning you.
    Israel, listen to me!
Don’t worship any of the false gods
    that the foreigners worship.
10 I, the Lord, am your God.
    I brought you out of Egypt.
Israel, open your mouth,
    and I will feed you.

11 “But my people did not listen to me.
    Israel did not obey me.
12 So I let them go their own stubborn way
    and do whatever they wanted.
13 If my people would listen to me
    and would live the way I want,
14 then I would defeat their enemies.
    I would punish those who cause them trouble.
15 Those who hate the Lord would shake with fear.
    They would be punished forever.
16 I would give the best wheat to my people.
    I would give them the purest honey, until they were satisfied.”

One of Asaph’s songs of praise.

82 God stands in the assembly of the gods.[d]
    He stands as judge among the judges.
He says, “How long will you judge unfairly
    and show special favors to the wicked?” Selah

“Defend the poor and orphans.
    Protect the rights of the poor.
Help those who are poor and helpless.
    Save them from those who are evil.

“They[e] don’t know what is happening.
    They don’t understand!
They don’t know what they are doing.
    Their world is falling down around them!”
I, God Most High, say,
    “You are gods,[f] my own sons.
But you will die as all people must die.
    Your life will end like that of any ruler.”

Get up, God! You be the judge!
    You be the leader over all the nations!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 81:3 new moon The first day of the Hebrew month. There were special meetings on these days when the people shared fellowship offerings as part of their worship to God.
  2. Psalm 81:3 full moon The middle of the Hebrew month. Many of the special meetings and festivals started at the time of a full moon.
  3. Psalm 81:7 Meribah See Ex. 17:1-7.
  4. Psalm 82:1 assembly of the gods Other nations taught that El (God) and the other gods met together to decide what to do with the people on earth. But many times kings and leaders were also called “gods.” So this psalm may be God’s warning to the leaders of Israel.
  5. Psalm 82:5 They This might mean that the poor don’t understand what is happening. Or it might mean that the “gods” or leaders don’t understand that they are ruining the world by not being fair and by not doing what is right.
  6. Psalm 82:6 gods Or “judges.”

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