God Implored to Rescue His People from Their Calamities.
To the Chief Musician; set to [the tune of] “Lilies, a Testimony.” A Psalm of Asaph.
80 Hear us O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who sit enthroned above the cherubim [of the ark of the covenant], shine forth! 2 Before [a]Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power And come to save us! 3 Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine on us [with favor and approval], and we will be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts, How long will You be angry with the prayers of Your people? 5 You have fed them the bread of tears, And You have made them drink [bitter] tears in abundance. 6 You make us an object of contention to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh [at our suffering] among themselves. 7 Restore us, O God of hosts; And cause Your face to shine on us [with favor and approval], and we will be saved.
8 You uprooted a vine (Israel) from Egypt; You drove out the [Canaanite] nations and planted the vine [in Canaan]. 9 You cleared away the ground before it, And it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shadow, And its branches were like the cedars of God. 11 Israel sent out its branches to the [Mediterranean] Sea, And its branches to the [Euphrates] River. 12 Why have You broken down its [b]walls and hedges, So that all who pass by pick its fruit? 13 A boar from the woods eats it away, And the insects of the field feed on it.
14 Turn again [in favor to us], O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, 15 Even the stock which Your right hand has planted, And [look down on] the son that You have reared and strengthened for Yourself. 16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your [angry] appearance. 17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You have made strong for Yourself. 18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us and we will call on Your name. 19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine on us [in favor and approval], and we shall be saved.
God’s Goodness and Israel’s Waywardness.
To the Chief Musician; set to the [c]Philistine lute. A Psalm of Asaph.
81 Sing aloud to God our strength; Shout for joy to the God of Jacob (Israel). 2 Raise a song, sound the timbrel, The sweet sounding lyre with the harp. 3 Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, At the [d]full moon, on our feast day. 4 For this is a statute for Israel, An ordinance of the God of Jacob. 5 He established it for a testimony in [e]Joseph When He went throughout the land of Egypt. I heard the language [of One whom] I did not know, saying,
6 “I removed the burden from his shoulder; His hands were freed from the basket. 7 “You called in [the time of] trouble and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.Selah. 8 “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you— O Israel, if you would listen to Me! 9 “Let there be no strange god among you, Nor shall you worship any foreign god. 10 “I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
11 “But My people would not listen to My voice, And Israel did not [consent to] obey Me. 12 “So I gave them up to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in [the path of] their own counsel. 13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways! 14 “Then I would quickly subdue and humble their enemies And turn My hand against their adversaries; 15 Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him and cringe before Him, And their time of punishment would be forever. 16 “But I would feed Israel with the finest of the wheat; And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
Unjust Judgments Rebuked.
A Psalm of Asaph.
82 God stands in the divine assembly; He judges among the gods (divine beings). 2 How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. 3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice and maintain the rights of the afflicted and destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and needy; Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.
5 The rulers do not know nor do they understand; They walk on in the darkness [of complacent satisfaction]; All the foundations of the earth [the fundamental principles of the administration of justice] are shaken. 6 I said, “You are [f]gods; Indeed, all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 “Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth! For to You belong all the nations.
God Implored to Confound His Enemies.
A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.
83 Do not keep silent, O God; Do not hold Your peace or be still, O God. 2 For behold, Your enemies are in tumult, And those who hate You have raised their heads [in hatred of You]. 3 They concoct crafty schemes against Your people, And conspire together against Your hidden and precious ones. 4 They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation; Let the name of Israel be remembered no more.” 5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant— 6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Of Moab and the Hagrites, 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre. 8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot [the Ammonites and the Moabites] and have been an arm [of strength] to them. Selah.
9 Deal with them as [You did] with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the brook of Kishon, 10 Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became like dung for the earth. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 12 Who said, “Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.”
13 O my God, make them like [g]whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind [worthless and without substance]. 14 Like fire consumes the forest, And like the flame sets the mountains on fire, 15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with [the violence of] Your storm. 16 Fill their faces with shame and disgrace, That they may [persistently] seek Your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be humiliated and perish, 18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.
Longing for the Temple Worship.
To the Chief Musician; set to a [h]Philistine lute. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
84 How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul (my life, my inner self) longs for and greatly desires the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 The bird has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. 4 Blessed and greatly favored are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; They will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah.
5 Blessed and greatly favored is the man whose strength is in You, In [i]whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping ([j]Baca), they make it a place of springs; The early rain also covers it with blessings. 7 They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; Each of them appears before God in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Listen, O God of Jacob! Selah. 9 See our shield, O God, And look at the face of Your anointed [the king as Your representative]. 10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather stand [as a doorkeeper] at the threshold of the house of my God Than to live [at ease] in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace and favor and honor; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, How blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation].
Prayer for God’s Mercy upon the Nation.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
85 O Lord, You have [at last] shown favor to Your land [of Canaan]; You have restored [from Babylon] the captives of Jacob (Israel). 2 You have forgiven the wickedness of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah. 3 You have withdrawn all Your wrath, You have turned away from Your burning anger.
4 Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. 5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? 6 Will You not revive us and bring us to life again, That Your people may rejoice in You? 7 Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation.
8 I will hear [with expectant hope] what God the Lord will say, For He will speak peace to His people, to His [k]godly ones— But let them not turn again to folly. 9 Surely His salvation is near to those who [reverently] fear Him [and obey Him with submissive wonder], That glory [the manifest presence of God] may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and truth and faithfulness meet together; Righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce. 13 Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way [in which to walk].
Psalm 80:2It is believed that these three tribes represented all twelve tribes of Israel, Benjamin being incorporated into Judah, Manasseh inhabiting the country beyond the Jordan, and Ephraim the remainder of the land. It was natural for the Israelites to think of the three in one group, for they had camped together on the west side of the tabernacle during the years in the wilderness, and they were also the only descendants of Jacob’s wife Rachel.
Psalm 80:12I.e. dry-stone walls, built without mortar from loose stones in the fields.
Psalm 81:1A technical musical term, meaning uncertain.
Psalm 81:3Or New Moon, lit covering, i.e. when the moon is “covered” or hidden. This was taken by the ancient rabbis to refer to the festival of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana).
Psalm 81:5Curiously, in this one verse Joseph’s name has an extra letter, an “h.” In an example of rabbinic lore, the ancient rabbis said that because Joseph sanctified the divine name in private (by resisting Potiphar’s wife) he merited having one letter of the divine name (Yahweh) added to his. Another rabbinic explanation is that when Pharaoh was about to elevate Joseph to power, the astrologers demanded that Joseph speak the 70 languages of the world. The angel Gabriel came to teach him, but Joseph was unable until Gabriel added to his name the extra letter from the divine name.
Psalm 82:6Most of the ancient rabbis understood the idea of “gods” referring to judges, but some applied vv 6, 7 to the Israelites at Sinai and maintained that they would have become immortal as a result of accepting the Law, if only they had not committed the sin of the golden calf.
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