To the Chief Musician; set to the [a]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 [b]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 [c]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.”
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.
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician; set to chant mournfully. A didactic or reflective poem of Heman the Ezrahite.
88 O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried out [for help] by day and in the night before You. 2 Let my prayer come before You and enter into Your presence; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near the grave (Sheol, the place of the dead). 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit (grave); I am like a man who has no strength [a mere shadow], 5 [a]Cast away [from the living] and abandoned among the dead, Like the slain who lie in a [nameless] grave, Whom You no longer remember, And they are cut off from Your hand. 6 You have laid me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths. 7 Your wrath has rested heavily upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves.Selah. 8 You have put my friends far from me; You have made me an [b]object of loathing to them. I am shut up and I cannot go out. 9 My eye grows dim with sorrow. O Lord, I have called on You every day; I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].
10 Will You perform wonders for the dead? Shall the departed spirits arise and praise You? Selah. 11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave Or Your faithfulness in Abaddon (the underworld)? 12 Will Your wonders be known in the darkness? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness [where the dead forget and are forgotten]?
13 But I have cried out to You, O Lord, for help; And in the morning my prayer will come to You. 14 O Lord, why do You reject me? Why do You hide Your face from me? 15 I was afflicted and close to death from my youth on; I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome. 16 Your fierce wrath has swept over me; Your terrors have destroyed me. 17 They have surrounded me like flood waters all day long; They have completely encompassed me. 18 Lover and friend You have placed far from me; My familiar friends are in darkness.
Psalm 88:5Lit Set free. The ancient rabbis understood this to mean that once a man is dead, he is free from all religious duties.
92 It is a good and delightful thing to give thanks to the Lord, To sing praises to Your name, O Most High, 2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night, 3 With an instrument of ten strings and with the harp, With a solemn sound on the lyre. 4 For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works; At the works of Your hands I joyfully sing.
5 How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep [beyond man’s understanding]. 6 A senseless man [in his crude and uncultivated state] knows nothing, Nor does a [self-righteous] fool understand this: 7 That though the wicked sprout up like grass And all evildoers flourish, They will be destroyed forever. 8 But You, Lord, are on high forever. 9 For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, For behold, Your enemies will perish; All who do evil will be scattered.
10 But my horn [my emblem of strength and power] You have exalted like that of a wild ox; I am anointed with fresh oil [for Your service]. 11 My eye has looked on my foes; My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me. 12 The righteous will flourish like the date palm [long-lived, upright and useful]; They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic and stable]. 13 Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 [Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; They will flourish and be [a]vital and fresh [rich in trust and love and contentment]; 15 [They are living memorials] to declare that the Lord is upright and faithful [to His promises]; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
The Majesty of the Lord.
93 The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty and splendor; The Lord has clothed and encircled Himself with strength; the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their pounding waves. 4 More than the sounds of many waters, More than the mighty breakers of the sea, The Lord on high is mighty. 5 Your precepts are fully confirmed and completely reliable; Holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever.
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