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Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith.11Probably a musical or liturgical term Of Asaph.

1Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
2Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our feast day.

4For it is a statute for Israel,
a rule22Or just decree of the God of Jacob.
5He made it a decree in Joseph
when he went out over33Or against the land of Egypt.
I hear a language I had not known:
6“I relieved your44Hebrew his; also next line shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

11“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
15Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
16But he would feed you55That is, Israel; Hebrew him with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”


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Ps 81:1-16. Gittith—(See on Ps 8:1, title). A festal Psalm, probably for the passover (compare Mt 26:30), in which, after an exhortation to praise God, He is introduced, reminding Israel of their obligations, chiding their neglect, and depicting the happy results of obedience.

1. our strength—(Ps 38:7).

2. unites the most joyful kinds of music, vocal and instrumental.

3. the new moon—or the month.

the time appointed—(Compare Pr 7:20).

5. a testimony—The feasts, especially the passover, attested God's relation to His people.

Joseph—for Israel (Ps 80:1).

went out through—or, "over," that is, Israel in the exodus.

I heard—change of person. The writer speaks for the nation.

language—literally, "lip" (Ps 14:1). An aggravation or element of their distress that their oppressors were foreigners (De 28:49).

6. God's language alludes to the burdensome slavery of the Israelites.

7. secret place—the cloud from which He troubled the Egyptians (Ex 14:24).

proved thee—(Ps 7:10; 17:3)—tested their faith by the miracle.

8. (Compare Ps 50:7). The reproof follows to Ps 81:12.

if thou wilt hearken—He then propounds the terms of His covenant: they should worship Him alone, who (Ps 81:10) had delivered them, and would still confer all needed blessings.

11, 12. They failed, and He gave them up to their own desires and hardness of heart (De 29:18; Pr 1:30; Ro 11:25).

13-16. Obedience would have secured all promised blessings and the subjection of foes. In this passage, "should have," "would have," &c., are better, "should" and "would" expressing God's intention at the time, that is, when they left Egypt.




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