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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Psalms 81

Verses 1-16


Restored Israel brought into the light of God's favour, learns from Jehovah the way He has taken to bring them into blessing.

(vv. 1-5) In the 80th Psalm there is the thrice repeated appeal of Jehovah to cause His face to shine upon Israel. This psalm anticipates the answer to these appeals. “The new moon,” it has been said, “was the symbol of the reappearance of Israel in the sun's light.” The blowing of trumpets, on the first day of the seventh month, celebrated the first of the three set times in that month which spoke of Israel's blessing ( Lev_23:24 ; Lev_23:27 ; Lev_23:34 ). The psalm, therefore, looks on to the time when Israel will again come into blessing as a nation in the recognized favour of God. Then Israel will sing aloud and praise God according to the desire of God from the beginning of their history.

(vv. 6-10) From verse 6 to the end of the psalm, the Lord's voice alone is heard. The Lord reminds His people of the way that He had taken with them. In Egypt He had delivered them from their burdens, their slavery and distress.

In the wilderness He had proved them. Would they “hearken” unto the Lord, walk in devotedness to the Lord, serving no other gods? Would they confide in Him, and wait upon Him to meet their needs - opening their mouths wide, for the Lord to fill?

(vv. 11-12) What was the result of these dealings with the people? Alas! It proved that they would not hearken to the voice of the Lord. They turned aside to strange gods - “they would none” of Jehovah. Hence Jehovah gave them up to their own heart's stubbornness (JND) and they were allowed to walk in their own counsels. Here then is the answer to that question raised by the godly in the last psalm, when they ask, “Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?”

(vv. 13-16) The psalm closes with Jehovah's touching appeal to Israel - the answer to their appeal to Jehovah in Psalm 80 . “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways” (cp. Luk_19:41-44 ). Then, indeed, their enemies would have been subdued, and God's people would have been fed and satisfied.

Thus Jehovah discloses His way with His people and His love for His people.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 81". "Smith's Writings". 1832.