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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 81


Psalms 42-83 are Elohistic, i.e. they use the word God (Elohim) and avoid the proper name Yahweh, probably from motives of reverence. Here and there, however, the name Yahweh has crept into the text by a natural slip of the scribes.

Verses 1-16

LXXXI. This Ps. is probably composite.

A. Psalms 81:1-4 . A Festal Hymn, specially adapted for the old New Year’ s Day or Feast of Trumpets (p. 104), which was held on the new moon of Tishri, the seventh month, and for the Feast of Tabernacles (pp. 103f.) at the full moon of the same month. The old New Year in the autumn, when the cycle of agricultural work was complete, is to be distinguished from the Babylonian New Year in the spring month of Nisan (see p, 118, Leviticus 23:24 ff. and Numbers 29). Possibly Psalms 81 A is a mere fragment.

B is different in tone and subject. It relates ( Psalms 81:5-10) God’ s care for His people in Egypt and the wilderness, ( Psalms 81:11-16) Israel’ s disobedience. The triumph through God’ s favour, if Israel would do as He commanded.

Psalms 81:5 . The “ testimony,” i.e. God’ s witness for the effect of disobedience and obedience, relates to the verses which follow, but probably the text of Psalms 81:5 has suffered from the union of Psalms 81 B with Psalms 81 A. Read with LXX, “ He heard a language that he knew not.”

Psalms 81:7 . “ I proved thee” : the reference is to some lost tradition.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 81". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.