To the Chief Musician; set to Philistine lute, or [possibly] a particular Gittite tune. [A Psalm] of Asaph.
1 Sing aloud to God our Strength! Shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
2 Raise a song, sound the timbrel, the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
4 For this is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 This He ordained in Joseph [the [a]savior] for a testimony when He went out over the land of Egypt. The speech of One Whom I knew not did I hear [saying],
6 I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from the basket.
7 You called in distress and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!(A)
8 Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you—O Israel, if you would listen to Me!
9 There shall no strange god be among you, neither shall you worship any alien god.
10 I 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 would not hearken to My voice, and Israel would have none of Me.
12 So I gave them up to their own hearts’ lust and let them go after their own stubborn will, that they might follow their own counsels.(B)
13 Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!
14 Speedily then I would subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their adversaries.
15 [Had Israel listened to Me in Egypt, then] those who hated the Lord would have come cringing before Him, and their defeat would have lasted forever.
16 [God] would feed [Israel now] also with the finest of the wheat; and with honey out of the rock would I satisfy you.
- Psalm 81:5 Joseph had once gone out over Egypt with the title “Zaphenath-paneah,” meaning, according to some, “Savior of the Age,” to bring deliverance from famine to the Egyptians (Gen. 41:45). Later they forgot their benefactor and severely oppressed his family and their descendants. “Then Joseph’s God arose and went forth over the land [of Egypt] in righteous judgment, yet still as Savior of that people [Israel], in whom dwelt the germ of blessing for all nations.” (David M. Kay, cited by James C. Gray and George M. Adams, Bible Commentary).