v16 But he would feed him (Israel) with the best *wheat
and I would give you (Israel) plenty of *honey from the rock.
The Story of Psalm 81
*Harvest time is when we pick fruit and vegetables. The *Jews had three big *harvest times:
· April, when they picked *barley (to make bread)
· May, when they picked *wheat (also to make bread)
· October, when they picked *grapes (to make *wine). Wine is a drink with alcohol in it.
Psalm 81 is a *Festival Psalm. The *festival was at the time of the *grape *harvest. They called it "the *festival of *tents". *Tents were houses made of animal skins. At the *festival of *tents the *Jews lived for a week in *tents. This taught them how they lived when God took them out of Egypt, hundreds of years before. It told them how good God was to them.
Psalm 81 taught the *Jews that, now God had brought them into their own land, they should have no other gods. Then he would give them help against their enemies, as he did in Egypt.
Some Bible students think that Psalm 81 came from the north part of Israel. Its date was about 750 years before Christ came to the earth.
What Psalm 81 means
Study the psalm in three parts:
· Verses 1 – 4: Now the *Festival
· Verses 5 – 7: What God did in Egypt
· Verses 8 – 16: Trouble when you have other gods
In verses 1 and 4, "*Jacob" is another name for "Israel", so "God of *Jacob" means "God of Israel". Really, there were two *festivals in October, one when the moon was new, the other 2 weeks later when it was full. They are both in verse 3. The second one was the *festival of *tents. Older Bibles may call it "the *feast of booths" or "the *feast of tabernacles".
In verse 5, Bible students are not certain whether the second "he" is *Joseph or God. *Joseph, as *Jacob, is another name for Israel. If it is God, then "attacked" is when God led his people out from Egypt. If it is *Joseph, then we should translate "attacked" as "became great in". "The language" must have been words that God said. Maybe "understand" means "believe"! Verse 6 tells us about the hard work that God’s people did in Egypt. Some parts of the Bible suggest that God lives in storms, verse 7. The Waters (or Lakes) of Meribah were on the way from Egypt to Israel. The story is in Exodus 17:1-7. Bible students think that *SELAH means "stop and pray, or think, or make music".
In verses 8 - 10 ,God speaks to his people. He *warns them (tells them of the danger) of other gods. These gods are false gods, because there is only one *real God. "Open your mouth wide" means "open it as much as you can". "I will fill it" may mean:
· with food, as in verse 16, or
· with the right words to say and pray, not the wrong ones as in verses 10 and 11.
In verse 11 "follow their own ideas" is an English way to say "do whatever they think".
Verses 13 and 14 suggest that "following their own ideas" had brought trouble. The psalm does not say what the trouble was. But it does say that if they obey God the trouble will stop. God would make their enemies obey him, verse 15, and be good to his own people, verse 16.