Old Testament

Psalm 81
Psalm 81
If Only
For the choir director. According to gittith.[] By Asaph.
Invitation to Worship
1Sing a loud song to God, our strength.
Shout to the God of Jacob!
2Begin the music, and play the hand drum.
Play the sweet-sounding lyre along with the harp.
3Sound the ram's horn at the new moon
and at the full moon for our festival day.
4Yes, this is an order for Israel,
a regulation from the God of Jacob.
5God established it as a testimony for Joseph
when he went out against the land of Egypt.
There I heard a language I did not know.[]
A Warning from the Lord
6The Lord says:
I relieved Israel's shoulders from the burden.
His hands were set free from carrying buckets.
7In distress you called and I rescued you.
I answered you from the hiding place of thunder.
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Interlude
8Listen, my people, and I will warn you.
If only you would listen to me, Israel!
9There shall be no foreign god among you!
You shall not bow down to a strange 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.
11But my people would not listen to my voice,
and Israel was not willing to obey me.
12So I sent them off in the stubbornness of their hearts.
They walked according to their own plans.
13If only my people would listen to me,
if only Israel would walk in my ways,
14I would subdue their enemies quickly.
I would turn my hand against their foes.
15Those who hate the Lord would cower before him,
and their time of punishment would last forever.
16But he would feed Israel with the best wheat.
With honey from the rock I would satisfy you.


  • 81:0 Gittith means in the style of Gath. It may refer to music associated with one of the cities of that name or with a winepress.
  • 81:5 Or I heard a voice I did not know. This would refer to the voice of God, who speaks in the next section. In verse 6 the identification of the speaker, the Lord says, has been added for clarity.