Psalm 81

1 Sing aloud unto God our strength:
Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song, and bring hither the timbrel,
The pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
At the full moon, on our feast-day.

1-5. Song in praise of the Lord by His church. P. P.

1, 2, 4, 5. The God of Jacob is the Lord. A. 3305.

2, 3. See Psalm lxviii. 25, 26. A. 8337.

2, 3, 4. Songs were for the sake of the exaltation of the life of love, and hence of joy. R. 279.

On account of musical instruments and also dances signifying joy and gladness which result from affections, and also the affections of the mind themselves, which their several sounds produce both in what is simple and in what is complex, therefore David and the whole house of Israel played before Jehovah on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps and psalteries and on timbrels, on cornets and on cymbals — see ii. Samuel vi. 5. E. 323.

See Psalm xlvii. 2, 6, 9. E. 326.

4 For it is a statute for Israel,
An ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony,
When he went out over the land of Egypt,
Where I heard a language that I knew not.
6 I removed his shoulder from the burden:
His hands were freed from the basket.

3-6. That Joseph is here the spiritual church, or the spiritual man, is manifest from every word and expression, for in the Word there are words which express spiritual things, and others which express celestial things, and this with uniformity throughout. In this passage are words which express spiritual things, as the psalm, the timbrel, the harp with the psaltery, blowing the trumpet in the new moon, in the festival on the day of our feast. A. 3969. Here by taking a psalm, and bringing the timbrel are meant confessions from spiritual and celestial truths, and the delights of the affection of truth and good. Verse 6 means worship from the delight of those affections.

4 States of life as to truths are signified by months, because the times determined by the moon are meant by months, and truth of the understanding and of faith is signified by the moon. R. 935.

6-8. When called upon and when He has proved man, He delivers Him from the hells. P. P.

7 To carry on the shoulder when subjection is treated of signifies service. See Matthew xxiii. 4: Isaiah ix. 4; x. 27. A. 9836.

The natural man as to what is scientific is signified by the iron furnace (basket), the furnace stands for the natural man and iron what is scientific, in this case. scientific falsities, because it is said that they were brought out of it. E. 540.

7 Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee;
I answered thee in the secret place of thunder;
I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. [Selah]
8 Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee:
O Israel, if thou wouldest hearken unto me!
9 There shall no strange god be in thee;
Neither shalt thou worship any foreign god.

10 I am Jehovah thy God,
Who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt:
Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Verse 7 signifies that those things were for the new church instituted with the children of Israel, which was in truth of doctrine. By a language which I understood not, signifies when the old church was destroyed, which was at that time in falsities of doctrine, for Egypt when Joseph was Lord there, represented a church which is in the knowledges of truth and good and in confirming sciences, but when the children of Israel began to be hated and illtreated Egypt then represented the church destroyed, and in mere falsities. See Exodus i. 8. E. 448.

8 The quality of the complaint in the temptation is signified in the internal sense by Meribah, namely, that the Israelitic nation were not willing to entreat Jehovah by supplication, but that they expostulated. A. 8588.

See Psalm lxxvii. 16, 18, 19. R. 236.

That a voice out of heaven when from the Lord is heard as thunder is manifest. See John xii. 28-30: Job xxxvii. 4, 5- R. 472.

See Psalm xviii. 14, 15. E. 273.

11 But my people hearkened not to my voice;
And Israel would none of me.
12 So I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart,
That they might walk in their own counsels.

9-12. The church among the children of Israel has gone back, and worships another God, P. P.

13 therefore they have been left to themselves. P. P.

13 Oh that my people would hearken unto me,
That Israel would walk in my ways!
14 I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn my hand against their adversaries.
15 The haters of Jehovah should submit themselves unto
But their time should endure for ever.

14- 17. If they had obeyed the hells would have been removed from them, and they would have enjoyed every good. P. P.

16 He would feed them also with the finest of the wheat;
And with honey out of the rock would I satisfy thee.

14, 17. The fat of the kidneys of wheat is the celestial of love and charity, and as fat or fatness signifies the celestial, and wheat love, they are therefore frequently joined together in the Word. A. 3941.

Wheat and barley signify the good and truth of the church. R. 315.

By the finest of the wheat, and honey out of the rock are here signified good of every kind and the delight thereof originating in celestial good from the Lord, the finest means celestial good, wheat good of every kind in general, honey the delight of good, and rock the Lord. That these things will be given to those who are signified by Israel, if they live according to the precepts of the Lord, is understood by verse 14, ways in the Word signifying truths and also precepts, and to walk signifies to live. E. 374.

By the rock here also is understood the Lord as to Divine truth. E. 411.

17 Satisfying with honey out of the rock stands for filling with enjoyment from the truths of faith. A. 5620.

Because fat signified good it is also adjoined to such things as are not fat in themselves, but still signify goods. Thus fat and good were as if the same thing. A. 5943.

Rock signified the Lord as to faith. A. 8581.

By the fat of wheat is signified the delight of spiritual good, and by honey out of the rock the delight of natural good by truths from the Lord. E. 619.

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)