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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 81:16

 

 

"But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

Adam Clarke Commentary

With the finest of the wheat - חטה מחלב mecheleb chittah ; literally, with the fat of wheat, as in the margin.

Honey out of the rock - And he fed thaim of the grese of whete: And of the hony stane he thaim filled. Old Psalter. Thus paraphrased: "He fed thaim with the body of Criste and gastely understandyng; and of hony that ran of the stane, that is, of the wisedome that is swete to the hert." Several of the fathers understand this place of Christ.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-81.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He should have fed them also - He would have given them prosperity, and their land would have produced abundantly of the necessities - even of the luxuries - of life. This is in accordance with the usual promises of the Scriptures, that obedience to God will be followed by national temporal prosperity. See Deuteronomy 32:13-14; 1 Timothy 4:8; Psalm 37:11. Compare the notes at Matthew 5:5.

With the finest of the wheat - Margin, as in Hebrew, with the fat of wheat. The meaning is, the best of the wheat - as the words fat and fatness are often used to denote excellence and abundance. Genesis 27:28, Genesis 27:39; Job 36:16; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 63:5; Psalm 65:11.

And with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee - Palestine abounded with bees, and honey was a favorite article of food. Genesis 43:11; Deuteronomy 8:8; Deuteronomy 32:13; 1 Samuel 14:25-26; Isaiah 7:15; Ezekiel 16:13; Matthew 3:4. Much of that which was obtained was wild honey, deposited by the bees in the hollows of trees, and as it would seem in the caverns of the rocks. Much of it was gathered also from rocky regions, and this was regarded as the most delicate and valuable. I do not know the cause of this, nor why honey in high and rocky countries should be more pure and white than that obtained from other places; but the whitest and the most pure and delicate honey that I have ever seen I found at Chamouni in Switzerland. Dr. Thomson (land and the Book, vol. ii. p. 362) says of the rocky region in the vicinity of Timnath, that “bees were so abundant in a wood at no great distance from this spot that the honey dropped down from the trees on the ground;” and that “he explored densely-wooded gorges in Hermon and in Southern Lebanon where wild bees are still found, both in trees and in the clefts of the rocks.”

The meaning here is plain, that, if Israel had been obedient to God, he would have blessed them with abundance - with the richest and most coveted productions of the field. Pure religion - obedience to God - morality - temperance, purity, honesty, and industry, such as religion requires - are always eminently favorable to individual and national prosperity; and if a man or a nation desired to be most prospered, most successful in the lawful and proper objects of individual or national existence, and most happy, nothing would tend more to conduce to it than those virtues which piety enjoins and cultivates. Individuals and nations, even in respect to temporal prosperity, are most unwise, as well as most wicked, when they disregard the laws of God, and turn away from the precepts and the spirit of religion. It is true of nations, as it is of individuals, that “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is,” 1 Timothy 4:8.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-81.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 81:16

With honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

A little but wise teacher

You know it was said of the Holy Land, long before God led His people into it, that it was “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Such it was and still is. That bees swarmed abundantly in the East many years ago, we may infer from the honey found in the dried remains of the lion which was killed by Samson. And in these modern days the wandering Arabs who live in tents, especially those who dwell in the wilderness of Judea, are said to support themselves by bee-hunting, bringing into Jerusalem jars of wild honey like that on which John the Baptist fed in the wilderness. The visitor to the Holy Land, when he sees the busy multitude of bees about its cliffs, cannot but recall to mind the promise, “With honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” But then these words of Asaph mean far more than that those who love and serve the Lord shall be thus fed. They mean that God will surely supply all the wants of His people; that He offers all His infinite resources as a security that they shall not be left to “want any good thing”; and that, as honey in abundance is gathered out of the hard and flinty rock, so He will provide for those who love Him, even though they are brought into the hardest trials, where it might seem as if they were beyond the reach of help. But a promise so large and rich as this we cannot expect to have made good unto us, no matter what we are, or do. No! this is a promise with a condition. That is, there are some things which we must do, if we would claim the fulfilment of this promise for ourselves. The bee which stores up honey that is gathered out of the rock may so teach us that we shall be truly wise, and be able to secure all the earthly blessings and all the spiritual riches which are promised by the text.

I. Obedience. Do you know that in every hive of bees there is one which is called the Queen Bee? Those who have studied most carefully the habits of bees tell us that the Queen Bee is beloved and obeyed by all the others, who show in all ways that bees have a desire to please her. And if bees are thus obedient and devoted to their queen, how much more ought children to “obey their parents in the Lord!”

II. Cheerful and happy industry. How diligent and industrious the bees are in building the cells of the honey-comb, in storing them with honey, and in taking care of their young. They are not satisfied to work an hour a week, or an hour a day, and then dance away all the rest of the time in the warm and bright sunshine. They are not like some children that I have seen, who are hardly satisfied unless they can give themselves up to “all play and no work,” which, as the rhyme says, “makes Jack a mere toy.” But the bee works all the day long, day after day, bringing home full loads of honey. It finds pleasure in its work, singing continually as it goes about it. What a fine example for boys and girls! Our blessed Lord Himself, when still a little child, felt that He “must be about His Father’s business.” Every community of bees is apt to be afflicted for a time with what are called drones--that is, with bees that won’t work. But the working bees very soon get rid of them, either by putting them to death, or by driving them out of the hive. And is not something like this the law of the Bible? Paul declared that, “if any would not work, neither should he eat,” and Solomon says that “an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” Idleness, then, brings a blight and a curse both upon the body and upon the soul.

III. We should guard watchfully and well what treasures we have. The bee uses all possible care and skill to protect from its enemies its stores of honey, and the wonderful cells in which that honey is laid up. It has many enemies, such as wasps, hornets, spiders, dragonflies, lizards, toads, and a kind of winged moth. This last is a very dangerous enemy, for at night, when the bees are asleep, it creeps in at the door of the hive, and lays its eggs, from which little worm-like caterpillars are soon hatched, and these crawling things soon make such havoc with the waxen cells that the bees are obliged to desert. They do the best they can to defend their treasures from enemies wit, hour, but sometimes they are overpowered. My children, learn a lesson from them to guard and keep such treasures as you have; for you, unlike the bees, may effectually do this, with such help as God will give you, if you seek help of Him.

IV. From the bee, again, we may learn the lesson that we can serve but one ruler and sovereign at a time. I have spoken of the Queen Bee. It is the supreme ruler of the hive, whom all the bees delight to obey. Not till one queen dies do they transfer their allegiance to another. You know that there is only One who has a right to demand, as He does demand, that you shall serve and love Him “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Jesus Christ Himself has said, “No man can serve two masters,” etc.

V. Another lesson, and a most important one, for us to learn from the bee, is, not to trust too much to appearances. Many a bright and most attractive-looking flower does the bee pass by, to alight perhaps upon some plain and humble one that we would have thought altogether unworthy of notice. “All is not gold that glitters,” and not even the marvellous skill of the bee can extract honey from flowers which, though they may appear very beautiful, have no sweetness, and perhaps only deadly poison in them. There are many things which, to young eyes, and sometimes to eyes not so young, appear very beautiful indeed. Not having them, we greatly covet, and having, we greatly prize them.

VI. We should make wise and timely provision for the future. The bees do not eat their honey as fast as they make it, but they lay by a store for winter. In this, they are unlike some young people, who are inclined to spend everything as fast as they make it, and sometimes faster. They lay up nothing at all to fall back upon in a time of need. This is more especially and sadly true with respect to religion. How many are there among the young who spend the best part of their lives in worldly pleasure. They think not of a future day, and are making no provision for needs of which they will soon, and may be suddenly, be made aware, when it will be too late to provide for them. (G. C. Noyes, D. D.)
.

Psalms 82:1-8


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 81:16". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-81.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat,.... Or the "fat of the wheatF25מחלב חטה "ex adipe frumenti", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; "adipe tritici", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. "; see Deuteronomy 32:14, with the finest flour of it: the Targum is,

"with the best bread of wheat;'

with the best of wheat, and the best bread that can be made of it: Aben Ezra interprets it of the manna, which was better than the fat, or finest, of the wheat, being the corn of heaven, and angels' food, Psalm 78:24, but it rather respects what the Israelites would have been continued to be fed with in the land of Canaan, which was a land of wheat, Deuteronomy 8:8, and such who hearken to the Lord, and walk in his ways, are fed by him with the Gospel, which is comparable to wheat, and the finest of it, for its choiceness and excellency, for its solidity and substantiality, for its purity and cleanness, and for its being of a nourishing and strengthening nature, see Jeremiah 38:28, and especially Christ, the sum and substance of the Gospel, may be figuratively meant, with whom the saints are fed, and who is compared to a corn of wheat, John 12:24 for his preciousness and excellency, for his purity and fruitfulness, and for being the food of his people, the bread of life, for which he was prepared by his sufferings and death; which may be fitly expressed by the threshing, winnowing, and grinding of wheat, and then of kneading the flour, and baking the bread:

and with honey out of the rock would I have satisfied thee; the land of Canaan abounded with hills and rocks, in which bees had their hives, and from whence honey dropped to lower places; and hence the land is said to flow with milk and honey, Exodus 3:8, nor is it unusual in other places to find honey in rocks; at Guadaloupe, in the West Indies, we are toldF26P. Martyr. Decad. 3. lib. 9. , honey was found in trees and caves of rocks. Aben Ezra interprets this of the water which flowed out of the rock at Horeb, which was sweeter than honey; but the former sense is best: the rock spiritually and mystically designs Christ, the Rock of salvation, 1 Corinthians 10:4, the honey out of the rock, the fulness of grace in him, and the blessings of it, the sure mercies of David, and the precious promises of the everlasting covenant; and the Gospel, which is sweeter than the honey or the honeycomb; and with these such are filled and satisfied, who hearken to Christ, and walk in his ways; for, as the whole of what is here said shows what Israel lost by disobedience, it clearly suggests what such enjoy who hear and obey.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-81.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

He should have fed them also with the n finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

(n) That is, with most fine wheat and abundance of honey.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-81.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Honey — With all pleasant and precious fruits.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-81.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 81:16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Ver. 16. With the finest of the wheat] Heb. With the fat or marrow of wheat, with the choicest of picked nourishment.

And with honey, &c.] Hyperbole incomparabilis felicitatis et foecunditatis. See Deuteronomy 32:13, shadowing out the sweetness of the word and sacraments.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-81.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 81:16. He should have fed them—with the finest of the wheat i.e. "He would have blessed thee with such plenty, that in the desarts thou shouldst have found the sweetest refreshments; and, without any care of thine, bees should have laid up honey for thee in the rocks, and holes of trees." In Judaea, the bees used the rocks and ground as hives to lay up their honey. This verse is not to be understood of miraculous feeding; but is a poetical description of the land of Canaan. Green, after Houbigant, reads, I would have fed them with the finest wheat, and satisfied them with the choicest honey.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Before we join the songs of angels, the work of praise should be our joyful employment here below. The Psalmist therefore excites the people of God to unite heart and voice in adoring their covenant God, the rock of their salvation; by whose strength every faithful Israelite is enabled to grapple with all the enemies of his soul, to fulfil every service, and endure every suffering to which the Lord is pleased to call him. To raise the concert high, sweet instruments of music are employed, and the loud trumpet's sound proclaims, on the solemn feast-day, the appointed season for the general assembly, the great Jehovah's praise. Note; The more we regard God as our strength, the surer is our stability.

2nd, When the eternal Jehovah speaks, let every mortal ear attend. Hear, O my people, peculiarly bound to be advised and governed by him; O Israel, if thou wilt, or, O that thou wouldst, hearken unto me. It was their duty, and God wishes it might be their desire to do so. His peculiar charge to them is,

1. Flee from idolatry. There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. This is the first and great commandment: God must be made the supreme object of our faith, fear, and love: whatever creature rivals him in our heart, makes us spiritual idolaters.

2. He enforces the command by two considerations. [1.] His right in them, and their obligations to him. I am the Lord thy God, the only object of worship, standing in a peculiar relation to them, and therefore especially demanding it from them; which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and therefore from gratitude are they most bound to love and serve him. [2.] It would be their highest interest also to cleave to him alone; Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it: he will be their all-sufficient portion; and they cannot ask more than he is willing to bestow on them, provided they continue faithful. Note; (1.) God's service is our highest interest, as well as duty. (2.) If we had no future promises in view, past obligations should engage our hearts to him. (3.) The prayer of faith can never ask too much. (4.) They who now have God for their portion, have all that heart can wish.

3. He charges them with their disobedience and ingratitude. But my people, from whom he had such just expectations, would not hearken to my voice, inattentive and perverse; and Israel would none of me; foolishly as wickedly rejecting their own mercies, and neither willing to serve God as their master, nor content with his love as their portion.

4. Justly God visited their iniquities. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust; which is of all judgments the most terrible; for, his grace withdrawn, we are then abandoned to sin and misery, and rush on our destruction, as the horse into the battle: and they walked in their own counsels. Since they were headstrong and obstinate, he left them to their own devices, and the dreadful consequences which must ensue. Note; They who resist God's word and Spirit, have only their own wilfulness to blame, when their destruction cometh.

5. He expresses his kind wishes for them, and his gracious designs towards them, had they been faithful. Oh that my people, bound by every tie to approve themselves to him, had hearkened unto me, obeyed my law, and attended to my warnings, and Israel had walked in my ways, so much their interest as well as duty. For then, [1.] They would have been for ever victorious over their foes, and God himself would have appeared to fight their battles, and make them more than conquerors. [2.] They would have uninterruptedly enjoyed the possession of their good land; and all who hated God and his worship, should have submitted themselves unto him, or, lied unto him; so that, though it might be a feigned and forced submission, they should not be able to disturb them. [3.] They would have been blest with plenty of every earthly good: the finest wheat, and honey ready provided for them in the rock, where the bees had formed their hive, would have been their food; of all which, their folly and sin would deprive them, and leave them as wretched as they might have been happy. Note; (1.) Sinners are the greatest enemies to their own souls. (2.) They who attend to the voice of Christ will see all their foes become their footstool. (3.) The supplies of his grace to his faithful people are more strengthening than bread, and sweeter than honey. (4.) If any perish, it is not through want of compassion in God, but through the hardness and impenitence of their own hearts.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-81.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

READER! let every renewed call, which we behold in the old dispensation, to excite the people to praise, remind us of our higher privileges, and become an additional incentive to the most animated love and praise to our God in Christ. Were the Old Testament saints perpetually reminded of the distinguishing love of God to his people; and was it the voice of trumpets by which the Holy Ghost caused it to be proclaimed in his church, Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound? Think what increased causes we may find, to whom Jesus himself hath manifested his great trumpet of salvation, declaring that when it is blown, they shall come that are ready to perish.

And shall we , like Israel, forget the Lord? Shall we say, or, what is to the same effect, shall we do, as they did; that it may be said of us, His people would not hearken to his voice, and Jesus's Israel would have none of him? Oh, Lord! in mercy avert these awful departures. No! precious Jesus! it is thou who hast brought our souls out of the spiritual Egypt of sin and death! It is thou who hast converted us from the language of nature to a language of grace, which we understood not, neither should have known, but from thy teaching. Thou hast indeed removed from our shoulders the burden of sin, and delivered us from the slavery of Satan; thou hast heard and answered prayer; and thou hast been our God and our Saviour. Oh! then still go on, to satisfy our souls with the bread of life, and the water of life, which is thyself, and keep us by thine almighty power, through faith unto salvation.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-81.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

With honey; either,

1. Metaphorically, with all pleasant and precious fruits, and with all delights, as all necessaries may be expressed under the name of wheat. Or rather,

2. Properly; this land of Canaan being commended for its excellent and plentiful honey; and the bees there did oft-times harbour and make their honey in the holes of rocks and such-like places, from which it flowed down upon the ground. See Deuteronomy 32:13 1 Samuel 14:25,26.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-81.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16. He should have fed them—The excellent quality and abundant supply of food here stand generically for all needful things. The expression, honey out of the rock, is not to be taken literally, as in 1 Samuel 14:27, but figuratively, as denoting the richest supplies from the most sterile and unpropitious sources. The fundamental passage is Deuteronomy 32:13, where both “honey” and “oil” are made to flow from the rock, the “oil,” probably referring to the olive tree. See note on Psalms 92:14; Psalms 128:3 : compare, also, Job 29:6. The stern admonition and the life giving promise go hand in hand. “God assures them, that if Israel of the present would hearken to the Lawgiver of Sinai, then would he renew to it the miraculous gifts of the time of the redemption under Moses.”Delitzsch.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-81.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 81:16. He should have fed them with the finest wheat — He would have made their country exceedingly fruitful and productive, especially of wheat and other grain, in the highest perfection. And with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee — That is, with all pleasant and precious fruits, and with all delights; as all necessaries may be expressed in the former clause under the name of wheat. Or honey may be here taken literally; for the land of Canaan abounded with excellent honey; and the bees used to be collected in the clefts and holes of the rocks, as in hives, and there made their honey in such plenty that it often flowed down upon the ground in considerable quantities: see Deuteronomy 32:13; 1 Samuel 14:25-26.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-81.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

should I have satisfied thee. Some codices read "would I satisfy him". Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "would He satisfy him".


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-81.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) Finest of the wheat.—See margin, and comp. Psalms 147:14. The construction of this verse is matter of difficulty. Properly we should render, And he fed them with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock satisfied thee. The change of person is harsh, though perhaps it may be illustrated by Psalms 22:27, &c, but the past tense seems out of keeping with the context. The conclusions of Psalms 77, 78 are hardly analogous. The pointing should be slightly changed to give, “And I would feed them also,” &c


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-81.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.
fed
147:14; Deuteronomy 32:13,14; Joel 2:24
finest of the wheat
Heb. fat of wheat. honey.
Judges 14:8,9,18; 1 Samuel 14:25,26; Job 29:6

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 81:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-81.html.

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