Psalm 81:3
Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
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(3) Trumpet.—Heb., shôphar. (See Exodus 19:16; Psalm 47:5.) In connection with this festival psalm the mention of the shôphar is especially interesting as being the only ancient Hebrew instrument of which the use is still on solemn occasions retained. (See Bible Educator, Vol. ii. 242.)

In the new moon.—Standing by itself this might mean the beginning of every month (comp. Num. x 10), and so many scholars are inclined to take it here. Others render “in this month.” But see next Note.

In the time appointed.—This is the rendering given of the Hebrew kēseh by a long array of authorities. But in Proverbs 7:20, the only other place where the word is found, the Vulg. gives “after many days;” and while the English margin has “new moon” Aquila and Jerome give “full moon.” This latter meaning is supported by the fact that the Syrian version gives keso for the 15th day of the month (1Kings 12:32). But in 2Chronicles 7:10 the same word is used for the 23rd day; hence, it is supposed to denote the whole time of the moon’s waning from the full. It seems, therefore, hardly possible that keseh as well as chadesh can mean new moon here as some think, though it is strange to find both the new and the full moon mentioned together. Some remove the difficulty by reading with the Syriac, Chaldee, and several MSS. feast-days in the plural, but the authority of the LXX. is against this reading. But apparently the festival in question was the Feast of Tabernacles. The word chag here used is said by Gesenius to be in the Talmud used pre-eminently of this feast, as it is in 2Chronicles 5:3; 1Kings 8:2 (comp. Psalm 42:4), and the Jews, always tenacious of ancient tradition, regularly use this psalm for the office of the 1st day of Tisri. Thus the new moon is that of the seventh month, which in Numbers 29:1 is called especially “a day of trumpet blowing” (sec Note Psalm 81:1), and the full moon denotes this feast, (See Numbers 29:12; Leviticus 23:24.)

81:1-7 All the worship we can render to the Lord is beneath his excellences, and our obligations to him, especially in our redemption from sin and wrath. What God had done on Israel's behalf, was kept in remembrance by public solemnities. To make a deliverance appear more gracious, more glorious, it is good to observe all that makes the trouble we are delivered from appear more grievous. We ought never to forget the base and ruinous drudgery to which Satan, our oppressor, brought us. But when, in distress of conscience, we are led to cry for deliverance, the Lord answers our prayers, and sets us at liberty. Convictions of sin, and trials by affliction, prove his regard to his people. If the Jews, on their solemn feast-days, were thus to call to mind their redemption out of Egypt, much more ought we, on the Christian sabbath, to call to mind a more glorious redemption, wrought out for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, from worse bondage.Blow up the trumpet - The word rendered blow means to make a clangor or noise as on a trumpet. The trumpet was, like the timbrel, the harp, and the psaltery, a common instrument of music, and was employed on all their festive occasions. It was at first made of horn, and then was made similar in shape to a horn. Compare Joshua 6:5; Leviticus 25:9; Job 39:25.

In the new moon - On the festival held at the time of the new moon. There was a high festival on the appearance of the new moon in the month of Tisri, or October, which was the beginning of their civil year, and it is not improbable that the return of each new moon was celebrated with special services. See the notes at Isaiah 1:13; compare 2 Kings 4:23; Amos 8:5; 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 2:4. It is not certain, however, that the word used here means new moon. Prof. Alexander renders it in the month; that is, in the month, by way of eminence, in which the passover was celebrated. The word used - חדשׁ chôdesh - means, indeed, commonly the new moon; the day of the new moon; the first day of the lunar month Numbers 29:6; 1 Samuel 20:5, 1 Samuel 20:18, 1 Samuel 20:24; but it also means a month; that is, a lunar month, beginning at the new moon, Genesis 8:5; Exodus 13:4; et al. The corresponding or parallel word, as we shall see, which is rendered in our version, in the time appointed, means full moon; and the probability is, as Professor Alexander suggests, that in the beginning of the verse the month is mentioned in general, and the particular time of the month - the full moon - in the other part of the verse. Thus the language is applicable to the passover. On the other supposition - the supposition that the new moon and the full moon are both mentioned - there would be manifest confusion as to the time.

In the time appointed - The word used here - כסה keseh - means properly the full moon; the time of the full moon. In Syriac the word means either "the first day of the full moon," or "the whole time of the full moon." (Isa Bar Ali, as quoted by Gesenius, Lexicon) Thus, the word means, not as in our translation, in the time appointed, but at the full moon, and would refer to the time of the Passover, which was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the lunar month; that is, when the moon was at the full. Exodus 12:6.

On our solemn feast day - Hebrew, In the day of our feast. The word solemn is not necessarily in the original, though the day was one of great solemnity. The Passover is doubtless referred to.

3. the new moon—or the month.

the time appointed—(Compare Pr 7:20).

The new moon; which was a sacred and festival time, as appears from Numbers 10:10 28:11,14 2 Kings 4:23 Isaiah 66:23. But this may be understood either,

1. Generally of every new moon. Or rather,

2. Specially of that new moon, as the word may be rendered, which begun the seventh month; as may be gathered both from the following words, and by comparing this place with Leviticus 23:24 Numbers 29:1, where this very day is called a day of blowing of trumpets. In the time appointed, on our solemn feast day; or, for the day or time of our solemn festivity; whereby may be understood either,

1. The day of the new moon, on which the trumpets were blown for the celebration of that solemn time. Or,

2. The seventh month, which that new moon did introduce or begin, and in which, besides other solemnities, they kept the feast of tabernacles, which the Hebrew doctors call the feast by way of eminency, and Josephus affirms to have been the most sacred and the chief of all the Jewish feasts.

Blow up the trumpet in the new moon,.... Either in every new moon, or first day of the month, which was religiously observed by the Jews, 2 Kings 4:23 or rather the new moon, or first day of the seventh month, the month Tisri, which day was a memorial of blowing of trumpets, Leviticus 23:34, and so the Targum,

"blow the trumpet in the month of Tisri,''

when their new year began, and was typical of the year of the redeemed of the Lord, of the acceptable year of our God, of the famous new year, the Gospel dispensation, when old things passed away, and all things became new. The Jews say this blowing of trumpets was in commemoration of Isaac's deliverance, a ram being sacrificed for him, and therefore they sounded with trumpets made of rams' horns; or in remembrance of the trumpet blown at the giving of the law; though it rather was an emblem of the Gospel, and the ministry of it, by which sinners are aroused, awakened and quickened, and souls are charmed and allured, and filled with spiritual joy and gladness:

in the time appointed; so Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret the word of a set fixed time; see Proverbs 7:20, the word (a) used has the signification of covering; and the former of these understand it of the time just before the change of the moon, when it is covered, which falls in with the former phrase; and so the Targum,

"in the moon that is covered;''

though the Latin interpreter renders it,

"in the month which is covered with the days of our solemnities,''

there being many festivals in the month of Tisri; the blowing of trumpets on the first day of it, the atonement on the tenth, and the feast of tabernacles on the fifteenth. But De Dieu has made it appear, from the use of the word in the Syriac language, that it should be rendered "in the full moon", and so directs to the right understanding of the feast next mentioned;

on our solemn feast day, which must design a feast which was at the full of the moon; and so must be either the feast of the passover, which was on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, and was a type of Christ our Passover, sacrificed for us, on which account we should keep the feast, Exodus 12:6, or else the feast of tabernacles, which was on the fifteenth of the month Tisri, kept in commemoration of the Israelites dwelling in booths, Leviticus 23:34 and which is called the feast, and the solemn feast, emphatically; see 1 Kings 8:2, and was typical of the state of God's people in this world, who dwell in the earthly houses of their tabernacles, and have no continuing city; and of the churches of Christ, which are the tabernacles in which God and his people dwell, and will abide in this form but for a time, and are moveable; and also of Christ's tabernacling in human nature, John 1:14.

(a) "quum tegitur luna", Piscator; "ad verbum in obtectione", i. e. "eum obtegatur luna a sole", Amama.

Blow up the trumpet in the {c} new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

(c) Under this feast he comprehends all other solemn days.

3. the trumpet] Heb. shôphâr, the horn, as distinguished from the metal trumpet. In the Pentateuch the use of the shôphâr is only prescribed in connexion with the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9), but according to practice it was used for the New Year as well.

in the new moon] The Targum expressly states that the new moon of Tisri is meant here, and there is no sufficient reason for setting aside this ancient Jewish tradition and supposing that the new moon of Nisan, the first month of the ecclesiastical year, is meant, on the ground that the contents of the Psalm shew that the festival at the full moon referred to in the next line must be the Passover.

in the time appointed &c.] Better, at the full moon, for the day of our feast. If the month referred to is Tisri, our feast must be the Feast of Tabernacles, which began at the full moon on the 15th of that month. It was often called simply “the feast” (1 Kings 8:2, &c.), and was regarded as the most joyous of all the feasts. The trumpet blowing at the beginning of the month is regarded as pointing forward to it, and it was repeated on the day itself, in accordance with the law of Numbers 10:10.

Verse 3. - Blow up the trumpet in the new moon. There was a Mowing of trumpets at the beginning of every month (Numbers 10:10), in connection with the appointed sacrifices (Leviticus 28:11-15); so that the month intended cannot, so far, i.e. fixed. As, however, the chief blowing of trumpets was on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24), most commentators regard the psalm as composed for this occasion. There are some, however, as Hengstenberg, Professor Cheyne, and Professor Alexander, who consider it to be a Passover psalm. In the time appointed; rather, at the full moon; i.e. on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when the Feast of Tabernacles was opened (see Numbers 29:12). Trumpets were probably blown then also. On our solemn feast day. The Feast of Tabernacles is called κατ ἐξοχὴν, "the feast," in many passages of the Old Testament (see Professor Cheyne's comment on this psalm, 'Book of Psalms,' p. 228). Psalm 81:3The summons in Psalm 81:2 is addressed to the whole congregation, inasmuch as הריעוּ is not intended of the clanging of the trumpets, but as in Ezra 3:11, and frequently. The summons in Psalm 81:3 is addressed to the Levites, the appointed singers and musicians in connection with the divine services, 2 Chronicles 5:12, and frequently. The summons in Psalm 81:4 is addressed to the priests, to whom was committed not only the blowing of the two (later on a hundred and twenty, vid., 2 Chronicles 5:12) silver trumpets, but who appear also in Joshua 6:4 and elsewhere (cf. Psalm 47:6 with 2 Chronicles 20:28) as the blowers of the shophar. The Talmud observes that since the destruction of the Temple the names of instruments שׁופרא and חצוצרתּא are wont to be confounded one for the other (B. Sabbath 36a, Succa 34a), and, itself confounding them, infers from Numbers 10:10 the duty and significance of the blowing of the shophar (B. Erachin 3b). The lxx also renders both by σάλπιγξ; but the Biblical language mentions שׁופר and חצצרה, a horn (more especially a ram's horn) and a (metal) trumpet, side by side in Psalm 98:6; 1 Chronicles 15:28, and is therefore conscious of a difference between them. The Tפra says nothing of the employment of the shophar in connection with divine service, except that the commencement of every fiftieth year, which on this very account is called שׁנת היּבל, annus buccinae, is to be made known by the horn signal throughout all the land (Leviticus 25:9). But just as tradition by means of an inference from analogy derives the blowing of the shophar on the first of Tishri, the beginning of the common year, from this precept, so on the ground of the passage of the Psalm before us, assuming that בּחרשׁ, lxx ἐν νεομηνίᾳ, refers not to the first of Tishri but to the first of Nisan, we may suppose that the beginning of every month, but, in particular, the beginning of the month which was at the same time the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, was celebrated by a blowing of the shophar, as, according to Josephus, Bell. iv. 9, 12, the beginning and close of the Sabbath was announced from the top of the Temple by a priest with the salpinx. The poet means to say that the Feast of the Passover is to be saluted by the congregation with shouts of joy, by the Levites with music, and even beginning from the new moon (neomenia) of the Passover month with blowing of shophars, and that this is to be continued at the Feast of the Passover itself. The Feast of the Passover, for which Hupfeld devises a gloomy physiognomy,

(Note: In the first of his Commentationes de primitiva et vera festorum apud Hebraeos ratione, 1851, 4to.)

was a joyous festival, the Old Testament Christmas. 2 Chronicles 30:21 testifies to the exultation of the people and the boisterous music of the Levite priests, with which it was celebrated. According to Numbers 10:10, the trumpeting of the priests was connected with the sacrifices; and that the slaying of the paschal lambs took place amidst the Tantaratan of the priests (long-drawn notes interspersed with sharp shrill ones, תקיעה תרועה וקיעה), is expressly related of the post-exilic service at least.

(Note: Vid., my essay on the Passover rites during the time of the second Temple in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1855; and cf. Armknecht, Die heilige Psalmidoe (1855), S. 5.)

The phrase נתן תּף proceeds from the phrase נתן קול, according to which נתן directly means: to attune, strike up, cause to be heard. Concerning כּסה (Proverbs 7:20 כּסא) tradition is uncertain. The Talmudic interpretation (B. Rosh ha-Shana 8b, Betza 16a, and the Targum which is taken from it), according to which it is the day of the new moon (the first of the month), on which the moon hides itself, i.e., is not to be seen at all in the morning, and in the evening only for a short time immediately after sunset, and the interpretation that is adopted by a still more imposing array of authorities (lxx, Vulgate, Menahem, Rashi, Jacob Tam, Aben-Ezra, Parchon, and others), according to which a time fixed by computation (from כּסה equals כּסס, computare) is so named in general, are outweighed by the usage of the Syriac, in which Keso denotes the full moon as the moon with covered, i.e., filled-up orb, and therefore the fifteenth of the month, but also the time from that point onwards, perhaps because then the moon covers itself, inasmuch as its shining surface appears each day less large (cf. the Peshto, 1 Kings 12:32 of the fifteenth day of the eighth month, 2 Chronicles 7:10 of the twenty-third day of the seventh month, in both instances of the Feast of Tabernacles), after which, too, in the passage before us it is rendered wa-b-kese, which a Syro-Arabic glossary (in Rosenmller) explains festa quae sunt in medio mensis. The Peshto here, like the Targum, proceeds from the reading חגּינוּ, which, following the lxx and the best texts, is to be rejected in comparison with the singular חגּנוּ. If, however, it is to be read chgnw, and כּסה (according to Kimchi with Segol not merely in the second syllable, but with double Segol כּסה, after the form טנא equals טנא) signifies not interlunium, but plenilunium (instead of which also Jerome has in medio mense, and in Proverbs 7:20, in die plenae lunae, Aquila ἡμέρᾳ πανσελήνου), then what is meant is either the Feast of Tabernacles, which is called absolutely החג in 1 Kings 8:2 (2 Chronicles 5:3) and elsewhere, or the Passover, which is also so called in Isaiah 30:29 and elsewhere. Here, as Psalm 81:5 will convince us, the latter is intended, the Feast of unleavened bread, the porch of which, so to speak, is ערב פּסח together with the ליל שׁמּרים (Exodus 12:42), the night from the fourteenth to the fifteenth of Nisan. In Psalm 81:2, Psalm 81:3 they are called upon to give a welcome to this feast. The blowing of the shophar is to announce the commencement of the Passover month, and at the commencement of the Passover day which opens the Feast of unleavened bread it is to be renewed. The ל of ליום is not meant temporally, as perhaps in Job 21:30 : at the day equals on the day; for why was it not ביום? It is rather: towards the day, but בכסה assumes that the day has already arrived; it is the same Lamed as in Psalm 81:2, the blowing of the shophar is to concern this feast-day, it is to sound in honour of it.

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