O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him – Psalm 34:8
Meaning of Psalm 34:8
The meaning of the verse, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” from Psalm 34:8, is that God is like a refuge from the troubles and hurdles of life. The word for “trusteth” in the Bible is a refuge. King David wants to tell the reader to build a personal relationship with God to experience His goodness. He further emphasizes that God can either protect him from danger or give him or her the tools to overcome it. The phrase “taste and see the Lord is good” also implies that one should partake in the Holy Communion regularly to taste or feel God’s presence personally.
Interpretations of Psalm 34:8
The book of Psalms is filled with hymns and songs, and Psalm 34:8 is one among them. Since the words and phrases come with hidden contexts, making it is easy to draw multiple interpretations. Here are some interpretations of the verse.
Interpretation #1 God demands blind trust from his followers
The interpretation of the verse, “blessed is the man that trusteth in him”, means God is saying that in order to be blessed and successful in life, one must blindly trust him. This might not work for someone like, for example, an atheist or a non-Christian as they are not churchgoers and therefore don’t follow God. Additionally, blindly trusting God might involve not knowing the future and yet placing complete trust in God’s plan. Hence, the reader may believe that by asking questions or not trusting God completely, then he or she might miss out on blessings.
Interpretation #2 A person will have success in life if he/she trusts God
Blessings of prosperity, peace, and success are repeatedly mentioned in the Bible for anyone who trusts God. There are numerous occasions in the Bible where leaders, kings, prophets, disciples, etc., placed their trust in God, and God came through for them. For example, protecting King David from King Saul’s wrath. Hence, the meaning of the verse, “blessed is the man that trusteth in him” is that having confidence in the Lord can lead to one’s success in life. So, if a person wants to buy a house, get a good job, earn a lot of money, etc., then having confidence in God is crucial.
Interpretation #3 All bad experiences are a person’s fault
Another interpretation of the verse, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him”, the reader believes that if a person experiences troubles and hardships, then he or she must take the blame as they failed to put their trust in God. Most people, especially atheists or agnostics, like to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Hence they might miss out on their blessings. Hence, when someone loses their job, gets divorced, loses their dear ones, or goes bankrupt, it is their fault.
Interpretation #4 Food and provisions are equal to God
While this interpretation is not believed widely in Christianity, Indian culture, which also look up to the Bible as a Holy book, assumes that food is also God. As not all Hindus are vegetarians and consume meat, they also worship animals as deities. In Christianity, however, a few readers may interpret the following words of Jesus, “I am the bread of life”, literally. Hence, “O taste and see that the Lord is good” is the symbolism of having bread as communion on Sundays.
Interpretation #5 Trust in God by partaking in the Holy Communion
The interpretation of the verse, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him”, is that God is good, and the reader or believer will be blessed if he or she trusts in Him. After the resurrection, the church believes that partaking in Holy Communion is an act of trusting God. Holy Communion is taken in churches in the form of bread and grape wine or juice by those who are baptized in every denomination. Symbolically, the phrase “taste and see” describes the act of trusting, hearing, and seeking God. The next verse, Psalm 34:9, means trusting God in times of fear. Additionally, in the New Testament, Jesus calls himself the bread of life. Hence, Holy Communion represents Jesus’ body as the bread of life. So, the reader believes that “tasting and seeing God” through Holy Communion leads to blessing and feeling protected.
Historical background of Psalm 34:8
Psalm 34 is titled “A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed”. A fugitive from Saul, David went to the Philistine city of Gath but found no refuge there and narrowly escaped. These events are recorded in the first book of Samuel. Following that, David went to the cave at Adullam where a lot of desperate men joined him. This joyful and wise Psalm must have been written from that cave and sung in the presence of all those men along with him. Psalm 34, in particular, is about King David praising God for his faithfulness and being his refuge in times of trouble.
Literary Devices of Psalm 34:8
Psalm 34:8 is a poetic phrase used in Christian songs and literature and consists of interesting literary devices. Below are some examples.
Alliteration – In the verse psalm 34:8, there is a good use of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. for example, the sound of/th/ in ‘O taste and see that the LORD is good’.
Theme – The verse psalm 34:8 has two major themes, for example, God’s love and assurance
Pathos – The author of the verse is trying to persuade the reader so that the reader will choose to believe in God and be obedient.