What does Psalm 34:8 mean?
ESV: Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
NIV: Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
NASB: Taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
CSB: Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!
NLT: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
KJV: O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
NKJV: Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Verse Commentary:
Once again, the book of Psalms provides a poetic phrase used often in Christian literature and songs. The expression "taste and see that the LORD is good" combines several ideas. To "taste" means something more than a fleeting relationship. It means to feed on the Lord—to accept His truth deep into one's self (John 6:53)—which involves reading the written Word of God voraciously and mulling over it as part of our discipleship. To truly know God, we need to absorb His message as if we were eating it (Revelation 10:2–10).

When the Lord commissioned Joshua to lead the Hebrews into Canaan, He instructed him to meditate day and night on His Word (Joshua 1:8). Everyone who seriously studies and applies God's Word learns firsthand that the Lord is good, and he also finds the Lord is an available and reliable stronghold. Further, the person who tastes and sees that the Lord is good finds blessing: true happiness. Jesus promised: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6).
Verse Context:
Psalm 34:8–14 invites others to experience the Lord's goodness. David has just praised the Lord for delivering him from the Philistines at Gath (1 Samuel 21:10–15). Now, he celebrates what God does for those who fear Him: He gives His people happiness; He protects them; He provides bountifully for them; and He grants them long life.
Chapter Summary:
David praises the Lord for delivering him from the Philistines, and he invites others to join him in singing joyfully to the Lord. He extols the virtue of fearing the Lord and remembering His goodness. He encourages the Lord's people to respect God and offers wisdom leading to a long and blessed life. At the end of this psalm David emphasizes the distinction the Lord draws between the wicked and the righteous. He cares for the righteous and will not condemn them, but He condemns the wicked.
Chapter Context:
David composed this psalm after he escaped from the Philistines at Gath. He accomplished this by feigning insanity and later sheltered in the cave of Adullum. This experience is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10—22:1. Like Psalm 25, this is an acrostic psalm. Every verse except the final one begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. First Peter 2:3 alludes to the psalm's eighth verse, and 1 Peter 3:10–12 quotes verses 12–16 of Psalm 34. John 19:36 refers to Psalm 34:20.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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