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BOOK I

(Psalms 1–41)

Psalm 1

The Two Ways

1

Happy are those

who do not follow the advice of the wicked,

or take the path that sinners tread,

or sit in the seat of scoffers;

2

but their delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law they meditate day and night.

3

They are like trees

planted by streams of water,

which yield their fruit in its season,

and their leaves do not wither.

In all that they do, they prosper.

 

4

The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6

for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.


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Ps 1:1-6. The character and condition, and the present and future destiny, of the pious and the wicked are described and contrasted, teaching that true piety is the source of ultimate happiness, and sin of misery. As this is a summary of the teachings of the whole book, this Psalm, whether designedly so placed or not, forms a suitable preface.

1. Blessed—literally, "oh, the happiness"—an exclamation of strong emotion, as if resulting from reflecting on the subject. The use of the plural may denote fulness and variety (2Ch 9:7).

counsel … way … seat—With their corresponding verbs, mark gradations of evil, as acting on the principles, cultivating the society, and permanently conforming to the conduct of the wicked, who are described by three terms, of which the last is indicative of the boldest impiety (compare Ps 26:4, 5; Jer 15:17).

2. law—all of God's word then written, especially the books of Moses (compare Ps 119:1, 55, 97, &c.).

3. like a tree—(Jer 17:7, 8).

planted—settled, fast.

by—or, "over."

the rivers—canals for irrigation.

shall prosper—literally, "make prosper," brings to perfection. The basis of this condition and character is given (Ps 32:1).

4. not so—either as to conduct or happiness.

like the chaff—which, by Eastern modes of winnowing against the wind, was utterly blown away.

5. stand in the judgment—be acquitted. They shall be driven from among the good (Mt 25:45, 46).

6. knoweth the way—attends to and provides for them (Ps 101:6; Pr 12:10; Ho 13:5).

way of the wicked—All their plans will end in disappointment and ruin (Ps 37:13; 146:8; Pr 4:19).




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