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(NIV SB Notes) Ps 1–2 These two “orphan” psalms (having no title) are bound together by framing clauses (“Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord”; “Blessed are all who take refuge in him”) that highlight their function as the introduction to the whole Psalter. Together they point on the one hand to God’s law and to the instruction of the wisdom teachers (Ps 1) and on the other hand to a central theme in the Prophets, both Former and Latter, namely, what Yahweh has committed himself to accomplish for and through his anointed king from the house of David (Ps 2). As the port of entry into the Psalter, these two psalms make clear that those who would find their own voice in the Psalms and so would appropriate them as testimonies to their own faith must fit the profile of those called “blessed” here. See also note on Ps 40–41.
Ps 1 Godly wisdom here declares the final outcome of the two “ways”: “the way that sinners take” (v. 1) and “the way of the righteous” (v. 6). See 34:19–22; Ps 37; see also essay. The psalmist develops three contrasts that set the righteous apart from the wicked: (1) as to their “way” of life (vv. 1–2); (2) as to the life condition they experience (“like a tree,” “like chaff,” vv. 3–4); and, climactically, (3) as to God’s judgment on their different ways (vv. 5–6). As part of the introduction to the Psalter, this psalm reminds the reader (1) that those of whom the Psalms speak (using various terms) as the people of God must be characterized by delight in God’s revealed will—those who stubbornly choose the way of sinners have no place among them (v. 5; see Ps 15; 24)—and (2) that the godly piety that speaks in the Psalms is a faithful response to God’s written directives for life—which is the path that leads to blessedness. For a prime indicator of the psalm’s central theme, cf. the first and last words, which frame the whole (“Blessed … destruction”).
1:1 Speaks progressively of association with the ungodly and participation in their ungodly ways. Blessed. The happy condition of those who revere the Lord and do his will (see 94:12; 112:1; 119:1–2; 128:1; Pr 29:18; cf. Ps 41:1; 106:3; Pr 14:21; Isa 56:2) and who put their trust in him (see 40:4; 84:5, 12; 144:15; 146:5; Pr 16:20; Isa 30:18; Jer 17:7; cf. Ps 2:12; 34:8). Reference is not first of all to health and wealth but to the assurance and experience that they live under the guardianship and faithful care of the gracious Lord of life. The Psalter begins by proclaiming the blessedness of the godly and ends by calling all living things to praise God in his earthly and heavenly sanctuaries (Ps 150). walk in step with the wicked. Order one’s life according to the deliberations and advice of the wicked (see Pr 1:10–19). stand. Position oneself. sinners. Those for whom wickedness is habitual—a way of life (see v. 5). sit. Settle oneself. mockers. Those who ridicule God and defiantly reject his law (see Pr 1:22 and note).
1:2 meditates on his law. Seeking guidance for life in God’s law rather than in the deliberations of the wicked. day and night. See Jos 1:8.
1:3 like a tree … does not wither. See Jer 17:8; a simile of the blessedness of the righteous. Such a tree withstands the buffeting of the winds and, flourishing, it blesses people and animals with its unfailing fruit and shade.
1:4 like chaff … blows away. A simile of the wretchedness of the wicked. Chaff is carried away by the lightest wind, and its removal brings about cleansing by extracting what is utterly useless (see note on Ru 1:22).
1:5 will not stand in the judgment. Will not be able to withstand God’s wrath when he judges (see 76:7; 130:3; Ezr 9:15; Na 1:6 and note; Mal 3:2; Mt 25:31–46; Rev 6:17). assembly. The worshiping assembly at God’s sanctuary (as in 22:25; 26:12; 35:18; 40:9–10; 111:1; 149:1; see Ps 15; 24). righteous. One of several terms in the OT for God’s people; it presents them as those who honor God and order their lives in all things according to his will.
1:6 way … way. What is here said of the two ways applies by implication also to those who choose them (see 37:20).
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(ZSB Notes) Study Notes
Pss 1-2 Introduction to the Psalter: The Righteous and the Wicked, The Lord and His King. The first two psalms of Book I introduce most of the great themes of the book of Psalms. These include the contrast between the two ways (that of the righteous versus that of the wicked), the importance of relying on God and his instructions, God’s sovereignty and rule over all people and nations (and his attendant concern for them), the interplay between divine and human kingship, and God as a place of refuge for all.
Although composed separately, the two psalms complement each other well:
Ps 1 presents the two “ways” on the level of the individual, while Ps 2 does so on the level of the nations. Ps 1 presents the ideal righteous individual, rooted in God’s Word, while Ps 2 highlights God’s chosen king, whose primary kingly duty was also to be rooted in God’s Word (Deut 17:18-20). Ps 1 begins with the blessedness (1:1) of the righteous individual rooted in God’s Word, while Ps 2 ends with the blessedness (2:12c) of all persons who take refuge in the Lord. Ps 1 speaks of the righteous one who “meditates” (hāgâ ) on God’s Word (1:2), while Ps 2 speaks of God’s enemies who “meditate” (hāgâ, which the NIV translates as “plot”) on rebellion (2:1). The difference in their focus (God’s Word versus rebellion) reveals the contrasts between the two types of people.
Ps 1 The Key to Success: Stay Rooted in God’s Word. This psalm succinctly contrasts the way of the righteous (vv. 1-3) and the way of the wicked (vv. 4-5), ending by concisely summarizing the two ways (v. 6). The righteous are “like a tree” (v. 3) and the wicked “like chaff” (v. 4); God’s word (the focal point of vv. 1-3) is missing in the life of the wicked (vv. 4-5 do not mention it). Because Ps 1 focuses on God’s word (or law or instruction: tōrâ ), some classify it as a “wisdom” psalm (see introduction to Ps 34). As such, it signals that rootedness in God’s instruction is the key to success in life.
1:1 Blessed. Hebrew ʾašrê; often translated “happy” or “fortunate.” It refers to how true happiness comes to those who refuse to identify with the way of the wicked but who instead are rooted in God’s word. (For the other main Hebrew word for blessing, see note on 3:8.) walk in step . . . stand . . . sit. These verbs of bodily motion are metaphors for the progressive internal attitudes and external behaviors of God’s enemies. The progression moves from casual identification (“walk in step”) to complete association (“sit”). The single righteous individual of vv. 1-3 contrasts with the many wicked ones in v. 1; that is, the righteous person is to stand out and away from the crowd.
1:2 The key to the psalm: success in life depends on saturation in God’s word. delight. The righteous person takes joy or pleasure in God’s word because of the inherently valuable qualities in it; this word elsewhere speaks of a person’s delight in other valuable objects, such as gold, a secure dwelling place, or even a man’s delight in a woman. law of the Lord. Some take this to refer to the law of Moses given in Deuteronomy, others to the larger body of Mosaic laws in Exodus to Deuteronomy, and still others to the entire Pentateuch. meditates. Here, one who delights in God’s law “meditates” on it day and night. Such an attitude is also at the heart of what the ideal Israelite king should display (Deut 17:18-20) as well as the key to Joshua’s leadership (Josh 1:7-8). The underlying idea is something audible. In the ancient world, reading was done aloud, so to “meditate” meant to read aloud and ponder.
1:3 tree planted by streams of water. The results of saturation in God’s word are found in a delightful horticultural image: a tree firmly rooted in well-watered soil (cf. Jer 17:5-8). they. A singular “they,” since its antecedent is singular, and it continues the image of the righteous individual standing out against the crowd that v. 1 introduces. prospers. Not financial well-being, but ultimate success in life when properly oriented to God and one’s relationship with him. It echoes God’s promise to Joshua in Josh 1:8 and also resembles Jesus’ words in Matt 6:33. Sometimes the blessing of the righteous is near in time (Gen 24:35; 1 Kgs 3:11-13); other times God’s people must wait for his timing (Hab 2:2-3; 3:16).
Wall painting in the tomb of Sennedjem (Sinjin), Deir el-Medina, Thebes, shows a tree planted by water (Ps 1:3).
Richard Ashworth/Robert Harding/Glow Images
1:4 Not so the wicked! Contrasts with the final statement of v. 3: “whatever they do prospers.” chaff. Useless husks of grains such as wheat; blows away in the winnowing process; even the lightest wind will carry it away. This contrasts powerfully with the firmly rooted tree in v. 3.
1:5 the judgment . . . the assembly of the righteous. Represent the institutions of the community in Israel (for “judgment,” cf. Prov 2:22; for “assembly,” cf. Josh 20:9), although certainly the statements in v. 4 hold true for the final judgment as well (Eccl 12:14; Matt 5:5). See note on 40:9,10. Significantly, there is no trace of God’s word in the lives of the wicked (cf. v. 2).
1:6 A final, succinct contrast wraps up the psalm’s message. watches over. Or “knows,” a relational word used even for sexual union (e.g., “made love to” in Gen 4:1). The Lord has intimate knowledge and experience of the way of all “righteous” persons (the word is now plural); the flip side is that the way of the wicked leads to destruction (see note on 2:12).
Both copied from OT on my iPad
Edited by Dan Francis, 01 September 2015 - 07:31 PM.