Psalms 1


While the ancient belief was that David gave us all the psalms, modern thinkers since the middle ages at least consider the book of Psalms to have been composed by several authors.  The majority, however, are still assumed to be the work of David.  Many of the psalms are believed to have been written to be sung by the Levites in the Temple.  In any case, it is apparent that they were meant to be sung to musical accompaniment.  This first psalm is very obviously a song of praise, exhibiting a deep spirituality and a firmly centered faith in the Lord’s goodness and in the goodness of the world.

Of equal importance is the belief that at least some of the first-person psalms may be personifications of Israel.  In other words, the first-person “I” or “me” might refer to the people of Israel or Israel itself.  If the phrase “other nations” or something similar is found in a psalm, that seems to be a clue to the fact that the psalmist is indeed speaking for Israel in the first person.

אַשְׁרֵי־הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים לֹא עָמָד וּבְמֹושַׁב לֵצִים לֹא יָשָׁב׃   1:1

Psal. 1:1   Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

                            and does not stand in the way of sinners,

                    and does not sit in the assembly of scorners,

I imagine the assembly of scorners refers to those who scoff at the Torah, the law.  See the next verse.

כִּי אִמ בְּתֹורַת יְהוָה חֶפְצֹו וּבְתֹורָתֹו יֶהְגֶּה יֹוםָם וָלָיְלָה׃   1:2

Psal. 1:2   but his delight is in the Torah of the Lord,

                            and he would meditate day and night in His Torah.

וְהָיָה כְּעֵץ שָׁתוּל עַל־פַּלְגֵי מָיִם אֲשֶׁר פִּרְיֹו יִתֵּן בְּעִתֹּו וְעָלֵהוּ לֹא־יִבֹּול וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂה יַצְלִיחַ׃   1:3

Psal. 1:3   And he shall be like a tree planted beside streams of water

                            that it would bring forth its fruit in its season and its leaf will not wither,

                    and all that he may do would be profitable.

לֹא־כֵן הָרְשָׁעִים כִּי אִם־כַּמֹּץ אֲשֶׁר־תִּדְּפֶנּוּ רוּחַ׃   1:4

Psal. 1:4   Not so you wicked!

                            Only chaff, that you will be driven of the wind.

עַל־כֵּן לֹא־יָקֻמוּ רְשָׁעִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וְחַטָּאִים בַּעֲדַת צַדִּיקִים׃   1:5

Psal. 1:5   Thus the wicked shall not be established in judgment,

                            or sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

כִּי־יֹודֵעַ יְהוָה דֶּרֶךְ צַדִּיקִים וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים תֹּאבֵד׃   1:6

Psal. 1:6   For the Lord regards the way of the righteous,

                             but the way of the wicked shall perish.


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