1 How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers. 2 Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts. 4 Not so with the wicked! Instead they are like wind-driven chaff. 5 For this reason the wicked cannot withstand judgment, nor can sinners join the assembly of the godly.
6 They will be like a shrub in the arid rift valley. They will not experience good things even when they happen. It will be as though they were growing in the stony wastes in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one can live. 7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me, who put their confidence in me. 8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream whose roots spread out toward the water. It has nothing to fear when the heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought. It does not stop bearing fruit. 9 The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it? 10 I, the Lord, probe into people’s kidneys10. I examine people’s hearts. I deal with each person according to how he has behaved. I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.
Notes and References
"... As a didactic psalm, Psalm 1 encourages the pursuit of godliness by contrasting God’s rewards and his judgment; therefore, the psalm tends to be idealistic. For example, it does not claim to deal with the totality of human life, such as the problems of suffering (cf. Psalms 37; 73; Job) or the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes). The imagery of Psalm 1 resembles Jeremiah 17:7-8 but differs in structure (cf. James A. Durlesser, “Poetic Style in Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17:5-8,” Sem 9 : 30-48). The contrastive juxtaposition between the righteous and the wicked is heightened by the change from positive (P) to negative (N) verbal forms (NPPNNP), as analyzed by Rosario Pius Merendino (“Sprachkunst in Psalm 1,” VT 29 : 45-60) ..."
VanGemeren, Willem A. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (pp. 147-148) Zondervan, 2008
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