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Verses of Psalms 1

Psalms 1 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

This Psalm is the development in poetical language and imagery of the thought repeated in so many forms in the Book of Proverbs (e.g. Pro 2:21-22), that it is well with the righteous and ill with the wicked. The belief in Jehovah’s righteous government of the world was a fundamental principle of Old Testament religion, and it is here asserted without any of those doubts and questionings which disturbed the minds of many Psalmists and Prophets, especially in the later stages of Old Testament revelation.

The Psalm forms an appropriate prologue to the Psalter, which records the manifold experiences of the godly. For it affirms the truth to which they clung, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, in spite of the sufferings of the righteous and the triumphs of the wicked, that the only sure and lasting happiness for man is to be found in fellowship with God.

The Psalm expresses a general truth, and does not appear to refer to any particular person or occasion. Hence date and authorship must remain uncertain. Some (without good reason) have assigned it to David, during his persecution by Saul, or during Absalom’s rebellion: Dean (now Bp.) Perowne conjectures that it may have been written by Solomon as an introduction to a collection of David’s poems: Prof. Cheyne thinks that it was a product of the fresh enthusiasm for the study of the Law in the time of Ezra.

Two considerations however limit the period to which it may be assigned.

(1) It is earlier than Jeremiah, who paraphrases and expands part of it in ch. Psa 17:5-8 with reference to Jehoiakim or Jehoiachin.

(2) The most striking parallels in thought and language are to be found in the middle section of the Book of Proverbs (10 24), which dates from a comparatively early period in the history of Judah, if not from the reign of Solomon himself. The ‘scorner’ is a character hardly mentioned outside of the Book of Proverbs: the contrast of the righteous and the wicked, and the belief that prosperity is the reward of piety, and adversity of ungodliness, are especially conspicuous in the middle section of that book: and further striking coincidences in detail of thought and language will easily be found.

The absence of a title distinguishes it from the mass of Psalms in Book I., and points to its having been derived from a different source. It may have been composed or selected as a preface to the original ‘Davidic’ collection ( Introd. p. lviii), or, though this is less probable, placed here by the final editor of the Psalter.

The Psalm consists of two equal divisions:

i. The enduring prosperity of the righteous (Psa 1:1-3),

ii. contrasted with the speedy ruin of the wicked (Psa 1:4-6).

Observe the affinity of this Psalm to 26; and still more to 112, which celebrates the blessedness of the righteous, and begins and ends with the same words ( Blessed … perish): and contrast with its simple confidence the questionings of 37 and 73, in which the problem of the prosperity of the wicked is treated as a trial of faith.

Verses of Psalms 1

Consult other comments:

Psalms 1:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 1:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 1:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 1:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 1:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 1:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 1:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 1:0 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Psalms 1:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 1:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges