Sunday, May 27, 2012

Psalms on Sunday: Psalm 1

Hello, everyone! Now that I've gone through the whole Bible with Scripture Sundays, I thought I'd start over with the Psalms and discuss one each Sunday. There are 150 Psalms, so I have enough material for the next three years! :-)

Psalm 1 is just six verses long, and it's all about contrasting a godly man (and the good things he will receive from God) with ungodly people and the trouble that will come to them. Here's the full Psalm in the King James version, copied from


1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


So we've got nature metaphors going on, here. The "godly man" is compared to a very specific type of tree, a flourishing tree planted near a water source. The tree produces fruit and it's untouched by rot or blight, so this makes for a lovely image. The "ungodly" get a nature metaphor as well, but they are compares to wheat chaff, a waste product that can't be eaten by people--it's essentially useless. While the tree is rooted securely in one spot, the chaff has no root and can be blown around by a breeze.

The breakdown of the Psalm reads almost like a well-written public speech: the main point of the psalm is discussing the godly man, but as a secondary point, the writer wants to contrast the godly to the ungodly. So the first three verses establish what the godly man is like, the next two focus on the ungodly, then the final verse strongly contrasts the two types of people.

The godly man isn't just contrasted to the ungodly, either; in verse 1, he's shown as someone who totally avoids their influence. He doesn't listen to their advice, hang around them, or join in with their scorning and mocking. Instead, he takes his joy in following God and thinking about God's word.

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