Le blog de la Bergerie
Psalm 1 - and commentaries, mine and others
Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked,
Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.
Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God's law they study day and night.
They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season;
Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.
But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind.
Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners sit in the assembly of the just.
The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.
My own introduction:
This is the very first Psalm out of the 150 of the Book of Psalms! It is a beautiful and forceful one, a reather short one (less than 20 verses) using various nature images to illustrate sharply the differences between the good and the bad, and, in the process, setting clear boundaries for all of us.
I love it because right there, in a few striking sentences, God's power as the creator of heaven and earth is clearly set in front of us, and, at the very same time, it brilliantly summarized our own place in the creation!
Well, this is how I feel about it, this psalm resonates so well with my personal world view! And furthermore, I derive so much encouragement and enthusiasm from it that it is a joy to read it, hear it and think about it, each time! To me, it is a Psalm of Hope and Determination.
I have added my own commentaries but to make sure you will find useful information in this page, dear reader, I turned to experts and added their commentaries too.
Commentary from the New American Bible:
A preface to the whole Book of Psalms, contrasting with striking similes the destiny of the good and the wicked. The Psalm view life as activity, as choosing either the good or the bad. Each “way” brings its inevitable consequences. The wise through their good actions will experience rootedness and life, and the wicked, rootlessness and death".
The way: a common biblical term for manner of living or moral conduct.
The wicked: those who by their actions distance themselves from God’s life-giving presence.
Praying the Psalms, a commentary - by Stanley L. Jaki:
"Poetry, more than any other form of human discourse, reveals the intoxicatingly and suggestive power of words."
"The man who wants to be just will keep focusing his attention on eternal verities, undiluted by captious reinterpretations. This focusing is the matrix of any true prayer. Not so much an intellectual exercise as a prayerful reflection is on hand whenever the just man ponders “the Lord’s law day and night”. Such a man, only such, will bring his fruit “in due season, “that is, in a season known only to God, and in the measure which He alone knows in its justness.
These last restrictions evoke the perspective of the New Covenant as the very novel fulfillment of the Old, and rightly so because, being genuine prayers, the psalms always look forward. Some of the psalms do this so emphatically as to exude a messianic sense".
Pathways in Scripture (by Damasus Winzen)
“The psalms became the prayer book of the Church – not because of their poetic beauty; not because they voice the whole scale of human emotions, from the shout of the triumphant conqueror to the wailing of the bereaved and oppressed; not even because they are inspired, and in them “God has praised himself, that he may be praised well in men "(St. Augustine) - rather because of their liturgical character.
In its public worship the Israelites people were lifted up above the level of everyday life and became conscious of its divine destiny. The whole meaning of its existence crystallized in the ritual. Past and future, beginning and end, met in the “today” of the feast. … Not only did events compenetrate each other in liturgical worship but also people. The “fathers” of the past, the leaders of the present, grew together in the perspective of the future Messiah.
It is this twofold compenetration of events and of people that found in the Psalms its most perfect expression and that enables them to be as “actual” on the lips of the Christians as on the lips of the Jews. In the person of Christ all persons and peoples, and the whole of mankind, compenetrate one another; his work of redemption, his death and resurrection, heads all events that make the history of the chosen people. The compenetration of events gives a Christian meaning to the whole Psalter … makes it possible to hear in the Psalms the voice of Christ addressing his Father, or the voice of the Church directed to Christ and through him to the Father.
Links to my own musings on a few Psalms - on this site of le blog de la bergerie.com :
- Psalm 1 in English, the very first Psalm! with my own reactions and also commentaries
that I cherished, from others
- Psaume 1 en français, mes commentaires sur ce merveilleux mais parfois étonnant
psaume en première place dans le psautier
- Psalm 8 and Autumn photos All photos are from Vercland
- Psaume 51 en français, le Miserere, avec des photos de plages et du Pacifique
(en Californie du nord): Ocean Beach et Mile Rock Beach
- Psalm 65 in English, with a slide show on the Pacific Ocean (from the Sunset District)
- Psaume 85 et La Sagesse, en français, et des photos de fleurs des champs
- Psaume 95 en français and in English too, la creation, la joie et l'effroi
- Psaume 99 et Saint François d'Assise, en français, extraits de "Laudate Si"
- Psaume 139 en français, en format album photos avec les versets de ce psaume
Additional commentaries on Psalm 1 - outside of this site
Psalm 1 on New Advent;
Psalm 1 from the Divine Lamp on Wordpress;
Psalms and Saint Augustine with many links and references