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Psalms 1-2

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Looking at the big picture of what major themes stand out?
Doctrine of the two ways.
Charles Spurgeon, who also calls a “Preface Psalm,” adds, “It is the psalmist’s desire to teach us the way to blessedness, and to warn us of the sure destruction of sinners. This then, is the matter of the first psalm, which may be looked upon in some respects, as the text upon which the whole of the psalms make up a divine sermon.”
Way of the righteous
How one walks, our actions have a direct impact on our lives.
Way of the wicked
The psalm does not merely describe the lifestyle of the wicked; it shows the fruit of that way of life and its end. To the unsaved, “the way of sinners” may seem wonderful and exciting. It is the track they want to be on. But the psalmist warns that it is actually a fast track to emptiness and frustration here as well as judgment in the life to come.
Similar ideas are found all through the scriptures...
, , Sermon on the mound, can you list the contrasts of the two choices?
Two gates
Two roads
Two Trees
Two types of fruit
Two houses
Two foundations
Tremper Longman III, an associate professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, writes, “ deliberately [draws] two portraits in our minds: the portrait of the wicked man and the portrait of the wise man. The question then is posed: Which are we? As we enter the sanctuary of the psalms to worship and petition the Lord, whose side are we on?
expresses the direction of men that have chosen to not walk in the ways of the Lord and have chosen a wicked path.
In the very opening of this psalm what is it really saying? “Blessed is the man”
Important Note: Blessed here is the Hebrew word asre. It is a concrete plural noun. A concrete noun is one that sits next to another noun with a x of y relationship. Also, the word for man here is ish. What other word in Hebrew is used for man? Why are the words here used?
What other word is there in the Hebrew language is there for bless?
There are two verbs in Hebrew meaning “to bless.” One is bārak and the other ʾāšar. Can any differences between them be tabulated? For one thing bārak is used by God when he “blesses” somebody. But there is no instance where ʾāšar is ever on God’s lips. When one “blesses” God the verb is bārak, never ʾāšar. One suggestion to explain this sharp distinction, i.e, that ʾāšar is reserved for man, is that ʾāšar is a word of envious desire, “to be envied with desire is the man who trusts in the Lord.” God is not man and therefore there are no grounds for aspiring to his state even in a wishful way. Similarly God does not envy man, never desires something man is or has, which he does not have, but would like to have. Therefore God never pronounces man “blessed” (ʾašrê) (Janzen). It should also be pointed out that when bārak is used the initiative comes from God. God can bestow his blessing even when man doesn’t deserve it. On the other hand, to be blessed (ʾašrê), man has to do something.
“The blessings of (ʾašrê) the man.” The formula indicates that the person who is blessed has or will receive happiness and fortunate circumstances.
To understand the word ish we must go back and look at .
Looking at this passage what does it suggest about the word ish and isha?
Bring in the Hebrew pictographic thoughts on these words...
Ponder in light of , what kind of patterns do we see in our text?
The most striking feature of Hebrew poetry is what is known as parallelism, that is, saying the same thing or a variety of the same thing, in two linked lines. That is what we have here in , in the beginning of this psalm there are three linked lines and there are three parallel terms in each line, can you identify them? Do you see any type of progression?
That is what we have here, only in this verse there are three linked lines and there are three parallel terms in each line:
“walk, stand, sit”;
“counsel, way, seat”;
“wicked, sinners, mockers.”
The way of the wicked is downhill and that sinners always go from bad to worse.
the way of the wicked is downhill and that sinners always go from bad to worse.
Spurgeon said, “When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God—the evil is rather practical than habitual—but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who willfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed.”
Spurgeon said, “When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God—the evil is rather practical than habitual—but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who willfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed.”
In verse 2 what is difficult about how the verse is translated into English? What does it mean to delight in the law of the Lord? The parallelism here ties it together with meditates day and night, what might these two cola mean?
Word Studies:
Delight (Singular construct noun) - ; , ; , , ,
(ḥēpeṣ). Delight, pleasure. The noun ḥēpeṣ is used more frequently, thirty-nine times, and in varying contexts. It is used in such expressions as “land of delight” () or “words of delight” (), where it speaks of the pleasure which the “land” or “words” give.
law (Singular feminine construct noun)
(ḥēpeṣ). Delight, pleasure. The noun ḥēpeṣ is used more frequently, thirty-nine times, and in varying contexts. It is used in such expressions as “land of delight” () or “words of delight” (), where it speaks of the pleasure which the “land” or “words” give.

Human “pleasure” (in contrast to ʾhb) never has God/Yahweh as an obj., but rather the “word of Yahweh” (Jer 6:10), his “commandments” (Psa 112:1; 119:35), also “knowledge of his ways” (Isa 58:2; Job 21:14), “insight” (Prov 18:2), “blessing” (Psa 109:17), and “nearness to God” (Isa 58:2).

Human “pleasure” (in contrast to ʾhb) never has God/Yahweh as an obj., but rather the “word of Yahweh” (Jer 6:10), his “commandments” (Psa 112:1; 119:35), also “knowledge of his ways” (Isa 58:2; Job 21:14), “insight” (Prov 18:2), “blessing” (Psa 109:17), and “nearness to God” (Isa 58:2).

Wood, L. J. (1999). 712 חָפֵץ. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 311). Chicago: Moody Press.
Law (Singular feminine construct noun)

The basic idea of the root yārâ is “to throw” or “to cast” with the strong sense of control by the subject.

Scope of the Word

The word tôrâ means basically “teaching” whether it is the wise man instructing his son or God instructing Israel. The wise give insight into all aspects of life so that the young may know how to conduct themselves and to live a long blessed life (Prov 3:1f.). So too God, motivated by love, reveals to man basic insight into how to live with each other and how to approach God. Through the law God shows his interest in all aspects of man’s life which is to be lived under his direction and care. Law of God stands parallel to word of the Lord to signify that law is the revelation of God’s will (e.g. Isa 1:10). In this capacity it becomes the nation’s wisdom and understanding so that others will marvel at the quality of Israel’s distinctive life style (Deut 4;6). Thus there is a very similar understanding of the role of teaching with its results in the wisdom school, in the priestly instruction, and the role of the law with its results for all the people of the covenant.

law (Singular feminine construct noun)
Meditates

hāgâ occurs primarily in poetry, especially in Ps and Isa. It is used in the Qal, except for Isa 8:19 (Hiphil).

The basic meaning of hāgâ and its cognates is a low sound, characteristic of the moaning of a dove (Isa 38:14; 59:1 l) or the growling of a lion over its prey (Isa 31:4).

Another positive use relates to meditating upon the Word of God, which, like the plots of the wicked (Ps 38:12 [H 13]), goes on day and night (Josh 1:8; Ps 1:2). Perhaps the Scripture was read half out loud in the process of meditation. The psalmist also speaks about meditating upon God (63:6 [H 7]) and his works (77:12 [H 13]; 143:5).

Old Testament VII: Psalms 1–50 Continual Meditation Leads to Blessing

ORIGEN: Certainly, even if I shall not have been able to understand everything, if I am, nevertheless, busily engaged in the divine Scriptures and “I meditate on the law of God day and night” and at no time at all do I desist inquiring, discussing, investigating, and certainly, what is greatest, praying God and asking for understanding from him who “teaches humankind knowledge,” I shall appear to dwell “at the well of vision.” … You too, therefore, if you shall always search the prophetic visions, if you always inquire, always desire to learn, if you meditate on these things, if you remain in them, you too will receive a blessing from the Lord and dwell “at the well of vision.” For the Lord Jesus will appear to you also, “in the way,” and will open the Scriptures to you so that you may say, “Was not our heart burning within us when he opened to us the Scriptures?” But he appears to those who think about him and meditate on him and live “in his law day and night.” HOMILIES ON PSALMS 11.3.

Another positive use relates to meditating upon the Word of God, which, like the plots of the wicked (Ps 38:12 [H 13]), goes on day and night (Josh 1:8; Ps 1:2). Perhaps the Scripture was read half out loud in the process of meditation. The psalmist also speaks about meditating upon God (63:6 [H 7]) and his works (77:12 [H 13]; 143:5).

Old Testament VII: Psalms 1–50 Meditation Leads to Action

MEDITATION LEADS TO ACTION. ORIGEN: [The blessed person] meditates on the law of the Lord day and night, not as one who entrusts the words of the law to his memory without works, but as one who by meditating performs works consistent with it, until through the disciplined meditation of the works that the law instructs, he is prepared for excelling in all the things that apply for living perfectly according to the law. SELECTIONS FROM THE PSALMS 1.2.

MEDITATION MEANS PERFORMING THE LAW. HILARY OF POITIERS: Meditation in the law does not lie in reading its words but in pious performance of its injunctions; not in a mere perusal of the books and writings but in a practical meditation and exercise in their respective contents, and in a fulfillment of the law by the works we do by night and day, as the apostle says: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” HOMILY ON PSALM 1.12.

REBUILDING WHAT ADAM DESTROYED. ARNOBIUS THE YOUNGER: The memory of the law of God overtakes [the blessed person’s] own will. And day and night he models his behavior through meditation on divine law so that the life that Adam destroyed by his contempt, he himself may find by guarding it, remaining deep in the flowing water of the law, taking hold of the everlasting tree of life; so, finally, whatever he does will prosper. COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS 1.

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