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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 1

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-6


I. The Jewish Saint.— This and Psalms 2 (see, however, on Psalms 33) are the only Pss. in Book I. which have no title or superscription. In Acts 13:33, there is very ancient authority for reading “ in the first Ps.,” though the Ps. quoted stands second in the Psalter, as we have it. Origen had seen Psalms 1 joined with Psalms 2 in a Heb. copy, and the same arrangement is still found in some Heb. MSS. Probably then Psalms 1 was prefixed as an introduction to the rest of the Psalter after its completion. But it is not one with Psalms 2, nor even resembles it. It expresses the general spirit of the Psalter admirably. For that very reason it does not reach a high level. It has nothing of the spiritual tone which is so striking in 4, 73, and in other Pss. Rather it represents the current orthodoxy of its time, which must have been a very late one. It is legalistic, and accentuates the doctrine of retribution here and (probably) hereafter. It is not metrical, and its best imagery, that of the tree planted by the riverside, is borrowed from Jeremiah 17:8, and has lost something of its original beauty in the appropriation.

Psalms 1:1-3 . Negatively the righteous man avoids those who are wicked and who turn religion into mockery. These last scorn self-restraint and piety, and in effect, though not in theory, are atheists. They scorn God and He scorns them ( Proverbs 3:34). Positively the saintly scribe delights in the fear of Yahweh (so emend Psalms 1:2 a) . He spends day and night in the study of the Law and therefore prospers in all that he undertakes.

Psalms 1:4 f. The contrary fate of the wicked. They will not be able to maintain themselves (or their cause) in the Day of Judgment. They are to be condemned in the congregation of the righteous, i.e. of the new Israel, sifted by judgment and absolutely pure. Judgment is given on a moral principle. Yahweh takes cognisance of the righteous, whereas the way, or conduct, of the wicked brings about their own ruin.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 1". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/psalms-1.html. 1919.
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