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Psalms 112:1-6

Context
Psalm 112 1 

112:1 Praise the Lord!

How blessed is the one 2  who obeys 3  the Lord,

who takes great delight in keeping his commands. 4 

112:2 His descendants 5  will be powerful on the earth;

the godly 6  will be blessed.

112:3 His house contains wealth and riches;

his integrity endures. 7 

112:4 In the darkness a light 8  shines for the godly,

for each one who is merciful, compassionate, and just. 9 

112:5 It goes well for the one 10  who generously lends money,

and conducts his business honestly. 11 

112:6 For he will never be upended;

others will always remember one who is just. 12 

1 sn Psalm 112. This wisdom psalm lists some of the benefits of living a godly life. The psalm is an acrostic. After the introductory call to praise, every poetic line (twenty-two in all) begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

2 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew wisdom literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The individual is representative of a larger group, called the “godly” in vv. 3-4. The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender specific “man” with the more neutral “one.” The generic masculine pronoun is used in the following verses.

3 tn Heb “fears.”

4 tn Heb “in his commands he delights very much.” The words “in keeping” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Taking delight in the law is metonymic here for obeying God’s moral will. See Ps 1:2.

5 tn Or “offspring”; Heb “seed.”

6 tn Heb “His seed will be mighty on the earth, the generation of the godly.” The Hebrew term דוֹר (dor, “generation”) could be taken as parallel to “offspring” and translated “posterity,” but the singular more likely refers to the godly as a class. See BDB 189-90 s.v. for other examples where “generation” refers to a class of people.

7 tn Heb “stands forever.”

8 tn In this context “light” symbolizes divine blessing in its various forms (see v. 2), including material prosperity and stability.

9 tn Heb “merciful and compassionate and just.” The Hebrew text has three singular adjectives, which are probably substantival and in apposition to the “godly” (which is plural, however). By switching to the singular, the psalmist focuses on each individual member of the group known as the “godly.” Note how vv. 5-9, like vv. 1-2a, use the singular to describe the representative godly individual who typifies the whole group.

10 tn Heb “man.”

11 tn Heb “he sustains his matters with justice.”

12 tn Heb “for an eternal memorial a just [one] will be.”



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