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Psalms 1:1

Context

Book 1
(Psalms 1-41)

Psalm 1 1 

1:1 How blessed 2  is the one 3  who does not follow 4  the advice 5  of the wicked, 6 

or stand in the pathway 7  with sinners,

or sit in the assembly 8  of scoffers! 9 

Psalms 34:9

Context

34:9 Remain loyal to 10  the Lord, you chosen people of his, 11 

for his loyal followers 12  lack nothing!

Psalms 41:1

Context
Psalm 41 13 

For the music director; a psalm of David.

41:1 How blessed 14  is the one who treats the poor properly! 15 

When trouble comes, 16  the Lord delivers him. 17 

Psalms 65:4

Context

65:4 How blessed 18  is the one whom you choose,

and allow to live in your palace courts. 19 

May we be satisfied with the good things of your house –

your holy palace. 20 

Psalms 84:12

Context

84:12 O Lord who rules over all, 21 

how blessed are those who trust in you! 22 

Psalms 89:15

Context

89:15 How blessed are the people who worship you! 23 

O Lord, they experience your favor. 24 

Psalms 106:3

Context

106:3 How blessed are those who promote justice,

and do what is right all the time!

Psalms 112:1

Context
Psalm 112 25 

112:1 Praise the Lord!

How blessed is the one 26  who obeys 27  the Lord,

who takes great delight in keeping his commands. 28 

Psalms 127:5--128:1

Context

127:5 How blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

They will not be put to shame 29  when they confront 30  enemies at the city gate.

Psalm 128 31 

A song of ascents. 32 

128:1 How blessed is every one of the Lord’s loyal followers, 33 

each one who keeps his commands! 34 

Psalms 144:15

Context

144:15 How blessed are the people who experience these things! 35 

How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

1 sn Psalm 1. In this wisdom psalm the author advises his audience to reject the lifestyle of the wicked and to be loyal to God. The psalmist contrasts the destiny of the wicked with that of the righteous, emphasizing that the wicked are eventually destroyed while the godly prosper under the Lord’s protective care.

2 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see v. 3; Pss 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

3 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew wisdom literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the more neutral “one.” (Generic “he” is employed in vv. 2-3). Since the godly man described in the psalm is representative of followers of God (note the plural form צַדִּיקִים [tsadiqim, “righteous, godly”] in vv. 5-6), one could translate the collective singular with the plural “those” both here and in vv. 2-3, where singular pronouns and verbal forms are utilized in the Hebrew text (cf. NRSV). However, here the singular form may emphasize that godly individuals are usually outnumbered by the wicked. Retaining the singular allows the translation to retain this emphasis.

4 tn Heb “walk in.” The three perfect verbal forms in v. 1 refer in this context to characteristic behavior. The sequence “walk–stand–sit” envisions a progression from relatively casual association with the wicked to complete identification with them.

5 tn The Hebrew noun translated “advice” most often refers to the “counsel” or “advice” one receives from others. To “walk in the advice of the wicked” means to allow their evil advice to impact and determine one’s behavior.

6 tn In the psalms the Hebrew term רְשָׁעִים (rÿshaim, “wicked”) describes people who are proud, practical atheists (Ps 10:2, 4, 11) who hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, speak lies and slander (Ps 50:16-20), and cheat others (Ps 37:21).

7 tn “Pathway” here refers to the lifestyle of sinners. To “stand in the pathway of/with sinners” means to closely associate with them in their sinful behavior.

8 tn Here the Hebrew term מוֹשַׁב (moshav), although often translated “seat” (cf. NEB, NIV), appears to refer to the whole assembly of evildoers. The word also carries the semantic nuance “assembly” in Ps 107:32, where it is in synonymous parallelism with קָהָל (qahal, “assembly”).

9 tn The Hebrew word refers to arrogant individuals (Prov 21:24) who love conflict (Prov 22:10) and vociferously reject wisdom and correction (Prov 1:22; 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12). To “sit in the assembly” of such people means to completely identify with them in their proud, sinful plans and behavior.

10 tn Heb “fear.”

11 tn Heb “O holy ones of his.”

12 tn Heb “those who fear him.”

13 sn Psalm 41. The psalmist is confident (vv. 11-12) that the Lord has heard his request to be healed (vv. 4-10), and he anticipates the joy he will experience when the Lord intervenes (vv. 1-3). One must assume that the psalmist is responding to a divine oracle of assurance (see P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 [WBC], 319-20). The final verse is a fitting conclusion to this psalm, but it is also serves as a fitting conclusion to the first “book” (or major editorial division) of the Psalter. Similar statements appear at or near the end of each of the second, third, and fourth “books” of the Psalter (see Pss 72:19, 89:52, and 106:48 respectively).

14 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 34:9; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

15 sn One who treats the poor properly. The psalmist is characterizing himself as such an individual and supplying a reason why God has responded favorably to his prayer. The Lord’s attitude toward the merciful mirrors their treatment of the poor.

16 tn Heb “in the day of trouble” (see Ps 27:5).

17 tn That is, the one who has been kind to the poor. The prefixed verbal form could be taken as jussive of prayer (“may the Lord deliver,” see v. 2), but the preceding parallel line is a declaration of fact, not a prayer per se. The imperfect can be taken here as future (“will deliver,” cf. NEB, NASB) or as generalizing (“delivers,” cf. NIV, NRSV). The parallel line, which has a generalizing tone, favors the latter. At the same time, though the psalmist uses a generalizing style here, he clearly has himself primarily in view.

18 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

19 tn Heb “[whom] you bring near [so that] he might live [in] your courts.”

20 tn Or “temple.”

21 tn Traditionally “Lord of hosts.”

22 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man [who] trusts in you.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to here is representative of all followers of God, as the use of the plural form in v. 12b indicates.

23 tn Heb “who know the shout.” “Shout” here refers to the shouts of the Lord’s worshipers (see Pss 27:6; 33:3; 47:5).

24 tn Heb “in the light of your face they walk.” The idiom “light of your face” probably refers to a smile (see Eccl 8:1), which in turn suggests favor and blessing (see Num 6:25; Pss 4:6; 31:16; 44:3; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19; Dan 9:17).

25 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.

26 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.

27 tn Heb “fears.”

28 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.

29 tn Being “put to shame” is here metonymic for being defeated, probably in a legal context, as the reference to the city gate suggests. One could be humiliated (Ps 69:12) or deprived of justice (Amos 5:12) at the gate, but with strong sons to defend the family interests this was less likely to happen.

30 tn Heb “speak with.”

31 sn Psalm 128. The psalmist observes that the godly individual has genuine happiness because the Lord rewards such a person with prosperity and numerous children.

32 sn The precise significance of this title, which appears in Pss 120-134, is unclear. Perhaps worshipers recited these psalms when they ascended the road to Jerusalem to celebrate annual religious festivals. For a discussion of their background see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 219-21.

33 tn Heb “every fearer of the Lord.”

34 tn Heb “the one who walks in his ways.”

35 tn Heb “[O] the happiness of the people who [it is] such to them.”



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