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
112:7 He does not fear bad news.
He 13 is confident; he trusts 14 in the Lord.
112:8 His resolve 15 is firm; he will not succumb to fear
before he looks in triumph on his enemies.
112:9 He generously gives 16 to the needy;
his integrity endures. 17
He will be vindicated and honored. 18
112:10 When the wicked 19 see this, they will worry;
they will grind their teeth in frustration 20 and melt away;
the desire of the wicked will perish. 21
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.”
13 tn Heb “his heart,” viewed here as the seat of the volition and emotions (see Ps 108:1).
14 tn The passive participle בָּטֻחַ [בָּטוּחַ] (batuakh [batuakh]) expresses a state that results from the subject’s action. See Isa 26:3.
15 tn Heb “his heart,” viewed here as the seat of the volition.
16 tn Heb “he scatters, he gives.”
17 tn Heb “stands forever.”
18 tn Heb “his horn will be lifted up in honor.” The horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (see Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Ps 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt/lift up the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 89:17, 24; 92:10; Lam 2:17).
19 tn The Hebrew text uses the singular; the representative wicked individual is in view as typifying the group (note the use of the plural form in v. 10).
20 tn Heb “his teeth he will gnash.” In Pss 35:16 and 37:12 this action is associated with a vicious attack.
21 tn This could mean that the desires of the wicked will go unfulfilled. Another possibility is that “desire” refers by metonymy to the object desired and acquired. In this case the point is that the wicked will lose what they desired so badly and acquired by evil means (see Ps 10:3).