"THE BOOK OF PSALMS"
Psalm 1 - The Truly Happy Man
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
PSALM 1 ~ NIV
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM
1) To examine the blessedness of the righteous, in stark contrast to
the desperation of the wicked
2) To note both the negative and positive elements that lead to the
truly happy life
3) To note four examples of parallelism that are indicative of Hebrew
The first psalm, didactic in style, serves as an appropriate preface to
the entire collection of psalms. Its theme can be described as "The
Truly Happy Man" as it depicts the blessedness, or happiness, of the
righteous man in contrast to the wicked.
The blessedness of the righteous man is described first from a negative
perspective, in what he will not do. With the aid of stair-like
progressive parallelism, the truly happy man is depicted as not
allowing himself to be in the presence or under the influence of the
wicked. Instead, he finds delight in meditating day and night on the
law of the Lord. His blessedness is pictured as a healthy, fruitful
tree, nourished by rivers of water. Whatever he does, he prospers (1-
The wicked, in stark contrast, are not so blessed. They are like chaff
driven by the wind. In the judgment, they shall not be able to stand.
Nor shall they be blessed to be in the congregation of the righteous
The psalm ends with a contrast between the two "ways." The way of the
righteous is known (blessed, providentially cared for) by the Lord.
The way of the ungodly shall perish, like a trail leading into a swamp
that eventually disappears (6).
I. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS MAN (1:1-3)
A. HIS CHARACTER (1-2)
1. Described from a negative point of view
a. Walks not in the counsel of the ungodly
b. Nor stands in the path of sinners - Pr 4:14-15
c. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful - Ps 26:4-5
2. Described from a positive perspective
a. His delight is in the law of the Lord - Ps 40:8; 119:
47,48; Jer 15:16
b. In God's law he meditates day and night - Ps 119:97-99
B. HIS PROSPERITY (3)
1. Like a tree planted by rivers of water - Ps 92:12-15; Jer 17:
a. That brings forth fruit in its season
b. Whose leaf shall not wither
2. Whatever he does shall prosper - Josh 1:7-8
II. THE DESPERATION OF THE WICKED (1:4-5)
A. NOTHING LIKE THE RIGHTEOUS (4)
1. The ungodly are not so (lit., "Not so, are the ungodly!")
2. They are like the chaff which the wind drives away - Job 21:
B. THEIR SORRY END (5)
1. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment
2. The sinners shall not stand in the congregation of the
III. A FINAL CONTRAST BETWEEN THEIR TWO WAYS (1:6)
A. THE LORD KNOWS THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS (6a)
B. THE WAY OF THE UNGODLY SHALL PERISH (6b)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM
1) What are the main points of this psalm?
- The blessedness of the righteous man (1-3)
- The desperation of the wicked (4-5)
- A final contrast between their two ways (6)
2) What is the theme of this psalm?
- The truly happy man
3) What is the style of this psalm?
- Didactic, i.e., designed to teach or instruct
4) What does the blessed man not do, as described in this psalm? (1)
- Does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly
- Does not stand in the path of sinners
- Does not sit in the seat of the scornful
5) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse
- Stair-like progressive parallelism
6) What is the source of delight for the one who is blessed? (2)
- The law of the Lord
7) What does the blessed man do to experience such delight? (2)
- Meditates in the law of the Lord day and night
8) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse
- Synonymous parallelism
9) What will such a blessed person be like? (3)
- A tree planted by rivers of water
- That brings forth fruit in its season, and whose leaf shall not
10) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse
- Synthetic parallelism
11) What else is said about this blessed man? (3)
- Whatever he does shall prosper
12) What are the ungodly like? (4)
- The chaff driven away by the wind
13) What will not happen to the ungodly and sinners? (5)
- They shall not stand in the judgment
- They shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous
14) How are the righteous and the wicked contrasted at the end of this
- The Lord knows the way of the righteous
- The way of the wicked shall perish
15) What example of parallelism, or thought rhyme, do we find in verse
- Antithetical parallelism