The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 1


1 2 Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.


3 Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God's law they study day and night.


They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.


4 But not the wicked! They are like chaff driven by the wind.


Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.


The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.



1 [Psalm 1] A preface to the whole Book of Psalms, contrasting with striking similes the destiny of the good and the wicked. The psalm views life as activity, as choosing either the good or the bad. Each "way" brings its inevitable consequences. The wise through their good actions will experience rootedness and life, and the wicked, rootlessness and death.

2 [1] Those: literally, "the man." That word is used here and in many of the Psalms as typical, and therefore is translated "they." The way: a common biblical term for manner of living or moral conduct ( Psalm 32:8; 101:2, 6; Proverb 2:20; 1 Kings 8:36).

3 [2] The law of the LORD: either the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, or, more probably, divine teaching or instruction.

4 [4] The wicked: those who by their actions distance themselves from God's life-giving presence.

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