Psalms of Wisdom


The previous post about the Psalms noticed a similarity between Psalm 2 and Psalm 1. They both offer a choice between obedience and disobedience to Yahweh or His anointed king. Obedience brings blessing and prosperity, while disobedience brings curses and eventual destruction. Psalm 2 is considered a royal psalm because it deals with kingship in Israel, while Psalm 1 is a more generally applicable to the population at large.

Psalm 1 is one of a group of psalms that is dedicated to instructing the faithful in the ways of Yahweh’s wisdom. According to Dr. W.H. Bellinger and other scholars before him, this group of psalms comes from the group of people who are responsible for writing and compiling the book of Proverbs. The members of this group are Psalms 1, 32, 37, 49, 73, 78, 112, 119, 127, 128 and 133. There are three main themes in the wisdom psalms:

    Reverence for God and His “law” (ex.: Ps. 119)
    Contrast between the righteous and the wicked (ex.: Ps. 73 and 112)
    Instruction for daily living (ex.: Ps. 133).

Psalm 1 was pretty clearly an example of the contrast between the wicked and the righteous. Psalm 37 goes further in illustrating the difference in outcomes between the two lifestyles. The righteous “live in the land, and enjoy security” while the unrighteous will be subjected to God’s derisive laughter and have their arms broken. Life becomes difficult for the unrighteous because unrighteousness is unsustainable in the long run. God will literally “get you for that.”

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About John Valade

I facilitate and teach in Wascana Fellowship. I have been married to Wanda since 1984. M.Div. from Briercrest Seminary, SK in 2011 and B.R.E. Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University College) in 2000.
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