Blessed [is] the man
This psalm begins in like manner as Christ's sermon on the mount, ( Matthew 5:3 ) ; setting forth the praises and expressing the happiness of the man who is described in this verse and ( Psalms 1:2 ) . The words may be rendered, "O, the blessednesses of the man", or "of this man" F12; he is doubly blessed, a thrice happy and blessed man; blessed in things temporal and spiritual; happy in this world, and in that to come. He is to be praised and commended as a good man, so the Targum:
``the goodness, or, Oh, the goodness of the man;''or as others,
``Oh, the right goings or happy progress, or prosperous success of the man F13,''who answers to the following characters; which right walking of his is next observed, and his prosperity in ( Psalms 1:3 ) . Some have interpreted this psalm of Christ, and think it is properly spoken of him F14;
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly:
all men are by nature and practice ungodly, without God, without the true knowledge, fear, and worship of God and are at enmity against him. It is a character that belongs to God's elect as well as others, while in a state of nature; and is sometimes used illustrate the love of Christ in dying for them, and the grace of God in the justification of them, ( Romans 4:5 ) ( 5:6 ) . But here it describes not such who are wicked in heart and life in common only, but the reprobate part of mankind, profligate and abandoned sinners, such as Jude speaks of, ( Jude 1:4 ) ; and for whom the law is made, and against whom it lies, ( 1 Timothy 1:9 ) . The word F15 here used signifies such who are restless and continually in mischief; who are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, ever casting up mire and dirt: they are always disquieted themselves, and are ever disquieting others; nor do they cease from being so till they are laid in their graves. And to these "counsel" is ascribed, which supposes capacity and wisdom; as, generally speaking, such are wise and prudent in natural and civil things, and are wise to do evil, though to do good they have no knowledge: and counsel implies consultation and deliberation; they act deliberately in sinning, they cast about in their minds, form schemes, and contrive ways and means how to accomplish their vicious purposes; and sometimes they enter into a confederacy, and consult together with one consent, and their counsel is generally against the Lord, though it does not prosper and prevail; and against his Christ, his people, truths and ordinances: it takes in both their principles and practices; and the sum of their counsel is to indulge themselves in sin, to throw off all religion, and to cast off the fear and worship of God, ( Job 21:14 Job 21:15 ) . Now "not to walk" herein is not to hearken to their counsel, to give into it, agree with it, pursue it, and act according to it; and happy is the man, who, though he may fall in the way of it, and may have bad counsel given him by ungodly men, yet does not consent to it, take it, and act upon it. This may be applied to the times of the Messiah, and the men of the age in which he lived; and the rather, since the next psalm, in which mention is made of the counsel of the ungodly, manifestly belongs unto them. The men of that generation were a set of ungodly men, who consulted against Christ to take away his life; and blessed is the man, as Joseph of Arimathea, who, though he was in that assembly which conspired against the life of Christ, did not walk in, nor consent unto, their counsel and their deeds, ( Luke 23:51 ) ;
nor standeth in the way of sinners;
all men are sinners through Adam's disobedience, and their own actual transgressions, and such were the elect of God, when Christ died for them; and indeed are so after conversion, for no man lives without sin. But here it intends notorious sinners, who are open, bold, and daring in iniquity; the word F16 signifies such, who in shooting miss the mark, and go aside from it, as such sinners do from the law of God; proceed from evil to evil, choose their own ways, and delight in their abominations. Now their "way" is not only their "opinion", as the Syriac version renders it, their corrupt sentiments, but their sinful course of life; which is a way of darkness, a crooked path, and a road that leads to destruction and death: and happy is the man that does "not stand" in this way, which denotes openness, impudence, and continuance; who, though he may fall into this way, does not abide in it; see ( Romans 6:1 Romans 6:2 ) . The Pharisees in the time of Christ, though they were not openly and outwardly sinners, yet they were secretly and inwardly such, ( Matthew 23:28 ) ; and the way they stood in was that of justification by the works of the law, ( Romans 9:31 Romans 9:32 ) : but happy is the man, as the Apostle Paul and others, who stands not in that way, but in the way Christ Jesus, and in the way of life and righteousness by him;
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful;
by whom may be meant proud and haughty persons, in opposition to the humble and lowly, as in ( Proverbs 3:34 ) ; such who are proud of their natural abilities, knowledge, and wisdom, of their honours and riches, or of their own righteousness, and despise others; or such who are desperate in wickedness, of whom there is no hope; see ( Proverbs 9:7 Proverbs 9:8 ) ; and Deists and atheists, who scoff at divine revelation, and mock at a future state, at death, hell, and judgment, as in ( Isaiah 28:14 Isaiah 28:15 ) ( 2 Peter 3:3 ) . Now happy is the man that does not sit or keep company with such persons; who comes not into their secret and into their assembly; does not associate himself with them, nor approve of their dispositions, words, principles, and actions; see ( Psalms 26:4 Psalms 26:5 ) . Such were the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ's time; they derided him and his doctrines, scoffed at him when he hung upon the cross, and despised him and his apostles, and his Gospel; but there were some that did not join with them, to whom he, his ministers, and truths, were precious and in high esteem, and to whom he was the power and wisdom of God.
F12 (vyah yrva) "beatitudines illius viri", Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus.
F13 "Recti incessus, felices progressus, ac prosperi successus", Michaelis; so Piscator.
F14 Justinian. in Octapl. Psalt, in loc. Romualdus apud Mabillon. Itinerar. Ital. p. 181.
F15 (Myevr) "significat eos qui sine quiete et indesinenter impie degunt", Vatablus.
F16 (Myajh) "qui longissime aberrant a scopo legis"; Gerjerus.