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1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2 Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
4 It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.
The is the Psalm to be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. This will follow the mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles (this Sunday from chapter 1), which states: “Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’” After will be the Epistle from First John, which says, “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts.” Finally, this will accompany the Gospel reading from John, where Jesus is heard to say: “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
Verse 1 begins with the combined Hebrew words “’aš·rê-hā·’îš” [from “esher ish”], where “happiness” is understood as one being “blessed” by Yahweh. These two word are combined and separated from the rest of verse 1 by a comma mark. This means the rest pertains to those of mankind who are not led by Yahweh.
Those not led by Yahweh are then those who “walk in the counsel of the wicked,” tread the “path of the sinners,” and “sit in seats” that display mockery of the righteous. Here, the one who “counsels the wicked” is Satan, who enjoys turning the heads of those not married to Yahweh, so they will not be inclined to live righteously. The righteous travel the road that leads one to marry Yahweh; so, as His servant, one then does only what He leads one to do. Those who veer from that path to marrying Yahweh are left alone to find their own way, assisted by worldly counsel. That invariably leads one to take the easy path to sin. They then place scorn on all who would tell them they are going the wrong way.
Verse 2 then places more focus on what the one “blessed” by Yahweh does, rather than what one does not do. In verse 2, where the NRSV has been to ashamed to translate “Yah-weh” as Yahweh [instead listing Him generically as “the Lord”], it is “his law” that becomes “their delight.” Here it is important to see David as the one who knew this “delight” [“chephets”], because his soul was married to Yahweh. It was Yahweh who Moses stayed with for forty days on top of Mount Sinai [not “a Lord”] and brought down “the Law,” which all the Israelites needed to agree to maintain. That “Law” [as I have stated prior] was the marriage vows that merges one’s soul to Yahweh’s Spirit. Thus, when David said, “they meditate on his law day and night,” this is a statement of soul union, not some conscious state of brain-thinking, twenty-four-seven.
Verse 3 then sings about this marriage of a soul to the source of all “happiness,” where he compared this constant presence to being like “streams of water” [or “rivers”], with one being “planted like a tree.” The metaphor of a “tree” means a fruit-bearing tree [or “vine”], where the fruit produced comes from the source of eternal life, Yahweh. The root system of the “tree” is the soul, which intermingles with the flow of Spirit that is the “stream.” When David said “bearing fruit in due season,” the fact that he added “with leaves that do not wither” is that “season [or “time”] is year-round. The “tree” of Yahweh is always bearing good fruit, where “everything they do shall prosper.”
Verse 4 then returns to the opposite of one married to Yahweh, referring to them as “the wicked” [“hā·rə·šā·‘îm,” from “rasha”]. This returns one to verse 1, where “the wicked” are those counseled by Satan, therefore without Yahweh merged with their souls. Rather than a “tree” firmly “planted” in the ground, always having the flow of the Spirit to keep them alive and righteous, the “wicked” are called “chaff.” The Hebrew word for “chaff” is “mots,” which also implies “squeezer” or “extortioner.” (Strong’s)
As such, the “chaff” is the useless covering that keeps the inner fruit from being readily available and useful [as food or as seed]. However, the “chaff” will fall from the kernel and be blown away by the wind. That says, the soul will outlast the body that surrounds it; and, sins are always the soul pleasing the flesh, not a soul being submissive to Yahweh. Therefore, the “wind” is a reference to “time,” such that the fruits of a “tree” are always relative to the “time” one is married to Yahweh. The “chaff’s” enemy is “time,” which means mortality and death.
That understanding then makes it easy to see why David wrote of death in verse 5, where he wrote: “the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes.” That says a soul always has to pay the price for sins; if not before death, then after. The Hebrew word “yā·qu·mū” [rooted in “qum”] has been translated as “stand upright,” but the word means “to arise, stand up, stand.” (Strong’s) This usage then says that when an eternal soul that has sins to pay for has been released from its body of flesh, after death, it cannot remain in the eternal realm with Yahweh. Its judgment will be “I do not know you,” which says that soul never married with Yahweh [for totally selfish reasons]. The judgment then means a return to the soul’s past lover – the mortal-material realm [reincarnation].
The meaning of David singing, “nor the sinner in the council of the righteous” is better understood when one realizes “ba·‘ă·ḏaṯ” [from “edah”] does not say “counsel” but rather “congregation.” In verse 1, where David did write “counsel of the wicked,” the word translated as “counsel” was correct, coming from “ba·‘ă·ṣaṯ” [from “etsah”]. The “congregation” represents the souls of the righteous, all who were married to Yahweh while in the flesh. Only the wives of Yahweh are allowed to remain with Him forever, being those so judged as worthy.
This is why verse 6 says, “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,” as Yahweh was the source of those righteous ways. While the sinful souls were counseled by Satan and headed down self-pleasing paths of wickedness and wrong-doing, Yahweh was merged with the souls of the righteous, who were constantly in touch with His presence, obeying [delightfully] all His commands. The element of “knowing” [“yō·w·ḏê·a‘,” from “yada”] has Biblical connotations that imply ‘intercourse,’ which comes after marriage. It is Spiritual 'intercourse,' not physical. Thus, Yahweh has entered His wives [both human genders] and “knows” them personally, having merged with those souls.
When David ends by saying, “but the way of the wicked is doomed,” this is the judgment of those souls that have received “counsel” from Satan. The translation of “doomed” is somewhat mild, as the word written “tō·ḇêḏ” [from “abad”] means “to perish.” The English word “perish” is defined as: “suffer death, typically in a violent, sudden, or untimely way.” Therefore, the judgment of an eternal soul that has previously died in a sinful body of flesh, rising spiritually for judgment, is “death.” Since the only way an eternal soul can know death [“to perish” or be “doomed”] is reincarnation, where the soul will recycle back into new flesh and have to start all over, the soul cannot 'graduate' to the peace of heaven. It has failed to make the grade and must repeat the course. This repetition means a cycle of death that continues eternally; it can only be avoided through submission of self-ego to Yahweh, becoming His wife and obeying His laws.
As the Psalm sung aloud on the seventh Sunday of Easter, it is clear that David sang of two paths in life: one to salvation; and, the other to sin. One path leads to release from bondage. The other leads to perdition, where the payment for self-worship is found to be reincarnation.
During the season of Easter, one should have already found its soul married to Yahweh, such that one knows His Son has been resurrected oneself – twin souls merged. To be reborn as Jesus, also chosen by Yahweh as His wife, Anointed with His presence, the challenge is to learn the delight in following God’s laws. The Law is written upon one’s heart [i.e.: a soul] when one married Yahweh, but like anything new, one needs to practice obeying laws and learning the meaning of what one says “I believe” to.
This means being like David sang. One is either doing the will of Yahweh or one is pleasing oneself, regardless of the consequences of judgment. Yahweh knows the path to righteousness means work serving others, not pleasing self at the expense of others. Therefore, one needs to break a lot of old habits; and, the only way to do that is to stop trying to think what to do and start having faith that Yahweh will lead you properly, as His Son reborn.