The right sacrifices (Ps 4:4-4:5)

“When you are disturbed

Do not sin!

Mediate about it on your beds!

Be silent!

Selah

Offer right sacrifices!

Put your trust in Yahweh!”

However, there was a caveat to this self-righteousness. You could not sin even if you were a little disturbed. You had to meditate while you were in bed. You had to be silent in your prayer. After this mention of silence, there is a pause for a musical interlude. You had to offer the right sacrifices. Apparently this psalm might have been used when burnt offerings or evening sacrifices were being made. You had to put your trust in Yahweh, and not in yourself.

The happy people (Ps 1:1-1:3)

“Happy are those

Who do not follow the advice of the wicked.

They do not take the path that sinners tread.

They do not sit in the seat of scoffers.

Their delight is in the law of Yahweh.

On his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees

That are planted by streams of water.

They yield their fruit in its season.

Their leaves do not wither.

In all that they do,

They prosper.”

Psalm 1 is considered a preface to the collection of psalms or praises. There is no attribution to this psalm. It may have been the biblical editor’s choice. This psalm emphasizes the two ways, much like the later 1st century CE Christian Didache. This is, in fact, a wisdom psalm. The happy or blessed ones are the people who do not follow wicked advice. They receive blessings. They are the prosperous or the righteous people. They do not walk down the way of sinners or scoffers. Their delight and happiness is in the law of Yahweh. They are like the strong trees planted by streams of water as they always yield their fruit in the correct season. Their leaves never wither. Everything that they do is prosperous because they are sustained by the water. They meditate day and night on the Torah that was given by Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Moses. They are much like Christian contemplatives or Buddhist monks. The happy blessed one is the one who follows the law. This psalm sets the tone for all the psalms to follow.