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Psalm 1:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 but his delight is in the law of Jehovah,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
But his delight. His pleasure, his happiness. Instead of finding his happiness in society and the occupations of the wicked, he finds it in the truth of God. The law or truth of God is not distasteful to him, but he so delights in it as to desire to become more and more acquainted with it and to have its truths impressed increasingly on his heart.
Is in the law of Jehovah. The law of Jehovah—the small capitals in the translation indicate here as elsewhere that the original word is Jehovah. The word law in the Scriptures is used in a considerable variety of significations. The Hebrew word תּוֹרָה, torah, properly means instruction, precept; and then, an injunction, command, or law, in the usual sense of the word. It was applied particularly to the Pentateuch, or law of Moses (comp. Notes on Luke 24:44), as containing the first written and recorded laws of God; and then the word came, in a more general sense, to be applied to all the books of the Old Testament, as being an exposition and application of the law. Here the word undoubtedly refers to the written revelation of the will of God as far as it was then made known. On the same principle, however, the declaration here made would apply to any part of a Divine revelation; and hence the sentiment is that a truly pious man finds his highest delight in the revealed truths of God. This is often referred to as characteristic of true piety. Comp. Ps. 19:10; 119:97, 99.
And on his law. On his law, or his truth.
He meditates. The word here used, הָגָה, hagah, means properly to murmur, to mutter; then, to speak; then, to utter in a low murmuring voice, as is often done by a person in deep meditation; hence, in the usual sense, to meditate on anything; to think of it. So, Joshua 1:8: “You shall meditate therein [the law] day and night.” Ps. 77:12: “I meditate on all your work.” Prov. 15:28: “The heart of the righteous meditates what to answer.” The meaning here is he thinks of it; he endeavors to understand its meaning; he has pleasure in reflecting on it. It is not a subject that he puts away from him or in respect to which he is indifferent, but he keeps it before his mind and has satisfaction in doing it.
Day and night. That is, continually—as day and night constitute the whole of time. The meaning is—(a) he does this habitually, or he intentionally forms the habit of meditating on Divine truth, by disciplining his mind in order that he may do it; (b) he takes time to do it—designedly setting apart suitable portions of each day, that, withdrawn from the cares of life, he may refresh his spirit by contemplating Divine truth, or may become better acquainted with God, and with his duty to him, and may bring to bear upon his own soul more directly the truths pertaining to eternal realities; (c) he does this in the intervals of business, the moments of leisure which he may have during the day—having thus an unfailing subject of reflection to which his mind readily reverts, and in which, amid the cares and toils of life, he finds relaxation and comfort; and (d) he does it in the wakeful hours of night, when sick and tossed upon his bed, or when, for any other reason, his “eyes are held waking.” Ps. 63:5, 6: “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed and meditate on thee in the night-watches.” Ps. 119:54: “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” Comp. vers. 23, 48; Ps. 143:5. The psalmist probably had the injunction in his mind, which is contained in Josh. 1:8.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
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