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Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers- This Psalm can be understood as a general introduction to the Psalms, summing up the way of the Godly. We should note from this verse that the teaching is not that we should have nothing to do with sinners; but rather that we should not walk in their way nor share their judgments of situations. This is the art of being the light of the world- to be in the world, as the Lord Jesus was, to engage constantly with it, but to walk, stand and judge in God's way. It is the "way" of sinners which will perish (:6); our judgment is therefore according to our overall "way", rather than occasional actions of sin or righteousness. Ps. 1:1 seems to allude to Lot's progressive apostacy, speaking of the righteous man not walking, standing or sitting with the wicked- in other words, the righteous man will learn from Lot's mistakes.

Any serious reading of the Psalms raises repeated questions as to the original context of each Psalm. Some were written by David, but only parts of them seem to apply to his life; some verses clearly apply to other historical contexts, especially the situation of the exiles in Babylon and the restoration. A verse here and there has clear relevance to the Lord Jesus, but the surrounding verses don't. Some verses are quoted in the New Testament but the surrounding contexts don't appear to fit the context in which the verse is used. I suggest the resolution of all this is to understand that the Psalms were written largely by David for use in the future temple, or in the sanctuary as it existed at his time; but under Divine inspiration, they were rewritten and reapplied to various later historical contexts. This explains why some verses in a Psalm are very relevant to e.g. the restoration from Babylon, but other verses aren't; they remain only clearly appropriate to David. This also helps explain why the Septuagint (which is the preferred version for quotation in the New Testament) is in places very different from the Hebrew (Masoretic) text. The points of major difference are likely a result of this process of rewriting.

The Inspired Re-Writing Of The Old Testament In Babylon

Briefly, here are corroborative reasons for thinking that perhaps the whole existing canon of Old Testament Scripture was [under inspiration] edited, re-written and codified during the exile in Babylon:

- According to Jewish tradition, Ezra edited and produced the Pentateuch in its present form in Babylon (Carl Kraeling, The Synagogue (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956) pp. 232-235 reproduces plates from the synagogue wall at Dura-Europas showing Ezra doing this in Babylon). This would account for the record of Jacob in exile being so verbally similar to the allusions made to it in the restoration-from-Babylon prophecies in Isaiah. There was certainly great scribal activity in Babylon- 2 Macc. 2:13 speaks of Nehemiah founding a library of the Jewish scriptures there. This gives another perspective on the way Nehemiah’s prayer in Neh. 1 is so full of references to Deuteronomy- if the latter had just been re-written and presented to the Jews in Babylon. The commands to build the tabernacle are repeated in Exodus, and there is the record of Israel's golden calf apostasy set in the middle of them. Ex. 25:1-31:18 give the tabernacle building commands, then there's the golden calf incident, and then the commands are repeated in Ex. 35-40. Surely this was edited in this manner to give encouragement to the exiles- the commands to rebuild the temple had been given in detail in Ez. 40-48, but the exiles failed- and yet, the implication runs, God was still willing to work again with His people in the building of His sanctuary despite their failure. There is good internal reason to think that the Pentateuch likewise was re-written in places to bring out the relevance of Israel's past to those in captivity. Consider the use of the word pus, 'scatter'. It was God's intention that mankind should scatter abroad in the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28); but it required the judgment of the tower of Babel to actually make them 'scatter' (Gen. 11:4). Thus even in judgment, God worked out His positive ultimate intentions with humanity. And this word pus is the same word used with reference to Judah's 'scattering' from the land into Babylonian captivity (Ez. 11:17; 20:34,41; 28:25). The intention, surely, was to show the captives that they had been scattered as the people had at the judgment of Babel / Babylon, but even in this, God was working out His purpose with His people and giving them the opportunity to fulfill His original intentions for them.

- The Talmud claims that the majority of the prophetic books were re-written and edited into their present form during the captivity, under the guidance of a group of priests called "The Great Assembly" (M. Simon and I.W. Slotski, eds, The Soncino Talmud: Babba Bathra 14b - 15a (London: The Soncino Press, 1935) Vol. 1 pp. 70,71). There are many verbal points of contact between Chronicles and the returned exiles.

- Time and again we encounter the phrase "to this day" in the historical books of the Old Testament (e.g. "the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there to this day", 2 Kings 16:6)- and each time it appears the reference is to the time of the restoration, when presumably those books were edited and rewritten as relevant for the Jews, either those still in Babylon or those who had returned to the land. A good case can be made, for example, that the book of Judges was rewritten at that time in order to show that God's people don't need a King in order to be His people, but rather they can be ruled by Spirit-filled leaders (See W.J. Dumbrell, 'No King In Israel', Journal For The Study Of The Old Testament Vol. 25 (1983) pp. 23-33).

- The way Deuteronomy refers to cities East of Jordan as being "on this side Jordan" (e.g. Dt. 4:41,49) would suggest that the editor of the book was writing from a location East of Jordan- likely Babylon. The comment in Josh. 15:63 that "the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day" sounds very much as if it were written in the captivity, lamenting the way that the local tribes still lived in Zion. "The children of Judah" is very much a phrase used about the exiles. Thus books like Joshua were written up in the captivity in order to show Judah how they were repeating the sins of their forefathers, and appealing to them thereby to learn the lessons. It's even possible that the lament that "Geshur and Maacath dwell in the midst of Israel unto this day" (Josh. 13:13 RV) is a reference to "Geshem the Arabian" and Sanballat dwelling amongst Israel at the time of their return (Neh. 2:19 etc.).

- It has been observed that the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings have certain similarities. For example, they all quote the Deuteronomy version of Israel's earlier history, leading to the suggestion that Deuteronomy was the first of the collection, a kind of introductory background history. The curses listed in Dt. 28 are all especially relevant to the situation in Judah before the Babylonian invasion, and a number of the curses are alluded to in Lamentations as being descriptive of the situation after the final destruction of Jerusalem. Some of the curses can have little other application, e.g. Dt. 28:41 speaks of begetting children, "but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity". Other relevant passages are Dt. 28:36 (a king taken captive), 49,50,52. These "former prophets" (Deuteronomy - 2 Kings) appear to have been edited during the exile as history which spoke to the concerns and needs of the exiled people of God (The similarities of style, language and indications of common editing are explained in detail in Martin Noth, The Deuteronomistic History (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981); there is a good summary in Terrence Fretheim, Deuteronomic History (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989). See too M. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy And The Deuteronomic School (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972)). This combined history speaks mainly of the southern Kingdom, which was the group who went to captivity in Babylon; and it explains why this captivity was justified, as well as giving many examples of where repentance could bring about a restoration (1 Kings 8:46-53 is specific). This history addresses the questions which concerned the captives- does God abandon His people for ever? Are Israel entirely to blame for what happened? Is there hope of restoration after receiving Divine judgment and breaching His covenant? Can God have a relationship with His people without a temple? To what extent will God always honour the promises to Abraham and David? Should other gods also be worshipped? Reading these books from this perspective reveals how incident after incident was especially selected by the inspired editors in Babylon in order to guide God's people there. Take the story of Naaman's Hebrew "maid". Naaman had been the enemy of Israel, and that little child [Heb.] was one of the children of those taken captive. But she witnessed to her captor; he turned to Yahweh; and his skin became like that of "a little child" (2 Kings 5:14)- like her. The message was obvious. The children of the captivity were likewise to witness to their captors and bring them into covenant with Yahweh.

- A comparison of Psalms 14 and 53 illustrate this process of re-writing at Hezekiah's time. These Psalms are both "A Psalm of David", and are virtually identical apart from Ps. 53:5 adding: "There were they in great fear, where no fear was; For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: Thou hast put them to shame, because God hath rejected them". This surely alludes to the Assyrian army encamped against Jerusalem (2 Chron. 32:1), put into fear by the Angels, and returning "with shame of face to his own land" (2 Chron. 32:21). Yet both Psalms conclude with a verse which connects with the exiles in Babylonian captivity: "Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad". So it would appear that the initial Psalm was indeed written by David; the version of Ps. 14 which is now Ps. 53 was added to and adapted in Hezekiah's time (Prov. 25:1), and both versions had a final verse added to them during the exile. A number of Psalms appear to have some verses relevant to the exile, and others relevant to earlier historical situations. It would seem that an inspired writer inserted the verses which spoke specifically to the exilic situation. Psalm 102 is an example. Ps. 102:2-12 and 24-25a appear to be the original lament; and the other verses are relevant to the exile. Psalm 22 likewise appears to have had vv. 28-32 added with reference to the exiles; other examples in Psalms 9, 10; 59; 66; 68; 69:34; 85; 107; 108 and 118.

- There are evident similarities between the vocabulary and style of Zechariah, Job and the prophets of the restoration. Thus both Job and Zechariah refer to the ideas of the court of Heaven, "the satan" etc. My suggestion is that Job was rewritten during the exile, hence the many points of contact between Job and Isaiah's prophecies about the restoration. When we read that Job has suffered less than his iniquities deserve (Job 11:6), this is the very term used to describe Israel's sufferings in Babylon (Ezra 9:13). Job, "the servant of the Lord", is being set up as Israel, just as that same term is used about Israel in Babylon throughout the latter part of Isaiah. Job's mockery by the Arabian friends perhaps parallels the Samaritan and Babylonian mockery of Judah; his loss of children is very much the tragedy of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians which Lamentations focuses upon. And Job's final revival and restoration after repentance would therefore speak of the blessed situation which Judah could have had at their return to the land. Job's response to the words of God and Elihu would then speak of Judah's intended repentance as a result of God's word spoken to them by prophets like Haggai and Zechariah. There are many connections between Job and the latter parts of Isaiah which speak about the restoration.

Psa 1:2 but his delight is in Yahweh’s law- David may have learnt this from Samuel's teaching that God doesn't delight in sacrifices but in obedience; and if God delights in obedience then our delight should be in the law / principles / commandments which are the basis of that obedience (s.w. 1 Sam. 15:22). David's "delight" was in the things of the future Kingdom of God (s.w. 2 Sam. 23:5); our "delight" in those things is reflected in our attitudes to God's word. And we shall be finally judged according to our 'delights', our dominant desires (s.w. Ecc. 3:17; 8:6). The Lord Jesus was devoted to sharing Yahweh's "delight" (Is. 53:10). We shall be judged according to what are our dominant desires. 

On His law he meditates day and night- David makes several allusions to Joshua. He speaks of how the man who meditates in God’s word day and night will prosper in his ways; and he uses the very same Hebrew words as found in Josh. 1:8 in recounting God’s charge to Joshua. But David’s point is that the man who does these things will not “walk in the counsel of the ungodly”- he won't give in to peer pressure. The fact that Joshua was wrongly influenced by his peers in later life would indicate that he didn’t keep the charge given to him. David speaks of how he "meditates day and night" on God's law (Ps. 1:2), and also of how he meditates upon "God" at night (Ps. 63:6) and in the day (Ps. 71:24). "The word was God", and still is, in the sense that our devotions to God are to be according to His word; for in practice, what we see of God is largely through His hand and statements in history which we find in His word.

Psa 1:3 He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither; whatever he does shall prosper-
Bringing forth fruit in season is the language of the blessings which could come upon Israel for obedience to the covenant (s.w. Lev. 25:9; 26:4; Zech. 8:12). But even if they weren't as a nation, the essence of these blessings was to be realized in the lives of individuals who were. Likewise had Judah been obedient and responsive to God's word, leaves which don't wither would have appeared around the restored temple system (s.w. Ez. 47:12). Their lack of spiritual fruit precluded those potential prophecies coming true. But these words are quoted in Rev. 22:2 concerning our holding out of life to the mortal population at the Lord's return. The conclusion? If we witness now we are living the Kingdom life now, and therefore we will be perpetuated in that time. The fact we teach others to do righteousness will therefore be a factor in our acceptance (Mt. 5:19); although not the only one. There is a connection between us 'freely giving' the Gospel now (Mt. 10:8), and being given 'freely given' salvation at the last day (Rom. 8:32; Rev. 21:6). The freeness of God’s gift to us should be reflected in a free spirited giving out of the Gospel to others.

Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away-
This is the language of the future condemnation of the wicked, alluded to in Daniel's vision of the image being reduced to chaff and driven away. But the essence of judgment is now. They are now like that, and this will be revealed in the future day of judgment (:5).

Psa 1:5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous-
See on :4. The congregation of the righteous of today is connected to the crowd of justified ones at the day of future judgment; for they 'stand' in that they are made to stand, justified by grace. This is what Paul envisages in Rom. 14:4 in a judgment seat context: "Yes, he shall be made to stand up. For the Lord has power to make him stand".

Psa 1:6 For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish
- God 'knows' the way of all men. But the Hebrew sense of 'knowing' is not that of technical knowledge, but more of relationship. Our way of life in relationship with Him; whereas the wicked don't walk with that 'knowledge', and their way or path leads to eternal death.