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Commentary on Psalms - Volume 1
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Psalm 1:3

3. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that bringeth his fruit in his season; whose leaf shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

 

The Psalmist here illustrates, and, at the same time, confirms by a metaphor the statement made in the preceding verse; for he shows in what respect those who fear God are to be accounted happy, namely, not because they enjoy an evanescent and empty gladness, but because they are in a desirable condition. There is in the words an implied contrast between the vigor of a tree planted in a situation well watered, and the decayed appearance of one which, although it may flourish beautifully for a time, yet soon withers on account of the barrenness of the soil in which it is placed. With respect to the ungodly, as we shall afterwards see, (Psalm 37:35) they are sometimes like “the cedars of Lebanon.” They have such an overflowing abundance of wealth and honors, that nothing seems wanting to their present happiness. But however high they may be raised, and however far and wide they may spread their branches, yet having no root in the ground, nor even a sufficiency of moisture from which they may derive nourishment, the whole of their beauty by and by disappears, and withers away. It is, therefore, the blessing of God alone which preserves any in a prosperous condition. Those who explain the figure of the faithful bringing forth their fruit in season, as meaning that they wisely discern when a thing ought to be done so as to be done well, in my opinion, show more acuteness than judgment, by putting a meaning upon the words of the prophet which he never intended. He obviously meant nothing more than that the children of God constantly flourish, and are always watered with the secret influences of divine grace, so that whatever may befall them is conducive to their salvation; while, on the other hand, the ungodly are carried away by the sudden tempest, or consumed by the scorching heat. And when he says, he bringeth forth his fruit in season, 2323     “And it bringeth forth all its produce to maturity.” — (Street’s New Literal Version of the Psalms.) he expresses the full maturity of the fruit produced, whereas, although the ungodly may present the appearance of precocious fruitfulness, yet they produce nothing that comes to perfection.


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