Psalm One – Translation of the Song

1,1 Happy the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones,
and in the way of sinners has not stood , and in the gathering of the scornful has not sat.
1,2 Rather, the Torah of ADONAI is his desire; and on His Torah does he ruminate all day long and all night long.
1,3 And he will become like a tree planted by streams of water,
that gives its fruit in its proper time, and its leaf does not wither, and all that he does will succeed.
1,4 Not so the wicked one; rather, like the chaff that is shaken by wind.
1,5 Because of that, the wicked ones will not rise up to be vindicated in judgment, nor  sinners in the assembly of the righteous ones.
1,6 For ADONAI knowingly guards the way of the righteous ones and the way of the wicked ones will be lost.

Notes on Translation, Psalm 1:

  1. 1: the Hebrew word for “happy”, אַשְׁרֵי, has a moral implication that the English word lacks; the Hebrew connotes “praiseworthy”.

 

  1. 1: the verb “to sin” in Hebrew, לַחֲטוֹא, has the same root as “to miss (a target)”, לְהַחֲטִיא; that is, the sinner has lost his moral direction.

 

  1. 2: the verb, יֶהְגֶּה, translated here as “ruminate”, has the same root as the noun, הֶגְיוֹן, translated in Psalms 19, v. 15 and 37, v. 30 as “logic”.

 

  1. 3: the Hebrew for “to succeed”, יַצְלִיחַ, has the same root as that for “to cross a bridge”, חֲצָיָה. Again, as in verse 1, a direction is implied in the Hebrew.

 

  1. 3: the phrase, “all that he does will succeed’, can also be translated as “he will succeed in all that he does”: in the first instance, his actions will result in success; in the second, he himself will prosper.

 

  1. 4: the Hebrew for “to shake”, תִּדְּפֶנּוּ, shares a common root with “to evaporate”, הִתְנַדֵּף.

 

  1. 5: the Hebrew word translated here as “assembly”, עֲדַת, is translated as “pack” in Psalm 22, v. 77, since the sinners of Psalm 22 have forfeited their humanity and become like “curs”; here the righteous, in contrast, form a congregation.

 

  1. 5: the English translation inverts the Hebrew word order for the sake of clarity: the literal Hebrew is, “Because of that, will not rise up to be vindicated the wicked ones in judgement”.

 

  1. 5: the Hebrew יָקֻמוּ, translated here as “rise up to be vindicated”, implies “cease to exist”. Thus the Hebrew, in both verses 4 and 5, infers that the wicked will be obliterated so completely that their very existence –past, present and future—will be erased.

 

  1. 6: in the Hebrew, the verb יוֹדֵעַ, translated here as “knowingly guards”, precedes the word “Adonai”. The literal Hebrew is thus: “For knowingly guards Adonai the way of the righteous ones”. The inversion is necessary for the sense and sound of the phrase in English.

 

  1. 6: both “to know” and “to guard” are implied in the one Hebrew verb יוֹדֵעַ, necessitating two words in English to convey both connotations.

 

  1. 6: the Hebrew verb “to know”, לַדָעַת, has the connotation of “to love” that the English does not imply.

These translations are by Rabbi Maccabi and Dr. Rosenberg. The translations are as close to the literal Hebrew as possible.
Click here to study “Literary analysis of Psalm 1

Sing & Learn: listen to a song composed over Psalm 1 here

King James Psalms 1 Translation:

[1] Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
[2] But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
[3] And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
[4] The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
[5] Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
[6] For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.