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Psalm 112

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Prosperity of the One who Fears the Lord No MT Intro The Blessed State of the Righteous The Contrasting Fate of the Righteous and the Wicked
(Wisdom Psalm)
The Happiness of a Good Person Praise of the Upright
112:1-6 112:1a 112:1-3 112:1a 112:1a
  112:1b-d   112:1b-3 112:1b-2
  112:2-8      
        112:3-4
    112:4-10 112:4-6  
        112:5-6
112:7-9     112:7-10 112:7-8
  112:9-10     112:9
112:10       112:10

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. See Contextual Insights of Psalm 111 for the obvious connections between Psalms 111 and 112.

 

B. Psalm 111 praises YHWH but Psalm 112 praises the faithful follower (cf. Psalm 128).

1. he fears the Lord, Ps. 112:1b

2. he delights in His revelations, Ps. 112:1c (cf. Ps. 1:2)

3. his descendants will be mighty on earth, Ps. 112:2a

4. they will be blessed, Ps. 112:2b

5. they are prosperous, Ps. 112:3a

6. his righteousness endures forever, Ps. 112:3b

7. he and his family have light in darkness, Ps. 112:4a

8. he is gracious, Ps. 112:4b,5a,9a

9. he is compassionate, Ps. 112:4b

10. he is upright, Ps. 112:4b

11. he conducts his officers with justice, Ps. 112:5b

12. he will never be shaken, Ps. 112:6a

13. he and his family as righteous people will be remembered forever, Ps. 112:6b

14. he will not fear evil tidings, Ps. 112:7a

15. his heart is steadfast (cf. Ps. 57:8; 108:1), trusting in the Lord, Ps. 112:7b (cf. Isa. 26:3)

16. his heart is steady, BDB 701, KB 759, Qal passive participle (i.e., by God), Ps. 112:8a

17. he will not fear, Ps. 112:8a

18. his enemies will be defeated before him, Ps. 112:8b, 10a

19. his righteousness endures forever, Ps. 112:9b

20. his horn will be exalted in honor, Ps. 112:9c (cf. Ps. 75:10)

 

C. By contrast the wicked will experience the exact opposite. Their fate is specifically mentioned in Ps. 112:10.

1. the wicked will see the blessing of the righteous and be vexed

2. they will gnash their teeth

3. they will melt away

4. their desire will perish

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 112:1-6
 1Praise the Lord!
 How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
 Who greatly delights in His commandments.
 2His descendants will be mighty on earth;
 The generation of the upright will be blessed.
 3Wealth and riches are in his house,
 And his righteousness endures forever.
 4Light arises in the darkness for the upright;
 He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.
 5It is well with the man who is gracious and lends;
 He will maintain his cause in judgment.
 6For he will never be shaken;
 The righteous will be remembered forever.

112:1 "Praise the Lord" See note at Ps. 111:1.

▣ "How blessed is the man. . ." This is Wisdom vocabulary.

1. blessed (TEV, "happy"), Ps. 112:1 - BDB 80 (cf. Ps. 1:1; 119:1-2)

2. blessed, Ps. 112:2 - BDB 138

3. well (TEV, "happy"), Ps. 112:5 - BDB 373 II

 

▣ "fears the Lord" See note at Ps. 111:10. See Special Topic: Fear.

▣ "Who greatly delights in His commandments" The verb (BDB 342, KB 339, Qal perfect) denotes a person's attitude toward YHWH's revelation (cf. Ps. 19:10; 111:2; 119:35). The faithful follower obeys them (cf. Deut. 4:1-2,14,40; 16:12; 30:8,16,19-20).

For "commandments" see the Special Topic: Terms For God's Revelation.

112:2 From the Ten Commandments we learn that evil moves through generations (cf. Exod. 20:5; Deut. 5:9,10) but, praise God, so does faith (cf. Exod. 20:6; Deut. 5:10; 7:9; Exod. 34:7).

112:3a Remember, this is an OT text, the "two ways" of the Mosaic covenant (cf. Deut. 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Pro. 4:10-19; Jer. 21:8; Matt. 7:13-14). This did not work because of mankind's fallen nature (cf. Genesis 3; Romans 1-3; Galatians 3; Hebrews). Be careful of proof-texting these verses on prosperity as if they were NT promises!

112:4a This phrase implies that the faithful follower will have understanding amidst the problems of this fallen age because

1. he fears YHWH, Ps. 112:1b,7b

2. he delights in His revelation, Ps. 112:1c

3. he lives out his faith, Ps. 112:4b-5

4. he will not be shaken, Ps. 112:6a

5. he does not fear, Ps. 112:8a

 

The subject of the verb "rises" (BDB 280, KB 281, Qal perfect) is unspecified. It could refer to the faithful follower. The UBS Handbook (p. 960) suggests "He is like a light in darkness, that shines for the honorable (i.e., upright, masculine plural) men."

112:4b These same attributes are said of YHWH in Ps. 111:3b,4b (cf. Exod. 34:6-7). This line of poetry has no subject or verb but three masculine adjectives.

1. gracious - BDB 337

2. merciful - BDB 933

3. righteous - BDB 843

It could refer to YHWH (AB, p. 128). NIDOTTE, vol. 2, p. 204, says that "gracious" is used thirteen times and always refers to YHWH, except in Ps. 112:4. This implies that Ps. 112:4 might not refer to YHWH.

112:5 In the OT, covenant brothers were to lend to the poor without interest (cf. Exod. 22:25; Lev. 25:35-38; Deut. 15:7-8). To help the poor was a way to show one's devotion to YHWH, who cared for the poor (cf. Ps. 37:26; Pro. 19:17; Matt. 5:42; Luke 6:35). The way one treats others clearly reveals his relationship with God (cf. Ps. 112:4).

112:6b Because of this line and Ps. 112:3b and 9b, an afterlife of some kind, not just the memory of God, is implied! Heaven is not just God's memory but His people in fellowship with Him (cf. Matt. 22:31-32).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 112:7-9
 7He will not fear evil tidings;
 His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
 8His heart is upheld, he will not fear,
 Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.
 9He has given freely to the poor,
 His righteousness endures forever;
 His horn will be exalted in honor.

112:9a This is quoted (cf. 2 Cor. 9:9) in Paul's discussion of the Gentile churches' one-time gift to the Mother Church in Jerusalem (i.e., 2 Corinthians 8-9).

112:9c "horn will be exalted in honor" This is an OT idiom for a person's place in society. It denotes a work of God in lifting a person's status, wealth, and power. YHWH does this to the king in 1 Sam. 2:10 (also note Ps. 89:17,24) and to Hannah in 1 Sam. 2:1.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 112:10
 10The wicked will see it and be vexed,
 He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
 The desire of the wicked will perish.

112:10 "gnash his teeth" This was a sign of anger (cf. Ps. 35:16; 37:12; 112:10; Luke 13:28). It also refers to the experience of judgment (cf. Matt. 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30).

▣ "melt away" The wicked will perish (cf. Ps. 68:2). They will melt away in the fire of YHWH's judgment (cf. Isa. 34:2-4).

Their psychological pain is caused by

1. the reversal of their prosperous state

2. their exclusion from God's kingdom

3. the blessing and prosperity of the faithful followers before their eyes

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What does it mean "to fear" the Lord?

2. Explain Ps. 112:4a in your own words.

3. Do Ps. 112:3,6, and 9 speak of heaven?

4. What does it mean "to exalt one's horn"? (Ps. 112:9)