Psalm 1:6
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
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(6) Knowethi.e., recogniseth with discriminative discernment and appreciation. (Comp. Psalm 31:7; Psalm 144:3; Exodus 2:25; also John 10:14. So Shakespeare, As You Like It: “I know you are my eldest brother, and in the gentle condition of blood you should so know me.”)

The way of the ungodly shall perish.—This is explained by Psalm 112:10, “the desire of the wicked shall perish;” all his plans and ambitions shall come to nought. The metaphor is illustrated by Job 6:18, where an unjust course is compared to a stream that suddenly dries up and disappears.

Psalm 1:6. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous — As he searcheth the reins and the heart, and perfectly knows all his people, so he approves, loves, and delights in them, and in their conduct and conversation, and therefore will recompense them; but the way of the ungodly shall perish — All their designs and courses shall come to nothing, and they shall perish with them.

1:4-6 The ungodly are the reverse of the righteous, both in character and condition. The ungodly are not so, ver. 4; they are led by the counsel of the wicked, in the way of sinners, to the seat of the scornful; they have no delight in the law of God; they bring forth no fruit but what is evil. The righteous are like useful, fruitful trees: the ungodly are like the chaff which the wind drives away: the dust which the owner of the floor desires to have driven away, as not being of any use. They are of no worth in God's account, how highly soever they may value themselves. They are easily driven to and fro by every wind of temptation. The chaff may be, for a while, among the wheat, but He is coming, whose fan is in his hand, and who will thoroughly purge his floor. Those that, by their own sin and folly, make themselves as chaff, will be found so before the whirlwind and fire of Divine wrath. The doom of the ungodly is fixed, but whenever the sinner becomes sensible of this guilt and misery, he may be admitted into the company of the righteous by Christ the living way, and become in Christ a new creature. He has new desires, new pleasures, hopes, fears, sorrows, companions, and employments. His thoughts, words, and actions are changed. He enters on a new state, and bears a new character. Behold, all things are become new by Divine grace, which changes his soul into the image of the Redeemer. How different the character and end of the ungodly!For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous - This is given as a reason why the wicked would not stand in the judgment with the righteous. The reason is, that the Lord, the great Judge, fully understands the character of those who are his friends, and can discriminate between them and all others, whatever pretences others may make to that character. Only those whom God approves, and loves, as his friends, will be able to stand in the day when the great decision shall be made. No one can impose on him by any mere pretensions to piety; no one can force his way to his favor, or to the rewards of the just, by power; no one can claim this in virtue of rank and station. No one can be admitted to the favor of God, and to the rewards of heaven, whose character is not such that it will bear the scrutiny of the Omniscient eve. Compare the notes at 2 Timothy 2:19. Man may be deceived in judging character, but God is not. When it is said that "the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous," the word "way" seems to be used to denote the whole of life - the manner of living (Notes, Psalm 1:1), and hence, the whole character. Perhaps there is included also the idea that the Lord knows the result of their manner of life - the issue to which it leads - and that, therefore, he can properly judge the righteous and assign them to that place in the future world, to wit, heaven, to which their actions tend.

But the way of the ungodly shall perish - The way or manner in which the ungodly live shall tend to ruin; their plans, and purposes, and hopes, shall come to nought. Their course, in fact, tends to destruction. None of their plans shall prosper in regard to religion: none of their hopes shall be fulfilled. In this, as in all other respects, they stand in strong contrast with the righteous, alike in this world and the world to come.

6. knoweth the way—attends to and provides for them (Ps 101:6; Pr 12:10; Ho 13:5).

way of the wicked—All their plans will end in disappointment and ruin (Ps 37:13; 146:8; Pr 4:19).

6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Or, as the Hebrew hath it yet more fully, "The Lord is knowing the way of the righteous." He is constantly looking on their way, and though it may be often in mist and darkness, yet the Lord knoweth it. If it be in the clouds and tempest of affliction, he understandeth it. He numbereth the hairs of our head; he wilt not Suffer any evil to befall us. "He knoweth the way that I:take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10) "But the way of the ungodly shall perish." Not only shall they perish themselves, but their way shall perish too. The righteous carves his name upon the rock, but the wicked writes his remembrance here, which shall never be fully reaped till he enters the enjoyments of eternity but as for the wicked, he ploughs the sea, and though there may seem to be a shining trail behind his keel, yet the waves shall pass over it, and the place that knew him shall know him no more for ever. The very "way" of the ungodly shall perish. If it exist in remembrance, it shall be in the remembrance of the bad; for the Lord will cause the name of the wicked to rot, to become a stench in the nostrils of the good, and to be only known to the wicked themselves by its putridity.

May the Lord cleanse our hearts and our ways, that we may escape the doom of the ungodly, and enjoy the blessedness of the righteous!

For; he now gives a reason of this great difference between the righteous and the ungodly, expressed in the foregoing verses.

The Lord knoweth; either,

1. Properly and speculatively; he searcheth and knoweth all their hearts and ways or actions; and therefore will preserve, prosper, and bless them; which may be gathered out of the following and opposite clause of this verse, and out of Psalm 1:1,2. Or,

2. Practically and affectionately, as words of knowledge in Scripture do frequently imply affection, as Exodus 1:8 Psalm 31:7 101:4 Hosea 8:4 Amos 3:2. He approveth, loveth, and delighteth in them, and in the course of their lives, and therefore will recompense them; or, he careth for and directeth their actions to a blessed issue.

The way of the ungodly shall perish; all their wicked designs and courses shall come to nothing, and they shall perish with them.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous,.... The way in which he walks by faith, which is in Jesus Christ; the way in which he goes to the Father, and carries to him his sacrifices of prayer and praise, which meet with acceptance through him; the way in which he seeks for and expects justification, pardon, and salvation, namely, through the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ: and also it may denote his course, his walk and conversation; for the righteous man is a follower of God, he takes up the cross and follows after Christ: he walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, according to the rule of the word, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ: and this way of his in every sense the Lord "knows"; not merely as he is omniscient, for by his omniscience his eyes are upon the ways of all men; he knows the way of the wicked as well as the way of the righteous; but the sense is, that the Lord approves of and is well pleased with his way of faith and holiness; he knows this person, so as to love him and take delight and pleasure in him; his countenance beholds him with a smile; he is well pleased with him in Christ and for his sake, on whose account he has respect to him and to his offerings, to his service and duty, to his ways and works; and hence he is a blessed man, is in a happy situation, and all he does prospers, for he and his ways please the Lord: and hence also it is that neither he nor his way shall perish; the way he is in leads to everlasting life, and he being a follower of the Lord in a way pleasing to him, he shall never perish, but have eternal life;

but the way of the ungodly shall perish; for his way is a wicked way, the way of sinners, Psalm 1:1; it leads to destruction and death, and all that walk in it shall perish; for if is a way the Lord knows not, does not approve of, he abhors it; wherefore the man that continues in it will be unhappy, wretched, and miserable to all eternity. These last words therefore show the reason of the happiness of one sort of men, and the unhappiness of the other; and prove and confirm the same: the Lord knows, approves of, loves, and delights in the one; he does not approve of and delight in the other.

For the LORD {f} knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

(f) Approves and prospers, in the same way that to not know is to reprove and reject.

6. The teaching of the Psalm is grounded on the doctrine of divine Providence. Each clause of the verse implies the supplement of its antithesis to the other clause. ‘The lord knows the way of the righteous,’ and under His care it is a ‘way of life’ (Psalm 16:11; Proverbs 12:28); ‘a way of peace’ (Isaiah 59:8); ‘a way eternal’ (Psalm 139:24). Equally He knows the way of the wicked, and by the unalterable laws of His government it can lead only to destruction; it is a way of death (Proverbs 14:12).

knoweth] Divine knowledge cannot be abstract or ineffectual. It involves approval, care, guidance; or abandonment, judgement. The righteous man’s course of life leads to God Himself; and He takes care that it does not fail of its end (Nahum 1:7; 2 Timothy 2:19).

Verse 6. - For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous. God is said to "know" those of whom he approves, and. on whom he "lifts up the light of his countenance." The wicked he does not "know;" he "casts them out of the sight of his eyes" - "casts them behind his back;" refuses to acknowledge them. God "knows the way of the righteous," and therefore they live and prosper; he does not know the way of the wicked, and therefore the way of the (wicked, or) ungodly shall perish (compare the beginning and end of Psalm 112.).

Psalm 1:6The ungodly (הרשׁעים, with the demonstrative art.) are the opposite of a tree planted by the water-courses: they are כּמּץ, like chaff (from מוּץ to press out), which the wind drives away, viz., from the loftily situated threshing-floor (Isaiah 17:13), i.e., without root below, without fruit above, devoid of all the vigour and freshness of life, lying loose upon the threshing-floor and a prey of the slightest breeze-thus utterly worthless and unstable. With על־כּן an inference is drawn from this moral characteristic of the ungodly: just on account of their inner worthlessness and instability they do not stand בּמּשׁפּט. This is the word for the judgment of just recompense to which God brings each individual man and all without exception with all their words (Ecclesiastes 12:14), - His righteous government, which takes cognisance of the whole life of each individual and the history of nations and recompenses according to desert. In this judgment the ungodly cannot stand (קוּם to continue to stand, like עמד Psalm 130:3 to keep one's self erect), nor sinners בּעדת צדיקים. The congregation (עדה( noi equals ‛idah, from ועד, יעד) of the righteous is the congregation of Jahve (עדת ה), which, according to its nature which is ordained and inwrought by God, is a congregation of the righteous, to which consequently the unrighteous belong only outwardly and visibly: ου ̓ γὰρ πάντες οἱ ἐξ Ἰσραήλ οὗτοι Ἰσραήλ, Romans 9:6. God's judgment, when and wheresoever he may hold it, shall trace back this appearance to its nothingness. When the time of the divine decision shall come, which also separates outwardly that which is now inwardly separate, viz., righteous and unrighteous, wheat and chaff, then shall the unrighteous be driven away like chaff before the storm, and their temporary prosperity, which had no divine roots, come to a fearful end. For Jahve knoweth the way of the righteous, יודע as in Psalm 37:18; Matthew 7:23; 2 Timothy 2:19, and frequently. What is intended is, as the schoolmen say, a nosse con affectu et effectu, a knowledge which is in living, intimate relationship to its subject and at the same time is inclined to it and bound to it by love. The way, i.e., the life's course, of the righteous has God as its goal; God knows this way, which on this very account also unfailingly reaches its goal. On the contrary, the way of the ungodly תּאבד, perishes, because left to itself, - goes down to אבדּון, loses itself, without reaching the goal set before it, in darkest night. The way of the righteous only is דּרך עולם, Psalm 139:24, a way that ends in eternal life. Psalm 112:1-10 which begins with אשׁרי ends with the same fearful תאבד.
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