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  1. Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, and stands not in the way of sinners, and sits not in the seat of the scornful.
  2. But his delight is in the law of jehovah, and in his law does he meditate day and night.
  3. And he shall be as a tree planted by streams of waters, which will yield its fruit in its season: his leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.
  4. Not so the ungodly; for they are as chaff, which the wind drives away.
  5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the just.
  6. For jehovah knows the way of the just; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The Internal Sense

That the man who does not live wickedly, is regenerated by the Word of the Lord, verse 1 to verse 3. But that he who lives wickedly, perishes at the day of judgement, verses 4, 5. Because the Lord knows every one, verse 6.


That the Word of the Old Testament contains the mysteries of heaven, and that all and everything therein regards the Lord, his heaven, the church, faith, and whatever relates to faith, is inconceivable from the letter; for the letter or literal sense suggests only such things as respect the externals of the Jewish Church, when, nevertheless, there are internal things everywhere contained therein, which do not in the least appear in those externals, except in a very few cases which the Lord revealed and unfolded to the apostles; as that sacrifices are significative of the Lord; that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem are significative of heaven, on which account we read of the heavenly Canaan and Jerusalem; and in like manner of Paradise.

But that all and singular things, yea the most singular, not excepting the smallest jot and tittle, signify and involve spiritual and celestial things, is a truth to this day deeply hid from the Christian world, the consequence whereof is, that little attention is paid to the Old Testament. This truth, however, might appear plain from this single circumstance, - that the Word being of the Lord and from the Lord, could not possibly have any existence, unless in its inner ground it contained such things as relate to heaven, to the church, and to faith: for, if this be denied, how can it be called the Word of the Lord, or be said to have any life in it? For whence is life, but from those things which have relation to life; that is, except from here that all and singular things have relation to the Lord, who is most real and essential life? Wherefore, whatever does not interiorly regard the Lord, does not live; nay, whatever expression in the Word does not involve Him, or in its measure relate to Him, is not divine.

Without such a living principle, the Word, as to the letter, is dead; for it. is with the Word as it is with man, who, as all Christians are taught to believe, consists of two parts, an external and an internal: the external man, separated from the internal, is the body, which in such a state of separation is dead; but the internal is that which lives, and causes the external to live; the internal man is the soul. Thus the Word, as to the letter alone, is like a body without a soul. AC 1, 2, 3.

Inasmuch as the Word in its interior is spiritual and celestial, therefore it is written by mere correspondences, and what is written by mere correspondences, in its ultimate sense, is written in such a style as that of the prophets and evangelists, which, notwithstanding its apparent commonness, contains in it all divine and angelic wisdom. SS 8.

There are in general four different styles in which the Word is written; the first is what was in use in the most ancient church. Their method of expressing themselves was such, that when they made mention of earthly and worldly things, they thought of the spiritual and celestial things represented thereby, so that they not only expressed themselves by representatives, but also reduced their thoughts into a kind of historical series or arrangement, in order to give them more life, and in this they found the sweetest delight and entertainment. This style is meant when Hannah prophesied, saying, "Speak you what is high, high, let what is ancient come forth from your mouth." 1 Samuel 2:3. Those representatives are called in David, dark sayings of old. Psalm 78:2, 3, 4. From the posterity of the most ancient church Moses received what he wrote concerning the creation, concerning the garden of Eden, etc. till the time of Abram. The second style is the historical, occurring in the books of Moses, from the time of Abram until the times of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings, in which books the historical facts are exactly such as appear in the letter, but yet all the relations, and every part of them contain things altogether different in the internal sense, whereof, by the divine mercy of the Lord, we shall speak in its place and order. The third style is the prophetical, which took its rise from the style of the most ancient church, which was held in high esteem. This style, however, is not connected, and in appearance historical like that of the most ancient church, but is broken and interrupted, being scarcely ever intelligible but in its internal sense, wherein are contained the greatest arcana, which succeed each other in a beautiful and orderly connection, having relation to the internal and external man, to the various states of the church, to heaven itself, and in their inmost sense, to the lord. The fourth style is that of the Psalms of David, which is between the prophetical style and that of common speech, in which, under the person of David as a king, the Lord is treated of in the internal sense. AC 66.

In the following exposition, by the lord is meant singly the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, who is called Lord without other names, being acknowledged and adored as lord throughout all heaven, because he has all power in heaven and earth. This is agreeable to what he said to his disciples, - "You call me Lord, and you say well, for I am." John 13:13. And after his resurrection his disciples called him Lord. Throughout all heaven they know no other Father but the Lord; because he and the Father are one, as he himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; Philip says, show us the Father; Jesus says to him, have I been so long time with you, and have you not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father, and how say you, then, show us the Father? believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me." John 14:6, 8, 9, 10, 11. AC 14, 15.

Verse 1. Blessed, etc. To bless, in the Word, signifies in an external sense, to enrich with every earthly and corporeal good, according to the explanation of the Word with all those who abide in the external sense, as with the ancient and modern Jews, and also with Christians, especially at this day, wherefore they made the divine blessing to consist in riches, an abundance of possessions, and in self-glory: but to bless, in an internal sense, signifies to enrich with all spiritual and celestial good, which blessing being never given, or possible to be given but by the Lord, signifies on that account, the presence and grace of the Lord; for the presence and grace of the Lord bring with them such spiritual and celestial good. AC 981.

Verse 1. Mention is here made of walking, of standing, and of sitting, because the one follows the other. For to walk has relation to the life of thought grounded in intention; to stand has relation to the life of intention grounded in will; and to sit has relation to the life of the will, thus to the esse of life. The counsel, also, of which walking is predicated, has respect to the thought; the way, in which a man is said to stand, has respect to intention; and to sit in a seat has respect to the will, which is the esse of the life of man. For, in the spiritual world, all things which relate to the motion and rest of man, signify those things which relate to the life of man, because they thence proceed. Walkings and journeyings have relation to man's motion; and hence they signify progression of life, or progression of thought grounded in intention of the will. But standings and sittings have relation to man's rest; and hence they signify the esse of life from which it exists, thus its being made to live. AE 687.

Verse 2. Jehovah. The Lord is called in the Word sometimes by the bare name Jehovah, sometimes Jehovah God, sometimes Jehovah, and afterwards God, sometimes the Lord Jehovih, sometimes the God of Israel, and sometimes barely God. He is called Jehovah, because He alone is, or lives, consequently from essence; He is called God as being all powerful, consequently from power, as appears in the Word, where the names are distinguished. See Psalm 18:2, 28, 29, 31, Psalm 31:14. AC 300.

Verse 2. The law. In the Word there is frequent mention made of the law, and it may be expedient to show what is meant by it in its confined sense, what in a more extensive sense, and what in a sense most extensive. In a confined sense, the decalogue is meant by the law; in a more extensive sense, it is used to mean the statutes given by Moses to the children of Israel; and in a sense most extensive, it means the whole Word. That by the law, in a confined sense, the decalogue is meant, is well known; but that in a more extensive sense, the statutes given by Moses to the children of Israel, are meant by the law, is evident from the particular statutes in Leviticus being so called; as, for instance, "This is the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings." Levit 7:11. "This is the law of the trespass-offering.". Levit 7:1. "This is the law of the meat-offering." Levit 6:7, etc. "This is the law of the burnt-offering, of the meat-offering, of the sin-offering, and of the trespass-offering, and of the consecrations." Levit 7:37. "This is the law of the beasts and of the birds." Levit 11:46. Yea, the whole book of Moses is called the law. Deut 31:9, 11, 12, 26; as also in the New Testament, Luke 2:22; 24:44; John 1:45; 7:23, 8:5; and in other places. That these statutes were meant by the works of the law, mentioned by Paul, where he says, "that man is justified without the works of the law," Rom 3:28, is very evident from what follows those words, and also from his words to Peter, whom He blames for judaizing, where he says three times in one verse, "that no man is justified by the works of the law." Gal 2:16. That by the law, in its most extensive sense, is meant the whole Word, is plain from these passages: "Jesus said, Is it not written in your law, you are gods?" This is written in Psalm 132:6; "The people answered Him, we have heard out of the law, that Christ abides for ever." John 12:34; this is written, Psalm 89:29. e10:4, Dan 7:14. "That the word might be fulfilled, which is written in their law, they hated me without a cause," John 15:25, this is written, Psalm 35:19. In these passages the whole sacred scripture is meant by the law, as may be seen in many places in the Psalms of David. AR 288.

Verse 2. Does he meditate day and night. He who is in any love, whatever it be, is continually thinking of those things which are connected with that love, and this, notwithstanding his being engaged in thought, in speech, and in action about other things. This is manifested clearly in the other life from the spiritual spheres with which every one is encompassed, it being there known from those spheres alone, in what faith every one is principled, and in what love, and this although they are thinking of, and discoursing on, something entirely foreign to the subject; see 1048, 1053; for the principle which universally reigns with any one produces that sphere, and manifests the life thereof before others; hence it may be evident what is meant by the obligation to be continually thinking about the Lord (to be meditating in his law day and night) about salvation, and about the life after death. All who are principled in faith, grounded in charity, do this; hence it is that they do not think ill of the neighbour, and that they have justice and equity in every thing they think, speak, and do, for the principle which reigns universally flows in into singular things, and guides and governs them, for the Lord in this case keeps the mind in such things as are of charity and consequent faith, and thereby gives to singular the things thereof a suitable arrangement; the sphere of faith, grounded in charity, is the sphere which reigns in heaven, for the Lord flows in with love, and by love with charity, consequently with the truths which are of faith; hence it is that they who are in heaven are said to be in the Lord. AC 5130.

Verse 2. Day and night-day and night signify continually and in every state, for time signifies state, day a state of light and illustration, and night a state of obscurity. AE 478, 747.

Verse 2. The law of Jehovah denotes the books of Moses, for as yet the prophetic books were not written; nor the historical books either, except those of Joshua and of Judges. AC 6752.

Verse 3. And he shall be as a tree, etc. Man, in the Word throughout, is likened to a tree; and when this comparison is made, the truths of his faith are signified by the leaves, and the good things of love by the fruits. AC 9337.

Verse 3. His leaf also shall not wither. Wheresoever in the Word, man is compared to a tree, or is called a tree, the fruit signifies the good of charity, and the leaf the truth thence derived. As in Ezekiel: "By the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for food, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; it shall bring forth new fruits according to its months, because their waters issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for medicine," (Ez 47:12; Rev 22:2), where the trees denote the members of the church in whom is the kingdom of the lord: fruit denotes the good of love and charity: the leaf the truths thence derived, which are serviceable for the instruction of man and for his regeneration: wherefore the leaf is said to be for medicine. AC 885.

Verse 4. For they are as chaff, etc. Faith without truths is as seed deprived of the medullary substance, which, when threshed, yields nothing but chaff: but faith derived from truths is as fruitful seed, which, when threshed, yields fine flour. AR 347. John the Baptist says concerning the lord: "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire:" (Matt 3:2): where wheat denotes the good things of love and charity; chaff the things in which there is nothing of good. AC 3941.

The Translator's Notes and Observations

Verse 3. And he shall be as a tree, etc. It is a striking instance of resemblance between a man and a tree, that two distinct elements are necessary for the life and growth of each. Thus a tree requires both earth and air for its life and growth; for it cannot live unless one half of it, namely its roots, be implanted in the earth, whilst the other half, namely its branches, ascend and live in the higher element of the atmosphere. The case is the same with man, who is composed of two parts, a natural or external part, and a spiritual or internal part; each of which requires its own element for its nourishment. The natural or external part may therefore be regarded as the root; whilst the spiritual or internal part constitutes the superior half of every human tree. Thus man is not allowed to live a mere natural life alone, or a mere spiritual life alone, but both united; and they become united, when affection and thought, which are of his internal man, arc in harmony and agreement with his words and works, which are of the external man. In agreement with this resemblance between a man and a tree, it is written in the prophet Isaiah: The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards (Is 37:31): for to take root downwards has respect to the implantation of good and of truth in the external or natural man by words and works, whilst to bear fruit upwards has respect to the implantation of good and of truth in the internal or spiritual man by affections and thoughts.

Verse 2. His delight is in the law of jehovah, and in his law does he meditate day and night. To delight in the law of jehovah has respect to the operation of Divine Truth on the human will, and to meditate in his law day and night has respect to its operation on the human understanding. Both operations are mentioned, because neither of them singly is sufficient. For Divine Truth cannot be received in the will, unless it be first received in the understanding; and if it be received in the understanding, and suffered to remain there without affecting the will, it leaves man as unpurified and unregenerate as if it had not been received at all.

Verse 5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the just. A distinction is here made between the ungodly and sinners; also between standing in the judgement and standing in the congregation of the just; which distinction cannot possibly be apprehended, until it be seen, that by the ungodly are meant those who are opposed in their understandings to the light of the divine truth, and by sinners are meant those who are opposed in their wills to the purity of the divine good. It is said, therefore, of the former, or the ungodly, that they cannot stand in the judgement, because the judgement has relation to truth; and it is said of the latter, or sinners, that they cannot stand in the congregation of the just, because the just are those who are principled in the good of truth, which every sinner rejects. The contents of this verse, and also of verse the second, are a full and convincing proof how the holy word is written throughout, with a view to the Divine and Heavenly Marriage of the good and the true, and thus bears its own testimony to its Divine authority and plenary inspiration. For to delight in the law of jehovah, as recorded at verse 2 above, has manifest respect to the good; whilst to meditate on his law day and night, has respect equally manifest to the truth; and both united, to the marriage of those principles. The case is the same with the ungodly and the sinners recorded in this verse; and also with standing in the judgement and standing in the congregation of the just; since the ungodly are those who oppose the divine truth, and sinners are those who oppose the divine good; and the inability of the former to stand in the judgement, and of the latter to stand in the congregation of the just, is grounded in their opposition to that divine truth and divine good, the marriage of which is thus conspicuously marked in all the pages of Divine Revelation; because to effect that marriage in the human mind is the grand end and design of every law, commandment, and instruction of the almighty.

Verse 6. For jehovah knows the way of the just. jehovah is here said to know the way of the just, because it is in agreement with himself, and thus affects him with delight; whereas he is said not to know what is in disagreement with himself, and thus what affects him with no delight. In the parable therefore of the ten virgins, the five foolish ones are rejected with these awful words: Verily I say to you, I know you not (Matt 25:12.) Not that the lord had no knowledge of their folly, but that he had no delight in it, and therefore was said not to know it.

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