וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֜צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃
“and in the assembly of the scorning ones [he] does not dwell.”
The seat, or assembly, (מוֹשַׁ֥ב) spoken of here is not a plastic or wooden or any other kind of chair. Rather, the language is regal; it refers to “a sitting or even an assembly of officials … [such as] … the wicked (Ps 1:1), or elders (Ps 107:32).”2 The seat in view here is a sort of United Nations Against God gathering, representing mankind’s scorning rebellion against the Almighty. Who then are the members of this “seat”?
Those who scorn (לֵ֜צִ֗ים) God3 are the members of this wicked assembly. The root for the verb “to scorn” is used only one other time in the Psalms (Psa 119:51). However, it appears frequently in the Proverbs. Accordingly, the scorner can be described as follows:
Fools scorn and mock at sin (Prov 14:9) and judgment (Prov 19:28). The scorner (Qal participial form) himself may be described as proud and haughty (Prov 21:24), incorrigible (Prov 9:7), resistant to all reproof (Prov 9:8; Prov 15:12), and hating any rebuke (Prov 13:1). Wisdom and knowledge easily elude him (Prov 14:6).
So despicable is the scorner that he may be labelled [sic] as odious to all men (Prov 24:9). Therefore he must be avoided (Psa 1:1) by all who would live godly lives. Further, he should be punished by hitting so that the easily pursuaded [sic] naive fool may benefit from the lesson (Prov 19:25; Prov 21:11). One good way to remove contention from a group is to eject the scorner, and then “strife and reproach will cease” (Prov 22:16). A prepared judgment awaits all such scorners (Prov 19:29), for their trademark of life has been “to delight” in their scorning (Prov 1:22). They shall be brought to nothing and consumed (Isa 29:20).4
The verb “to sit” (יָשָֽׁב) is used frequently in the Psalter.5 It is used here in the sense of “dwelling” or “remaining.” So, the meaning is that the happy/blessed man is he who does not dwell/remain in the official assembly of those who mock God.
While it may not be wise to make much of cognate relationships, it is interesting to see in this phrase (1:1c) that the verb (יָשָֽׁב) and the noun (מוֹשַׁ֥ב) come from the same root. Perhaps this is a technique in Hebrew poetry—I’ll have to do some digging. At any rate, the literary structure of this phrase is quite beautiful.
From the context-of-Psalms perspective, another striking relationship of יָשָֽׁב is worth mentioning. The next time this verb is used is in Psalm 2:4 in which God mocks His enemies, a powerful reversal/inversion of Psalm 1:1c.
Happy is he who does not align himself with those who mock God!
- To see the Hebrew text you need the free Ezra SIL SR unicode font. [↩ back]
- TWOT 1:412 [↩ back]
- Notice the participial form used as an adjective; this form is described in the TWOT quote. [↩ back]
- TWOT 1:479 [↩ back]
- Ps. 1:1; 2:4; 4:9; 9:5, 8, 12; 10:8; 17:12; 22:4; 24:1; 26:4f; 27:4; 29:10; 33:8, 14; 47:9; 49:2; 50:20; 55:20; 61:8; 65:9; 68:7, 11, 17; 69:13, 26, 36; 75:4; 80:2; 83:8; 84:5; 91:1; 98:7; 99:1; 101:6f; 102:13; 107:10, 34, 36; 110:1; 113:5, 8f; 119:23; 122:5; 123:1; 125:1; 127:2; 132:12, 14; 133:1; 137:1; 139:2; 140:14; 143:3 [↩ back]