Psalm 1:5
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
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(5) Therefore.—Notice contrast with Psalm 1:1. Those who had deliberately chosen the assembly of the scornful will have no place in that of the good.

Shall not stand.—Properly, shall not rise. Probably like our phrase, “shall not hold up his head.” Will be self-convicted, and shrink away before God’s unerring scrutiny, like the man without a wedding garment in our Lord’s parable (Matthew 22:12). The LXX. and Vulg. have “rise again,” as if with thought of an after state.

The congregation of the righteous.—A phrase repeating itself in different forms in the Psalms. It implies either Israel as opposed to the heathen, or faithful Israel as opposed to those who had proved disloyal to the covenant. In theory all the congregation was holy (Numbers 16:3), but we meet in the Psalms with the feeling expressed in the Apostle’s words, “They are not all Israel that are of Israel.”

Psalm 1:5. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment — Shall not endure the time of trial, which will assuredly come. It may be that God will arise, and judge, and punish them by temporal calamities, and that these will fill their consciences with horror, and cause their hearts to fail. But if not, if they escape these, it is certain they shall not stand, nor escape condemnation and wrath in the great and general judgment of the whole world. Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous — That is, in that society which shall consist of none but righteous persons. “At present,” as Dr. Horne observes, “wheat and chaff lie in one floor; wheat and tares grow in one field; good and bad fishes are comprehended in one net; good and bad men are contained in the visible church;” but let us wait with patience God’s time of separation. The husbandman will appear, with his fan in his hand, and will thoroughly purge his floor; the harvest will come, and the tares shall be gathered up, and bound in bundles to be burned; the net shall be drawn to shore, and, while the good fishes are gathered into vessels, the bad shall be cast away. In other words, at His command who is the governor of his church, and to whom the Father hath committed all judgment, the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and then not one sinner shall be found in the congregation of the righteous.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!Therefore - Because they are thus worthless.

The ungodly - See the notes at Psalm 1:1. The wicked in general; the wicked of any kind or degree.

Shall not stand - Compare the notes at Psalm 1:1. The idea is, that they will not be found among those who are acquitted by the Judge, and approved by him. The idea seems to be derived from the act of standing up to be tried, or to receive a sentence.

In the judgment - The Aramaic Paraphrase renders this, "in the great day" - understanding it of the day of judgment. The Septuagint and Vulgate render it, "the wicked shall not rise - ἀναστήσονται anastēsontai - resurgent - in judgment." Most of the Jewish interpreters, following the Aramaic Paraphrase, understand this as referring to the last judgment. Rosenmuller, in loc. The truth stated, however, seems to be more general than that, though that is probably included. The meaning is, that they would not share the lot of the righteous: in all places, and at all times, where character is determined, and where the divine estimate of human character is manifested, it would be found that they could not stand the trial, or abide the result, so as to have a place with the righteous. Their true character would in all such cases be shown, and they would be treated like the chaff that is driven away. This would be true alike in those situations of trial in the present life when character is determined, and at the last judgment, when the sentence will be pronounced which will determine the final doom of mankind.

Nor sinners - See the notes at Psalm 1:1.

In the congregation of the righteous - Be reckoned or regarded as belonging to the righteous. That is, in all the places where the righteous, as such, are assembled, they will have no place: where they assemble to worship God; where they meet as his friends; where they unitedly participate in his favor; when, in the last day, they shall be gathered together to receive their reward, and when they shall be assembled together in heaven. The sinner has no place in the congregations of the people of God.

5. stand in the judgment—be acquitted. They shall be driven from among the good (Mt 25:45, 46).5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

They shall stand there to be judged, but not to be acquitted. Fear shall lay hold upon-them there; they shall not stand their ground; they shall flee away; they shall not stand in their own defence; for they shall blush and be covered with eternal contempt.

Well may the saints long for heaven, for no evil men shall dwell there, "nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous." All our congregations upon earth are mixed. Every Church has one devil in it. The tares grow in the same furrows as the wheat. There is no floor which is as yet thoroughly purged from chaff. Sinners mix with saints, as dross mingles with gold. God's precious diamonds still lie in the same field with pebbles. Righteous Lots are this side heaven continually vexed by the men of Sodom. Let us rejoice then, that in "the general assembly and church of the firstborn" above, there shall by no means be admitted a single unrenewed soul. Sinners cannot live in heaven. They would be out of their element. Sooner could a fish live upon a tree than the wicked in Paradise. Heaven would be an intolerable hell to an impenitent man, even if he could be allowed to enter; but such a privilege shall never be granted to the man who perseveres in his iniquities. May God grant that we may have a name and a place in his courts above!

Therefore, to wit, because they are ungodly; or because, as this particle is sometimes used, as Genesis 38:26 Numbers 10:31 14:43 Psalm 42:6; for this verse is added to enforce or prove what he said in the former.

Shall not stand, i.e. not subsist or endure the trial; or not be justified, or carry his cause, as this word is oft used; being opposed to falling, as Psalm 18:38 20:8 Malachi 3:2 Luke 21:36 Romans 14:4 Ephesians 6:13.

In the judgment; either,

1. In the time of temporal calamities, when God shall arise to judge and punish them; for then the hearts of the wicked fail, and their consciences are filled with horror. Or,

2. In that great and general judgment of the whole world, called here

the judgment emphatically; in that solemn and general congregation of all mankind, as the next words express it. In the congregation of the righteous, i.e. In that society which shall consist of none but righteous persons, or amongst the righteous ones on Christ’s right hand, Matthew 25:32. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,.... Neither in temporal judgment, when God comes forth in a way of wrath and sore displeasure; for who can stand before him when he is angry? what are chaff and stubble, thorns and briers, to consuming fire? nor in the last and great day of judgment, so the Targum and Kimchi interpret the words; for that day will burn like an oven the wicked, who will be as stubble, and leave neither root nor branch, Malachi 4:1, when the great day of the Lamb's wrath is come, who will be able to stand? Romans 6:16; there will be no standing for the wicked when he appears; they will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to take their trial and hear their sentence, 2 Corinthians 5:10; but they shall not stand in the same place with the righteous, not at Christ's right hand, but at his left; they shall not stand with an holy confidence, with intrepidity, and without shame, as the blessed man will; they will not stand, but fall in judgment; they will not be acquitted and discharged, but be condemned to everlasting punishment, Matthew 25:30; and this sense the Targum on the place expresses, "the ungodly shall not be justified in the great day"; the Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions render the words, "the ungodly shall not rise again in judgment"; from whence some have concluded there will be no resurrection of the wicked: which seems, to be the sense of Kimchi and other Jewish writers; who assert that the souls of the wicked perish with their bodies at death, and that the latter rise not, contrary to Ecclesiastes 12:7; but that the wicked will, rise may be concluded from the justice of God, which requires that the bodies which have sinned should be punished; and from the general judgment of good and bad, and from the account of the punishment of hell, which will be inflicted on the body as well as on the soul: besides, the contrary doctrine is a licentious one, and is calculated to harden wicked men in their sins, and is directly repugnant to the assertions of Christ, and the Apostle Paul, John 5:28; nor has it any foundation in this text, even admitting such a version; which does not absolutely affirm that the wicked shall not rise again, but that they shall not rise again in, judgment, in the first resurrection, the resurrection of the just, and so as to be acquitted and discharged, but they shall rise to the resurrection of damnation;

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; who are made righteous by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and have a work of grace and holiness wrought in them; and who, under the influence of grace, live soberly, righteously, and godly; these are the same with the blessed man, Psalm 1:1; and who at the day of judgment will be perfectly holy, and free from all sin; and they will be all gathered together by the holy angels; the dead saints will be raised, the living ones will be changed, and both will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and will make up one general assembly and church of the firstborn; and among these, and in this assembly, there will not be a single sinner; there are now sinners in Zion, foolish virgins with the wise, chaff and tares among Christ's wheat, and wolves and goats among his sheep; but then there will be an eternal separation, and no mixing together any more.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the {e} judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

(e) But tremble when they see God's wrath.

5. Therefore] The real character of the wicked will be manifested in the judgement. Since they are thus worthless and unstable, destitute of root and fruit, the wicked will not hold their ground in the judgement, in which Jehovah separates the chaff from the wheat (Matthew 3:12).

stand] So Lat. causa stare, and the opposite causa cadere. Cp. Psalm 5:5; Psalm 130:3; Nahum 1:6; Malachi 3:2; Wis 5:1.

in the judgment] Not, before a human tribunal: nor merely in the last judgement, (as the Targum and many interpreters understand it): but in every act of judgement by which Jehovah separates between the righteous and the wicked, and vindicates His righteous government of the world. Cp. as an illustration Numbers 16. Each such ‘day of the Lord’ is a type and pledge of the great day of judgement. Cp. Isaiah 1:24 ff; Isaiah 2:12 ff.; Malachi 3:5; Ecclesiastes 12:14.

in the congregation of the righteous] The ‘congregation of Israel,’ which is the congregation of Jehovah,’ is in its true idea and ultimate destination, the ‘congregation of the righteous’ (Psalm 111:1). It is the aim of each successive judgement to purify it, until at last the complete and final separation shall be effected (Matthew 13:41-43).Verse 5. - Therefore the ungodly (or, the wicked) shall not stand in the judgment. "Therefore," as being chaff, i.e. "destitute of spiritual vitality" (Kay), "the wicked shall not stand," or shall not rise up, "in the judgment," i.e. in the judgment of the last day. So the Targum, Rashi, Dr. Kay, Canon Cook, and others. It is certainly not conceivable that any human judgment is intended by "the judgment" (הַמִּשְׁפָט), and though possibly "all manifestations of God's punitive righteousness are comprehended" (Hengstenberg), yet the main idea must be that the wicked shall not be able to "stand," or" rise up," i.e. "hold up their heads" (Aglen), in the last day. Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. Here the human judgment comes in. Sinners will be cast out, not only from heaven, but also from the Church, or "congregation of the righteous," if not before, at any rate when the "congregation" is finally made up. 16 And Job 54ed after this a hundred and forty years, and saw his children and his children's children to four generations.

In place of ויּרא, the Keri gives the unusual Aorist form ויּראה, which, however, does also occur elsewhere (e.g., 1 Samuel 17:42). The style of the primeval histories, which we here everywhere recognise, Genesis 50:23 (comp. Isaiah 53:10), is retained to the last words.

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