Psalms 1-2 – An Introduction to the Psalms


Psalms 1-2


These psalms together announce what it takes to be “happy” as a child of God (1:1; 2:11)–to meditate on God’s law (Psalm 1) and to take refuge in God’s rule (Psalm 2).


Scholars see Psalms 1 and 2 as a deliberate psalm pair, meant to introduce the entire Psalter with important themes. The term “happy” (or sometimes “blessed”) at the beginning of Psalm 1 and the end of Psalm 2 functions as an inclusio, bringing the two psalms together into a single unit. Neither psalm has its own title or heading, suggesting that the two together function as a kind of “title” for the whole book.

Psalm 1 contrasts the way of the righteous (vv. 1-3), who meditate on God’s law or instruction (Torah) day and night, and the way of the wicked (vv. 4-6), who do not follow God’s path.

Psalm 2 introduces God’s anointed (messiah), the earthly king, whom God calls “my son.” God rules through the king and provides a place of refuge for God’s people.

Together, Psalms 1 and 2 provide a lens or window through which the reader is invited to read the entire Psalter: as a way to meditate on God’s instruction (Psalm 1) and in hope for God’s messianic reign of peace and justice (Psalm 2).