Midrash Tehillim 1:1: The Good Fellow, The Bad Fellow: Psalm 1:1

Whomever you choose for allies will give you counsel, but it is your heart’s true intention that will be revealed by whomever you have chosen. It is the principle of Middah k’neged Middah, measure for measure. Bad fellows love to give bad counsel. A good fellow will love to give good counsel. Fortunate is the man who did not walk in the counsel of the wicked.

The midrash pulls from Proverbs 11:27 to help illustrate. King David is compared to the one who seeks good. King David went out to diligently find good counsel from qualified priests and Levites to serve HaShem in the soon to be constructed Temple. HaShem blessed him to find 24 divisions of priests and 14 divisions of Levites! The text is recalling 1Chr 23-26. Concerning the Levites, David desired to give them new duties in the Temple since they would no longer need to attend to the Tabernacle (See 23:25-32). Likewise, the Aaronites received their duties (See 24:19). David essentially insured that the Levites and Priests would have sustenance and work. What an awesome job to be blessed with, to serve HaShem in His Temple Courts!

And in bringing together these leaders and servants of HaShem, David was able to unite the people to do Divine service and give counsel in cooperation with David’s son, Solomon. Solomon was going to build the Temple as HaShem commanded (See 1Chr 22:6-17). But Solomon would need good counsel and his father David blessed him with everything he could. This is what it means to seek out the good. Bring together people who desire to serve HaShem with you.

David also desired to bless Israel, and asked HaShem in prayer to have The Holy Spirit guide him in blessing the people of Israel. This really reveals David’s heart to bless and love his nation and his God. Indeed, all blessings come from HaShem and He uses people who are filled with His Spirit to bless others. How fortunate is the person who walks in the Holy Spirit’s leading through study and prayer.

The second half of Prov 11:27 says, “He who is bent on evil, upon him it shall com.” The midrash personifies evil to be Doeg the Edomite (See 1Sam 21, 22:9-10) and Ahitophel (See 2Sam 15:32-17:23). These men gave evil counsel to people who had ill intent in their hearts. King Saul was exposed for his evil intent. Likewise, Absalom’s evil was laid bare before the nation. His counselor and the usurper met eerily similar ends.

The counsel of HaShem is best. When the heart is focused on serving Him, not our own desires, how fortunate are we and those who are around us! Our Master Yeshua, as was His custom, (see Luke 22:39), always sought the Father’s Will and Spirit to guide Him through prayer. In this, King David was very much of the same custom. The study of Scripture and prayer with Good Fellows brings blessings.

On the other hand Study and prayer are the defense against the bad fellow. Yeshua always sought the will of the Father. When Peter took Yeshua aside to give bad counsel, Yeshua quickly rebuked him (Matt. 6:22-23). Likewise, when the bad fellow himself attempted to counsel Yeshua, The Master had come fully prepared with prayer and fasting to discern and rebuke the bad counsel (see Matt 4).

Let’s follow King David’s and King Messiah’s example: Study Scripture and prayer, thereby seeking the good counsel of HaShem and bringing goodness to all we see!

Midrash Tehillim 1:1 a midrash on Psalm 1:1

My Translation

Fortunate is the man who did not walk…

It is written, saying: (quoting Proverbs 11:27)

“The seeker of good, he will desire goodwill…”

Who is this seeker of good? This is King David of Israel.

He was seeking out good priests and Levites

from Israel in order to set up the 24 divisions of the

priesthood and the 14 divisions of Levites.

“He will desire goodwill”: King David was desiring 

Compassion; that May the Divine presence rest 

Upon him in order to bless Israel.

Where is their blessing? With the fortunate man!

“But he who seeks an evil fellow, upon him will he come.”

This is Doeg and Ahitophel.

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