Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. -Psalms 1:1
The words in the verse above should be mostly straightforward. A man that is blessed of God is one who doesn’t walk in the counsel of ungodly people, nor does he stand in the way of sinners. Yet, the last phrase, “nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” is a bit more cryptic.
What does it mean to sit in the seat of the scornful? Two main components should be noticed: the seat, and the scornful.
Laughed to scorn
The phrase “to laugh someone to scorn” is common in the Bible, occurring some 11 times by my count.
I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. -Job 12:4
Using the Bible to define its own words in context, we can see above (and from several other verses) that to scorn someone is to mock them. And in this same vein of using the Bible to get meanings of words, here’s another helpful verse:
And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. -Habakkuk 1:10
So a few more synonyms for scorn are: scoff, and deride.
Going back to our original verse, blessed is the man that does not sit in the seat of the scornful: that does not sit in the seat of mockers and scoffers.
Sitting in the seat
Sitting down in a seat could imply a variety of things; it could mean that we are spending time and being around those that are scorners of God and His ways. It implies a comfort: that we are sitting down and are at ease while doing it. It implies permanence: that we are not just passing through with scornful people, or that we didn’t just come upon them by chance, but that we have willfully and intentionally sat down and remain among scorners.
Combining the two phrases, we get a person who has made the choice to mock and scoff at God, His holy people, and His ways. In the Bible, scorn is almost always used in a context that is against people. One who sits in the seat of the scornful is one who mocks and makes fun of the righteous and the holy—those whom God loves.
I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. -Jeremiah 15:17