1 A psalm of Asaf. Hashem is truly good to Yisrael, to those whose heart is pure.
miz-MOR l’-a-SAF AKH TOV l’-yis-ra-AYL e-lo-HEEM l’-va-RAY lay-VAV
א מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף אַךְ טוֹב לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֱלֹהִים לְבָרֵי לֵבָב׃
73:1 A Psalm of Asaf
Asaf is mentioned in Sefer Divrei Hayamim I (15:16-17) as one of the Leviim whom David appointed to sing in the Beit Hamikdash, and he is the author of the next ten psalms. In this psalm, he contrasts the suffering of the righteous in this world with the success of the wicked, and notes that the wicked are “at ease” (verse 3) though he experiences difficult times. The way Asaf begins the psalm, however, is most significant. He speaks of Hashem’s greatness and his belief that God rewards His servants with good: “Hashem is truly good to Yisrael, to those whose heart is pure.” The question of theodicy is as old as time. Though Asaf struggles with the fact that his enemies rejoice, relax and persevere while he has been “constantly afflicted” (verse 14), he nevertheless begins with an acknowledgment that ultimately, what the Lord does to His faithful servants is good, even if the benefit is not immediately obvious. In the meantime, Asaf concludes that although he suffers, just being close to the Lord is good, as he states “nearness to Hashem is good” (verse 28).