Psalm 37 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of Psalm 37)

Ps 37:1-40. A composed and uniform trust in God and a constant course of integrity are urged in view of the blessedness of the truly pious, contrasted in various aspects with the final ruin of the wicked. Thus the wisdom and justice of God's providence are vindicated, and its seeming inequalities, which excite the cavils of the wicked and the distrust of the pious, are explained. David's personal history abundantly illustrates the Psalm.

1, 2. The general sentiment of the whole Psalm is expressed. The righteous need not be vexed by the prosperity of the wicked; for it is transient, and their destiny undesirable.

3. Trust--sure of safety.
shalt thou dwell--or, "dwell thou"; repose quietly.
verily . . . fed--or, "feed on truth," God's promise (Ps 36:5; compare Ho 12:1).

4. desires-- (Ps 20:5; 21:2), what is lawful and right, really good (Ps 84:11).

5. Commit thy way-- (Pr 16:3). Works--what you have to do and cannot set forth as a burden.
trust . . . in him--literally, "on Him." He will do what you cannot (compare Ps 22:8; 31:6). He will not suffer your character to remain under suspicion.

7, 8. Rest in--literally, "Be silent to the Lord."
and wait--Be submissive--avoid petulance and murmurings, anger and rash doing.

9. Two reasons: The prosperity of the wicked is short; and the pious, by humble trust, will secure all covenant blessing, denoted here by "inherit the earth" (compare Ps 25:13).

10, 11. shall not be--literally, "is not"--is not to be found.

11. peace--includes prosperity.

12. gnasheth . . . teeth--in beastly rage.

13. (Compare Ps 2:4).
seeth--knows certainly.
his day--of punishment, long delayed, shall yet come (Heb 10:37).

14, 15. sword, and . . . bow--for any instruments of violence.
slay--literally, "slaughter" (1Sa 25:11).
poor and needy--God's people (Ps 10:17; 12:5). The punishment of the wicked as drawn on themselves--often mentioned (compare Ps 7:15, 16; 35:8).

16. riches--literally, "noise and tumult," as incidental to much wealth (compare Ps 39:6). Thus the contrast with the "little" of one man is more vivid.

17. Even the members of the body needed to hold weapons are destroyed.

18, 19. God, who knows His people's changes, provides against evil and supplies all their need.

20. While the wicked, however mighty, are destroyed, and that utterly, as smoke which vanishes and leaves no trace.

21, 22. payeth not--not able; having grown poor (compare De 15:7). Ability of the one and inability of the other do not exclude moral dispositions. God's blessing or cursing makes the difference.

22. cut off--opposed to "inherit the earth" (compare Le 7:20, 21).

23, 24. steps--way, or, "course of life"; as ordered by God, failures will not be permanent.

26. his seed is blessed--literally, "for a blessing" (Ge 12:2; Ps 21:6). This position is still true as the rule of God's economy (1Ti 4:8; 6:6).

27-29. The exhortation is sustained by the assurance of God's essential rectitude in that providential government which provides perpetual blessings for the good, and perpetual misery for the wicked.

30, 31. The righteous described as to the elements of character, thought, word, and action.

31. steps--or, "goings"--for conduct which is unwavering (Ps 18:36).

32, 33. The devices of the wicked against the good fail because God acquits them.

34. On the contrary, the good are not only blessed, but made to see the ruin of their foes.

35, 36. of which a picture is given, under the figure of a flourishing tree (compare Margin), which soon withers.

36. he was not--(Compare Ps 37:10).

37. By "the end" is meant reward (Pr 23:18; 24:14), or expectation of success, as in Ps 37:38, which describes the end of the wicked in contrast, and that is cut off (compare Ps 73:17).

38. together--at once; entirely (Ps 4:8).

39, 40. strength-- (Ps 27:1; 28:8).
trouble--straits (Ps 9:9; 10:1). In trust and quietness is the salvation of the pious from all foes and all their devices.