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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 37

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-40

Psalms 37


Seven words that are strongly emphasized in the Hebrew language appear in this Psalm as stepping stones from doubt to faith are: 1) Verse 1, "Fret not;" 2) Verse 3, "Trust;" 3) Verse 4, "Delight;" 4) Verse 5, "Commit;" 5) Verse 7, "Rest;" 6) Verse 8, "Cease;" 7) Verse 9, "Wait."

Verses 1-40:

Temporary Care For The Righteous

In old age David wrote this Psalm explaining that the prosperity of the wicked was for but a short time in comparison with eternity. His prosperity does not extend beyond death. In this life he may glory, but in death horrors of fear and hell grip him, in which torment he shall exist forever, in a state of conscious self-­condemnation Luke 16:25; John 3:36; Mark 16:16; Revelation 14:11. But the blessed state of the righteous shall be one of glory and safety, Ecclesiastes 8:12-13; Proverbs 29:25. Heaven’s mathematics certify that "a little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches and dividends of the wicked," by investing both their lives and material possessions with view to honoring God, 1 Kings 17:14; Proverbs 11:24; Luke 6:38.

Verse 1 admonishes one to "fret not" or avoid fretting because of evil-doers and continual workers of iniquity. Nor should one become envious of them for their seeming prosperity. For at the house of God, from the word of God, one may learn that their end is not well, Psalms 73:3; Psalms 73:16-17; One must not linger always among the wicked, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Proverbs 23:17; Proverbs 24:19.

Verse 2 adds that "they shall soon be cut down and wither like the grass and a green herb," when struck by the sunshine and wind; The idea is that earthly prosperity, glory, and fame is a fading thing; Laughter and prosperity, without God, is vanity and a mockery. For it is the Lord who "giveth thee power to get wealth," to whom gratitude must be returned, Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Peter 1:24-25; James 4:14-17.

Verse 3 calls for trust in the Lord, then "doing good," out of gratitude for His salvation, with assurance "so shalt thou be fed," Matthew 6:33; For God "witholdeth no good thing from those who walk uprightly," Psalms 84:11. Doing good is an antidote to fretting, James 1:22.

Verses 4, 5 call upon one to delight himself in the Lord with assurance that He will give him the desires of his heart, Isaiah 58:14; Job 22:26; Job 27:10; Psalms 20:5; Psalms 21:2.
Verse 5 adds "commit," thy way or roll your burden on the shoulder of the Lord, trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass," as expressed 1 Peter 5:7; Psalms 16:3. See also Matthew 6:25; Luke 12:22.

Verse 6 assures that with delightful commitment of ones soul and life to the Lord he will bring forth ones righteousness to be as helpful as the light; and his judgment will the Lord vindicate, from false charges of the ungodly, a thing that will make them shine like the noonday sun, Micah 7:9; Matthew 5:15-16; Job 11:17; Isaiah 58:8; Revelation 22:12.

Verse 7 admonishes one to "rest," be silent or patient in the Lord, in His will, and wait patiently for Him. Do not take things in to your own hands, until you know you are in His will, John 7:17; Do not fret because of the prosperity of the wicked, v.1, or the one who engages in wickedness. To entertain such thoughts is sin, v.1, 8; Proverbs 24:9; Jeremiah 12:1.

Verse 8 calls on one to cease or refrain from anger, and turn his back, or walk away from wrath. Let these no more live in your life than you would have snakes in your bedroom, rats in your cupboard, or termites in the foundation and walls of your home, Ephesians 4:30-32. As in verses 1, 7, a third time he appeals, "fret not thyself in anywise, under any circumstance, to do evil," because others are doing it, seem to be immune for a brief time from suffering for it, Ephesians 4:26. See also Colossians 3:8; Galatians 3:19-20; Proverbs 25:28.

Verses 9, 10 warn that evil doers, those going on in sin shall be cut off. In a little while they will no longer prosper in their sins, but come to a grim day of reaping, Numbers 32:23; Ecclesiastes 12:14. Their days shall be cut short or limited, as declared Psalms 55:23. But those who wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth, Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 10:36-37; Psalms 25:13; Romans 8:17-18.

Verse 11 assures that "the meek shall inherit (have an heritage in) the earth; and delight themselves (or have pleasure) in the abundance of peace," as declared Matthew 5:5; through Jesus, the promised Prince of Peace, Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:6; Hosea 2:18; Zechariah 9:10. It will be after "the wicked are cut off," v.9, 10; John 14:27; John 16:33; Colossians 3:15.

Verses 12, 13 assert that tho the wicked continually plot against the just and ferociously gnashes upon and against him with his teeth, the Lord shall "laugh at him," with scorn and derision, because of his insolence. For the Lord sees that the day of the wicked’s judgment, tho deferred in mercy, is surely coming, as winter follows autumn, Psalms 2:4; Proverbs 1:26-30; See also Psalms 137:7; Ezekiel 7:7; Acts 17:30-31.

Verses 14,15 disclose that the wicked have drawn the sword and bent the bow to strike down, subject the poor, and slay those who have upright conversation or course of conduct. It is added that their "sword shall enter into their own heart and their bow shall be broken," as described 1 Samuel 17:50-51. See also Psalms 7:15-16; Matthew 26:52; Revelation 13:10.

Verse 16 declares that "a little that a righteous man has," gotten honestly, is better, more to be desired than the riches of many (so many) wicked," as described at length, Proverbs 3:33; Proverbs 13:25; Proverbs 15:16; Proverbs 16:8; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Ecclesiastes 4:6; Matthew 6:11; 1 Timothy 6:6. A "little" with righteousness, is better than half a world without God, Mark 8:34; Mark 8:38.

Verse 17 then certifies that "the arms (or strength) of the wicked shall be broken" so that they have no longer power to execute schemes against the righteous or the poor, Psalms 10:15. This is why the "little" of the righteous is better than the riches of the wicked, as related by our Lord, in the story of the foolish, covetous barn builder and the rich man, neighbor to the poor, righteous Lazarus, Luke 12:19-21; Luke 16:25.

Verses 18, 19 further declare that the "Lord knows," takes knowledge of "the days of the upright," and that "their inheritance shall be forever," unfading, passing not away, 1 Peter 1:4-5; Romans 8:17-18. It is added that "they," the upright in body and soul, shall not be ashamed in the evil time, the time of judgment for every evil deed, Ecclesiastes 12:14; 1 Corinthians 3:13-14. And in the days of famine for the wicked, "they," the upright, shall be satisfied, have every need supplied, by Him who never leaves His own as orphans, Hebrews 13:5.

Verse 20 reveals that the wicked shall perish, be brought to great suffering and loss; and the enemies of the Lord shall be consumed in smoke, like the fat of lambs, in the sacrifices, even to the praise of the righteous judgment of God upon those who despised Him, until too late, Proverbs 29:1; James 5:5; Mark 9:49; Romans 2:4-5; Proverbs 1:26-30; Hebrews 4:7; Revelation 22:17.

Verse 21 reflects the general character of covetousness and greed of the wicked to borrow and neglect to repay in contrast with the redeemed nature of the righteous that is inclined to show mercy, compassion, and long-suffering in both giving and lending to the poor, as discussed in the basic Law of Moses, v.26; Deuteronomy 15:6; Deuteronomy 28:22; Deuteronomy 28:44.

Verse 22 states that those who are blessed of the righteous and of the Lord shall inherit the earth or have an heir-setting with the Lord on the earth, Matthew 5:5; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Revelation 5:9-10. And those who are cursed by the Lord shall be cut off from His mercy and blessings and be finally damned in hell and a lake of fire and brimstone, Mark 16:16; Revelation 20:12-15; Revelation 21:8; Psalms 32:1; Psalms 128:1; Proverbs 3:33.

Verses 23, 24 certify that the steps of the godly man, the man with a godly nature, the one who is born again, a hero for God, is ordered, directed or set in order or stabilized by the Lord, who delights or takes pleasure in his godly ways, as he walks an holy, separated life of service; Such is attested or verified 1 Samuel 2:9; Job 23:11; Psalms 17:5; Psalms 85:13; Psalms 12:3; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 10:23. See also Psalms 40:2; Proverbs 4:26.

Verse 24 asserts that "tho he (a good or godly man) fall, for the best of men, do as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter, etc., he shall not (not may not, has a good chance of not) but shall not, (a Divine certified absolute) be utterly cast down, or cast down to hell," as "good-works-trusting" apostatizers erroneously teach. "For the Lord continually upholds (or supports) him by His hand," in which every true believer is held; Herein exists the source of true security, John 10:27-30; John 5:24; 1 John 5:13; Philippians 1:6; Matthew 14:31; Micah 7:8; 2 Corinthians 4:9; Luke 22:31-34.

Verses 25, 26 recount that David tho once young had now come to old age, having never seen the righteous deserted, nor his seed (offspring) continually begging bread, as David had once done, temporarily, from Nabal. For the Lord had given a covenant pledge to bless the offspring of those who lived righteously, Exodus 20:5-6; Matthew 6:33; Psalms 84:11; Romans 8:23; Romans 8:32.

Verse 26 adds that the good or godly man is ever, continually, merciful and lendeth; therefore his seed will be blessed, in harmony with the Divine covenant, Exodus 20:6, as set forth in v.21 above; Deuteronomy 15:6; Deuteronomy 28:22; Deuteronomy 28:44.

Verse 27 exhorts the righteous to depart or turn away from evil and do or practice doing good things, and in this one can dwell or reside with peace permanently, unmoved by trouble, v.3, 11; Exodus 20:12; James 1:22.

Verse 28 relates that the Lord (continually) loves judgment, on the basis of His holiness of nature and righteousness of deeds, in exercising justice on the good and the evil, Psalms 11:7. He will not forsake or desert His saints, v.25; Hebrews 13:5; Proverbs 3:3-5; Psalms 34:7; John 10:27-30. They are preserved forever, John 5:24. If any is ever lost it must be after "forever" has passed away! See? This is security for those in the Lord, 2 Timothy 1:12. But, it is concluded, the "seed of the wicked are cut off," Psalms 9:17.

Verse 29 asserts that the seed of the righteous, of the Son of God, the saved, shall inherit the land, planet-earth, and dwell in it forever, as the new heaven and the new earth, Revelation 5:9-10; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Revelation 21:1-6; 2 Peter 3:11-13.

Verses 30, 31 fortell that the mouth of the righteous continually or repeatedly speaks with wisdom or discretion and his tongue talks or communicates of judgment, of personal responsibility, accountability, and praise as expressed Psalms 19:14; Psalms 51:15. It is added that the "law of God is in his heart, as a security guard or sentinel, so that none of his steps shall slide," Psalms 40:8; Exodus 19:1; Psalms 119:11. The words of the mouth, and actions of the tongue before ones neighbor, in the light of the law of the Lord, in the heart, does keep or guard one from backsliding before God, Colossians 4:5-6; Deuteronomy 6:6; Psalms 1:1-3.

Verses 32, 33 declare that the wicked "eyeballs" the righteous, and seeks to slay him, remove him from his sight, Luke 9:53-54; Psalms 10:8; John 15:19; John 15:25. But the Lord will not leave him or desert him in his hand nor condemn him when he is wickedly judged by the world. Nor will he class him with the wicked (Heb yarshihinew) in the hour of Divine judgment, Psalms 109:7; Psalms 109:31. See also Romans 2:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10.

Verse 34 calls for the righteous, under persecution, to wait on the God of the world, casting himself upon Him as his defense and defender. With the assurance that the Lord will exalt him, in due season, to inherit the land before his enemies, whom he shall see cut off, even as Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore, Exodus 14:30; Psalms 58:10; Isaiah 66:24.

Verses 35, 36 relate that David had observed the wicked, while in temporary prosperity, in the rightful land of the covenant people Israel, spreading himself with seeming formidable power and flourishing like a green bay tree. Yet, he too had seen them conquered, driven out of the land, so that when he sought him he could not be found, even as Sennacherib did, 2 Kings 18:35-37.

Verse 37 appeals "mark (take note of) the perfect or mature man," the upright or righteous man in heart and deed, 1 Kings 8:61. For the end of that man or that kind of man is peace ... peace with the Prince of peace, Matthew 5:45; John 14:27; John 16:33; Romans 5:1. The "peace" of the righteous is in contrast with the "cutting off" of the wicked, v.34. See also Job 1:1; Job 42:12; 2 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 4:8; Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 57:2; Luke 2:25-29; Acts 7:59-60; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Peter 1:14.

Verse 38 concludes that the transgressors shall be destroyed together, brought to final judgment together, at the great white throne judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. The ultimate end of the wicked when they are cut off is (Heb acharith) when they meet the final consequence of their unbelief and deeds, Ecclesiastes 12:14; Mark 16:16.

Verse 39 contrasts "the salvation (liberation) of the righteous to be or exist of the Lord; Even as their strength in and through the time of trouble, Psalms 3:8; Isaiah 12:2; John 2:9; Ephesians 2:8. See also Psalms 9:9; Psalms 46:1; Psalms 91:15; Psalms 33:2; Colossians 1:11.

Verse 40 certifies that the Lord shall help the righteous, in and through life, and secure their final and complete liberation from the wicked, shall save them, because they trust in Him, as also pledged Psalms 17:13; Psalms 27:2; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 5:18; 1 Chronicles 5:20; 1 Chronicles 22:4; Daniel 3:17; Daniel 6:28.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 37". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-37.html. 1985.
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