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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Psalms 37

 

 

Verses 1-40

Psalms 37:1. Fret not thyself, be not angry or irritated, because of evil doers. Let the consummate courtier gain elevation, let the merchant aggrandize his family, and the rich men buy the lands of the poor: the triumphing of the wicked is short. The peerage shall soon be extinct, and the mansion come to the hammer.

Psalms 37:3. Dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Hebrews Dwell in the land, and feed on the truth. Then the Lord will be to thee a satisfying portion, and will strengthen thee, as the oak becomes the more enrooted after the tempest.

Psalms 37:4. Delight thyself also in the Lord, in his word, in his worship, contemplating the wonders of his law, and walking in all his pleasant ways; then he himself will be thy portion, and give thee grace and glory. This accords with the next verses.

Psalms 37:7. Rest in the Lord. Hebrews be silent, be still and calm, in conflicts and temptations. I held my tongue and kept silence, for it was thy doing. The mute christian under certain circumstances is the most admirable character.

Psalms 37:9. Evil doers shall be cut off. This is more fully stated in Psalms 37:28.

Psalms 37:11. The meek shall inherit the earth, being peaceful, and hating war and strife. Godliness has everywhere the promise of the present life, as well as of that which is to come.

Psalms 37:15. Their sword shall enter into their own heart. This was literally fulfilled on mount Gilboa, when both Saul and his body-guard fell upon their swords. 1 Samuel 31. How much happier was David in exile, than those men with all their promotion, riches and feasts.

Psalms 37:24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down. The Chaldaic reads, though he fall into infirmity or sickness he shall not die, for the Lord upholds his hand. The prophet had apparently this in his mind, when he said, Rejoice not against me, oh mine enemy. When I fall I shall arise: when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me. Micah 7:8.

Psalms 37:25. Nor his seed begging bread. It is a general maxim, that the children of the righteous shall be blessed. The life of a good man is distinguished by industry, by temperance, and by the promised heritage of temporal good. Yet it is a fact admitted in the sacred writings, that the righteous have suffered great privations; and martyrs and exiles have in certain storms of persecution perished of want.

Psalms 37:28. The Lord—forsaketh not his saints; literally, “his merciful ones.” But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. Dr. Lightfoot remarks here, that this psalm, being an acrostic, the word רשׁע rashâ, wicked, has the last letter cut off. There is a verse in the LXX, which seems to have been omitted in the Hebrew. “The unrighteous shall be punished, and his impious seed shall perish.” This verse makes the acrostic complete in this place.

Psalms 37:35. I have seen the wicked—spreading himself like a green bay-tree. The LXX, “as a cedar of Lebanon,” in majestic stature; and like the tree which Nebuchadnezzar saw, but which received its sentence, “Hew down the tree.” Daniel 4:10-17.

Psalms 37:37. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright. The two Hebrew words, תם taim and ישׁר jasher, are used, the former to designate innocence, integrity, and perfection; the latter to designate uprightness and equity. In this place they are used for characters clothed with every virtue that can dignify human nature. Genesis 6:9; Genesis 7:1. Psalms 64:4. Diogenes went through Athens with a candle in his hand at noon; when asked why he did that, he answered, I am seeking a MAN. This text exhibits the only character worthy of the name of man.

REFLECTIONS.

This psalm is a chain of sacred proverbs, highly adapted to the edification of the church, and to encrease her confidence in providence. Being written in old age, they are all maxims of sober wisdom and mature experience.

Fret not thyself because of evil doers. David had been much grieved: rivers of water had run down his eyes, because of the wicked who kept not God’s law. David gives us a farther explication of his words in Psalms 37:8. Cease from anger—fret not thyself in any wise so as to do evil. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be, but the meek shall inherit the earth; they shall have long life, worldly good, and eternal joy. Therefore our Saviour has pronounced them blessed.

A farther argument not to fret about the wicked is given in Psalms 37:6. Because the little that a righteous man hath, is better than the riches of many wicked men. His one talent shall multiply to two, to five, or ten talents, while the wealth of the wicked shall canker, and the rust testify against them. Therefore the good man having his God, is happier in his cottage, than the prince in his palace. At the same time let the poor man live according to his earnings, and keep clear of all debts; for the wicked borrow and pay not again. It is far better to wear rags, than fine clothes unpaid for.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 37:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/psalms-37.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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