The Bible – Old Testament
Of David. 1 Do not be provoked by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.
Like grass they wither quickly; like green plants they wilt away.
2 Trust in the LORD and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure.
Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust that God will act
And make your integrity shine like the dawn, your vindication like noonday.
Be still before the LORD; wait for God. Do not be provoked by the prosperous, nor by malicious schemers.
Give up your anger, abandon your wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm.
Those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD will possess the land.
Wait a little, and the wicked will be no more; look for them and they will not be there.
But the poor will possess the land, will delight in great prosperity.
The wicked plot against the just and grind their teeth at them;
But the LORD laughs at them, knowing their day is coming.
The wicked draw their swords; they string their bows To fell the poor and oppressed, to slaughter those whose way is honest.
Their swords will pierce their own hearts; their bows will be broken.
Better the poverty of the just than the great wealth of the wicked.
The arms of the wicked will be broken; the LORD will sustain the just.
The LORD watches over the days of the blameless; their heritage lasts forever.
They will not be disgraced when times are hard; in days of famine they will have plenty.
The wicked perish, the enemies of the LORD; Like the beauty of meadows they vanish; like smoke they disappear.
The wicked borrow but do not repay; the just are generous in giving.
For those blessed by the Lord will possess the land, but those accursed will be cut off.
Those whose steps are guided by the LORD; whose way God approves,
May stumble, but they will never fall, for the LORD holds their hand.
Neither in my youth, nor now in old age have I ever seen the just abandoned or their children begging bread.
The just always lend generously, and their children become a blessing.
Turn from evil and do good, that you may inhabit the land forever.
For the LORD loves justice and does not abandon the faithful. When the unjust are destroyed, and the children of the wicked cut off,
The just will possess the land and live in it forever.
The mouths of the just utter wisdom; their tongues speak what is right.
God’s teaching is in their hearts; their steps do not falter.
The wicked spy on the just and seek to kill them.
But the LORD does not leave the just in their power, nor let them be condemned when tried.
Wait eagerly for the LORD, and keep to the way; God will raise you to possess the land; you will gloat when the wicked are cut off.
I have seen ruthless scoundrels, strong as flourishing cedars.
When I passed by again, they were gone; though I searched, they could not be found.
Observe the honest, mark the upright; those at peace with God have a future.
But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD, their refuge in time of distress.
The LORD helps and rescues them, rescues and saves them from the wicked, because in God they take refuge.
1 [Psalm 37] The psalm responds to the problem of evil, which the Old Testament often expresses as a question: why do the wicked prosper and the good suffer? The psalm answers that the situation is only temporary. God will reverse things, rewarding the good and punishing the wicked here on earth. The perspective is concrete and earthbound: people’s very actions place them among the ranks of the good or wicked. Each group or “way” has its own inherent dynamism – eventual frustration for the wicked, eventual reward for the just. The psalm is an acrostic, i.e., each section begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section has its own imagery and logic.
2 [3,9,11,22,27,29,34] The land: the promised land, Israel, which became for later interpreters a type or figure of heaven. Cf ⇒ Hebrews 11:9-10, ⇒ 13-16. The New Testament Beatitudes (⇒ Matthew 5:3-12; ⇒ Luke 6:20-26) have been influenced by the psalm, especially their total reversal of the present and their interpretation of the happy future as possession of the land.