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37. Psalm 37

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

10For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

13The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

14The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

15Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

16A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.

18The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

19They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

21The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

22For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

23The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

24Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

25I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

27Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

28For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

30The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

31The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

32The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

33The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

34Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

16. Better is the little of the righteous, etc This verse, without any sufficient reason, has been variously rendered. The word המון, hamon, 3232     Ainsworth renders this word, “plenteous mammon,” which, he remarks, “signifieth multitude, plenty, or store of riches, or any other thing.” The Septuagint renders it riches. The English word mammon is derived from this Hebrew word. which is rendered abundance, indeed, sometimes signifies a great multitude of men, and sometimes abundance of things; sometimes, too, an adjective of the plural number is joined to a substantive of the singular number. But those who wrest David’s words to this sense, that a few righteous persons are better than a great multitude of the ungodly, 3333     This is the view taken by Fry, who renders the words,
    

   “Better are the few of the Just one,
Than the great multitude of the wicked.”

   By the Just One, he understands Christ.
plainly destroy their import, and pervert the meaning of the whole sentence. Nor can I receive the explanation which others have given, that the little which the just man possesses is better than the great abundance of the wicked; for I see no necessity for connecting, contrary to the rules of grammar, the word המון, hamon, which denotes abundance, with the word רבים, rabbim. which signifies many or great, and not with the word רשעים, reshaim, which means wicked I have therefore no doubt; that David here contrasts the limited possessions of one righteous man with the riches and wealth of many wicked men. The Hebrew word רבים, rabbim, however, which I have rendered many, may also be properly taken to denote persons of great authority and power. Certainly, it is not difficult to understand that David means to say, that although the wicked excel in this world, and are enriched with its possessions in great abundance and trust in their riches, yet the little which the just man possesses is far better than all their treasures. From this we learn, that David is here speaking, not so much of external grandeur and wealth, as of the secret blessing of God which truly enriches the righteous; for although they live from hand to mouth, yet are they fed from heaven as it were with manna; while the ungodly are always hungry, or else waste away in the very midst of their abundance.

To this also belongs the reason which is added in the next verse, namely, that there is nothing stable in the world except it be sustained by the power of God; but we are plainly told that the righteous only are upheld by him, and that the power of the ungodly shall be broken Here again we see, that in order to form a right and proper estimate of true felicity, we must look forward to the future, or contemplate by the eye of faith the secret grace of God, and his hidden judgments. Unless we are persuaded by faith that God cherishes us in his bosom as a father does his children, our poverty will always be a source of trouble to us; and, on the other hand, unless we bear in mind what is here said concerning the wicked, that their arms shall be broken, we will make too great account of their present condition. But if this doctrine be deeply fixed in the hearts of the faithful, as soon as they shall have learned to rely upon the divine blessing, the delight and joy which they will experience from their little store shall be equal to the magnanimity with which they shall look down, as it were from an eminence, upon the vast treasures in which the ungodly glory. At the same time, we are here admonished, that whilst the ungodly rely upon their own strength, and proudly boast of it, we ought to wait patiently till God arise and break their arms in pieces. As for us, the best consolation which we could have in our infirmity is, that God himself upholds and strengthens us.


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