The Psalms of David in Metre

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Psalm 37

This psalm is wholly of the instructive kind. As the Mosaic system, and the covenant between God and Israel, as his peculiar people, promised remarkable temporal felicity to such as were obedient to the law, and denounced temporal miseries against those that were impious and profane; so the psalmist here cautions against stumbling at particular providences, which might appear contrary to the tenor of that covenant. Here are, (1.) Plain and express warnings against fretfulness at the prosperity of the wicked, in their wickedness, ver. 1, 7-8; with the arguments and reasons enforcing the same, viz. that the character of the wicked is ignominious, while that of the righteous is honourable, ver. 12, 14, 21, 26, 30-32; that the wicked, in the very height of their prosperity, are near to destruction, while the righteous, even in their adversity, have special protection from God, and shall never be ruined, ver. 2, 9-10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 28, 33-40; and that God hath special blessings in store for, and even in this life manifests distinguished kindness to, the righteous and their seed, ver. 11, 16, 18-19, 22-25, 28-29, 37. (2.) Here are proper and effectual remedies to prevent sinful fretting at the prosperity of the wicked, or troubles of the godly, viz. hoping in God as our Saviour; delighting in God as our companion, friend and portion; following him as our guide; departing from evil and doing good; waiting on the Lord, and keeping his way, ver. 3-6, 27, 34.

Be thou, my soul, an accurate observer, of the matter and circumstances of every providence. Carefully compare them one with another; and all with perfections, covenant, and promises of God; in order that thou mayest never be offended thereat.

A Psalm of David

1 For evil-doers fret thou not
thyself unquietly;
Nor do thou envy bear to those
that work iniquity.

2 For, even like unto the grass,
soon be cut down shall they;
And, like the green and tender herb,
they wither shall away.

3 Set thou thy trust upon the Lord,
and be thou doing good;
And so thou in the land shalt dwell,
and verily have food.

4 Delight thyself in God; he’ll give
thine heart’s desire to thee.
5 Thy way to God commit, him trust,
it bring to pass shall he.

6 And, like unto the light, he shall
thy righteousness display;
And he thy judgment shall bring forth
like noon-tide of the day.

7 Rest in the Lord, and patiently
wait for him: do not fret
For him who, prosp’ring in his way,
success in sin doth get.

8 Do thou from anger cease, and wrath
see thou forsake also:
Fret not thyself in any wise,
that evil thou should’st do.

9 For those that evil doers are
shall be cut off and fall:
But those that wait upon the Lord
the earth inherit shall.

10 For yet a little while, and then
the wicked shall not be;
His place thou shalt consider well,
but it thou shalt not see.

11 But by inheritance the earth
the meek ones shall possess:
They also shall delight themselves
in an abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the just,
and at him whets his teeth:
13 The Lord shall laugh at him, because
his day he coming seeth.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword,
and bent their bow, to slay
The poor and needy, and to kill
men of an upright way.

15 But their own sword, which they have drawn,
shall enter their own heart:
Their bows which they have bent shall break,
and into pieces part.

16 A little that a just man hath
is more and better far
Than is the wealth of many such
as lewd and wicked are.

17 For sinners’ arms shall broken be;
but God the just sustains.
18 God knows the just man’s days, and still
their heritage remains.

19 They shall not be ashamed when they
the evil time do see;
And when the days of famine are,
they satisfied shall be.

20 But wicked men, and foes of God,
as fat of lambs, decay;
They shall consume, yea, into smoke
they shall consume away.

21 The wicked borrows, but the same
again he doth not pay;
Whereas the righteous mercy shows,
and gives his own away.

22 For such as blessed be of him
the earth inherit shall;
And they that cursed are of him
shall be destroyed all.

23 A good man’s footsteps by the Lord
are ordered aright;
And in the way wherein he walks
he greatly doth delight.

24 Although he fall, yet shall he not
be cast down utterly;
Because the Lord with his own hand
upholds him mightily.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet have I never seen
The just man left, nor that his seed
for bread have beggars been.

26 He’s ever merciful, and lends:
his seed is blessed therefore.
27 Depart from evil, and do good,
and dwell for evermore.

28 For God loves judgment, and his saints
leaves not in any case;
They are kept ever: but cut off
shall be the sinner’s race.

29 The just inherit shall the land,
and ever in it dwell:
30 The just man’s mouth doth wisdom speak;
his tongue doth judgment tell.

31 In’s heart the law is of his God,
his steps slide not away.
32 The wicked man doth watch the just,
and seeketh him to slay.

33 Yet him the Lord will not forsake,
nor leave him in his hands:
The righteous will he not condemn,
when he in judgment stands.

34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way,
and thee exalt shall he
Th’ earth to inherit; when cut off
the wicked thou shalt see.

35 I saw the wicked great in pow’r,
spread like a green bay-tree:
36 He passed, yea, was not; him I sought,
but found he could not be.

37 Mark thou the perfect, and behold
the man of uprightness;
Because that surely of this man
the latter end is peace.

38 But those men that transgressors are
shall be destroyed together;
The latter end of wicked men
shall be cut off for ever.

39 But the salvation of the just
is from the Lord above;
He in the time of their distress
their stay and strength doth prove.

40 The Lord shall help, and them deliver:
he shall them free and save
From wicked men; because in him
their confidence they have.