David persuades to patience and confidence in God by the different estate of the godly and the wicked, 1-40.
1 [A Psalm of David.] Do not fret yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD. Trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass.
6 And he will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noon-day.
7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for him. Do not fret yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Do not fret yourself. It leads only to evil-doing.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be. You shall even diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plots against the just and gnashes upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord will laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword and bent their bow to cast down the poor and needy and to slay those who are of upright deportment.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs. They shall consume. Into smoke they shall consume away.
21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous shows mercy and gives.
22 For those who are blessed by him shall inherit the earth, and those who are cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and he delights in his way.
24 Though he should fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful and lends, and his seed is blessed.
27 Depart from evil and do good, and dwell forevermore.
28 For the LORD loves judgment and does not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment.
31 The law of his God is in his heart. None of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watches the righteous and seeks to slay him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more. I even sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together. The end of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD. He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the LORD will help them and deliver them. He will deliver them from the wicked and save them because they trust in him.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 37[➚]
John Calvin's Chapter Summary:
This psalm, the title of which shows it to have been composed by David, contains most profitable instruction. Since the faithful, so long as they pursue their earthly pilgrimage through life, see things strangely confused in the world, unless they assuaged their grief with the hope of a better issue, their courage would soon fail them. The more boldly any man despises God, and runs to every excess in wickedness, so much the more happily he seems to live. And since prosperity appears to be a token of God's favor towards the ungodly, what conclusion, it may be said, can be drawn from this, but either that the world is governed by chance, and that fortune bears the sovereignty, or else that God makes no difference between the good and the bad? The Spirit of God accordingly confirms and strengthens us in this psalm against the assaults of such a temptation. However great the prosperity which the wicked enjoy for a time, he declares their felicity to be transient and evanescent, and that, therefore, they are miserable, while the happiness of which they boast is cursed; whereas the pious and devoted servants of God never cease to be happy, even in the midst of their greatest calamities, because God takes care of them, and at length comes to their aid in due season. This, indeed, is paradoxical, and wholly repugnant to human reason. For as good men often suffer extreme poverty, and languish long under many troubles, and are loaded with reproaches and wrongs, while the wicked and profligate triumph, and are regaled with pleasures, might we not suppose that God cares not for the things that are done on earth? It is on this account that, as I have already said, the doctrine of this psalm is so much the more profitable; because, withdrawing our thoughts from the present aspect of things, it enjoins us to confide in the providence of God, until he stretch forth his hand to help those who are his servants, and demand of the ungodly a strict account of their lives, as of thieves and robbers who have foully abused his bounty and paternal goodness.
[v.11] - Reference, Matthew 5:5.