Psalm 37:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 37:14, NIV: The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.

Psalm 37:14, ESV: The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright;

Psalm 37:14, KJV: The 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.

Psalm 37:14, NASB: The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow To take down the afflicted and the needy, To kill off those who are upright in conduct.

Psalm 37:14, NLT: The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right.

Psalm 37:14, CSB: The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow to bring down the poor and needy and to slaughter those whose way is upright.

What does Psalm 37:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In this verse David writes that the wicked resort to violence in order to destroy the righteous and others they think they can take advantage of. It's common to see the ungodly use force and threats against those who don't cooperate with their sins (1 Peter 4:3–4). Abuse of the weak and helpless is also a sign of a sinful heart (Proverbs 6:16–19). Like verses 12 and 13, this and verse 15 form a contrasting pair, showing how evil winds up harming itself.

The sword and bow were among the most prominent weapons used in battle during David's era. The Hebrew word translated "slay" here literally means "to slaughter or butcher," as in the slaughter of cattle. The word emphasizes the extraordinary malice that the wicked direct toward those who suffer for truth and righteousness.

However, Jesus described those who suffer for righteousness as blessed. He said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven" (Matthew 5:10–12).