Psalm 37:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 37:24, NIV: though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Psalm 37:24, ESV: though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.

Psalm 37:24, KJV: Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Psalm 37:24, NASB: When he falls, he will not be hurled down, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Psalm 37:24, NLT: Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Psalm 37:24, CSB: Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with his hand.

What does Psalm 37:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Every life has its setbacks, but the righteous will not stay down forever. Scripture never guarantees that followers of God will be free from earthly suffering (John 16:33; Psalm 34:19). What the Bible does promise is that any pain experienced by a believer is temporary (Romans 8:28; Revelation 21:4). God's people suffer occasional misfortunes but not utter ruin. They may suffer, but they will not perish like the wicked. The Lord holds the hand of the righteous person, and thereby protects him from disaster.

The phrase "cast headlong" comes from a Hebrew term meaning "throw, cast, hurl, or carry away." The imagery here is of someone tumbling out of control. David's words depict the difference between the "stumbles" of the godly, from which there will be recovery, versus those of the ungodly, which can lead to utter ruin. This is true both in an earthly and eternal sense (2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 5:16–18).

The believer's fall is seen, in context, as a material misfortune. Job, for example, experienced a material fall and personal loss. He lost 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys (Job 1:3, 14–17). He also lost his seven sons and three daughters (Job 1:2, 18–19). Further, he lost his health (Job 2:7–8). But after these trials, Job had a clearer picture of the Lord and himself, and "the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning" (Job 42:12). The Lord blessed Job with twice as many sheep, camels, yoke of oxen, and female donkeys as he had before the trials (Job 42:12). He also gave Job more children. "After this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days" (Job 42:16–17). Job's experience foreshadows the eternal promise given to all believers (John 6:40).