Psalm 37:8

ESV Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
NIV Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil.
NASB Cease from anger and abandon wrath; Do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing.
CSB Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated--it can only bring harm.
NLT Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper — it only leads to harm.
KJV Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

What does Psalm 37:8 mean?

David advises his readers not to allow anger to get the best of them. Becoming enraged over the unfairness of the wicked man's prosperity is sinful (Ephesians 4:26–27). Proverbs 15:18 warns that "a hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." Anger and the desire for revenge lead to a cycle of violence and sin. Judgment is ultimately God's role (Psalm 37:10; Romans 12:19), and temporary earthly pleasure from sin will result in terrible judgment in eternity (Matthew 7:21–23; Revelation 20:11–15).

The Lord cares for the righteous and always supplies what the righteous need (Matthew 6:33). The righteous, therefore, should be content with what they have (Hebrews 13:5). Proverbs 15:16 says, "Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it." David cared for sheep when he was a boy, and he recognized how much the sheep depended upon his care. He carried the allusion of the sheep-shepherd relationship into his Shepherd Psalm, Psalm 23, by writing, "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). The Lord is the shepherd of born-again believers (John 10:14–15), therefore we can be content with what He provides (1 Timothy 6:6).
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