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Psalm chapter 37

New International Version

1 Of David. Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. 12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. 18 The blameless spend their days under the LORD's care, and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish: Though the LORD's enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke. 21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. 23 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. 32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death;
33 but the LORD will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. 35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. 37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. 39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. 40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
English Standard Version

1 Of David. Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance 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 blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33 The LORD will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. 35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. 36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
King James Version

1 {A Psalm of David.} Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou 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; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. 13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. 14 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. 15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. 18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. 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 shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. 22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. 28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. 32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh 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 shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt 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, lo, he was not: yea, I 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 shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
New American Standard Bible

1 A Psalm of David. Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. 2 For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself 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 do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. 10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. 11 But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth. 13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow To cast down the afflicted and the needy, To slay those who are upright in conduct. 15 Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken. 16 Better is the little of the righteous Than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the LORD sustains the righteous. 18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever. 19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, And in the days of famine they will have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; And the enemies of the LORD will be like the glory of the pastures, They vanish-- like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. 22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. 23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. 24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. 25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. 26 All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. 27 Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. 28 For the LORD loves justice And does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off. 29 The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip. 32 The wicked spies upon the righteous And seeks to kill him. 33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand Or let him be condemned when he is judged. 34 Wait for the LORD and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. 35 I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. 36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity. 38 But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. 40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.
New Living Translation

1 A psalm of David. Don't worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. 2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. 6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper--it only leads to harm. 9 For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
10 Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. 11 The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.
14 The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. 15 But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. 17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly.
18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. 19 They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.
20 But the wicked will die. The LORD's enemies are like flowers in a field--they will disappear like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. 22 Those the LORD blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die.
23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
25 Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. 26 The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. 29 The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.
30 The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. 31 They have made God's law their own, so they will never slip from his path.
32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them. 33 But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
34 Put your hope in the LORD. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. 36 But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
37 Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. 38 But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future.
39 The LORD rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. 40 The LORD helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Do not be agitated by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.
2 For they wither quickly like grass and wilt like tender green plants. 3 Trust in the LORD and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely.
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act,
6 making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.
7 Be silent before the LORD and wait expectantly for him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the person who carries out evil plans. 8 Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated--it can only bring harm.
9 For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the LORD will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked person will be no more; though you look for him, he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity. 12 The wicked person schemes against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him.
13 The Lord laughs at him because he sees that his day is coming. 14 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.
15 Their swords will enter their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 The little that the righteous person has is better than the abundance of many wicked people.
17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD supports the righteous. 18 The LORD watches over the blameless all their days, and their inheritance will last forever.
19 They will not be disgraced in times of adversity; they will be satisfied in days of hunger.
20 But the wicked will perish; the LORD's enemies, like the glory of the pastures, will fade away--they will fade away like smoke. 21 The wicked person borrows and does not repay, but the righteous one is gracious and giving.
22 Those who are blessed by the LORD will inherit the land, but those cursed by him will be destroyed. 23 A person's steps are established by the LORD, and he takes pleasure in his way.
24 Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the LORD supports him with his hand. 25 I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread.
26 He is always generous, always lending, and his children are a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil, do what is good, and settle permanently. 28 For the LORD loves justice and will not abandon his faithful ones. They are kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked will be destroyed.
29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it permanently. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is just.
31 The instruction of his God is in his heart; his steps do not falter. 32 The wicked one lies in wait for the righteous and intends to kill him;
33 the LORD will not leave him in the power of the wicked one or allow him to be condemned when he is judged.
34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. You will watch when the wicked are destroyed. 35 I have seen a wicked, violent person well-rooted, like a flourishing native tree.
36 Then I passed by and noticed he was gone; I searched for him, but he could not be found. 37 Watch the blameless and observe the upright, for the person of peace will have a future.
38 But transgressors will all be eliminated; the future of the wicked will be destroyed. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD, their refuge in a time of distress. 40 The LORD helps and delivers them; he will deliver them from the wicked and will save them because they take refuge in him.

What does Psalm chapter 37 mean?

In the beginning of this psalm David tells his audience not to "fret," which is translated from a Hebrew word referring to burning or heat. In contrast to anxiety, or rage, believers should trust in the Lord, delight themselves in the Lord, commit their way to the Lord, and wait patiently for the Lord. He explains that the prosperity of the wicked lasts only a short time, whereas the Lord's blessing of the righteous lasts forever (Psalm 37:1–11).

David points out that God is fully aware of the situations faced by the righteous. He is also aware of the seemingly unfair prosperity of the wicked. He knows the wicked abuse the poor and needy and violently oppose the righteous. He assures his readers that God always takes care of His people and protects them. His blessing extends not only to the righteous but also to their descendants. David says the righteous person has God's Word in his heart, and therefore he does not stumble through life. The Lord is always near the righteous person and will give him the Promised Land for an inheritance (Psalm 37:12–34).

From the world's perspective, evil people might seem like a tree with wide-spreading branches. Something so large, and so deeply rooted, can be intimidating. However, as David notes, that is merely an illusion compared to the power of God. In his own life, David saw the fate of the rich (1 Samuel 25:39), the strong (1 Samuel 17:48–51), and those in authority (1 Samuel 23:14) who rejected God and godly wisdom. When the once-powerful tree is destroyed, eventually all traces are gone. God promises a future for the righteous, but He will destroy the wicked. David concludes Psalm 37 by describing the Lord as the believers' salvation and refuge in times of trouble. He delivers them from the wicked (Psalm 37:35–40).