Tehillim / Psalms 37, Part 2, The way of the Righteous in the time of evil

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 37:1-40, David opens the Psalm speaking of the unrighteous saying A Psalm of David 37:1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. 37:2 For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. (NASB) David continues regarding the wicked saying:

  • 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. 37:10 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. (NASB)
  • 37:12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth. 37:13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. 37:14 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. 37:15 Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken. (NASB)
  • 37:17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord sustains the righteous. (NASB)
  • 37:20 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. 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. (NASB)
  • 37:32 The wicked spies upon the righteous And seeks to kill him. (NASB)
  • 37:38 But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off. (NASB)

According to David, the wicked do not inherit the land, they stick their own hearts with their swords, they will be broken and like the withering grass, they will be cut off. On the other hand, the righteous Tehillim / Psalms 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states 37:5 Reveal to the Lord your ways, and trust in his word, and he will act. (EMC) Trusting in the Lord, His ways, and His word is the path He wants each of us to follow.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק לז

א לְדָוִד | אַל-תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל-תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵֹי עַוְלָה: ב כִּי כֶחָצִיר מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא יִבּוֹלוּן: ג בְּטַח בַּיהֹוָה וַעֲשֵֹה-טוֹב שְׁכָן-אֶרֶץ וּרְעֵה אֱמוּנָה: ד וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל-יְהֹוָה וְיִתֶּן-לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ: ה גּוֹל עַל-יְהֹוָה דַּרְכֶּךָ וּבְטַח עָלָיו וְהוּא יַעֲשֶֹה:

סםר טוביה פרק לז

א לדוד לא תגרג תרגג במבאשין למהוי דכמהון ולא תטנין בעבדי טלומא למזדווג עמהון׃ ב מטול ארום דסופיהון היך עסבא בסרהוביא יתמוללון והיך ירוק דיתאה ינתרון׃ ג רחיץ במימרא דיהוה ועביד טב שרי ארעא וחסין ועסוק בהימנותא׃ ד ותתפניק על יהוה ויתן לך משיילי לבך׃

YALMOI 37

37:1 τοῦ Δαυιδ μὴ παραζήλου ἐν πονηρευομένοις μηδὲ ζήλου τοὺς ποιοῦντας τὴν ἀνομίαν 37:2 ὅτι ὡσεὶ χόρτος ταχὺ ἀποξηρανθήσονται καὶ ὡσεὶ λάχανα χλόης ταχὺ ἀποπεσοῦνται 37:3 ἔλπισον ἐπὶ κύριον καὶ ποίει χρηστότητα καὶ κατασκήνου τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιμανθήσῃ ἐπὶ τῷ πλούτῳ αὐτῆς 37:4 κατατρύφησον τοῦ κυρίου καὶ δώσει σοι τὰ αἰτήματα τῆς καρδίας σου

ו וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ כַּצָּהֳרָיִם: ז דּוֹם לַיהֹוָה וְהִתְחוֹלֵל לוֹ אַל-תִּתְחַר בְּמַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכּוֹ בְּאִישׁ עֹשֶֹה מְזִמּוֹת: ח הֶרֶף מֵאַף וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה אַל-תִּתְחַר אַךְ-לְהָרֵעַ: ט כִּי-מְרֵעִים יִכָּרֵתוּן וְקוֵֹי יְהֹוָה הֵמָּה יִירְשׁוּ-אָרֶץ: י וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל-מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ: יא וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ-אָרֶץ וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ עַל-רֹב שָׁלוֹם: יב זֹמֵם רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וְחֹרֵק עָלָיו שִׁנָּיו: יג אֲדֹנָי יִשְֹחַק-לוֹ כִּי-רָאָה כִּי-יָבֹא יוֹמוֹ: יד חֶרֶב | פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי-דָרֶךְ: טו חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה: טז טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים: יז כִּי זְרוֹעוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה וְסוֹמֵךְ צַדִּיקִים יְהֹוָה: יח יוֹדֵעַ יְהֹוָה יְמֵי תְמִימִם וְנַחֲלָתָם לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה: יט לֹא-יֵבשׁוּ בְּעֵת רָעָה וּבִימֵי רְעָבוֹן יִשְֹבָּעוּ: כ כִּי רְשָׁעִים | יֹאבֵדוּ וְאֹיְבֵי יְהֹוָה כִּיקַר כָּרִים כָּלוּ בֶעָשָׁן כָּלוּ: כא לוֶֹה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן: כב כִּי מְבֹרָכָיו יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וּמְקֻלָּלָיו יִכָּרֵתוּ: כג מֵיְהֹוָה מִצְעֲדֵי-גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ: כד כִּי-יִפֹּל לֹא-יוּטָל כִּי-יְהֹוָה סוֹמֵךְ יָדוֹ: כה נַעַר | הָיִיתִי גַּם-זָקַנְתִּי וְלֹא-רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ-לָחֶם: כו כָּל-הַיּוֹם חוֹנֵן וּמַלְוֶה וְזַרְעוֹ לִבְרָכָה: כז סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵֹה-טוֹב וּשְׁכֹן לְעוֹלָם: כח כִּי יְהֹוָה | אֹהֵב מִשְׁפָּט וְלֹא-יַעֲזֹב אֶת-חֲסִידָיו לְעוֹלָם נִשְׁמָרוּ וְזֶרַע רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָת: כט צַדִּיקִים יִירְשׁוּ-אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁכְּנוּ לָעַד עָלֶיהָ: ל פִּי-צַדִּיק יֶהְגֶּה חָכְמָה וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ תְּדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּט: לא תּוֹרַת אֱלֹהָיו בְּלִבּוֹ לֹא תִמְעַד אֲשֻׁרָיו: לב צוֹפֶה רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וּמְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲמִיתוֹ: לג יְהֹוָה לֹא-יַעַזְבֶנּוּ בְיָדוֹ וְלֹא יַרְשִׁיעֶנּוּ בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ:

ה גלי על יהוה אורחתך וסבור על מימריה והוא יעבד: ו ויפוק היך נהורא צדקך צדקתך ודינך היך טיהרא׃ ז שתוק אמתין קדם יהוה ואוריך ליה לא תגרג תרגג ברשיעא דמצלח אורחיה בגברא דעבד עיצת חטאין׃ ח אוריך מרגיוז ושבוק ריתחא לא תגרג תרגג ברם לאבאשא׃ ט מטול ארום דמבאשין ישתיצון ודסברין במימרא דיהוה הינון יירתון ארעא׃ י ותוב כזעיר ולית רשיעא ותתבין על אתריה וליתוי׃ יא ועינוותנין ירתון ארעא ויתפנקון על סגיעות שלמא׃ יב חשיל חשיד רשיעא ביש על צדיקא ומעסי עלוי ככוי׃ יג יהוה יגחך עלוי ארום חמא ארום על יומא דתבריה׃ יד חרבא שליפו רשיעיא ומתחו קשוותהון למקטול עניי וחשיכי למכוס תריצי אורחא׃ טו סיפהון תיעול בלבהון וקשוותהון יתברון׃ טז טב קדם יהוה זעירות צדיקא מריכפת רשיעין סגיעין׃ יז ארום דרועי דרשיעיא יתברון ותמיך וסעיד צדיקיא מימרא דיהוה׃ יח ידיעין קדם יהוה יומיהון דשלמין ואחסנתהון לעלם תהי׃ יט לא יבהתון בעידן בישתא וביומי אולצנא סבעין׃ כ ארום רשיעיא ייבדון ובעלי דבביא דיהוה היך יקר פלגיסין דמן אולא מתפטמין וסופיהון מתנכסין היכנא רשיעי יסופון ובתנן גהנם יגמרון יתגמרון׃ כא מוזיף רשיעא ולא פרע וצדיק מחייס ויהב׃ כב מטול ארום דמתברכין במימרא ירתון ארעא ודמתלטטין במותא ישתיצון׃ כג מן קדם יהוה פסיעתוי דגברא מיתקנן ואורחתיה יתרעי׃ כד ארום יפול מרע לא ימות מטול דיהוה סעיד בידיה׃ כה טאלי הוית ברם סיבית ולא חמית צדיקא שביקא ובנוי תבעין לחמא מחוסרנא׃ כו מן בגלל דכל יומא חייס ומוזיף וזרעיה לברכתא׃ כז סטי מביש ועביד טיבו ושרי לחיי עלמא׃ {ת׳׳א} זור מלמעבד בישותא צדיקא ועביד טבתא בגין כן תשרי לעלם׃ כח ארום יהוה רחים דינא ולא ישבוק ית חסידוי לעלם מנטרין ובניהון דרשיעיא ישתצון׃

37:5 ἀποκάλυψον πρὸς κύριον τὴν ὁδόν σου καὶ ἔλπισον ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν καὶ αὐτὸς ποιήσει 37:6 καὶ ἐξοίσει ὡς φῶς τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου καὶ τὸ κρίμα σου ὡς μεσημβρίαν 37:7 ὑποτάγηθι τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ἱκέτευσον αὐτόν μὴ παραζήλου ἐν τῷ κατευοδουμένῳ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ ποιοῦντι παρανομίας 37:8 παῦσαι ἀπὸ ὀργῆς καὶ ἐγκατάλιπε θυμόν μὴ παραζήλου ὥστε πονηρεύεσθαι 37:9 ὅτι οἱ πονηρευόμενοι ἐξολεθρευθήσονται οἱ δὲ ὑπομένοντες τὸν κύριον αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν γῆν 37:10 καὶ ἔτι ὀλίγον καὶ οὐ μὴ ὑπάρξῃ ὁ ἁμαρτωλός καὶ ζητήσεις τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐ μὴ εὕρῃς 37:11 οἱ δὲ πραεῖς κληρονομήσουσιν γῆν καὶ κατατρυφήσουσιν ἐπὶ πλήθει εἰρήνης 37:12 παρατηρήσεται ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς τὸν δίκαιον καὶ βρύξει ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν τοὺς ὀδόντας αὐτοῦ 37:13 ὁ δὲ κύριος ἐκγελάσεται αὐτόν ὅτι προβλέπει ὅτι ἥξει ἡ ἡμέρα αὐτοῦ 37:14 ῥομφαίαν ἐσπάσαντο οἱ ἁμαρτωλοί ἐνέτειναν τόξον αὐτῶν τοῦ καταβαλεῖν πτωχὸν καὶ πένητα τοῦ σφάξαι τοὺς εὐθεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ 37:15 ἡ ῥομφαία αὐτῶν εἰσέλθοι εἰς τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν καὶ τὰ τόξα αὐτῶν συντριβείησαν 37:16 κρεῖσσον ὀλίγον τῷ δικαίῳ ὑπὲρ πλοῦτον ἁμαρτωλῶν πολύν 37:17 ὅτι βραχίονες ἁμαρτωλῶν συντριβήσονται ὑποστηρίζει δὲ τοὺς δικαίους κύριος 37:18 γινώσκει κύριος τὰς ὁδοὺς τῶν ἀμώμων καὶ ἡ κληρονομία αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἔσται 37:19 οὐ καταισχυνθήσονται ἐν καιρῷ πονηρῷ καὶ ἐν ἡμέραις λιμοῦ χορτασθήσονται 37:20 ὅτι οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀπολοῦνται οἱ δὲ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ κυρίου ἅμα τῷ δοξασθῆναι αὐτοὺς καὶ ὑψωθῆναι ἐκλιπόντες ὡσεὶ καπνὸς ἐξέλιπον 37:21 δανείζεται ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς καὶ οὐκ ἀποτείσει ὁ δὲ δίκαιος οἰκτίρει καὶ διδοῖ 37:22 ὅτι οἱ εὐλογοῦντες αὐτὸν κληρονομήσουσι γῆν οἱ δὲ καταρώμενοι αὐτὸν ἐξολεθρευθήσονται 37:23 παρὰ κυρίου τὰ διαβήματα ἀνθρώπου κατευθύνεται καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ θελήσει 37:24 ὅταν πέσῃ οὐ καταραχθήσεται ὅτι κύριος ἀντιστηρίζει χεῖρα αὐτοῦ 37:25 νεώτερος ἐγενόμην καὶ γὰρ ἐγήρασα καὶ οὐκ εἶδον δίκαιον ἐγκαταλελειμμένον οὐδὲ τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ζητοῦν ἄρτους 37:26 ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἐλεᾷ καὶ δανείζει καὶ τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ εἰς εὐλογίαν ἔσται

לד קַוֵּה אֶל-יְהֹוָה | וּשְׁמֹר דַּרְכּוֹ וִירוֹמִמְךָ לָרֶשֶׁת אָרֶץ בְּהִכָּרֵת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה: לה רָאִיתִי רָשָׁע עָרִיץ וּמִתְעָרֶה כְּאֶזְרָח רַעֲנָן: לו וַיַּעֲבֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵינֶנּוּ וָאֲבַקְשֵׁהוּ וְלֹא נִמְצָא: לז שְׁמָר-תָּם וּרְאֵה יָשָׁר כִּי-אַחֲרִית לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם: לח וּפשְׁעִים נִשְׁמְדוּ יַחְדָּו אַחֲרִית רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָתָה: לט וּתְשׁוּעַת צַדִּיקִים מֵיְהֹוָה מָעוּזָּם בְּעֵת צָרָה: מ וַיַּעְזְרֵם יְהֹוָה וַיְפַלְּטֵם יְפַלְּטֵם מֵרְשָׁעִים וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם כִּי חָסוּ בוֹ:

Tehillim / Psalms 37

A Psalm of David 37:1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. 37:2 For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.

כט צדיקיא יחסנון ארעא וישרון לעלמין עלה׃ ל פומא דצדיקא רנין חוכמתא ולישניה ממללא דינא׃ לא נימוסא דאלהיה בליביה בלבביה לא מזדעזעין אסתוורוי׃ לב מסתכי רשיעא לצדיקא ובעי למקטליה׃ לג יהוה לא ישבקיניה בידיה ולא יחייביניה במדייניה׃ {ת׳׳א} במקמיה בדינא׃ לד סבר במימריה דיהוה וטר אורחיה וירוממינך למחסן ארעא באשתציות רשיעיא תחמי׃ לה חמיתי רשיעא תקיפא וחסין היך אילן יציב ועבוף׃ לו ופסק מן עלמא והא ליתוי ובעית יתיה ולא אישתכח׃ לז נטר שלימתא שלימותא וחמי אורחא תריצתא ארום דסוף בר נשא שלמא׃ לח ומרודין ישתיצון כחדא סופיהון דרשיעיא שיצייא׃ לט ופורקנא דצדיקיא מן קדם יהוה עושניהון בעידן עקתא׃ מ וסייעינון יהוה ושזיב יתהון שיזיב יתהון מן חייביא ויפרקינון מטול דאתרחיצו במימריה׃

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 37

37:1 Of David. Have no desire for malefactors, to be like them; and do not be jealous of those who commit oppression, to join with them. 37:2 Because their end will be like plants, quickly will they wither; and like the green grass they will fall away. 37:3 Trust in the word of the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and be strong in faith. 37:4 And you will delight in the Lord, and he will give you the requests of your heart. 37:5 Reveal to the Lord your ways, and trust in his word, and he will act. 37:6 And your righteousness will come out like light, and your judgment like noonday.

37:27 ἔκκλινον ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ ποίησον ἀγαθὸν καὶ κατασκήνου εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος 37:28 ὅτι κύριος ἀγαπᾷ κρίσιν καὶ οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψει τοὺς ὁσίους αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα φυλαχθήσονται ἄνομοι δὲ ἐκδιωχθήσονται καὶ σπέρμα ἀσεβῶν ἐξολεθρευθήσεται 37:29 δίκαιοι δὲ κληρονομήσουσι γῆν καὶ κατασκηνώσουσιν εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος ἐπ᾽ αὐτῆς 37:30 στόμα δικαίου μελετήσει σοφίαν καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα αὐτοῦ λαλήσει κρίσιν 37:31 ὁ νόμος τοῦ θεοῦ αὐτοῦ ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐχ ὑποσκελισθήσεται τὰ διαβήματα αὐτοῦ 37:32 κατανοεῖ ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς τὸν δίκαιον καὶ ζητεῖ τοῦ θανατῶσαι αὐτόν 37:33 ὁ δὲ κύριος οὐ μὴ ἐγκαταλίπῃ αὐτὸν εἰς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ οὐδὲ μὴ καταδικάσηται αὐτόν ὅταν κρίνηται αὐτῷ 37:34 ὑπόμεινον τὸν κύριον καὶ φύλαξον τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ὑψώσει σε τοῦ κατακληρονομῆσαι γῆν ἐν τῷ ἐξολεθρεύεσθαι ἁμαρτωλοὺς ὄψῃ 37:35 εἶδον ἀσεβῆ ὑπερυψούμενον καὶ ἐπαιρόμενον ὡς τὰς κέδρους τοῦ Λιβάνου 37:36 καὶ παρῆλθον καὶ ἰδοὺ οὐκ ἦν καὶ ἐζήτησα αὐτόν καὶ οὐχ εὑρέθη ὁ τόπος αὐτοῦ 37:37 φύλασσε ἀκακίαν καὶ ἰδὲ εὐθύτητα ὅτι ἔστιν ἐγκατάλειμμα ἀνθρώπῳ εἰρηνικῷ 37:38 οἱ δὲ παράνομοι ἐξολεθρευθήσονται ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό τὰ ἐγκαταλείμματα τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἐξολεθρευθήσονται 37:39 σωτηρία δὲ τῶν δικαίων παρὰ κυρίου καὶ ὑπερασπιστὴς αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἐν καιρῷ θλίψεως 37:40 καὶ βοηθήσει αὐτοῖς κύριος καὶ ῥύσεται αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐξελεῖται αὐτοὺς ἐξ ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ σώσει αὐτούς ὅτι ἤλπισαν ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν

Psalmoi / Psalms 37

A Psalm of David. 37:1 Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be envious of them that do iniquity. 37:2 For they shall soon be withered as the grass, and shall soon fall away as the green herbs. 37:3 Hope in the Lord, and do good; and dwell on the land, and thou shalt be fed with the wealth of it. 37:4 Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall grant thee the requests of thine heart. 37:5 Disclose thy way to the Lord, and hope in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 37:6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day.

37:7 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. 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. 37:10 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. 37:11 But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 37:12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth. 37:13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. 37:14 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. 37:15 Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken. 37:16 Better is the little of the righteous Than the abundance of many wicked. 37:17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord sustains the righteous. 37:18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever. 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, And in the days of famine they will have abundance. 37:20 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. 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. 37:22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 37:24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. 37:25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. 37:26 All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. 37:27 Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. (NASB)

37:7 Be quiet in the presence of the Lord and wait for him; do not desire the wicked man who prospers his way, the man who follows the counsel of sinners. 37:8 Wait without anger and forsake wrath; do not long indeed to do evil. 37:9 For those who do evil will be destroyed; but those who hope in the word of the Lord – they will inherit the land. 37:10 And yet a little while, and there is no wicked man; you will look carefully at his place, and he is not. 37:11 But the humble will inherit the land; and they will delight in the plenitude of peace. 37:12 The wicked man plots harm against the righteous man, and grinds his teeth against him. 37:13 The Lord will laugh at him, for he has seen, for the day of his ruin has come. 37:14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bows to kill the humble and lowly, to slaughter the upright of way. 37:15 Their blade will enter their [own] heart, and their bows will break. 37:16 Better in the presence of the Lord is the smallness of the righteous man than the multitude of many wicked men. 37:17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the word of the Lord supports the righteous. 37:18 The days of the blameless are known in the Lord’s presence, and their inheritance will last forever. 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they are satisfied. 37:20 For the wicked will perish, and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of young sheep that at first are fattened but finally slaughtered – likewise the wicked will perish and be destroyed in the smoke of Gehenna. 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not repay; but the righteous is compassionate, and gives. 37:22 For those who are blessed by his word will inherit the land; but those who are cursed by death will be destroyed. 37:23 In the presence of the Lord the steps of a man are made firm, and he will favor his ways. (EMC)

37:7 Submit thyself to the Lord, and supplicate him: fret not thyself because of him that prospers in his way, at the man that does unlawful deeds. 37:8 cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself so as to do evil. 37:9 For evil-doers shall be destroyed: but they that wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the land. 37:10 And yet a little while, and the sinner shall not be, and thou shalt seek for his place, and shalt not find it. 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 37:12 The sinner will watch for the righteous, and gnash his teeth upon him. 37:13 But the Lord shall laugh at him: for he foresees that his day will come. 37:14 Sinners have drawn their swords, they have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy one, and to slay the upright in heart. 37:15 Let their sword enter into their own heart, and their bows be broken. 37:16 A little is better to the righteous than abundant wealth of sinners. 37:17 For the arms of sinners shall be broken; but the Lord supports the righteous. 37:18 The Lord knows the ways of the perfect; and their inheritance shall be for ever. 37:19 They shall not be ashamed in an evil time; and in days of famine they shall be satisfied. 37:20 For the sinners shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord at the moment of their being honoured and exalted have utterly vanished like smoke. 37:21 The sinner borrows, and will not pay again: but the righteous has compassion, and gives. 37:22 For they that bless him shall inherit the earth; and they that curse him shall be utterly destroyed. 37:23 The steps of a man are rightly ordered by the Lord: and he will take pleasure in his way. 37:24 When he falls, he shall not be ruined: for the Lord supports his hand. 37:25 I was once young, indeed I am now old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread. 37:26 He is merciful, and lends continually; and his seed shall be blessed. 37:27 Turn aside from evil, and do good; and dwell for ever. (LXX)

37:28 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. 37:29 The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip. 37:32 The wicked spies upon the righteous And seeks to kill him. 37:33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand Or let him be condemned when he is judged. 37:34 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. 37:35 I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. 37:36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found. 37:37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity. 37:38 But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off. 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. 37:40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him. (NASB)

37:24 For when he falls into sickness, he will not die, because the Lord is the helper at his hand. 37:25 I was a boy, but have grown old; and I have not seen the righteous man abandoned or his sons seeking bread because of want. 37:26 For all the day he is compassionate and lends; and his seed is for a blessing. 37:27 Turn from evil, and practice kindness, and abide for eternal life. Another targum: Turn from doing evil, O righteous man, and do good; because of this you will abide forever. 37:28 For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon his pious ones; they are protected forever; but the sons of the wicked will be destroyed. 37:29 The righteous will inherit the land, and will dwell on it forever. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous murmurs wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 37:31 The law (nimus) of his God is in his heart; his feet do not stumble. 37:32 The wicked man observes the righteous man and seeks to kill him. 37:33 The Lord will not abandon him into his hand, and will not find him guilty when he is judged. another targum: When he stands in judgment. 37:34 Hope in the word of the Lord, and keep his way, and he will raise you up to inherit the land; you will see the destruction of the wicked. 37:35 I have seen the wicked man, strong and mighty, like a native and leafy tree. 37:36 And he ceased from the world, and, behold, he is no more; and I sought him but he was not found. 37:37 Preserve blamelessness, and behold honesty; for the end of [such] a son of man is peace. 37:38 But rebels will be destroyed together; the end of the wicked is destruction. 37:39 But the redemption of the righteous is from the presence of the Lord, their strength in the time of trouble. 37:40 And the Lord helped them and saved them, he saved them from sinners; and he will redeem them, for they trusted in his word. (EMC)

37:28 For the Lord loves judgment, and will not forsake his saints; they shall be preserved for ever: the blameless shall be avenged, but the seed of the ungodly shall be utterly destroyed. 37:29 But the righteous shall inherit the earth, and dwell upon it for ever. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous will meditate wisdom, and his tongue will speak of judgment. 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; and his steps shall not slide. 37:32 The sinner watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. 37:33 But the Lord will not leave him in his hands, nor by any means condemn him when he is judged. 37:34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are destroyed, thou shalt see it. 37:35 I saw the ungodly very highly exalting himself, and lifting himself up like the cedars of Lebanon. 37:36 Yet I passed by, and lo! he was not: and I sought him, but his place was not found. 37:37 Maintain innocence, and behold uprightness: for there is a remnant to the peaceable man. 37:38 But the transgressors shall be utterly destroyed together: the remnants of the ungodly shall be utterly destroyed. 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; and he is their defender in the time of affliction. 37:40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: and he shall rescue them from sinners, and save them, because they have hoped in him. (LXX)

This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 37:1-40, David opens the Psalm speaking of the unrighteous saying א לְדָוִד | אַל-תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל-תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵֹי עַוְלָה: ב כִּי כֶחָצִיר מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא יִבּוֹלוּן: A Psalm of David 37:1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. 37:2 For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. (NASB) In the opening verses, David uses the immediate and specific negative particle אל, saying אַל-תִּתְחַר and אַל-תְּקַנֵּא meaning “do not fret” and “do not be envious.” It is interesting while studying the Torah, the negative commands are written using the particle אל followed by the future-tense form. For example, אל תדאג (al tidaɡ) means “don’t worry” (masculine, singular). Notice here that David is speaking in a similar manner using the future tense saying “do not fret” and “do not be envious” implying at a future time, if we see the wicked prospering, do not be envious of them, or if the enemy comes do not be afraid. David says the reason to not be afraid, or envious is because they like the grass of the field will fade or wither. We also know that the foundation of a righteous life, according to the rabbis and the Scriptures is the study of Torah, and this is taken from David’s words in Tehillim / Psalms 1 speaking of the righteous man whose delight is in the Torah of God, such a righteous man does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. In the Apostolic Writings, the apostle Paul said that no man can lay a foundation other than what God has performed or laid. This is the foundation of Torah upon which the Messiah Yeshua has made atonement for our sins. According to Paul (see 1 Corinthians 3:11-17) the work of each man will become apparent when it is revealed or tested by fire. The work that remains is the works that were done by faith in the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah Yeshua. The rabbis, such as the Apostle Paul, look at the Scripture from Tehillim / Psalms 1:4 “The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away” and conclude that our works will be tested in fire. David recalls his words reiterating that the wicked are like chaff that burn in fire and will fade in the fields and be no more (Tehillim / Psalms 37:2). The Septuagint states 37:1 τοῦ Δαυιδ μὴ παραζήλου ἐν πονηρευομένοις μηδὲ ζήλου τοὺς ποιοῦντας τὴν ἀνομίαν “be not provoked to jealousy by those acting wickedly nor be jealous of the ones doing lawlessness (ἀνομίαν, anomian)” Note that those who work injustice (עַוְלָה >> עוול) are synonymous to those who work lawlessness (ἀνομίαν, anomian). The Septuagint continues translating Tehillim / Psalms 37:2 saying “For as the grass quickly, they shall be dried up, and as vegetation of tender shoots, they shall quickly fall away.” (ὅτι ὡσεὶ χόρτος ταχὺ ἀποξηρανθήσονται καὶ ὡσεὶ λάχανα χλόης ταχὺ ἀποπεσοῦνται) These words of David (37:2 For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. NASB) reminds us of Isaiah 40:1-11 and specifically 40:5-8.

Isaiah 40:1-11

40:1 ‘Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God. 40:2 ‘Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.’ 40:3 A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 40:4 ‘Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 40:5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ 40:6 A voice says, ‘Call out.’ Then he answered, ‘What shall I call out?’ All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. 40:9 Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ 40:10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him. 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (NASB)

א נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ עַמִּי יֹאמַר אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: ב דַּבְּרוּ עַל-לֵב יְרוּשָׁלַם וְקִרְאוּ אֵלֶיהָ כִּי מָלְאָה צְבָאָהּ כִּי נִרְצָה עֲוֹנָהּ כִּי לָקְחָה מִיַּד יְהֹוָה כִּפְלַיִם בְּכָל-חַטֹּאתֶיהָ: ג קוֹל קוֹרֵא בַּמִּדְבָּר פַּנּוּ דֶּרֶךְ יְהֹוָה יַשְּׁרוּ בָּעֲרָבָה מְסִלָּה לֵאלֹהֵינוּ: ד כָּל-גֶּיא יִנָּשֵֹא וְכָל-הַר וְגִבְעָה יִשְׁפָּלוּ וְהָיָה הֶעָקֹב לְמִישׁוֹר וְהָרְכָסִים לְבִקְעָה: ה ְנִגְלָה כְּבוֹד יְהֹוָה וְרָאוּ כָל-בָּשָֹר יַחְדָּו כִּי פִּי יְהֹוָה דִּבֵּר: ו קוֹל אֹמֵר קְרָא וְאָמַר מָה אֶקְרָא כָּל-הַבָּשָֹר חָצִיר וְכָל-חַסְדּוֹ כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה: ז יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ כִּי רוּחַ יְהֹוָה נָשְׁבָה בּוֹ אָכֵן חָצִיר הָעָם: ח יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר-אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם: ט עַל הַר-גָּבֹהַ עֲלִי-לָךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלָם הָרִימִי אַל-תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: י הִנֵּה אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה בְּחָזָק יָבוֹא וּזְרֹעוֹ מֹשְׁלָה לוֹ הִנֵּה שְֹכָרוֹ אִתּוֹ וּפְעֻלָּתוֹ לְפָנָיו: יא כְּרֹעֶה עֶדְרוֹ יִרְעֶה בִּזְרֹעוֹ יְקַבֵּץ טְלָאִים וּבְחֵיקוֹ יִשָּׂא עָלוֹת יְנַהֵל:

Isaiah states in Isaiah 40:5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ 40:6 A voice says, ‘Call out.’ Then he answered, ‘What shall I call out?’ All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (NASB) Isaiah says “the word of the Lord will raise up (be established) forever” (וּדְבַר-אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם). This is consistent with David’s understanding regarding the righteous in Tehillim / Psalms 37, the Lord God Almighty will sustain the righteous and we are not to fret or fear the wicked who plot against the righteous.

In addition to this, Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 40:3 states ג קוֹל קוֹרֵא בַּמִּדְבָּר פַּנּוּ דֶּרֶךְ יְהֹוָה יַשְּׁרוּ בָּעֲרָבָה מְסִלָּה לֵאלֹהֵינוּ: 40:3 A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. (NASB) which are used prophetically of John the immerser (Matthew 11:9-11) the one who was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. The following is a short summary from the Apostolic writings that refer to Isaiah 40:3.

Summary NT References to Isaiah 40:3

  1. 3:3 “For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!’’ (Matthew 3:3).
  2. 1:1 “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way; 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight,’” (Mark 1:1-3).
  3. 11:10 ‘This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You,’ (Matthew 11:10).
  4. 1:23 “He [John the Baptist] said, ‘I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said,’” (John 1:23).

John the Baptizer (immerser) was sent by God to prepare the way for Yeshua and the scripture from Isaiah 40:3 is used as a proof text to show John was spoken of prophetically. The references given above quote from two sources from the Tanach: Isaiah and Malachi.

  1. Isaiah 40:3, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord (YHVH) in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” (NASB)
  2. Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord [adonai], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord (YHWH) of hosts.” (NASB)

Note that according to the Scriptures above, John was sent to prepare the way for YHVH. Isaiah 40:3 states that John is to clear the way for YHVH. In Malachi 3:1, it is God who says that “he will clear the way before Me.” The fulfillment of these verses is found in the arrival of Yeshua the Messiah.

David continues saying in Tehillim / Psalms 37:3 ג בְּטַח בַּיהֹוָה וַעֲשֵֹה-טוֹב שְׁכָן-אֶרֶץ וּרְעֵה אֱמוּנָה: ד וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל-יְהֹוָה וְיִתֶּן-לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ: ה גּוֹל עַל-יְהֹוָה דַּרְכֶּךָ וּבְטַח עָלָיו וְהוּא יַעֲשֶֹה: ו וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ כַּצָּהֳרָיִם: 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint state the following:

Aramaic Targum

Tehillim / Psalms 37:3-6

37:3 Trust in the word of the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and be strong in faith. 37:4 And you will delight in the Lord, and he will give you the requests of your heart. 37:5 Reveal to the Lord your ways, and trust in his word, and he will act. 37:6 And your righteousness will come out like light, and your judgment like noonday. (EMC)

ג רחיץ במימרא דיהוה ועביד טב שרי ארעא וחסין ועסוק בהימנותא׃ ד ותתפניק על יהוה ויתן לך משיילי לבך׃ ה גלי על יהוה אורחתך וסבור על מימריה והוא יעבד: ו ויפוק היך נהורא צדקך צדקתך ודינך היך טיהרא׃

Septuagint

Tehillim / Psalms 37:3-6

37:3 Hope in the Lord, and do good; and dwell on the land, and thou shalt be fed with the wealth of it. 37:4 Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall grant thee the requests of thine heart. 37:5 Disclose thy way to the Lord, and hope in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 37:6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day. (LXX)

37:3 ἔλπισον ἐπὶ κύριον καὶ ποίει χρηστότητα καὶ κατασκήνου τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιμανθήσῃ ἐπὶ τῷ πλούτῳ αὐτῆς 37:4 κατατρύφησον τοῦ κυρίου καὶ δώσει σοι τὰ αἰτήματα τῆς καρδίας σου 37:5 ἀποκάλυψον πρὸς κύριον τὴν ὁδόν σου καὶ ἔλπισον ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν καὶ αὐτὸς ποιήσει 37:6 καὶ ἐξοίσει ὡς φῶς τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου καὶ τὸ κρίμα σου ὡς μεσημβρίαν

In the Masoretic text, David says to trust in the Lord. In the Aramaic Targum, the rabbis translate this to mean that we are to trust in the “word (memra) of the Lord” (רחיץ במימרא דיהוה) and to “work/do good,” meaning to do works of righteousness before the Lord and before men. Remember, studying the Aramaic Targums and comparing to the Tanach, the “word” (memra) of the Lord takes on a very significant part of faith according to the Targumim. For example, according to the Targum Onkelos, Jacob believes the Lord’s Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) and the Memra will be his God (Bereshit / Genesis 28:20). The Lord God said I will save them through My Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ), Abraham was justified through the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) of God, the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) gave Israel the Torah, Moshe prayed to the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ), the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) spoke from the burning bush, and the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) of the Lord created the World, etc. In all of these instances and more the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) is much more than simply an element of speech or writing. According to early traditions (Targum Neofiti) man was created in the image of the Memra (מֵימְרֵהּ) of the Lord (1:27, וברא ממרה דייי ית בר נשא בדמותיה בדמו מן קדם ייי ברה יתיה דכר וזוגיה ברא יתהון). The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:7 in the Masoretic text reads “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” The Targum says “The Memra of Lord God sits upon His throne high and lifted up …” The concept of “the Word” obtained from the rabbinic translation of the Torah into Aramaic reveals profound truths that open up our understanding and the nature of the word of God. Trusting in the “Word of the Lord” is synonymous to trusting in the Lord God Almighty Himself, and this is what David is saying in Tehillim / Psalms 37.

Tehillim / Psalms 37:6 states ו וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ כַּצָּהֳרָיִם: 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. (NASB) What does it mean that “He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday?” Throughout the Scriptures, we find parallels between the Light and Righteousness. Here we are told that our Righteousness will be as the Light, that can be seen. Isaiah 45:8 states 45:8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. (NASB) Here in Isaiah, it appears as if righteousness is paralleled to the rain, and the earth has seed planted that will spring forth plants when the rain falls upon the earth. The parallel is when righteousness pours down, salvation springs forth. It seems that righteousness and salvation are connected. In these verses it seems that the Lord is speaking of the heart of man, the Lord plants the seed of truth, His Word, and righteousness and salvation springs forth. Tehillim / Psalms 37:6 says that He will bring forth our righteousness as the light. Is the Lord causing us to live righteously, something that comes from the inside out that one can see? The Septuagint states καὶ ἐξοίσει ὡς φῶς τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου καὶ τὸ κρίμα σου ὡς μεσημβρίαν “And he will bring forth as light your righteousness, and your practice as at midday.” It appears that when we trust in the Lord and follow His ways, our righteous deeds will be made apparent, our love for the Lord and for others will be brought to light to bring glory to the Lord God Almighty.

David continues saying ז דּוֹם לַיהֹוָה וְהִתְחוֹלֵל לוֹ אַל-תִּתְחַר בְּמַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכּוֹ בְּאִישׁ עֹשֶֹה מְזִמּוֹת: ח הֶרֶף מֵאַף וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה אַל-תִּתְחַר אַךְ-לְהָרֵעַ: ט כִּי-מְרֵעִים יִכָּרֵתוּן וְקוֵֹי יְהֹוָה הֵמָּה יִירְשׁוּ-אָרֶץ: י וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל-מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ: יא וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ-אָרֶץ וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ עַל-רֹב שָׁלוֹם: יב זֹמֵם רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וְחֹרֵק עָלָיו שִׁנָּיו: יג אֲדֹנָי יִשְֹחַק-לוֹ כִּי-רָאָה כִּי-יָבֹא יוֹמוֹ: 37:7 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. 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. 37:10 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. 37:11 But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 37:12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth. 37:13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. (NASB) Note how David instructs to rest patiently for the Lord, to cease from anger and do not seek wrath against those who do evil to you, it only leads to more evil doing. He says those who are wicked will soon be cut off and those who wait upon the Lord will inherit the land. It appears that David is warning the righteous with a discussion how a righteous person who is suffering at the hand of the wicked can be misled into corrupted morality, seeking retribution, and false doctrines. How often does that happen today? The powerful attractions of sinful behavior lie in the unconscious desire to satisfy physical and emotional needs. The only true protection against the seductive pull of sin is to seek the Lord, rest and wait on Him, and the wisdom of His ways (the Torah). The land that David mentions (Eretz Yisrael) is supposed to be the shining light to the nations, which is the inheritance, and the dwelling place of God. In a parallel fashion, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and our trust and rest in the Lord cannot be superficial or quickly forgotten. We must actively be seeking the Lord, and trusting in His Word (writing it upon our hearts) in order overcome the challenges that we encounter in life. The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint state the following:

Aramaic Targum Pseudo Jonathan

Tehillim / Psalms 37:7-13

37:7 Be quiet in the presence of the Lord and wait for him; do not desire the wicked man who prospers his way, the man who follows the counsel of sinners. 37:8 Wait without anger and forsake wrath; do not long indeed to do evil. 37:9 For those who do evil will be destroyed; but those who hope in the word of the Lord – they will inherit the land. 37:10 And yet a little while, and there is no wicked man; you will look carefully at his place, and he is not. 37:11 But the humble will inherit the land; and they will delight in the plenitude of peace. 37:12 The wicked man plots harm against the righteous man, and grinds his teeth against him. 37:13 The Lord will laugh at him, for he has seen, for the day of his ruin has come. (EMC)

ז שתוק אמתין קדם יהוה ואוריך ליה לא תגרג תרגג ברשיעא דמצלח אורחיה בגברא דעבד עיצת חטאין׃ ח אוריך מרגיוז ושבוק ריתחא לא תגרג תרגג ברם לאבאשא׃ ט מטול ארום דמבאשין ישתיצון ודסברין במימרא דיהוה הינון יירתון ארעא׃ י ותוב כזעיר ולית רשיעא ותתבין על אתריה וליתוי׃ יא ועינוותנין ירתון ארעא ויתפנקון על סגיעות שלמא׃ יב חשיל חשיד רשיעא ביש על צדיקא ומעסי עלוי ככוי׃ יג יהוה יגחך עלוי ארום חמא ארום על יומא דתבריה׃

Septuagint

Tehillim / Psalms 37:7-13

37:7 Submit thyself to the Lord, and supplicate him: fret not thyself because of him that prospers in his way, at the man that does unlawful deeds. 37:8 cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself so as to do evil. 37:9 For evil-doers shall be destroyed: but they that wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the land. 37:10 And yet a little while, and the sinner shall not be, and thou shalt seek for his place, and shalt not find it. 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 37:12 The sinner will watch for the righteous, and gnash his teeth upon him. 37:13 But the Lord shall laugh at him: for he foresees that his day will come. (LXX)

37:7 ὑποτάγηθι τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ἱκέτευσον αὐτόν μὴ παραζήλου ἐν τῷ κατευοδουμένῳ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ ποιοῦντι παρανομίας 37:8 παῦσαι ἀπὸ ὀργῆς καὶ ἐγκατάλιπε θυμόν μὴ παραζήλου ὥστε πονηρεύεσθαι 37:9 ὅτι οἱ πονηρευόμενοι ἐξολεθρευθήσονται οἱ δὲ ὑπομένοντες τὸν κύριον αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν γῆν 37:10 καὶ ἔτι ὀλίγον καὶ οὐ μὴ ὑπάρξῃ ὁ ἁμαρτωλός καὶ ζητήσεις τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐ μὴ εὕρῃς 37:11 οἱ δὲ πραεῖς κληρονομήσουσιν γῆν καὶ κατατρυφήσουσιν ἐπὶ πλήθει εἰρήνης 37:12 παρατηρήσεται ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς τὸν δίκαιον καὶ βρύξει ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν τοὺς ὀδόντας αὐτοῦ 37:13 ὁ δὲ κύριος ἐκγελάσεται αὐτόν ὅτι προβλέπει ὅτι ἥξει ἡ ἡμέρα αὐτοῦ

The Aramaic Targum states 37:9 For those who do evil will be destroyed; but those who hope in the word of the Lord – they will inherit the land. (EMC) and the Septuagint states 37:9 For evil-doers shall be destroyed: but they that wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the land. (LXX) It appears that David has Parshiot Matot and Masei (Bamidbar / Numbers 30:2-36:13) in mind while writing this Psalm as a warning to the righteous. In the Psalm we are talking about those who do evil and the land, in the Torah Portion we see a discussion on the land as well, Moshe lists how the Promised Land is to be divided (Bamidbar / Numbers 34:13-35:15) and describes the cities of refuge to where the man-slayer may run. The murderer may flee to the city of refuge so that he will not die before his trial. The scriptures say לב וְלֹא-תִקְחוּ כֹפֶר לָנוּס אֶל-עִיר מִקְלָטוֹ לָשׁוּב לָשֶׁבֶת בָּאָרֶץ עַד-מוֹת הַכֹּהֵן: Bamidbar / Numbers 35:31 ‘Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 35:32 ‘You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. (NASB) There is no ransom available for a person who intentionally murdered another person. If a ransom is taken for a murderer it says that this will “pollute the land” because blood pollutes the land and no expiation (sacrifice or atonement) is allowed for the land for the blood that is shed by it except the blood of the one who had committed murder (Bamidbar / Numbers 35:33 ‘So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. 35:34 ‘You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’‘ NASB). In Parshiot Matot and Masei, Moshe describes how the inheritance is to pass between the sons of Israel so that each tribe’s inheritance remains within their respective tribe. The Lord wants to provide a sanctuary for His people (Bamidbar / Numbers 33:55) a place of rest and peace. Note how in Parashat Masei (Bamidbar / Numbers 33:1-36:13) no ransom (כפר, atonement) can be made for the life of a murderer. The Torah requirement for murder in the instruction on the kinsman redeemer and the cities of refuge, a murderer must be put to death in order to redeem the land in which the blood of the slain person has fallen. There was no sacrifice of atonement that can be made for the sin of premeditated murder because the land needs atoning for the blood of the slain man. (Questions: Does this speak for or against capital punishment today? Do these things only refer to the land of Israel and not the USA or Canada or elsewhere?) When we think on these things, and David’s warning to the Righteous to cease from anger and to not take wrath because this will only lead to do evil, if murder lies in our hearts because of the hatred for a brother or an enemy, how does this affect our relationship with the Lord? Is there atonement for murderous thoughts that continue on and on without repentance? Does hatred facilitate in the heart justice (מִשְׁפָּט) and righteousness (צְדָקָה) before God and before others in love and peace? Is this the meaning of “worker of lawlessness” (Matthew 7) because what is done in the body follows through from the heart?

David continues in the Psalm to say יד חֶרֶב | פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי-דָרֶךְ: טו חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה: טז טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים: יז כִּי זְרוֹעוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה וְסוֹמֵךְ צַדִּיקִים יְהֹוָה: יח יוֹדֵעַ יְהֹוָה יְמֵי תְמִימִם וְנַחֲלָתָם לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה: יט לֹא-יֵבשׁוּ בְּעֵת רָעָה וּבִימֵי רְעָבוֹן יִשְֹבָּעוּ: כ כִּי רְשָׁעִים | יֹאבֵדוּ וְאֹיְבֵי יְהֹוָה כִּיקַר כָּרִים כָּלוּ בֶעָשָׁן כָּלוּ: כא לוֶֹה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן: כב כִּי מְבֹרָכָיו יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וּמְקֻלָּלָיו יִכָּרֵתוּ: 37:14 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. 37:15 Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken. 37:16 Better is the little of the righteous Than the abundance of many wicked. 37:17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord sustains the righteous. 37:18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever. 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, And in the days of famine they will have abundance. 37:20 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. 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. 37:22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. (NASB) The Hebrew text states that the wicked “open the sword” (חֶרֶב | פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים) and their path (way) is to slaughter the afflicted and the upright or the ones who have a “straight path” (יִשְׁרֵי-דָרֶךְ). Note the next verse says חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה 37:15 Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken.(NASB) Comparing Tehillim / Psalms 37:14 and 37:15, David uses the same root word קש that the wicked (רְשָׁעִים) is intent on breaking / striking the afflicted and upright (the righteous) and the Lord states that their swords will enter their own hearts and their bows will be broken.

  • יד חֶרֶב | פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי-דָרֶךְ:
  • טו חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה:

The unrighteous have the intent to harm and the Lord turns this back upon themselves. David says that טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים 37:16 Better is the little of the righteous Than the abundance of many wicked. (NASB) Mishley / Proverbs 16:8 ח טוֹב-מְעַט בִּצְדָקָה מֵרֹב תְּבוּאוֹת בְּלֹא מִשְׁפָּט: 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice. (NASB) Basically David is speak of and comparing the portion of the righteous to that of the wicked. The righteous have little in this world but have great wealth in the world to come. According to the Scriptures, there are some who have been rich such as Abraham and Lot, Joseph of Arimathea, and even David after having become king of Israel. Generally speaking though, from the world’s perspective, the wicked have the largest share of worldly things, and the righteous have little. From the worlds perspective, the righteous have comparatively nothing with respect to the many riches of the wicked. The comparison that David is making within the context of the Psalm, between a righteous man and a wicked man, the emphasis is placed on the sense that a “righteous man’s” (צדיק) “little” is better than a “wicked man’s” (רשע) “much.” What the righteous have is given from the Lord, David says 37:18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever. 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, And in the days of famine they will have abundance. (NASB) whereas 37:17 … the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord sustains the righteous. (NASB) The Lord sustains or props up (וְסוֹמֵךְ) the righteous (צַדִּיקִים). David says that the inheritance of the righteous will be forever, but not so for the wicked. The wicked are contented in their state and condition, and sin is never satisfied. In addition to this, the wicked possess and enjoy what they have (its their portion, see the Psalms 36 study), however, the Lord oftentimes gives a stranger the possessions of the wicked. David says in Tehillim / Psalms 37:20 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. 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. 37:22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. (NASB) The phrase “vanishing like the glory of the pastures,” draws a parallel back to Isaiah 40 regarding the flower and the grass that can vanish in fire and smoke. The alternating contrast in the Psalm indicates that the righteous have the presence of God with them, they live without any anxious, distressing, burdensome worries.

It is interesting that David says in Tehillim / Psalms 37:22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. (NASB) seems to draw a parallel to the Abrahamic covenant found in Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-17:27). The Lord God’s call on Abraham’s life was to go out from his land from his father’s house, and from his people (וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל-אַבְרָם לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךּ) to a land that He will show him. The Lord promises to bless Abraham and make him into a great nation (וְאֶעֶשְֹךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל) and that those who bless him the Lord will bless, and those who curse him the Lord will curse (וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר). We find in God’s call on Abraham that in him all the families of the earth will be blessed (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה). In the Hebrew text, the word Ha’adamah (הָאֲדָמָה, Earth) is used to indicate that all of the families of the Earth will be blessed, and not just those who are in the land of Israel. The Scriptures say “all of the families of the ground” taking from the meaning that God created man from the dust of the earth (וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה) in Bereshit / Genesis 2:7. The Targum Onkelos says in Aramaic that all the “seed of the earth” will be blessed (וְיִתְבָּרְכוּן בְּדִילָךְ כָּל זַרְעֲיַת אַרְעָא) or the seed of the ground; it is in this way that all the peoples of the earth are referred to. This is the way the Hebrew Scriptures show beyond a doubt that this covenant will include all the people of the world. In the covenant that God is making with Abraham, the Lord makes a promise personally to his descendants (Israel), and to all the world (non-Jewish peoples). In God’s call on Abraham to go to another land and the statement that in him all the families of the earth will be blessed (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה), it is important to note that the Hebrew text uses the word Ha’adamah (הָאֲדָמָה, Earth, Land, Ground, Soil) to indicate that all of the families of the Ground/Land/Earth will be blessed, and not just those who are in the land of Israel. From an English speakers perspective, the Hebrew text reads to say “all of the families of the ground” and suggests that there is a parallel on the meaning that God created man from the dust of the earth/ground (וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה) in Bereshit / Genesis 2:7. The Targum Onkelos says that all the “seed of the earth” will be blessed (וְיִתְבָּרְכוּן בְּדִילָךְ כָּל זַרְעֲיַת אַרְעָא). Does the earth produce children or have seed? The rabbis suggest that the earth bears children and in this way refers to all peoples. Studying this verse, it seems that God is reminding us of the ground in which He cursed הָאֲדָמָה in Bereshit / Genesis 5:29 and that the seed from the ground which was cursed will become a blessing to all the people of the earth. This context also suggests a future expectation of redemption of the ground that the curse God proclaimed against the ground in Bereshit / Genesis 5:29 would be lifted at a future time. This also alludes to a future redemption for us from the curse of sin and from death by reason that the ground was cursed and that we are created from the dust of the earth. So within these verses we find the scriptures alluding to a future expectation for both our redemption from sin and death, and the redemption of this earth from the curse. The sin of disobedience to God that originally divided man and woman, estranging the man and the woman from each other in the accusations that were made laying blame on someone else. Thus, contained within Abrahamic covenant, this blessing to all the peoples of the earth shown in Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-3 we also find that mankind would be brought back together in peace. The Lord would bring peace to the world. (Note that a common rabbinic parable is each person is a complete world, Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 75a, Yeshua brings peace to this world, each and every one of us.) In the blessing that was to come in and through the seed of Abraham, there is a reversal of this separating factor of sin. Note also that sin scatters, for example, God scattered the people to the ends of the earth in Parashat Noach as a result of Chet HaMigdal Bavel (the sin of the tower of Babel). This doctrine on the blessing of the nations of this earth was present in the 1st century Judaism and the Apostles viewed this doctrine of the blessing of the nations as being fulfilled in the Messiah Yeshua. It is through the Messiah Yeshua whereby this promise of the Abrahamic covenant would be and is realized.

The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint say the following:

Aramaic Targum Pseudo Jonathan

Tehillim / Psalms 37:14-22

37:14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bows to kill the humble and lowly, to slaughter the upright of way. 37:15 Their blade will enter their [own] heart, and their bows will break. 37:16 Better in the presence of the Lord is the smallness of the righteous man than the multitude of many wicked men. 37:17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the word of the Lord supports the righteous. 37:18 The days of the blameless are known in the Lord’s presence, and their inheritance will last forever. 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they are satisfied. 37:20 For the wicked will perish, and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of young sheep that at first are fattened but finally slaughtered – likewise the wicked will perish and be destroyed in the smoke of Gehenna. 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not repay; but the righteous is compassionate, and gives. 37:22 For those who are blessed by his word will inherit the land; but those who are cursed by death will be destroyed.

יד חרבא שליפו רשיעיא ומתחו קשוותהון למקטול עניי וחשיכי למכוס תריצי אורחא׃ טו סיפהון תיעול בלבהון וקשוותהון יתברון׃ טז טב קדם יהוה זעירות צדיקא מריכפת רשיעין סגיעין׃ יז ארום דרועי דרשיעיא יתברון ותמיך וסעיד צדיקיא מימרא דיהוה׃ יח ידיעין קדם יהוה יומיהון דשלמין ואחסנתהון לעלם תהי׃ יט לא יבהתון בעידן בישתא וביומי אולצנא סבעין׃ כ ארום רשיעיא ייבדון ובעלי דבביא דיהוה היך יקר פלגיסין דמן אולא מתפטמין וסופיהון מתנכסין היכנא רשיעי יסופון ובתנן גהנם יגמרון יתגמרון׃ כא מוזיף רשיעא ולא פרע וצדיק מחייס ויהב׃ כב מטול ארום דמתברכין במימרא ירתון ארעא ודמתלטטין במותא ישתיצון׃

Septuagint

Tehillim / Psalms 37:14-22

37:14 Sinners have drawn their swords, they have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy one, and to slay the upright in heart. 37:15 Let their sword enter into their own heart, and their bows be broken. 37:16 A little is better to the righteous than abundant wealth of sinners. 37:17 For the arms of sinners shall be broken; but the Lord supports the righteous. 37:18 The Lord knows the ways of the perfect; and their inheritance shall be for ever. 37:19 They shall not be ashamed in an evil time; and in days of famine they shall be satisfied. 37:20 For the sinners shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord at the moment of their being honoured and exalted have utterly vanished like smoke. 37:21 The sinner borrows, and will not pay again: but the righteous has compassion, and gives. 37:22 For they that bless him shall inherit the earth; and they that curse him shall be utterly destroyed. (LXX)

37:14 ῥομφαίαν ἐσπάσαντο οἱ ἁμαρτωλοί ἐνέτειναν τόξον αὐτῶν τοῦ καταβαλεῖν πτωχὸν καὶ πένητα τοῦ σφάξαι τοὺς εὐθεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ 37:15 ἡ ῥομφαία αὐτῶν εἰσέλθοι εἰς τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν καὶ τὰ τόξα αὐτῶν συντριβείησαν 37:16 κρεῖσσον ὀλίγον τῷ δικαίῳ ὑπὲρ πλοῦτον ἁμαρτωλῶν πολύν 37:17 ὅτι βραχίονες ἁμαρτωλῶν συντριβήσονται ὑποστηρίζει δὲ τοὺς δικαίους κύριος 37:18 γινώσκει κύριος τὰς ὁδοὺς τῶν ἀμώμων καὶ ἡ κληρονομία αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἔσται 37:19 οὐ καταισχυνθήσονται ἐν καιρῷ πονηρῷ καὶ ἐν ἡμέραις λιμοῦ χορτασθήσονται 37:20 ὅτι οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀπολοῦνται οἱ δὲ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ κυρίου ἅμα τῷ δοξασθῆναι αὐτοὺς καὶ ὑψωθῆναι ἐκλιπόντες ὡσεὶ καπνὸς ἐξέλιπον 37:21 δανείζεται ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς καὶ οὐκ ἀποτείσει ὁ δὲ δίκαιος οἰκτίρει καὶ διδοῖ 37:22 ὅτι οἱ εὐλογοῦντες αὐτὸν κληρονομήσουσι γῆν οἱ δὲ καταρώμενοι αὐτὸν ἐξολεθρευθήσονται

In all three translations we read David saying 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they are satisfied. (EMC) Here he is referring to the righteous, what does he mean by a person will not be ashamed in the time of evil? It is interesting to read Barne and John Calvin’s commentaries regarding Psalm 37:19:

Barne’s Commentary

They shall not be ashamed in the evil thee – In times of calamity and trouble. The word “ashamed” here refers to disappointment; as when one goes to a fountain or stream for water and finds it dried up. See Job 6:20, note; and Psalm 25:2-3. The idea here is, that when thees of trouble and calamity come, in seasons of famine or want, they will find their expectations, arising from confidence in God, fully met. Their wants will be supplied, and they will find him to be their friend. And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied – Their needs shall be supplied. God will provide for them. See Psalm 37:25. This is in accordance with the general promises which are made in the Scriptures, that God will provide for the needs of those who trust in Him. See the notes at Psalm 37:3.

John Calvin’s Commentary

They shall not be ashamed in the season of adversity This verse also shows us, that the faithful have no right to expect such exemption as the flesh would desire from affliction and trial, but they are assured of deliverance in the end; which, though it be indeed obtained, yet it is of such a nature as can be realized only by faith. We must regard these two things as inseparably connected, namely, that as the faithful are mingled among the wicked in this world, so hunger and adversity are common to both. The only difference betwixt them is, that God stretches forth his hand towards his own people in the time of their need, while he abandons the ungodly, and takes no care of them. If it should be objected, that the wicked often fare sumptuously in the time of famine, and gratify all their desires, whilst the faithful are oppressed with poverty and want, I answer, that the fullness of which mention is here made consists chiefly in this, that the faithful, though they live sparingly, and often labor hard to acquire the means of subsistence, are nevertheless fed by God as truly as if they had a greater abundance of this world’s goods than the ungodly, who greedily devour the good things of this life in all their variety and abundance, and yet are never satisfied. Besides, as I have elsewhere said, these temporal blessings are not always seen flowing in one uniform course. The hand of God is indeed always open, but we are straitened and limited in our desires, so that our own unbelief is no small hindrance to his liberality. Moreover, as our corrupt nature would soon break forth into excess, God deals with us more sparingly; and lest he might corrupt us by too great indulgence, he trains us to frugality by bestowing with a sparing hand what he was ready otherwise to lavish upon us in full abundance. And, indeed, whoever shall consider how much addicted we are to sensuality and pleasure, will not be surprised that God should exercise his own people with poverty and want. But although God may not bestow upon us what is necessary for our gratification, yet, unless our own ingratitude prevent us, we shall experience, even in famine and want, that he nourishes us graciously and liberally.

While reading through these commentaries, it is interesting that the major focus is upon the Lord delivering His people from calamity and trouble (from the time of evil). Barne states that the people will not be ashamed because they find their confidence in the Lord and the Lord will meet their needs during the time of famine, they will be satisfied. John Calvin states that “God stretches forth his hand towards his own people in the time of their need.” He goes on to discuss the corrupt nature of man and the Lord giving us what is necessary and that “even in famine and want, that he nourishes us graciously and liberally.” Previously in Tehillim / Psalms 37:7-13 David stated 37:7 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. 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 37:9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. 37:10 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. 37:11 But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 37:12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth. 37:13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming. (NASB) The way he is writing the Psalm, instructing us to rest patiently for the Lord, to cease from anger and do not seek wrath against those who do evil to you, it only leads to more evil doing. He says those who are wicked will soon be cut off and those who wait upon the Lord will inherit the land. It appears that David is warning the righteous with a discussion how a righteous person who is suffering at the hand of the wicked may be misled into corrupted morality, seeking retribution, and false doctrines. In Tehillim / Psalms 37:19, he says 37:19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they are satisfied. (EMC) within the context of these verses, it would seem that the righteous, even in the midst of the “time of evil” will choose the correct path, trusting in the Lord, and by their righteous actions they will not be ashamed. The emphasis that seems to be implied is that sinful behavior lays in the unconscious desire to satisfy physical and emotional needs which come to a peak during times of evil in our lives. The righteous man will not give into these emotions and sin. The only true protection against the seductive pull of sin is to seek the Lord, to walk in His commandments (live correctly), rest and wait on Him in the wisdom of His ways (the Torah). When evil times come, we are not to use these times as an excuse to sin or to justify unrighteous behavior. (How often does this happen today? Have you ever done this? In the past I have been told, well your wife cheated on you … you should go out and cheat on her.) Note next how the rabbis refer to Parashat Bo (Shemot / Exodus 10:1-13:16) in Shemot / Exodus 12:5 ה שֶֹה תָמִים זָכָר בֶּן-שָׁנָה יִהְיֶה לָכֶם מִן-הַכְּבָשִֹים וּמִן-הָעִזִּים תִּקָּחוּ: 12:5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. (NASB) in Tehillim / Psalms 37:20 which says 37:20 For the wicked will perish, and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of young sheep that at first are fattened but finally slaughtered – likewise the wicked will perish and be destroyed in the smoke of Gehenna. (EMC) The wicked in this world are like the young lambs who go about initially and are fatted in this world whose end will be for the slaughter in Gehenna (Hell). Therefore, when “times of evil” come we are to take care to seek the Lord and not sin, to not behave in the manner of unrighteousness, but to trust in the Lord that all things work together for good for those who trust in Him (Romans 8:28).

David continues in His Psalm (Tehillim / Psalms 37:23-40), note how David organizes the remainder of the Psalm:

  1. 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way.
  2. 37:24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. 37:25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. 37:26 All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing.
  3. 37:27 Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. 37:28 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.
  4. 37:28 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. 37:29 The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever.
  5. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.
  6. 37:32 The wicked spies upon the righteous And seeks to kill him. 37:33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand Or let him be condemned when he is judged.
  7. 37:34 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. 37:35 I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. 37:36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found.
  8. 37:37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity.
  9. 37:38 But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.
  10. 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. 37:40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.

The steps of the righteous are established by the Lord and He delights in his way (37:23). The righteous are established, the Lord does this, because the righteous live their lives according to God’s Word. If we are abiding in God’s Word then our lives will reflect that. The Septuagint agrees saying 37:23 The steps of a man are rightly ordered by the Lord: and he will take pleasure in his way. (LXX) The Aramaic Targum states 37:23 In the presence of the Lord the steps of a man are made firm, and he will favor his ways. (EMC) We should be ordering our steps (our walk), how we live from the perspective of our walking in the presence of the Lord. David says that when a righteous man falls he will not be hurled head long because the Lord holds his hand. The rabbis say in the Aramaic Targum when a righteous man falls into sickness he will not die. In the Talmud Bavli in Tracate Berakhot 8a cites a baraita (Aramaic ברייתא meaning “external” or “outside” designates a tradition in the Jewish oral law not incorporated in the Mishnah) claiming there to be 903 forms of death. The most painful separation of soul from body is described as an inflammation; the gentlest is death by a kiss, likened to the withdrawal of a hair from milk. Some deaths are sudden, but often the final passage is a gradual transition. Jewish mystical sources discuss a transition, three days in duration, during which the soul gradually separates from the body. Note a parallel to Yeshua being three days in the grave. The point is that death is a separation and is not defined in the Scriptures as extinction, annihilation, or non-existence; death in the Scriptures and from the rabbinical sources is understood as a separation between two things (soul/spirit and body). Note that the soul is coupled to our spirit which both may be separated from the body. Therefore, the Lord saves life because He keeps from death, He is holding the hand of the righteous keeping him from dying and maintaining the joining of the body, soul, and spirit.

The remainder of the Psalm according to the Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint say the following:

Aramaic Targum Pseudo Jonathan

Tehillim / Psalms 37:14-22

37:23 In the presence of the Lord the steps of a man are made firm, and he will favor his ways. 37:24 For when he falls into sickness, he will not die, because the Lord is the helper at his hand. 37:25 I was a boy, but have grown old; and I have not seen the righteous man abandoned or his sons seeking bread because of want. 37:26 For all the day he is compassionate and lends; and his seed is for a blessing. 37:27 Turn from evil, and practice kindness, and abide for eternal life. Another targum: Turn from doing evil, O righteous man, and do good; because of this you will abide forever. 37:28 For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon his pious ones; they are protected forever; but the sons of the wicked will be destroyed. 37:29 The righteous will inherit the land, and will dwell on it forever. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous murmurs wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 37:31 The law (nimus) of his God is in his heart; his feet do not stumble. 37:32 The wicked man observes the righteous man and seeks to kill him. 37:33 The Lord will not abandon him into his hand, and will not find him guilty when he is judged. another targum: When he stands in judgment. 37:34 Hope in the word of the Lord, and keep his way, and he will raise you up to inherit the land; you will see the destruction of the wicked. 37:35 I have seen the wicked man, strong and mighty, like a native and leafy tree. 37:36 And he ceased from the world, and, behold, he is no more; and I sought him but he was not found. 37:37 Preserve blamelessness, and behold honesty; for the end of [such] a son of man is peace. 37:38 But rebels will be destroyed together; the end of the wicked is destruction. 37:39 But the redemption of the righteous is from the presence of the Lord, their strength in the time of trouble. 37:40 And the Lord helped them and saved them, he saved them from sinners; and he will redeem them, for they trusted in his word. (EMC)

Septuagint

Tehillim / Psalms 37:14-22

37:23 The steps of a man are rightly ordered by the Lord: and he will take pleasure in his way. 37:24 When he falls, he shall not be ruined: for the Lord supports his hand. 37:25 I was once young, indeed I am now old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread. 37:26 He is merciful, and lends continually; and his seed shall be blessed. 37:27 Turn aside from evil, and do good; and dwell for ever. 37:28 For the Lord loves judgment, and will not forsake his saints; they shall be preserved for ever: the blameless shall be avenged, but the seed of the ungodly shall be utterly destroyed. 37:29 But the righteous shall inherit the earth, and dwell upon it for ever. 37:30 The mouth of the righteous will meditate wisdom, and his tongue will speak of judgment. 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; and his steps shall not slide. 37:32 The sinner watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. 37:33 But the Lord will not leave him in his hands, nor by any means condemn him when he is judged. 37:34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are destroyed, thou shalt see it. 37:35 I saw the ungodly very highly exalting himself, and lifting himself up like the cedars of Lebanon. 37:36 Yet I passed by, and lo! he was not: and I sought him, but his place was not found. 37:37 Maintain innocence, and behold uprightness: for there is a remnant to the peaceable man. 37:38 But the transgressors shall be utterly destroyed together: the remnants of the ungodly shall be utterly destroyed. 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; and he is their defender in the time of affliction. 37:40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: and he shall rescue them from sinners, and save them, because they have hoped in him. (LXX)

The rabbis translate David’s words in Tehillim / Psalms 37:31-32 saying לא נימוסא דאלהיה בליביה בלבביה לא מזדעזעין אסתוורוי׃ לב מסתכי רשיעא לצדיקא ובעי למקטליה׃ 37:31 The law (nimus) of his God is in his heart; his feet do not stumble. 37:32 The wicked man observes the righteous man and seeks to kill him. 37:33 The Lord will not abandon him into his hand, and will not find him guilty when he is judged. another targum: When he stands in judgment. (EMC) The Aramaic word “nimus” (נימוסא) means “law or custom.” Therefore, for the righteous man, “the custom of his God is in his heart and his feet do not stumble.” A custom may be used to form good habits that keep us from sinning on a daily, habitual basis. Customs, and their resulting traditions, arise as a way for people to regulate social life, in a similar manner as habits in the individual regulate personal life (i.e. habitual sin). The customs of one generation handed down to newer generations become what is known as tradition. For example, the Mishnah was given to pass down the tradition of service and interpretation of the Torah in order to maintain the religious centric government and social life of Israel (i.e. the Temple service). Another example, the monastic culture within the Catholic Church arose from a unique set of conditions prevalent in Israel and Egypt in the post-apostolic era together with strong dispositional and temperamental qualities of many Christians of the time. This culture was sanctioned and supported by the Church at large and to a lesser degree by a society which was increasingly dominated by the Catholic Church. The customs and traditions of the Church protected and safe-guarded the monastic culture within. The point of the rabbis is that Traditions are not always bad, there is value in tradition; and custom or tradition may be used of God for the purpose of ordering our steps and to keep our feet from stumbling into sin. The wicked observe this and they seek to kill the righteous. According to David, the wicked do not inherit the land, they stick their own hearts with their swords, they will be broken and like the withering grass, they will be cut off. On the other hand, the righteous man David says Tehillim / Psalms 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states 37:5 … trust in his word, and he will act. (EMC) Trusting in the Lord, His ways, His word, and His Son Yeshua the Messiah, is the path He wants each of us to follow. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 37 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, and 3. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 37, Part 1, 2, and 3.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 37, Part 1, 2, and 3

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “A Psalm of David. Fret not yourself because of evil-doers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity (Tehillim / Psalms 37:1)”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says These words are to be considered in the light of the verse Let not your heart envy sinners (Mishley / Proverbs 23:17).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to expand upon not being envious of sinners.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis give examples using oil and lamp parables and giving alms on Noah’s ark.
  • The Concluding phrase says “And so when Solomon said, Again, I considered all labor and all excelling in work, when it is merely man’s rivalry which his neighbor, it is vanity and striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 4:4), he meant be not the rival of sinners.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For they will soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb (Tehillim / Psalms 37:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says The Holy One blessed be He, said to David, The wicked are nothing at all. Their hope is grass.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss how the wicked are like the grass of the field.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis go on to expand upon the wicked and the grass of the field, they flourish like grass but are in the end burned up quickly.
  • The Concluding phrase says “As thorns cut down will they be burned in the fire (Isaiah 33:12). Hence, it is said The workers of iniquity will soon be cut down like the grass.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Trust in the Lord, and do good (Tehillim / Psalms 37:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says The Holy One blessed be He, said to David, when you see that I do good to the wicked, let your heart not grieve. But go on doing good, unto Him, forgive all iniquity; accept that which is good (Hosea 14:3).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss David’s words in regard to, that it appears the Lord is blessing the wicked because they prosper.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis go on to expand upon the idea that the Lord is blessing all men and provide parables to illustrate the need to continue to be faithful in the Lord and do good regardless of how the wicked prosper.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Hence it is written, You have put gladness in my heart for the time their corn and their wine increased. Hence also, oh how abundant is Your goodness, which You have laid up for them that fear You (Tehillim / Psalms 31:20).”

Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “A Psalm of David. Fret not yourself because of evil-doers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity (Tehillim / Psalms 37:1)” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash states “These words are to be considered in the light of the verse Let not your heart envy sinners (Mishley / Proverbs 23:17).” The rabbis discuss if we are not to be envious of the wicked, of whom are we to be envious of? They continue saying:

Of whom should you be envious? Only of those who have the fear of the Lord all the day. Do not envy the lamp of the wicked. It is nothing at all. How much oil is in it? An eighth, at most a fourth, of a log? But the lamp has no afterglow. When the oil is consumed, the lamp goes out at once, as it is said The evil man will have no future, the lamp of the wicked will be put out (Mishley / Proverbs 24:20). Hence David said, Neither you be envious against the workers of iniquity. Rather, be envious of that lamp which will never go out, and those whose light will never fail. What lamp is that? The one spoken of in the words The commandment is a lamp, and the Law is light (Mishley / Proverbs 6:23). (Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 1)

The midrash states that those who we are to be envious of are those who fear the Lord all the day. A parable is given to illustrate that which we are not to be envious of referencing “the lamp of the wicked.” This lamp of the wicked is described as being only one eighth full and when the oil is consumed the lamp goes out meaning that the wicked have no future and the rabbis refer to Mishley / Proverbs 24:20. Job states in Job 18:5-6 saying ה גַּם אוֹר רְשָׁעִים יִדְעָךְ וְלֹא-יִגַּהּ שְׁבִיב אִשּׁוֹ: ו אוֹר חָשַׁךְ בְּאָהֳלוֹ וְנֵרוֹ עָלָיו יִדְעָךְ: 18:5 ‘Indeed, the light of the wicked goes out, And the flame of his fire gives no light. 18:6 ‘The light in his tent is darkened, And his lamp goes out above him. (NASB) Job says that the light of the wicked goes out, and that his fire does not give light. How does a flame not give light (Job 18:5)? This description gives a sense of something being wrong with the light that is produced by the flame at a fundamental level. The physics, the nature of the light is fundamentally flawed and though there is a flame, no light is produced. Is Job describing some sort of deception taking place, there is a flame, but it is dark and does not produced the kind of light that is needed for one to walk and not stumble and fall? The light the wicked have is different from the light that is given from above, from the Lord God Almighty and the study of Torah. The light we should be envious of is that of the lamp that never goes out and of those whose light will never fail. The rabbis refer to Mishley / Proverbs 6:23 which states כג כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר וְדֶרֶךְ חַיִּים תּוֹכְחוֹת מוּסָר: 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life (NASB) It is interesting that Solomon says the Mitzvah (מִצְוָה, command) is a lamp, and the Torah (וְתוֹרָה) is a light. We are to set (order) our ways according to God’s Word and walk in the light of His truth. Yeshua the Messiah is the one in whom we are to place our hope and trust, His light will never fail!

Based on the midrash, there are a number of rabbinical techniques on biblical interpretation at work which include allegory, midrash, pesher, and aggadah.

  • Allegory (משל) – representation of abstract or moral concepts in art or literature by means of concrete things or events; symbolic narrative, fable, parable, metaphor, analogy
  • Midrash (מדרש) – is the body of homiletic stories told by Jewish rabbinic sages to explain passages in the Tanakh.
  • Pesher (פשר) – comes from a Hebrew word meaning “interpretation” in the sense of “solution.” It became known from one group of texts, numbering some hundreds, among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • Aggadah (Aramaic אַגָּדָה) – refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash. In general, Aggadah is a compendium of rabbinic homilies that incorporates folklore, historical anecdotes, moral exhortations, and practical advice in various spheres.

Take for example the Apostles use of pesher in the Apostolic Writings. Pesher is the technique of interpretation whereby one uses prophetic proof texts for divine pre-ordination of recent events regarding Yeshua the Messiah. The first century believers understood these techniques of Scriptural interpretation and Yeshua himself used pesher and parables to illustrate the truth of God’s Word. Yeshua used the parable of the lamp to describe the way we are to prepare ourselves and live in light of his expected return (Matthew 25:1-13), and having the light of God, which is something that should not be hidden (Mark 4:21-25).

Mark 4:21-25

4:21 And He was saying to them, ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 4:22 ‘For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. 4:23 ‘If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ 4:24 And He was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 4:25 ‘For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.’ (NASB)

Matthew 25:1-13

25:1 ‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 25:2 ‘Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 25:3 ‘For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 25:4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 25:5 ‘Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 25:6 ‘But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 25:7 ‘Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 25:8 ‘The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 25:9 ‘But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 25:10 ‘And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 25:11 ‘Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 25:12 ‘But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 25:13 ‘Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (NASB)

The rabbis say that one should not be envious of the wicked utilizing the lamp/oil analogy to describe the wicked who perish. Yeshua said that a lamp is not brought and then hidden (put under a basket or bed), but instead should be placed upon a lamp-stand (i.e. a menorah). He then says to be careful what you listen to. Do not listen to the wicked in their boasting and prosperity. Or possibly do not listen to the Torah teachers at the time because of their hypocrisy? Taking care of what we listen to and who we listen to affects what and how we think, and Yeshua said 4:24 “… By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.” (NASB) What do you think Yeshua is referring to when he says “and more will be given you besides?” More judgment if we are judgmental of others?

The rabbis continue saying “be not the rival of sinners” (Mishley / Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. NASB), the midrash says:

Therefore, in saying be not the rival of sinners (Mishley / Proverbs 23:17), the Holy One blessed be He, meant be My rival. If it were not for such rivalry, the world could not endure, for no man would take a woman to wife, nor build a house. If Abraham had not sought to rival God, he would not have become possessor of heaven and earth. (Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 1)

לכך אל יקנא לבך בחטאים, אמר הקב״ה קנא לי, שאילולי הקנאה אין העולם עומד, ואין אדם נושא אשה, ואינו בונה בית, שאילולי שקנא אברהם, לא היה קונה שמים וארץ

Note that the rabbis quote from Mishley / Proverbs 23:17 ז אַל-יְקַנֵּא לִבְּךָ בַּחַטָּאִים כִּי אִם-בְּיִרְאַת-יְהֹוָה כָּל-הַיּוֹם: 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. (NASB) in the midrash and say that we should be envious of God and not in sinners (בַּחַטָּאִים). A parallel is drawn between a man taking a wife and building a house to the world requiring envy to continue forward in life. Does envy cause us to strive for greater things in our lives (wealth, home, and things)? According to the midrash, Abraham was envious of God and as a result he become possessor of heaven and earth. What does that mean? How was Abraham envious of God? The word used here is קנא meaning “to envy, to be jealous” and carefully examining the text of the midrash we read שאילולי שקנא אברהם, לא היה קונה שמים וארץ “If Abraham had not sought to envy God, he would not have become possessor (purchase/acquire) of heaven and earth.” Pay particular attention to each clause of the sentence. We find in the first clause the word קנא (Kana) and in the second clause the word קונה (Konah) there appears to be a play on words. To be envious (קנא) is to purchase, acquire, or possess (קונה) something. Being envious of someone, it is possible to acquire something from them that is incorporated into our lives. The rabbis say אל יקנא לבך בחטאים, אמר הקב״ה קנא לי “do not be envious of sinners, God says be envious of me.” If we envy God, what does that mean? The definition of “envy” is “to desire something which belongs to another.” What could we desire for ourselves that belongs to God? Could it be righteousness? Do you see the righteousness of God in your life each day? Abraham was counted righteous for his faith in the promises of God. The rabbis go on to say:

When did Abraham seek to rival God? When he asked Melchizedek, On account of what righteous act did you and your kin come forth alive from the ark? And Melchizedek answered, because of the alms which we gave in the ark. Abraham asked, what occasion did you have for giving alms in the ark? Were there poor people there? Were not only Noah and his sons there? To whom did you give alms? Melchizedek replied, We gave alms to the cattle, to the beasts, and to the birds. We did not sleep because all night we were setting food before this one and before that one. Thereupon Abraham reflected, Had they not given alms to the cattle, to the beasts, and to the birds, Noah and his sons would not have come forth alive from the ark; it was only because they gave alms that they came forth from it alive. Therefore, if I give alms to the sons of men, how much greater the deed. At once Abraham planted it in Beersheva, that is, he gave food, drink, and escort to all the sons of men. (Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 1)

The midrash concludes that Abraham sought the righteousness of God. A parable is given of Melchizedek and Noah and his sons coming off the Ark being saved from the flood. The midrash says that it was their act of charity that enabled them to walk off the Ark alive giving alms to the beasts, the cattle, and the birds that were with them on the Ark. If Noah and his sons’ alms to the animals allowed them to come forth alive from the Ark, how much greater is it when giving alms to the sons of men? The midrash is not saying literally that the giving of alms to the animals is what enabled them to come away from the Ark alive. It was most certainly the Lord God Almighty, His mercy and grace that kept and protected them from death and enabled them to come alive from the Ark. The point of the midrash is the rabbis are using a Kal Vachomer (lit. “light and weighty”) teaching on Abraham, seeking righteousness, and doing good to others. Note that a Kal Vachomer is a principle of scriptural interpretation whereby a conclusion is drawn from a minor premise or more lenient condition (“light”) to a major or more strict one (“weighty”) or vice versa, a fortiori argument. This is like saying “all the more so” or as the midrash says “how much greater the deed.” The righteousness that Abraham sought by envy of the Lord, was to do good to others, to give food, drink, and escort to all the sons of men. The reason being, God gives life to all men, whether righteous or unrighteous the Lord has mercy, and He has mercy on this world by not destroying the world because of sin. If one does not understand the Kal Vachomer approach of the rabbis here in the midrash, could a different interpretation be derived from their words? (i.e. meriting your own salvation by your good deeds? Is that what the rabbis really believe?)

Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 1 concludes saying “And so when Solomon said, Again, I considered all labor and all excelling in work, when it is merely man’s rivalry which his neighbor, it is vanity and striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 4:4), he meant be not the rival of sinners.” If we are envious of others, this striving for wealth, house and home, status, pride, etc., it is all for nothing and is like striving for the wind and useless. Only our striving for the Lord is prosperous and has value. The midrash states זה כי נר מצוה ותורה אור (שם משלי ו כג)The commandment is a lamp, and the Torah is light (Mishley / Proverbs 6:23)” When we study God’s word, we grow, our faith increases, and the result is we acquire the righteousness of God by our faith which is then lived out in our lives.

Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For they will soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb (Tehillim / Psalms 37:2).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash states “The Holy One blessed be He, said to David, The wicked are nothing at all. Their hope is grass.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק לז סימן ב

ב כי כחציר מהרה ימלו וכירק דשא יבולון. אמר ליה הקב״ה לדוד הרשעים אינם כלום, חציר הם תוחלתם, וכן הוא אומר בפרוח רשעים כמו עשב (תהלים צב ח), מפריחין כעשב הזה, וכן איוב אמר רטוב הוא לפני שמש (איוב ח טז), עד מתי, עד שלא תבא תקופת תמוז, ומשתבוא תקופת תמוז מתייבשין, ואחר כך נעשין קוצין, ולהיכן הם הולכים, באש, שנאמר קוצים כסוחים באש יצתו (ישעיה לג יב), לכך נאמר וכירק דשא יבולון.

Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 2

2. For they will soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb (Tehillim / Psalms 37:2). The Holy One blessed be He, said to David, The wicked are nothing at all. Their hope is grass. Scripture says likewise, when the wicked spring up as the grass (Tehillim / Psalms 92:8) that is, the wicked flourish like grass. In Job also, it is said The hope of the godless man will perish he is green before the sun (Job 8:13, 16). Green for how long? As long as the summer sun does not come. When the summer sun comes, the grass withers, and is cut down like thorns. And where do the thorns go? Into the fire, for it is said As thorns cut down will they be burned in the fire (Isaiah 33:12). Hence, it is said The workers of iniquity will soon be cut down like the grass.

The midrash takes Tehillim / Psalms 37:2 and parallels the grass with the wicked. This is consistent with rabbis, such as the Apostle Paul, who conclude that our works will be tested by fire looking at the Scripture such as in Tehillim / Psalms 1:4 “The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away” and David recalling his words reiterating that the wicked are like chaff that burn in fire and will fade in the fields and be no more (Tehillim / Psalms 37:2). The midrash states that the Lord tells David the wicked are nothing and their hope is grass and then proceed using pesher to support their interpretation quoting various Scriptures. What does it mean that the wicked flourish like grass? It appears as if they are prospering, or as if they are doing something right and so their wealth is increasing. However, when the sun comes, the grass withers and are cut down. This reminds us of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13), the seed that fell by the roadside did not have solid root and withered and died when the sun came. The wicked do not take the word of God to heart, thus, they are cut down like the grass because their work is not lasting. The only work that remains is the works that are done by faith in the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah Yeshua. (i.e. Our words tested by fire, see 1 Corinthians 3) Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 2 concludes saying “As thorns cut down will they be burned in the fire (Isaiah 33:12). Hence, it is said The workers of iniquity will soon be cut down like the grass.” The workers of iniquity will perish as quickly as grass burns in the fire. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Job 31:9-15 states “All the defilements of the life come from a deceived heart. Lust is a fire in the soul: those that indulge it, are said to burn. It consumes all that is good there, and lays the conscience waste. It kindles the fire of God’s wrath, … and will consume even to eternal destruction.” It is interesting how the nature of sin, uncleanness, lust, these things are described as “burning” that calls down a fire from God that consumes to destruction. It is only by the grace of God and His transforming power in the Messiah, we who trust and believe in Him (Yeshua), are transformed, made new, and produce the kinds of fruit the Lord is looking for. It is only in the Messiah Yeshua that we can be set free from our past life of sin and not be tossed by the wind like grass. When we think of burning fire as it is used in the Bible, fire is used as a description of judgment, of sin (lust), of the presence of God, and of love. Yeshua taught that we are to love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to show that love by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Fire in its use to describe love sometimes burns hot and gives forth a lot of light, for example, we feel passionate about someone. The love of God fills us with compassion and kindness towards others. In other times, the fire does not burn so intense but low and steady. Like for example the love of God that fills out hearts is not always an intense heat of passion. When we take this perspective, the wicked, when they burn, they are like the grass who are consumed when the wind comes and blows the flames. The flames become more intense and they are consumed. For God’s children, when the wind comes, the flames glow hot, but we are not consumed and burned up and good deeds are the result. We are consumed with love and compassion for others.

Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Trust in the Lord, and do good (Tehillim / Psalms 37:3).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash states “The Holy One blessed be He, said to David, when you see that I do good to the wicked, let your heart not grieve. But go on doing good, unto Him, forgive all iniquity; accept that which is good (Hosea 14:3).” What do you think, does the Lord do good to the wicked like the rabbis are saying here in their midrash? The Lord God Almighty does give all men on this earth, life and breath; is this a form of doing good to both the righteous and the unrighteous? Yeshua said in Matthew 5:45 45ὅπως γένησθε υἱοὶ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς, ὅτι τὸν ἥλιον αὐτοῦ ἀνατέλλει ἐπὶ πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς καὶ βρέχει ἐπὶ δικαίους καὶ ἀδίκους “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (NASB) The sun and the rain are known as blessing from the Lord. A parallel passage is also found in Luke 6:35 35πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε καὶ δανίζετε μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες: καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς, καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ ὑψίστου, ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηρούς “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” (NASB) That “you may be the sons” (ὅπως γένησθε υἱοί, Matthew 5:45) and that “you can be sons” (καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ, Luke 6:35) are made in reference to loving your enemies and within the context of doing good to the wicked because the Lord also is good to the unrighteous. The Pulpit commentary (Edited By: Joseph Exell, H.D.M. Spence) states that the meaning of these clauses are not certain.

Pulpit commentary on Mark 5:45

  1. “Love to enemies is the means whereby you may become possessed of the full privileges involved in the nature of sons. These privileges are more than the mere participation in Messianic glory (Meyer), and are rather all the blessings present and future which belong to son-ship.”
  2. “Love, in order that on each occasion you may become in fact (almost our ‘show yourselves’) sons of your Father, sons corresponding in ethical conduct to your position already received.”

Note how the Pulpit commentary focuses upon a position already received and that of obtaining privileges involved in the nature of sons, or participation in the Messianic glory, etc. The Christian commentary is focusing upon things that are related to salvation. The rabbis on the other hand realize that they are in a covenant relationship with God, salvation is given, and thus we are to do good to others as a way of life before the Lord God Almighty. In Christianity today there is an apparent disconnect on the understanding of salvation. Our Salvation in Christ is the beginning, not the end. Speaking with people today, some say “I just want to share Yeshua with everyone and that is all.” That is great and fine but one must ask “where is the discipleship?” In Yeshua, Salvation is the beginning of our lives and because of Yeshua the Messiah, we should be growing in our relationship with the Lord, working in His kingdom, serving others, etc. These things are not done so to obtain privileges or position. The Midrash continues saying:

If I do good to the wicked who vex Me and profit Me not, if I do good to them, then for you who trusts in Me, who is diligent in the study of Torah, who does justice and righteousness, as Scripture bears witness, David executed justice and righteousness unto all his people (2 Samuel 8:15) for you how much more will I do if you continue to trust in Me. Hence it is said, Trust in the Lord, and do good. (Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 3)

ומה אם הרשעים שהן מכעיסין אותי, ואין מועילין לי, עשיתי עמהם טובה, עמך [שאתה בוטח בי, ואתה עוסק בתורה, ואתה עושה משפט וצדקה, ומקרא מעיד עליך, שנאמר ויהי דוד עושה משפט וצדקה לכל עמו (ש״ב שמואל ב׳ ח טו)]. על אחת כמה וכמה שתבטח בי, לכך נאמר בטח בה׳ ועשה טוב

The rabbis say that God does good to the wicked and likewise we are to study His Word and do justice and righteousness (עושה משפט וצדקה) as the Scriptures bear witness. God’s Word is a witness for how we are to live and to do good to others. God is our example. The rabbis uses David as an example saying that he behaved with justice and righteousness unto all his people, even to Saul who was seeking to kill him, David would not lay a hand upon him. The point is, Yeshua was not teaching us to love our enemies for the purpose of participation in Messianic glory or for obtaining privileges involved in the nature of sons. He was giving us the example of the Lord God Almighty who does good to both the righteous and the unrighteous, we are to do likewise. The rabbis provide a parable to describe those who do good:

With whom may David be compared? With a laborer who worked all his days for the king. When the king did not give him his hire, the laborer was troubled and said, Am I to go forth with nothing in my hands? Then the king hired another laborer who worked for the king but one day, and the king laid meat before him, gave him drink, and paid him his hire in full. The laborer who had worked all his days for the king said, such reward for this one who did no more than work but one day for the king? For me who have been working for the king all the days of my life, how much more my reward. The other laborer went away, and now the one who had been working all his days for the king was glad in his heart. So David said, You have put gladness in my heart, from the time their corn and their wine increased (Tehillim / Psalms 4:8). (Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 3)

ולמה היה דוד דומה, לפועל שהיה כל ימיו עושה אצל המלך, ולא היה נותן לו שכרו, והיה אותו הפועל מיצר, ואמר שמא איני מוציא בידי כלום, שכר המלך פועל אחר, ולא עשה עמו אלא יום אחד, והאכילהו והשקהו ונותן לו שכרו משלם, אמר אותו הפועל שעושה עמו כל ימיו, ומה זה שלא עשה עמו אלא יום אחד כך, אני שעשיתי עמו כל ימי חיי על אחת כמה וכמה, הלך לו אותו הפועל, ואותו שעשה עמו כל ימיו התחיל שמח בלבו, כך אמר דוד נתתה שמחה בלבי מעת דגנם ותירושם רבו (תהלים ד ח)

This parable reminds us of Yeshua’s parable of the hired workers (Matthew 20:1-16). In contrast, the Rabbinic parable has a similar theme of a hired worker. Yeshua’s parable stresses God’s unmerited grace, rather than any sense of “earning” God’s favor thus resembling the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Is the midrash (or are the rabbis) saying that one must earn God’s favor by doing justice and righteousness and the study of Torah? Certainly not! The parable the rabbis provide in Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 3, speaks of both temporal and eternal rewards. As a child of God, we serve the Lord as laborers in His kingdom. Sometimes, when laboring, we receive a reward, the Lord provides immediately like they say “the king laid meat before him, gave him drink, and paid him his hire in full,” whereas on other occasions we do not see our reward because it will be given in the Olam Habah (the world to come). We understand this and we likewise can say “and now the one who had been working all his days for the king was glad in his heart.” We are glad in our hearts because of the love God has for us and that He has put His love in our hearts for others, especially for our enemies. Midrash Tehillim 37, Part 3 concludes saying “Hence it is written, You have put gladness in my heart for the time their corn and their wine increased. Hence also, oh how abundant is Your goodness, which You have laid up for them that fear You (Tehillim / Psalms 31:20).” The midrash concludes saying that our hearts should be glad for the increase of the corn and wine of our enemies. We should praise the Lord for the prosperity of our enemies. The word rendered “corn” means grain in general; the word rendered “wine” תירושׁ (tiyrosh) means “new wine,” similar to as it is translated in Isaiah 65:8 Thus says the Lord, ‘As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,’ So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them. (NASB) (ח כֹּה | אָמַר יְהֹוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר יִמָּצֵא הַתִּירוֹשׁ בָּאֶשְׁכּוֹל וְאָמַר אַל-תַּשְׁחִיתֵהוּ כִּי בְרָכָה בּוֹ כֵּן אֶעֱשֶֹה לְמַעַן עֲבָדַי לְבִלְתִּי הַשְׁחִית הַכֹּל:) The midrash states דגנם ותירושם רבו “the increase of grain and new wine” were we find the plural forms for grain and wine. The reference here is probably to the joy of harvest, when the fruits of the earth were gathered in, an occasion among the Hebrews, as it is among most people, of joy and rejoicing during the harvest time. That “their corn and their wine increased” suggests the enemy becoming successful and prosperous in worldly things. We should be happy and praise God when He is prospering all men whether they are righteous or unrighteous. This is a very difficult thing to do without the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives. Let’s pray!

Tehillim 37-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!