לְדָוִד אַל־תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל־תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵׂי עַוְלָה׃ 37:1
Psal. 37:1 For David:
You need not be angry with the evil doers;
you need not be zealous with the workers of injustice.
This psalm is thought to be a reflective and philosophical poem similar to those found in Job. For two simple reasons, I believe it is more likely a song written for David to console him, probably during the time he was in distress as described in 1Samuel (his flight from Saul) or 2Samuel (his being beset by his own son, Absalom, and his mourning for his death). The first reason is that all the second-person pronouns in this psalm are singular, in this case addressing one person, David, who was either close by or on the psalmist’s mind. Second, v. 25 below implies to me that someone is offering sage advice based on experience. He is not reflective or philosophical, he is consoling and comforting.
כִּי כֶחָצִיר מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא יִבּוֹלוּן׃ 37:2
Psal. 37:2 For like grass they will be quickly cut off,
and fade like green herb.
בְּטַח בַּיהוָה וַעֲשֵׂה־טוֹב שְׁכָן־אֶרֶץ וּרְעֵה אֱמוּנָה׃ 37:3
Psal. 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
establish the land and shepherd faithfulness.
וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל־יְהוָה וְיִתֶּן־לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ׃ 37:4
Psal. 37:4 Then you shall be delighted by the Lord,
that He shall grant to you the petitions of your heart.
גּוֹל עַל־יְהוָה דַּרְכֶּךָ וּבְטַח עָלָיו וְהוּא יַעֲשֶׂה׃ 37:5
Psal. 37:5 Go along your way according to the Lord,
and have trust because of Him,
and He will act.
וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ כַּצָּהֳרָיִם׃ 37:6
Psal. 37:6 And He will cause your righteousness to go forth as light,
and your justice as the light of noon.
דּוֹם לַיהוָה וְהִתְחוֹלֵל לוֹ אַל־תִּתְחַר בְּמַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכּוֹ בְּאִישׁ עֹשֶׂה מְזִמּוֹת׃ 37:7
Psal. 37:7 Be silent to the Lord, but wait longingly for Him;
you need not be angry because with one making plots, his way is prosperous.
הֶרֶף מֵאַף וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה אַל־תִּתְחַר אַךְ־לְהָרֵעַ׃ 37:8
Psal. 37:8 Refrain from anger and forsake wrath;
do not burn;
it is only for doing evil.
כִּי־מְרֵעִים יִכָּרֵתוּן וְקֹוֵי יְהוָה הֵמָּה יִירְשׁוּ־אָרֶץ׃ 37:9
Psal. 37:9 For evil doers shall be cut off,
but those waiting for the Lord,
they shall inherit the land.
The two words, hw"hy> yAeqw>, which I translate as but those waiting for the Lord, is probably an idiom. The strict translation of these words is but waiters of the Lord. This phrase in the English seems too awkward, so I allowed myself the luxury of thinking of the two words as idiomatic although I find no mention of them in a dictionary of Hebrew idioms.
וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל־מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ׃ 37:10
Psal. 37:10 Now yet a short while and the wicked one will not be;
then you may carefully examine about his place,
but it will be without him.
וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ־אָרֶץ וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ עַל־רֹב שָׁלוֹם׃ 37:11
Psal. 37:11 Then the humble ones will inherit the land
and they will be delighted by an abundance of peace.
זֹמֵם רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וְחֹרֵק עָלָיו שִׁנָּיו׃ 37:12
Psal. 37:12 The wicked one is plotting for the righteous one
and gnashes his teeth at him.
אֲדֹנָי יִשְׂחַק־לוֹ כִּי־רָאָה כִּי־יָבֹא יוֹמוֹ׃ 37:13
Psal. 37:13 The Master would laugh about him,
for He sees that his day shall come.
חֶרֶב פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי־דָרֶךְ׃ 37:14
Psal. 37:14 The wicked ones have withdrawn a sword and bent their bow,
to knock down the poor and the needy,
to slaughter the upright of path.
חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה׃ 37:15
Psal. 37:15 Their own sword shall go into their heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
טוֹב־מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים׃ 37:16
Psal. 37:16 Better the righteous one's little
than the abundance of many wicked ones.
כִּי זְרוֹעוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה וְסוֹמֵךְ צַדִּיקִים יְהוָה׃ 37:17
Psal. 37:17 For the arms of the wicked ones shall be broken,
but the Lord shall uphold the righteous ones.
יוֹדֵעַ יְהוָה יְמֵי תְמִימִם וְנַחֲלָתָם לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה׃ 37:18
Psal. 37:18 The Lord will be recognizing the days of the innocent ones
and their inheritance shall be forever.
לֹא־יֵבֹשׁוּ בְּעֵת רָעָה וּבִימֵי רְעָבוֹן יִשְׂבָּעוּ׃ 37:19
Psal. 37:19 They shall not be disappointed in time of evil,
and in days of famine they shall be satisfied.
כִּי רְשָׁעִים יֹאבֵדוּ וְאֹיְבֵי יְהוָה כִּיקַר כָּרִים כָּלוּ בֶעָשָׁן כָּלוּ׃ 37:20
Psal. 37:20 For the wicked ones will have perished
and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the prized part of rams,
they end in smoke;
they are consumed.
The second line of this verse seems to contain an awkward simile. The term prized part of rams (sacrifices) seems a poor comparison to enemies of the Lord. I suspect the psalmist was employing a word play, being facetious. Should he have used the term holy part? No, that would have been even worse. The psalmist may have been faced with a dilemma. How else to describe the parts of a ram that go up in smoke and are consumed?
לֹוֶה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן׃ 37:21
Psal. 37:21 The wicked one borrows and will not repay;
but the righteous one is gracious and giving.
כִּי מְבֹרָכָיו יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וּמְקֻלָּלָיו יִכָּרֵתוּ׃ 37:22
Psal. 37:22 Indeed His blessed ones shall inherit the land,
and His cursed ones shall be cut off.
מֵיְהוָה מִצְעֲדֵי־גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ׃ 37:23
Psal. 37:23 If the steps of a man are established by the Lord,
then He shall delight in his path.
כִּי־יִפֹּל לֹא־יוּטָל כִּי־יְהוָה סוֹמֵךְ יָדוֹ׃ 37:24
Psal. 37:24 Though he may falter, he shall not be thrown down,
for the Lord will be upholding his hand.
נַעַר הָיִיתִי גַּם־זָקַנְתִּי וְלֹא־רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ־לָחֶם׃ 37:25
Psal. 37:25 I was a youth,
now I am old,
but I have not seen the righteous one forsaken,
or his seed seeking bread.
כָּל־הַיּוֹם חוֹנֵן וּמַלְוֶה וְזַרְעוֹ לִבְרָכָה׃ 37:26
Psal. 37:26 He is gracious all the time and will lend,
and his seed shall be for a blessing.
I believe the meaning here is that the righteous one will lend without interest.
סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה־טוֹב וּשְׁכֹן לְעוֹלָם׃ 37:27
Psal. 37:27 Avoid doing evil and do good
and abide forever.
כִּי יְהוָה אֹהֵב מִשְׁפָּט וְלֹא־יַעֲזֹב אֶת־חֲסִידָיו לְעוֹלָם נִשְׁמָרוּ וְזֶרַע רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָת׃ 37:28
Psal. 37:28 Surely the Lord loves justice and will not forsake His faithful ones;
forever they are protected.
But the seed of the wicked ones is cut down.
צַדִּיקִים יִירְשׁוּ־אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁכְּנוּ לָעַד עָלֶיהָ׃ 37:29
Psal. 37:29 Righteous ones shall inherit the land
and dwell forever on it.
פִּי־צַדִּיק יֶהְגֶּה חָכְמָה וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ תְּדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּט׃ 37:30
Psal. 37:30 The mouth of a righteous one shall utter wisdom
and his tongue shall speak justice.
תּוֹרַת אֱלֹהָיו בְּלִבּוֹ לֹא תִמְעַד אֲשֻׁרָיו׃ 37:31
Psal. 37:31 The law of his God shall be on his heart;
without slippage shall be his steps.
צוֹפֶה רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וּמְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲמִיתוֹ׃ 37:32
Psal. 37:32 The wicked one is looking out for the righteous one,
as he is seeking his death.
יְהוָה לֹא־יַעַזְבֶנּוּ בְיָדוֹ וְלֹא יַרְשִׁיעֶנּוּ בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ׃ 37:33
Psal. 37:33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
or let him be condemned upon his being judged.
קַוֵּה אֶל־יְהוָה וּשְׁמֹר דַּרְכּוֹ וִירוֹמִמְךָ לָרֶשֶׁת אָרֶץ בְּהִכָּרֵת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה׃ 37:34
Psal. 37:34 Hope because of the Lord, and keep His way,
and He will exalt you to possess the land;
you will see the cutting down of the wicked ones.
רָאִיתִי רָשָׁע עָרִיץ וּמִתְעָרֶה כְּאֶזְרָח רַעֲנָן׃ 37:35
Psal. 37:35 I have seen the mighty wicked one,
and spreading himself like a luxuriant native tree.
וַיַּעֲבֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵינֶנּוּ וָאֲבַקְשֵׁהוּ וְלֹא נִמְצָא׃ 37:36
Psal. 37:36 But one might pass by and, behold, none of him!
Though I might seek him, yet he is not to be found.
שְׁמָר־תָּם וּרְאֵה יָשָׁר כִּי־אַחֲרִית לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם׃ 37:37
Psal. 37:37 Watch the pure one and observe the upright one,
for there is posterity for the man of peace.
וּפֹשְׁעִים נִשְׁמְדוּ יַחְדָּו אַחֲרִית רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָתָה׃ 37:38
Psal. 37:38 But transgressors are destroyed together;
the future of the wicked ones is eliminated.
וּתְשׁוּעַת צַדִּיקִים מֵיְהוָה מָעוּזָּם בְּעֵת צָרָה׃ 37:39
Psal. 37:39 Yes, the salvation of righteous ones is from the Lord,
their Protector in a time of trouble.
וַיַּעְזְרֵם יְהוָה וַיְפַלְּטֵם יְפַלְּטֵם מֵרְשָׁעִים וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם כִּי־חָסוּ בוֹ׃ 37:40
Psal. 37:40 And the Lord helps them and delivers them;
He will deliver them from the wicked ones,
and He saves them,
because they seek refuge in Him.
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