New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Fate of Sinners and the Reward of the Just
1 Of David.
7 Be still before the Lord;
wait for him.
Do not be provoked by the prosperous,
nor by malicious schemers.
8 Refrain from anger; abandon wrath;
do not be provoked; it brings only harm.
9 Those who do evil will be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord will inherit the earth.(G)
10 Wait a little, and the wicked will be no more;
look for them and they will not be there.
11 But the poor will inherit the earth,(H)
will delight in great prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 But my Lord laughs at them,(I)
because he sees that their day is coming.
14 The wicked unsheath their swords;
they string their bows
To fell the poor and oppressed,
to slaughter those whose way is upright.(J)
15 Their swords will pierce their own hearts;
their bows will be broken.
16 Better the meagerness of the righteous one
than the plenty of the wicked.(K)
17 The arms of the wicked will be broken,
while the Lord will sustain the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless;
their heritage lasts forever.
19 They will not be ashamed when times are bad;
in days of famine they will be satisfied.
20 The wicked perish,
enemies of the Lord;
They shall be consumed like fattened lambs;
like smoke they disappear.(L)
21 The wicked one borrows but does not repay;
the righteous one is generous and gives.
22 For those blessed by the Lord will inherit the earth,
but those accursed will be cut off.
23 The valiant one whose steps are guided by the Lord,
who will delight in his way,(M)
24 May stumble, but he will never fall,
for the Lord holds his hand.
25 Neither in my youth, nor now in old age
have I seen the righteous one abandoned(N)
or his offspring begging for bread.
26 All day long he is gracious and lends,
and his offspring become a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good,
that you may be settled forever.(O)
28 For the Lord loves justice
and does not abandon the faithful.
When the unjust are destroyed,
and the offspring of the wicked cut off,
29 The righteous will inherit the earth
and dwell in it forever.(P)
32 The wicked spies on the righteous
and seeks to kill him.
33 But the Lord does not abandon him in his power,
nor let him be condemned when tried.
34 Wait eagerly for the Lord,
and keep his way;(S)
He will raise you up to inherit the earth;
you will see when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen a ruthless scoundrel,
spreading out like a green cedar.(T)
36 When I passed by again, he was gone;
though I searched, he could not be found.
37 Observe the person of integrity and mark the upright;
Because there is a future for a man of peace.(U)
38 Sinners will be destroyed together;
the future of the wicked will be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
their refuge in a time of distress.(V)
40 The Lord helps and rescues them,
rescues and saves them from the wicked,
because they take refuge in him.
- Psalm 37 The Psalm responds to the problem of evil, which the Old Testament often expresses as a question: why do the wicked prosper and the good suffer? The Psalm answers that the situation is only temporary. God will reverse things, rewarding the good and punishing the wicked here on earth. The perspective is concrete and earthbound: people’s very actions place them among the ranks of the good or wicked. Each group or “way” has its own inherent dynamism—eventual frustration for the wicked, eventual reward for the just. The Psalm is an acrostic, i.e., each section begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section has its own imagery and logic.
- 37:3 The land: the promised land, Israel, which became for later interpreters a type or figure of heaven, cf. Hb 11:9–10, 13–16. The New Testament Beatitudes (Mt 5:3–12; Lk 6:20–26) have been influenced by the Psalm, especially their total reversal of the present and their interpretation of the happy future as possession of the land.