Psalm 37 - The Fate of the Righteous and the Wicked




[New International Version] Psalm 37 belongs to Book I of the Book of Psalms. This prayer is a meditation on the practice of good and evil, the ultimate victory of the ideals of good and justice, and divine punishment for those who do evil.

The PS 37 belongs to Book I of the Book of PS, composed of a collection of 150 texts arranged by five poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action, is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book I encompasses Psalms 1 to 41. The PS 37 is divided into 40 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience.

They portray the commoner with his faults, insecurities, fears, and hopes. Even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing.

“There are enemies or friends; there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan.

Psalm 37 - The fate of the Righteous and the Wicked

1  of David.

Do not be elated because criminals
or envy those who practice iniquity.

2  For as hay will soon wither,
as lush grass will wither.

3  Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in this land and cultivate fidelity.

4  Put your happiness in the Lord,
and He will satisfy your heart’s desires.

5  Commit your way to the Lord;
trust Him, and He will act.

6 He will make your righteousness shine like a light,
and your rights like the noonday sun.

7  Rest in the Lord, and put your hope in him;
do not exasperate yourself with those who prosper,
nor those who live by intrigues.

8  Flee from anger and avoid indignation;
do not be exasperated, for it only leads to evil.

9  Indeed, criminals will be exterminated,
but those waiting for the Lord will possess the land.

10  A little longer and the wrongdoer is no longer seen;
if you search well in its place, it is no longer there.

11  The poor will possess the land
and be able to delight in great peace.

12  The evildoer weaves intrigues against the righteous
and grinds his teeth against him.

13  But the Lord laughs at him,
for he sees that his day is at hand.

14  The evildoers draw their swords and carry their bows,
to bring down the poor and helpless,
to sacrifice those who follow the straight path.

15  His sword shall pierce through his own heart,
and his bows shall be broken.

16  The little of a righteous person is worth more
then the fortune of many evildoers.

17  For the arms of evildoers will be broken,
while the righteous the Lord upholds them.

18  The Lord knows well the days of the righteous,
and their inheritance will remain forever.

19  They will not be ashamed in times of adversity,
and in days of famine, they will be satisfied.

20  But evildoers must perish;
the enemies of the Lord, like the greenery of the fields,
wither and dissipate into smoke.

21  The wrongdoer borrows and does not pay,
the has compassion and gives.

22  Those whom God blesses will possess the land;
and those He curses will be cut off.

23  The Lord gives steadfastness to man’s steps;
guides you and feels pleasure on your way.

24  If he falls, he will not fall to the ground,
because the Lord is holding him by the hand.

25  I was once young, and now I am old;
but I have never seen a righteous man abandoned,
nor his children are begging for bread.

26 He is compassionate and generous all day long,
and his offspring will be blessed.

27  Turn away from evil and do good
and you will always have a place to live.

28  For the LORD loveth righteousness
and does not forsake his faithful ones.

These will be kept forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be destroyed.

29  The righteous will possess the land
and will dwell there forever.

30  A righteous man’s mouth speaks wisdom,
and his tongue declares righteousness.

31  He carries in his heart the law of his God;
so do not falter in their steps.

32  The evildoer stalks the righteous
and looks for a way to kill him.

33  But the Lord will not leave him in his hands,
nor will he let him condemn in court.

34  Trust in the Lord and go on his way;
He will honor you with the possession of the land,
and you will be able to see the evildoers being exterminated.

35  I saw an evildoer fill himself with pride,
expanding like a native and leafy tree.

36  Someone passes by, and behold; he is no more.
I still looked for it, but it was no longer there.

37  Observe the honest one and notice what is right,
for there is a future for the man of peace.

38  But criminals will all be destroyed;
the future of evildoers will be exterminated.

39  The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord,
who is their refuge in the hour of trouble.

40  The Lord helps them and sets them free;
free them from evildoers and thus save them,
because they have taken refuge in him.

Meaning and interpretation

Psalm 37 is a wise model of prayer that proceeds to a meditation on the practice of good and evil and on the way to faith in He‘s fit into this behavior. The flow of reflection according to the dialogue model between master and disciple is another characteristic of the sapiential style.

The fate of the bad ones, even if influenced by immediate successes, is subject to fragility and precariousness that deprives them of any serious expectation of continuity. Reason and justice are on the side of those who take good and righteous behavior. The trust in God guarantees that this attitude is justified and, as such, guaranteed by him.

The final recommendation summarizes the essential themes in this Psalm: the demands of behavior and moral ideas that guarantee permanence in the promised land and confidence that the ideals of goodness and justice will finally be overcome. Sooner or later, the wrongdoer will pay for the wrongs he has done.

The Sapiential Psalms are books of Sacred Scripture ( Libri Sapientiales ) that contain, above all, moral sentences from ancient Israel - Proverbs, Job, Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Song of Songs, Wisdom.

These prayers are filled with ancient inspiration and wisdom, life experiences, and peoples’ history. They analyze human behaviorethical choices and consequences, and the search for the meaning of life and death for each of us and as a society.

Various themes are addressed in these Psalms, such as justice/injustice; sinful/righteous; wisdom/foolishness; bad/good; fidelity/infidelity; the honor or lack of it, the virtue that exists in prudence in speaking, in being fair, in knowing how to be rich. The existence of God is never questioned. He is Creator, Lord, Judge, Wise.

The Wisdom Psalms are also understood as a guide for everyone to meditate on the issues of their daily lives and the mysteries of life. The Psalmist uses his own and others’ experiences to discerning the path based on correct moral principles. They are based on the assumption that what we do in this world, we pay for in this life. The wisdom style appears in Ps 1; 14; 34; 36; 37; 39; 49; 53; 73; 74.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the commoner, with his failures, insecurities, fears, and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

Despite being written in Antiquity, the Psalms still movesensitize,  awaken feelingsinspire and enchant. In them, we can identify anguish and joy, deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom, and prophetic words.

Written for different situations, some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life; others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine, and prayer is the power of the word. Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word, or image addressed to God is called prayer. Through it,t we come into contact with our God; therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life. Prayer can produce miracles, turn dreams into reality, and give us hope for changeharmony, and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God. For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for spiritual self-protection, family protection, and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves, from this peace, well-being, hope, and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

Faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination. The Psalms will guide you toward peace and communion with higher energy.