Psalms, Book 2, Psalms 35-37

Psalm 35‑37  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 6
These psalms are occupied with the evil, not only so hostile to the righteous, but so wicked in God's sight and against His rights, as we see in Psa. 35 As usual, it is the Spirit of Christ guiding the remnant in feeling and estimating all relatively to their state and position. It is not at all Christ personally simply suffering all to God's glory, nor the members of His body as now in the power of the Spirit having the moral mind which was in Him. Here He pleads for judgment on the wicked which will surely come to deliver the Jews. We have His portion as caught up to heaven entirely apart from it, and previously suffering with Him and it may be for Him.
Psalm 35
“ Of David. Strive, O Jehovah, with mine adversaries; fight with them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and arise for my help, and draw out the spear, and shut [the way] to meet my pursuers: say unto my soul, Thy salvation [am] I. They shall be ashamed and put to shame that seek after my soul; they shall be driven backward and confounded who devise my hurt. They shall be as chaff before the wind, and Jehovah's angel overthrowing [them]. Their way shall be dark and slippery, and Jehovah's angel pursuing them. For without cause have they laid for me a pit, their net; without cause have dug [it] for my soul. Let destruction come upon him unaware, and his net which he hid catch him; in to destruction let him fall. And my soul shall rejoice in Jehovah and be joyful in his salvation. All my bones shall say, O Jehovah, Who [is] like Thee, delivering a poor one from him that is stronger than he, and a poor and needy from him that spoileth him? False witnesses rise up; they ask me things which I know not. They requite me evil for good, bereaving to my soul. And for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth; I humbled my soul with the fasting, and my prayers returned into my bosom. As [to] a neighbor, as a brother to me, I behaved myself. As mourning a mother, mourning I bowed down. But in my halting they rejoiced and were gathered together; the slanderers were gathered together, and I knew it not; they tore and ceased not, with profane mockers for bread gnashing their teeth upon me. O Lord, now wilt Thou see? Restore my soul from their destructions, mine only one from young lions. I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation and in a mighty people I will praise Thee. Let not mine enemies rejoice over me falsely, [nor] my haters without cause wink the eye. For they speak not peace; and against the quiet ones of the earth (or land) they devise deceitful words. And they opened wide their mouth upon me; they said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen. Thou hast seen, O Jehovah; be not silent, O Lord, be not far from me. Arouse Thyself and awake for my judgment, my God and my Lord, for my cause. Judge me according to Thy righteousness, O Jehovah my God, and let them not rejoice over me. Let them not say in their heart, Aha our soul! Let them not say, We have swallowed him up. They shall be ashamed and confounded together who rejoice at my hurt; they shall be clothed with shame and reproach that magnify themselves against me. They shall shout for joy and rejoice that delight in my righteousness, and they shall say continually, Jehovah be magnified Who delighteth in the peace of His servant. And my tongue shall celebrate Thy righteousness, Thy praise all the day” (ver. 1-28).
Psalm 36
This Psalm follows up the last in the expression given to the enormous evil of the wicked, but with the comfort of the still richer, deeper, higher, blessedness of what Jehovah is for His own. Why then doubt or fear?
“ To the chief musician; of Jehovah's servant, of David. The transgression of the wicked one uttereth in the midst of my heart, There is no fear of God before his eyes, For he hath flattered himself in his own eyes to find his iniquity hateful. The words of his mouth [are] falsehood and deceit; he hath left off to be wise, to do well. He deviseth falsehood upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way [that is] not good; he abhorreth not evil.
“ O Jehovah, Thy mercy [is] in the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness [is] as the high mountains (of God, El), Thy judgments a, great deep: man and beast Thou preservest, O Jehovah. How precious Thy mercy, O God! And the sons of men shall trust in the shadow of Thy wings. They shall be drenched with the abundance of Thy house, and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures. For with Thee [is] the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light. Continue Thy mercy to those that know Thee, and Thy righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come unto me, and let not the hand of the wicked move me. There have fallen the workers of iniquity: they have been thrust down and are not able to rise” (ver. 1-13).
Psalm 37
This beautiful psalm is a moral and, one might say, aphoristic application from the wicked and his doom to the profit of the righteous who can abide in Jehovah. It has an alphabetic order not carried out perfectly.
“ Of David. Fret not thyself at the evil-doers; be not envious at the workers of iniquity. For like grass they are speedily cut off, and like the greenness of the tender herb they fade. Trust in Jehovah, and do good; dwell in the land (or, earth) and feed on truth (or faithfulness). Delight thyself also in Jehovah, and He will give thee the requests of thy heart. Roll thy way upon Jehovah; trust also in Him, and He will do [it]; and He will bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in (or be silent to) Jehovah, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself at him that prospereth in his way, at the man that doeth wicked devices. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not thyself—only to do evil. For evil doers shall be cut off; and those that wait for Jehovah, they shall inherit the land. And yet a little, and the wicked one is not; and thou considerest his place, and he (or, it) is not. And the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundance of peace. The wicked one deviseth mischief against the righteous one and gnasheth his teeth upon him. The Lord laugheth at him, for He hath seen that his day is come. A sword have the wicked drawn, and they have bent their bow, to cause the poor and needy to fall, to slay the upright in way. Their sword shall come into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. Better [is] little to the righteous one than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but Jehovah upholdeth the righteous. Jehovah knoweth the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. For the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Jehovah as the fat of lambs; they have vanished, into smoke they have vanished. The wicked one borroweth and payeth not, but the righteous hath compassion and giveth. For His blessed ones shall inherit the land, but His accursed ones shall be cut off. By Jehovah the steps of a man are established, and He delighteth in his way. If he falleth, he is not cast down, for Jehovah upholdeth his hand. I have been a youth, I have also become old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. All the day [is he] gracious and lending, and his seed for a blessing. Depart from evil and do good, and dwell forever. For Jehovah loveth judgment and forsaketh not His saints: forever are they kept, but the seed of the wicked is cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and shall dwell forever upon it. The mouth of the righteous meditateth wisdom and his tongue speaketh judgment, The law of his God [is] in his heart; none of his steps slide. The wicked lieth in wait for the righteous and seeketh to kill him. Jehovah will not leave him in his hand, and will not condemn when he is judged. Wait for Jehovah and keep His ways, and He will exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see [it]. I have seen the wicked strong and spreading himself like a native tree green; and he passed away and, behold, he was not; and I sought him, and he was not found, Mark the perfect, and behold the upright, for the latter end to [that] man [is] peace1; but the transgressors shall be destroyed together, the latter end of the wicked shall be cut off. And the salvation of the righteous [is] from Jehovah; [He is] their refuge in the time of trouble. And Jehovah helpeth and delivereth them; He will deliver them and save them, because they have trusted in Him” (ver. 1-40).
As the preceding psalm rises as far as was possible under the law, though of course only in faith, to enjoy mercy and loving-kindness in God, yea the fatness of His house and the river of His pleasures, wonderfully suggestive of what is our portion as Christians—the communion of the Father and the Son in the power of the Spirit, here we are shown the blessedness of faith in the moral government of God, which delivers from fretfulness no less than envy—a government which is yet to be displayed in “the land” as nowhere else. But it is ever true in its principles, though for the Christian now in a less visible way. Hence the allusions to the psalm in the N. T., as citations from Psa. 34 in 1 Peter 3. The Lord Himself refers to it in Matt. 5.
1. Literally it seems to run “for [there is] a future, or latter end, to the man of peace.” The sense given above seems made out with difficulty.