Psalm 37:12
The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes on him with his teeth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 37:12-13. The wicked plotteth against the just — There is a rooted enmity in the seed of the wicked one against the righteous seed: their aim is, if they can, to destroy their righteousness; if that fail, then to destroy them. To this end they plot, or act with a great deal of policy and contrivance; and gnasheth upon him with his teeth — Out of malice and rage. They join zeal and fury to craft and subtlety, inflamed with eager desire to have it in their power to destroy them, and full of wrath and indignation because it is not in their power. The Lord shall laugh at him — Shall despise and deride all their hopes and endeavours against the good, as vain and foolish. For he seeth that his day is coming — The day of his punishment. Thus, Jeremiah 5:31, Thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.37:7-20 Let us be satisfied that God will make all to work for good to us. Let us not discompose ourselves at what we see in this world. A fretful, discontented spirit is open to many temptations. For, in all respects, the little which is allotted to the righteous, is more comfortable and more profitable than the ill-gotten and abused riches of ungodly men. It comes from a hand of special love. God provides plentifully and well, not only for his working servants, but for his waiting servants. They have that which is better than wealth, peace of mind, peace with God, and then peace in God; that peace which the world cannot give, and which the world cannot have. God knows the believer's days. Not one day's work shall go unrewarded. Their time on earth is reckoned by days, which will soon be numbered; but heavenly happiness shall be for ever. This will be a real support to believers in evil times. Those that rest on the Rock of ages, have no reason to envy the wicked the support of their broken reeds.The wicked plotteth against the just - Margin, "practiceth." The Hebrew word means to plot; to lie in wait; to plan; to purpose; to devise. See Psalm 31:13. The meaning is, that wicked people lay their plans against the righteous, but that they will not be able to carry them out, or accomplish them, for they will be cut off, and the Lord will protect His friends.

And gnasheth upon him with his teeth - An expression of rage or anger. See the notes at Psalm 35:16.

12. gnasheth … teeth—in beastly rage.12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

Here is the portrait of a proud oppressor armed to the teeth.

Psalm 37:12

"The wicked plotteth against the just." Why can he not let the good man alone? Because there is enmity between the serpent's seed and the seed of the woman. Why not attack him fairly? Why plot and scheme? Because it is according to the serpent's nature to be very subtle. Plain sailing does not suit those who are on board of "The Apollyon." "And gnasheth upon him with his teeth." The wicked show by their gestures what they would do if they could; if they cannot gnaw they will gnash: if they may not bite they will at least bark. This is precisely what the graceless world did with "that just One," the Prince of Peace. Yet he took no vengeance upon them, but like a silent lamb received injuries in patience.

Psalm 37:13

"The Lord shall laugh at him." The godly man needs not trouble himself, but leave well-deserved vengeance to be dealt out by the Lord, who will utterly deride the malice of the good man's enemies. Let the proud scorner gnash his teeth and foam at the mouth; he has one to deal with who will look down upon him and his ravings with serene contempt. "For he seeth that his day is coming." The evil man does not see how close his destruction is upon his heels; he boasts of crushing others when the foot of justice is already uplifted to trample him as the mire of the streets. Sinners, in the hand of an angry God, and yet plotting against his children! Poor souls, thus to run upon the point of Jehovah's spear.

Psalm 37:14

"The wicked have drawn out the sword." They hold their weapon out of its sheath, and watch for a time to use it. "And have bent their bow." One weapon is not enough, they carry another ready for action. They carry so strong a bow that they have trodden upon it to bend it - they will lose nothing for want of force or readiness. "To cast down the poor and needy." These are their game, the objects of their accursed malice. These cowards attack not their equals, but seek out those excellent ones who, from the gentleness of their spirits and the poverty of their estates, are not able to defend themselves. Note how our meek and lowly Lord was beset by cruel foes, armed with all manner of weapons to slay him. "And to stay such as be of upright conversation." Nothing short of the overthrow and death of the just will content the wicked. The sincere and straightforward are hated by the crafty schemers who delight in unrighteousness. See, then, the enemies of the godly doubly armed, and learn how true were our Lord's words, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Psalm 37:15

"Their sword shall enter into their own heart." Like Haman they shall be hanged upon the gallows built by themselves for Mordecai. Hundreds of times has this been the case. Saul, who sought to slay David, fell on his own sword; and the bow, his favourite weapon, the use of which he taught the children of Israel, was not able to deliver him on Gilboa. "And their bows shall be broken." Their inventions of evil shall be rendered useless. Malice outwits itself. It drinks the poisoned cup which it mixed for another, and burns itself in the fire which it kindled for its neighbour. Why need we fret at the prosperity of the wicked when they are so industriously ruining themselves while they fancy they are injuring the saints?

The next nine verses mainly describe the character and blessedness of the godly, and the light is brought out with a few black touches descriptive of the wicked and their doom.

Out of malice and rage. See Poole "Psalm 35:16". The wicked plotteth against the just,.... Forms schemes to make him uneasy, uncomfortable, and unhappy:

and gnasheth upon him with his teeth: which expresses his malice and hatred, as David's enemies did upon him, Psalm 35:16; and Stephen's, Acts 7:54.

{i} The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

(i) The godly are assured that the power and craft of the wicked will not prevail against them, but fall on their own necks and therefore should patiently abide God's time, and in the meanwhile bewail their sins, and offer up their tears as a sacrifice of their obedience.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. The wicked deviseth mischief against the righteous. Cp. Psalm 37:7; Psalm 37:32.

gnasheth &c.] Like a furious wild beast, eager to seize its prey. Cf. Psalm 35:16.

12, 13. Stanza of Zayin. The impotent rage of the wicked.

12–20. Disappointment and destruction are the destiny of the wicked.Verse 12. - The wicked plotteth against the just (comp. Psalm 31:13; Psalm 35:4, 7, etc.). Wicked men commonly lay their plots against the righteous, as being less likely to suspect them, and perhaps as less likely to resist their machinations. And gnasheth upon him with his teeth (comp. Psalm 35:16). The lxx erroneously renders גּול ( equals גּל, Psalm 22:9) by ἀποκάλυψον instead of ἐπίῤῥιψον, 1 Peter 5:7 : roll the burden of cares of thy life's way upon Jahve, leave the guidance of thy life entirely to Him, and to Him alone, without doing anything in it thyself: He will gloriously accomplish (all that concerns thee): עשׂה, as in Psalm 22:32; Psalm 52:11; cf. Proverbs 16:3, and Paul Gerhardt's Befiehl du deine Wege, "Commit thou all thy ways," etc. The perfect in Psalm 37:6 is a continuation of the promissory יעשׂה. הוציא, as in Jeremiah 51:10, signifies to set forth: He will bring to light thy misjudged righteousness like the light (the sun, Job 31:26; Job 37:21, and more especially the morning sun, Proverbs 4:18), which breaks through the darkness; and thy down-trodden right (משׁפּטך is the pausal form of the singular beside Mugrash) like the bright light of the noon-day: cf. Isaiah 58:10, as on Psalm 37:4, Isaiah 58:14.
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