Psalm 37:8
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) In any wise to do evil . . .—Better, only to do evil, i.e., only evil can come of it. Comp. Proverbs 14:23, “tendeth only to penury.”

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.Cease from anger - That is, in reference to the fact that there are wicked people, and that they are permitted to carry out their plans. Do not allow your mind to be excited with envious, fretful, wrathful, or murmuring feelings against God because he bears patiently with them, and because they are allowed a temporary prosperity and triumph. Be calm, whatever may be the wickedness of the world. The supreme direction belongs to God, and he will dispose of it in the best way.

And forsake wrath - That is, as above, in regard to the existence of evil, and to the conduct of wicked men.

Fret not thyself in any wise - See Psalm 37:1. Let the mind be entirely calm and composed.

To do evil - So as to lead you to do evil. Do not allow your mind to become so excited that you will indulge in harsh or malignant remarks; or so as to lead you to do wrong to any man, however wicked he may be. See always that you are right, whatever others may be, and do not allow their conduct to be the means of leading you into sin in any form. Look to your own character and conduct first.

7, 8. Rest in—literally, "Be silent to the Lord."

and wait—Be submissive—avoid petulance and murmurings, anger and rash doing.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 for evil doers shall be cut off but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalm 37:8

"Cease from anger and forsake wrath." Especially anger against the arrangements of Providence, and jealousies of the temporary pleasures of those who are so soon to be banished from all comfort. Anger anywhere is madness, here it is aggravated insanity. Yet since anger will try to keep us company, we must resolvedly forsake it. "Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil." By no reasonings and under no circumstances be led into such a course. Fretfulness lies upon the verge of great sin. Many who have indulged a murmuring disposition have at last come to sin, in order to gain their fancied rights. Beware of carping at others, study to be yourself found in the right way; and as you would dread outward sin, tremble at inward repining.

Psalm 37:9

"For evil doers shall be cut off." Their death shall be a penal judgment; not a gentle removal to a better state, but an execution in which the axe of justice shall be used. "But those that wait upon the Lord" - those who in patient faith expect their portion in another life - "they shall inherit the earth." Even in this life they have the most of real enjoyment, and in the ages to come theirs shall be the glory and the triumph. Passion, according to Bunyan's parable, has his good things first, and they are soon over; Patience has his good things last, and they last for ever.

Psalm 37:10

"For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be." When bad men reach to greatness, the judgments of God frequently sweep them away; their riches melt, their powers decay, their happiness turns to wretchedness; they themselves cease any longer to be numbered with the living. The shortness of life makes us see that the glitter of the wicked great is not true gold. O wherefore, tried believer, dost thou envy one who in a little while will lie lower than the dust? "Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be." His house shall be empty, his chair of office vacant, his estate without an owner; he shall be utterly blotted out, perhaps cut off by his own debauchery, or brought to a deathbed of penury by his own extravagance. Gone like a passing cloud - forgotten as a dream - where are his boastings and hectorings, and where the pomp which made poor mortals think the sinner blest?

Psalm 37:11

"But the meek shall inherit the earth." Above all others they shall enjoy life. Even if they suffer, their consolations shall overtop their tribulations. By inheriting the land is meant obtaining covenant privileges and the salvation of God. Such as are truly humble shall take their lot with the rest of the heirs of grace, to whom all good things come by a sacred birthright. "And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Peace they love and peace they shall have. If they find not abundance of gold, abundance of peace will serve their turn far better. Others find joy in strife, and thence arises their misery in due time, but peace leads on to peace, and the more a man loves it the more shall it come to him. In the halcyon period of the latter days, when universal peace shall make glad the earth, the full prophetic meaning of words like these will be made plain.

Cease from anger; either against the sinner for his success; or against God for so disposing of things, as Jonah Was, Jonah 4:1.

To do evil; or, at least so far as to do evil. If any such anger or grief do secretly arise in thee, take care that it do not transport thee, either to reproach or distrust God’s providence, or to the dislike of his ways, or to an approbation or imitation of the wicked practices of those men in hopes of the same success. Cease from anger,.... Either at these wicked men who are so prosperous, or at God, who for the present suffers it; see Jonah 4:9, Proverbs 19:3;

and forsake wrath; which is anger wrought up to a greater degree; and the rather to be shunned and avoided, as being very disagreeable to the character of a good man;

fret not thyself in any wise to do evil; evil may be done by fretting at the prosperity of wicked men, or by imitating them, doing as they do, in hope of being prosperous as they are; from which the psalmist dissuades by reasons following.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: {g} fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

(g) Meaning, unless he moderates his affection, he will be led to do as they do.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Render with R.V., Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil-doing. Discontent is not only foolish and useless, but dangerous. It may lead the man who yields to it to deny God’s providence, and cast in his lot with the evil-doers. See Psalm 73:2 ff., Psalm 73:13 ff.

8, 9. Stanza of . The warning of Psalm 37:1-2 repeated and emphasised.Verse 8. - Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; i.e. such anger and such wrath as the prosperity of the wicked calls forth. Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil; rather, fret not thyself, only to do evil. No result could be looked for from the sort of "fretting" spoken of, but an evil one. If men will dwell unduly on the fact of the prosperity of the wicked, and brood upon it in their hearts, they will be apt, in the first instance, to envy the wicked, which is at once "to do evil;" and from this they will be naturally tempted to go on to an imitation of their wicked practices, which is to assimilate themselves altogether to the enemies of God, and to be guilty of practical apostasy (comp. Psalm 73:2, "But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh supped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked"). Olshausen observes, "The poet keeps entirely to the standpoint of the old Hebrew doctrine of recompense, which the Book of Job so powerfully refutes." But, viewed in the light of the final issue, all God's government is really in a word righteous recompense; and the Old Testament theodicy is only inadequate in so far as the future, which adjusts all present inconsistencies, is still veiled. Meanwhile the punitive justice of God does make itself manifest, as a rule, in the case of the ungodly even in the present world; even their dying is usually a fearful end to their life's prosperity. This it is which the poet means here, and which is also expressed by Job himself in the Book of Job, Job 27:1. With התחרה, to grow hot or angry (distinct from תּחרה, to emulate, Jeremiah 12:5; Jeremiah 22:15), alternates קנּא, to get into a glow, excandescentia, whether it be the restrained heat of sullen envy, or the incontrollable heat of impetuous zeal which would gladly call down fire from heaven. This first distich has been transferred to the Book of Proverbs, Proverbs 24:19, cf. Proverbs 23:17; Proverbs 24:1; Proverbs 3:31; and in general we may remark that this Psalm is one of the Davidic patterns for the Salomonic gnome system. The form ימּלוּ is, according to Gesenius, Olshausen, and Hitzig, fut. Kal of מלל, cognate אמל, they wither away, pausal form for ימּלוּ like יתּממוּ, Psalm 102:28; but the signification to cut off also is secured to the verb מלל by the Niph. נמל, Genesis 17:11, whence fut. ימּלוּ equals ימּלּוּ; vid., on Job 14:2; Job 18:16. ירק דּשׁא is a genitival combination: the green (viror) of young vigorous vegetation.
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