|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:34-40 Duty is ours, and we must mind it; but events are God's, we must refer the disposal of them to him. What a striking picture is in ver. 35,36, of many a prosperous enemy of God! But God remarkably blights the projects of the prosperous wicked, especially persecutors. None are perfect in themselves, but believers are so in Christ Jesus. If all the saint's days continue dark and cloudy, his dying day may prove comfortable, and his sun set bright; or, if it should set under a cloud, yet his future state will be everlasting peace. The salvation of the righteous will be the Lord's doing. He will help them to do their duties, to bear their burdens; help them to bear their troubles well, and get good by them, and, in due time, will deliver them out of their troubles. Let sinners then depart from evil, and do good; repent of and forsake sin, and trust in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. Let them take his yoke upon them, and learn of him, that they may dwell for evermore in heaven. Let us mark the closing scenes of different characters, and always depend on God's mercy.
Verse 35. - I have seen the wicked in great power, and flourishing like a green bay tree; rather, as in the margin, like a green tree in his own (or, his native) soil. Growing, i.e., rankly and luxuriantly, like a leafy shrub, that has never suffered transplantation (comp. Psalm 1:3; Ezekiel 31:3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I have seen the wicked in great power,.... Meaning some particular person invested with great power, in great authority among men, one of the spiritual wickednesses in high places; such a man as Haman in Ahasuerus's court; and though the psalmist does not choose to mention his name, he doubtless had him in his mind; as either Saul, or Doeg the Edomite, or Ahithophel, or some such man, who was in an exalted station of life; and it may be when he himself was in low and distressed circumstances: the word used (c) signifies one formidable and terrible, striking terror to all around; of whom others are afraid, as Aben Ezra interprets it, Isaiah 29:20;
and spreading himself like a green bay tree: or like one that grows up out of the earth of itself, and is in its native soil, and very flourishing: and the metaphor denotes an increase of riches and honour, and a seemingly settled state in the enjoyment of such outward felicity; so Jarchi interprets it "taking root"; as well as such a man's glorying in and boasting of his affluence and fulness; see Psalm 73:12. Aben Ezra explains it of a wicked man's openly committing iniquity, declaring his sin as Sodom, and glorying in his shame; but rather it denotes a man in great authority and esteem, as a man crowned with laurels, and in a very exalted and triumphant state.
(c) "terrificam", Montanus, Vatablus; "terribilem ant formidabilem", Gejerus, Michaelis; "daunting, terrible", Ainsworth.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
35, 36. of which a picture is given, under the figure of a flourishing tree (compare Margin), which soon withers.
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