Psalm 37:20
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But the wicked will perish; And the enemies of the LORD will be like the glory of the pastures, They vanish-- like smoke they vanish away.

King James Bible
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

Darby Bible Translation
For the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Jehovah shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume, like smoke shall they consume away.

World English Bible
But the wicked shall perish. The enemies of Yahweh shall be like the beauty of the fields. They will vanish-- vanish like smoke.

Young's Literal Translation
But the wicked perish, and the enemies of Jehovah, As the preciousness of lambs, Have been consumed, In smoke they have been consumed.

Psalm 37:20 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But the wicked shall perish - The general sentiment here is the same as in Psalm 1:1-6, that the righteous shall be prospered and saved, and that the wicked shall perish. See the notes at Psalm 1:4-5. The word "perish" here would be applicable to any form of destruction - death here, or death hereafter - for it is equivalent to the idea that they shall be "destroyed." Whether the psalmist means here to refer to the fact that they will be cut off from the earth, or will be punished hereafter in the world of woe, cannot be determined from the word itself. It is most probable, as appears from other parts of the psalm, that he refers particularly to the fact that they will be cut down in their sins; that their lives will be shortened by their crimes; that they will by their conduct expose themselves to the displeasure of God, and thus be cut off. The "word" used, however, would also express the idea of destruction in the future world in any form, and may have a significance beyond anything that can befall men in this life. Compare 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Matthew 25:46.

And the enemies of the Lord - All the enemies of God; all who can properly be regarded as his foes.

Shall be as the fat of lambs - Margin, "the preciousness of lambs." Gesenius renders this, "like the beauty of the pastures." Prof. Alexander, "like the precious" (part) "of lambs;" that is, the sacrificial parts, or the parts that were consumed in sacrifice. De Wette, "as the splendor of the pasture." The Vulgate and the Septuagint render it: "the enemies of the Lord, as soon as they are honored and exalted, shall fail as if they were smoke." Rosenmuller renders it as it is in our common version. It is not easy to determine the meaning. The word rendered "fat" - יקר yâqâr - means properly that which is precious, costly, weighty, as precious gems; then, anything dear, beloved, or valuable; then, that which is honored, splendid, beautiful, rare. It is in no other instance rendered "fat;" and it cannot be so rendered here, except as "fat" was considered valuable or precious. But this is a forced idea. The word כר kar, properly and commonly means a "lamb;" but it also may the "pasture" or "meadow" where lambs feed. Psalm 65:13 : "the "pastures" - כרים kariym - are clothed with flocks." Isaiah 30:23, "in that day shall thy cattle feed in large "pastures" - where the same word occurs. It seems to me, therefore, that the interpretation of Gesenius, DeWette, and others, is the correct interpretation, and that the idea is, that the wicked in their pride, beauty, and wealth, shall be like the meadow covered with grass and flowers, soon to be cut down by the scythe of the mower, or by the frosts of winter. This image often occurs: Matthew 6:30; Psalm 90:5-6; Isaiah 40:6-8; James 1:10; 1 Peter 1:24.

They shall consume - The word used here means to be completed or finished; to be consumed or spent, as by fire, or in any other manner; to pine away by weeping, Lamentations 2:11; to vanish as a cloud or smoke, Job 7:9.

Into smoke - The meaning here is not that they will vanish as the fat of lambs does in sacrifice, but simply that they will pass away as smoke entirely disappears. All that there was of them - their wealth, their splendor, their power - shall utterly vanish away. This is spoken in contrast with what would be the condition of the righteous.

Psalm 37:20.It is applied to time, as vanishing and disappearing Job 7:6; and to the destruction or perishing of men; Jeremiah 16:4; Ezekiel 5:13. The idea is that of complete and entire consumption and destruction, so that none shall be left. Applied to future punishment, it means that the destruction of sinners shall be total and complete. There shall be no sinner who shall not be destroyed; and there shall be none destroyed whose destruction shall not be entire and total. The expression here refers to the heavy calamities which were about to come upon the guilty nation, but it is as descriptive of the future punishment that shall come upon the wicked.

Psalm 37:20 Parallel Commentaries

Library
April 19. "Rest in the Lord and Wait Patiently for Him" (Ps. xxxvii. 7).
"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Ps. xxxvii. 7). It is a very suggestive thought that it is in the Gospel of Mark, which is the Gospel of service, we hear the Master saying to His disciples, "Come ye apart into a desert place, and rest awhile." God wants rested workers. There is an energy that may be tireless and ceaseless, and yet still as the ocean's depth, with the peace of God, which passes all understanding. The two deepest secrets of rest are, first, to be in harmony with the
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Secret of Tranquillity
'Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart 5. Commit thy way unto the Lord.... 7. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.'--PSALM xxxvii. 4, 5, 7. 'I have been young, and now am old,' says the writer of this psalm. Its whole tone speaks the ripened wisdom and autumnal calm of age. The dim eyes have seen and survived so much, that it seems scarcely worth while to be agitated by what ceases so soon. He has known so many bad men blasted in all their leafy
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Fret not Thyself
To fret means to chafe, to be irritated, to be uneasy, to be troubled and bothered. It is just the opposite of peaceful, trustful rest. Jesus has promised us rest to our souls, and we may have this rest. We can not have it, however, if we give place to worrying and fretting. God's purpose for us is that we shall have calmness and soul-quietness, even in the midst of tribulation. He has said, "My peace I give unto you." He followed this by saying, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be
Charles Wesley Naylor—Heart Talks

Grace and Holiness.
"Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."--1 THESS. iii. 11-13. There are few more precious subjects for meditation and imitation than the prayers and intercessions of the great Apostle.
W. H. Griffith Thomas—The Prayers of St. Paul

Cross References
Psalm 18:37
I pursued my enemies and overtook them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed.

Psalm 37:38
But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.

Psalm 68:2
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish before God.

Psalm 73:27
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.

Psalm 92:9
For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD, For, behold, Your enemies will perish; All who do iniquity will be scattered.

Psalm 102:3
For my days have been consumed in smoke, And my bones have been scorched like a hearth.

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