Psalm 37

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Manuscript of Psalm 37

Psalm 37 is the 37th psalm of the Book of Psalms.[1][2][3][4][5] It has the form of an acrostic Hebrew poem, and is thought to have been written by David in his old age.[6]


Psalms scroll.

Psalm 37 is a response to the problem of evil, which the Old Testament often expresses as a question: why do the wicked prosper and the good suffer? The Psalm answers that the situation is only temporary. Catholicism sees, God will reverse things, rewarding the good and punishing the wicked here on earth.[7] A interpretation shared by Protestants. Matthew Henry calls it David's call to patience and confidence in God by the state of the godly and the wicked.[8] Spurgeon calls it "The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous".[9]

Written as an acrostic and divided into discrete sections. Each section ends with Gods resolution of the question.[10]

The psalm has also been understood as a prayer of the persecuted who has taken refuge in the temple or figuratively of refuge in God. The psalm concludes with a plea to God those who honor him, to bless with his justice and to protect them from the snares of the wicked.[11]



The Vulgate version of verse 10 "in lumine tuo videbimus lumen" is used as a heraldic motto of Columbia University. The refrain and the first verse of the song "O Lord, thy mercy is sufficient so far as the sky is" is based on the verse 6 and 7 of Psalm 36.[12]


New Testament[edit]

Verse 11 was cited by Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:5. The original reads,

But the meek shall inherit the earth;
and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.[15]

In Islam[edit]

Psalm 37:29 "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever" is referenced in The Qur'an:

Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): "My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth."

— Qur'an, sura 21 (Al-Anbiya), ayah 105[16]

In Music[edit]

The psalm was set in Domine ne in furore by Josquin des Prez.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Commentaires sur les psaumes, d’Hilaire de Poitiers, (Paris, Éditions du Cerf, 2008), collection sources chrétiennes n°515,
  2. ^ Commentaires of the Psalmes, by saint Johnn Chrysostome
  3. ^ Discourse of the Psalmes, by Saint Augustin, vol.2,(Sagesses chrétiennes)
  4. ^ Commentairy (jusqu’au psaume 54), by saint Thomas Aquinas, (Éditions du Cerf, 1273)
  5. ^ Jean Calvin, Commentaire des psalmes, 1557
  6. ^ Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David (The Sword and the Trowel Magazine, 1885).
  7. ^ Psalm 37 at USA Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  8. ^ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.
  9. ^ Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David (The Sword and the Trowel Magazine, 1885).
  10. ^ Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David (The Sword and the Trowel Magazine, 1885).
  11. ^ Stuttgarter Erklärungsbibel. ISBN 3-438-01121-2, 2. Aufl. 1992, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, p.691f
  12. ^ der Chrisalicht
  13. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 555
  14. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 195
  15. ^ Psalm 37:11
  16. ^ Quran 21:105 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)