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Mizmor 037 - A Tapestry of Enlightenment

(א) לְדָוִד אַל תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵׂי עַוְלָה:
(1) By David. Don’t be disturbed by bad people. Don’t be envious of wrongdoers.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev 6]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 037 - A Tapestry of Enlightenment
The mizmor is effectively a continuation of mizmor 036 in which David contrasted the righteous servant of Hashem with the evildoer. Now he begins mizmor 037 with specific guidance to help those listening to his song to avoid being influenced by the bad people around them. This is a matter of special concern when the evildoers are enjoying power and prosperity. David assures his listeners that the success of the evildoers is only temporary. It is only the righteous who will be blessed with true and lasting happiness.
Exploring the Mizmor
The mizmor is structured as an elaborate song of enlightenment. The pesukim of the mizmor follow an alphabetical arrangement, generally based on every second posuk. To appreciate this mizmor it is helpful to realize that the mizmor is based on two principle themes. These are: (1) avoiding the influence of evil men and (2) living with bitachon.
Furthermore, each of these two principle concepts depends upon a supporting concept: (1) The evildoers and their prosperity won’t last. (2) Your future and that of your descendants will be blessed.
These four themes are interwoven throughout the rest of the mizmor like the threads of a tapestry. Each time David picks up a thread he brings it to the fore and relates it to the other threads in a different way, so as to create a meaningful and integrated whole.
The mizmor has ten major parts which are identified here. The alphabetical key letters associated with each part are highlighted in the Learning the Mizmor section below.
PART 1. RESIST EVIL. Don’t be influenced by the prosperity of evildoers; they and their prosperity won’t last.
(א) לְדָוִד אַל תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵׂי עַוְלָה: (ב) כִּי כֶחָצִיר מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא יִבּוֹלוּן:
(1) By David. Don’t be disturbed by bad people. Don’t be envious of wrongdoers. (2) For like grass they will be quickly cut down. Like vegetation they will wither.
PART 2. TRUST IN HASHEM. Maintain your trust in Hashem despite difficulties; you will be rewarded with security and happiness. Turn your burdens over to Hashem and don’t agonize over whatever difficulties you encounter in life. You can be sure that He will do whatever is right for the situation you are in. Don’t let the difficulties you encounter make you impatient. Especially, don’t let yourself be disturbed by the prosperity of the evildoer.
(ג) בְּטַח בַּה' וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב שְׁכָן אֶרֶץ וּרְעֵה אֱמוּנָה: (ד) וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל ה' וְיִתֶּן לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ: (ה) גּוֹל עַל ה' דַּרְכֶּךָ וּבְטַח עָלָיו וְהוּא יַעֲשֶׂה: (ו) וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ כַּצָּהֳרָיִם: (ז) דּוֹם לַה' וְהִתְחוֹלֵל לוֹ אַל תִּתְחַר בְּמַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכּוֹ בְּאִישׁ עֹשֶׂה מְזִמּוֹת:
(3) Trust in Hashem and do good. Dwell in the land and nourish [your] faith. (4) Delight in Hashem. He will grant you the desires of your heart. (5) Turn over to Hashem [the burdens] of your road [in life]. Rely on Him for He will act. (6) He will bring to the fore your righteousness as light and the opinion of [men] as the noonday sun. (7) Wait patiently for Hashem and entrust yourself to him. Don’t let yourself be disturbed at a man who prospers, a man who develops devious schemes.
PART 3. OVERCOME RESENTMENT. Throw away your feelings of resentment at your own misfortune and the prosperity of others. You will only harm yourself. After all, the prosperity of the evildoers is only temporary. Hold on just a little bit longer. The evildoers will soon be gone. Then the humble will inherit the earth.
(ח) הֶרֶף מֵאַף וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה אַל תִּתְחַר אַךְ לְהָרֵעַ: (ט) כִּי מְרֵעִים יִכָּרֵתוּן וְקֹוֵי ה' הֵמָּה יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ: (י) וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ: (יא) וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ עַל רֹב שָׁלוֹם:
(8) Let go of anger and forsake resentment. Don’t let yourself be disturbed, for [such feelings] bring only harm. (9) For the evildoers will be cut off, but those who place their hope with Hashem will inherit the earth. (10) Just a little longer, and there will be no evildoer [left]. You will look at his place and he will not be there. (11) The humble will inherit the earth. They will delight in abundant peace.
PART 4. EVILDOERS HAVE NO FUTURE. The evildoers cannot prevail because they are victims of their own scheming. The weapons with which the evildoers hope to harm the innocent will be turned against the perpetrators. Don’t be fooled by the apparent prosperity of the evildoers. It is of less value than the little which the righteous possess.
(יב) זֹמֵם רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וְחֹרֵק עָלָיו שִׁנָּיו: (יג) אֲדֹ־נָי יִשְׂחַק לוֹ כִּי רָאָה כִּי יָבֹא יוֹמוֹ: (יד) חֶרֶב פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי דָרֶךְ: (טו) חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה: (טז) טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים: (יז) כִּי זְרוֹעוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה וְסוֹמֵךְ צַדִּיקִים ה':
(12) The evildoer concocts schemes against the righteous person and [confidently] gnashes his teeth at him. (13) Hashem laughs at [the evildoer] for Hashem sees that the day of his downfall is coming. (14) The evildoers draw their sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and the destitute, to slaughter those whose way is straight. (15) Their sword will pierce their own heart, and their bows will be broken. (16) The little [possessed by] the righteous is better than the great abundance of the evildoers. (17) For the arms of the evildoers will be broken but Hashem supports the righteous.
PART 5. A STARK CONTRAST. Hashem welcomes the devotion of the righteous and will provide for their well-being. But in contrast to the future well-being of the righteous, the evildoers will vanish like smoke. They will fail because they seek only to take from the world. In contrast, the righteous will succeed because their nature is to give to the world.
(יח) יוֹדֵעַ ה' יְמֵי תְמִימִם וְנַחֲלָתָם לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה: (יט) לֹא יֵבֹשׁוּ בְּעֵת רָעָה וּבִימֵי רְעָבוֹן יִשְׂבָּעוּ: (כ) כִּי רְשָׁעִים יֹאבֵדוּ וְאֹיְבֵי ה' כִּיקַר כָּרִים כָּלוּ בֶעָשָׁן כָּלוּ: (כא) לֹוֶה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן: (כב) כִּי מְבֹרָכָיו יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וּמְקֻלָּלָיו יִכָּרֵתוּ:
(18) Hashem knows the days of the people who are wholly committed. Their inheritance will be for eternity. (19) They will not be shamed in time of calamity. And in time of famine they will have their fill. (20) But the evildoers will perish and the enemies of Hashem will be utterly consumed like the fat of [sacrificial] lambs. Gone up in smoke! (21) The evildoer borrows but does not repay, but the righteous person is a benefactor and a giver. (22) For [Hashem’s] blessed ones will inherit the earth, while His accursed ones, the evildoers, will be cut off.
PART 6. THE BLESSING OF THE RIGHTEOUS. Don’t think that the righteous man is at a disadvantage. After all, Hashem is always there to support him. Even in hard times the righteous man can rely upon Hashem to provide his basic needs and that blessing will carry through to his descendants.
(כג) מֵה' מִצְעֲדֵי גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ: (כד) כִּי יִפֹּל לֹא יוּטָל כִּי ה' סוֹמֵךְ יָדוֹ: (כה) נַעַר הָיִיתִי גַּם זָקַנְתִּי וְלֹא רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ לָחֶם: (כו) כָּל הַיּוֹם חוֹנֵן וּמַלְוֶה וְזַרְעוֹ לִבְרָכָה:
(23) From Hashem the righteous man’s footsteps are made firm and Hashem is pleased with his way. (24) If he should fall, he will not be completely brought down for Hashem supports his hand. (25) I was young and I have grown old. Yet I have never seen a righteous man abandoned. Nor, have I seen his offspring begging for bread. (26) Every day [the righteous man] is generous and lends [to the needy]. And his children are a blessing.
PART 7. THE RIGHT WAY. The righteous man should hold fast to his principles despite current conditions which can be misleading. In fact, the righteous man can look forward to a fulfilled life.
(כז) סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב וּשְׁכֹן לְעוֹלָם: (כח) כִּי ה' אֹהֵב מִשְׁפָּט וְלֹא יַעֲזֹב אֶת חֲסִידָיו לְעוֹלָם נִשְׁמָרוּ וְזֶרַע רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָת: (כט) צַדִּיקִים יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁכְּנוּ לָעַד עָלֶיהָ: (ל) פִּי צַדִּיק יֶהְגֶּה חָכְמָה וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ תְּדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּט: (לא) תּוֹרַת אֱלֹקָיו בְּלִבּוֹ לֹא תִמְעַד אֲשֻׁרָיו:
(27) Turn away from evil and do good. You will then live [in peace] all your life. (28) For Hashem loves justice And He will not forsake His devout ones. They will always be protected, but the offspring of the evildoers, will be cut off. (29) The righteous will inherit the earth and dwell forever upon it. (30) The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom and his tongue speaks justice. (31) The Torah of his G-d is in his heart. His footsteps do not slide away.
Navigating Tehillim. The two primary themes of Mizmor 037 can be summarized as “turn away from evil and do good” (posuk 27), which is also the conceptual basis for the first perek of Tehillim. Turning away from evil implies avoiding the influence of bad people. Doing good implies trusting in Hashem and acting as He wants us to.
PART 8. PROTECTION FROM EVIL. The good life of the righteous man will not be marred by his enemies because Hashem protects the righteous man from the harm that the evildoer plots against him.
(לב) צוֹפֶה רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק וּמְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲמִיתוֹ: (לג) ה' לֹא יַעַזְבֶנּוּ בְיָדוֹ וְלֹא יַרְשִׁיעֶנּוּ בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ:
(32) The evildoer watches for the righteous and he seeks to have him put to death. (33) Hashem will not abandon him under [the evildoer’s] hand. Nor will He let [the righteous man] be [unjustly] condemned when he is judged.
PART 9. DESTINY. Take to heart everything that I have said. I myself have seen the downfall of a noteworthy evildoer. You, dear listener, will also have the opportunity to observe how the righteous are rewarded, whereas the future of the evildoers has already been cut off.
(לד) קַוֵּה אֶל ה' וּשְׁמֹר דַּרְכּוֹ וִירוֹמִמְךָ לָרֶשֶׁת אָרֶץ בְּהִכָּרֵת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה: (לה) רָאִיתִי רָשָׁע עָרִיץ וּמִתְעָרֶה כְּאֶזְרָח רַעֲנָן: (לו) וַיַּעֲבֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵינֶנּוּ וָאֲבַקְשֵׁהוּ וְלֹא נִמְצָא: (לז) שְׁמָר תָּם וּרְאֵה יָשָׁר כִּי אַחֲרִית לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם: (לח) וּפֹשְׁעִים נִשְׁמְדוּ יַחְדָּו אַחֲרִית רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָתָה:
(34) Hope to Hashem and keep to His way. For He will raise you high to inherit the earth and you will witness the destruction of the evildoers. (35) I saw a powerful, wealthy evildoer solidly rooted in his community like an ancient flourishing tree. (36) But he passed on, and when I looked— he was no more! I searched for him, but he could no longer be found. (37) Observe the man of moral purity and watch the upright man. There is a [bright] destiny for the man of peace. (38) But, the transgressors have been destroyed together. The future of the evildoers has already been be cut off.
PART 10. CONCLUSION. You can be assured that Hashem will grant a yeshuah to those who put their trust in Him.
(לט) וּתְשׁוּעַת צַדִּיקִים מֵה' מָעוּזָּם בְּעֵת צָרָה:(מ) וַיַּעְזְרֵם ה' וַיְפַלְּטֵם יְפַלְּטֵם מֵרְשָׁעִים וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם כִּי חָסוּ בוֹ:
(39) The yeshuah of the righteous is from Hashem, their stronghold in time of distress. (40) Hashem helped them and He freed them. He will free them from the threat of harm by the evildoers. And He will grant them a life of yeshuah for they have put their trust in Him.
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. RESIST EVIL
(א) לְדָוִד 
אַל תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים 
אַל תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵׂי עַוְלָה:
This is a mizmor by David  לְדָוִד . Don’t be disturbed by the seeming good fortune of bad people  אַל תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים . Don’t let yourself be tempted to associate with them and emulate them. Don’t be envious  אַל תְּקַנֵּא  of the successes of wrongdoers  בְּעֹשֵׂי עַוְלָה , thinking that you might want to be like them.
(ב) כִּי כֶחָצִיר מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ 
וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא יִבּוֹלוּן:
Don’t let them affect you for — -כִּי they and their successes will soon come to an end. They are like meadow grass — כֶחָצִיר  on which animals feed. It grows quickly but will just as quickly be cut down  מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ . Whatever remains is like vegetation — וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא  that is used to feed people. It grows more slowly but in the end they will wither  יִבּוֹלוּן  and rot away of their own accord.
(ג) בְּטַח בַּה‘ וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב 
שְׁכָן אֶרֶץ וּרְעֵה אֱמוּנָה:
Instead of aping the wrongdoers who foolishly trust in their material wealth, you should trust in Hashem to take care of you and you should do good  בְּטַח בַּה' וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב  by serving Him. As a result, you will be able to comfortably dwell in the land  שְׁכָן אֶרֶץ  in security. You will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your success is well-deserved and that it will continue. And you will be able to feed  וּרְעֵה  your family in reward for your loyalty  אֱמוּנָה  to Hashem.
(ד) וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל ה‘ 
וְיִתֶּן לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ:
Instead of seeking empty pleasures in the company of wrongdoers, find your true delight in serving Hashem  וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל ה' That means you should seek only those pleasures of which you need not be ashamed in G-d's presence. These pleasures will give you joy because they have come to you through His bounty and they find favor in His eyes. Even amidst joys and pleasures you remain with your G-d. If you do this, He will surely grant you fulfillment of the desires of your heart  וְיִתֶּן לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ .
PART 2. TRUST IN HASHEM
(ה) גּוֹל עַל ה‘ דַּרְכֶּךָ 
וּבְטַח עָלָיו וְהוּא יַעֲשֶׂה:
Turn over to Hashem — גּוֹל עַל ה'  the burdens you encounter on your road  -דַּרְכֶּךָ in life. For the achievement of every goal is controlled by Him, even the road to get there. Of course, you should do as much as you can, but then rely on Him  וּבְטַח עָלָיו  and no other. You know that He will do  וְהוּא יַעֲשֶׂה  what is needed, so you can dwell serenely in the land.
(ו) וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ 
וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ כַּצָּהֳרָיִם:
Trust in Hashem and don’t be upset about people who intentionally misjudge or slander your motives. He will bring forth your righteousness so that your intent will be clear and visible as the light  וְהוֹצִיא כָאוֹר צִדְקֶךָ  of day. And the opinion of your fellow man  וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ  will be as plain to you as the noonday sun  כַּצָּהֳרָיִם .
(ז) דּוֹם לַה‘ וְהִתְחוֹלֵל לוֹ
Even if you are still experiencing difficulties, wait patiently for the yeshuah of Hashem  דּוֹם לַה'  and entrust yourself to Him  וְהִתְחוֹלֵל לוֹ  and His plan for you. The challenges you are now facing are necessary for you to develop into the person He wants you to be.
אַל תִּתְחַר בְּמַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכּוֹ 
בְּאִישׁ עֹשֶׂה מְזִמּוֹת:
Don’t let yourself be disturbed — אַל תִּתְחַר  at seeing a man who prospers  בְּמַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכּוֹ , a man who develops devious schemes  בְּאִישׁ עֹשֶׂה מְזִמּוֹת – to take advantage of people who trust him.
PART 3. OVERCOME RESENTMENT.
(ח) הֶרֶף מֵאַף וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה 
אַל תִּתְחַר אַךְ לְהָרֵעַ:
Let go your feelings of righteous anger  הֶרֶף מֵאַף  against those who have turned away from Hashem. And forsake inner resentment  וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה  at your being subject to misfortune. Don’t let yourself be disturbed — אַל תִּתְחַר  by the prosperity of evil people. All such feelings do nothing but bring harm  אַךְ לְהָרֵעַ  to you.
(ט) כִּי מְרֵעִים יִכָּרֵתוּן 
וְקֹוֵי ה‘ הֵמָּה יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ:
Don’t be confused by the prosperity of undeserving people, for the evildoers — כִּי מְרֵעִים  that you now see as successful will be cut off  יִכָּרֵתוּן . They won’t last. But on the other hand, those who place their hope and destiny with Hashem  וְקֹוֵי ה' , they alone — הֵמָּה  will inherit the earth  יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ  and live out their days on it.
(י) וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע 
וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ:
The many evildoers of the world may be such a problem for you that you feel you cannot take any more. But if you will have the patience to wait just a little longer, you will see that they will be gone and there will be no evildoer left — וְעוֹד מְעַט וְאֵין רָשָׁע . You will look at his place where you saw him last and he will not be there — וְהִתְבּוֹנַנְתָּ עַל מְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ . People will not even remember that he existed for he left no trace of himself.
(יא) וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ 
וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ עַל רֹב שָׁלוֹם:
Once the evildoers are gone, the virtuous people who were exploited and abused will be the only ones left. Then these humble people will inherit the earth — וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ . They will delight  וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ  in abundant peace — עַל רֹב שָׁלוֹם  because there will be enough for everyone and their rights to the land will not be contested.
PART 4. EVILDOERS HAVE NO FUTURE
(יב) זֹמֵם רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק 
וְחֹרֵק עָלָיו שִׁנָּיו:
Hashem will cut short the life of the evildoer who is unable to coexist peacefully with righteous people. The evildoer sees the very existence of a righteous person as a reproach to his way of life. And so the evildoer is busy concocting elaborate schemes against the righteous person  זֹמֵם רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק  and when he is confident of achieving his purpose, he gnashes his teeth at him — וְחֹרֵק עָלָיו שִׁנָּיו  to express his hatred and contempt.
(יג) אֲדֹ־נָי יִשְׂחַק לוֹ 
כִּי רָאָה כִּי יָבֹא יוֹמוֹ:
But Hashem laughs at him — ה' יִשְׂחַק לו  and his foolish schemes. For Hashem sees — כִּי רָאָה  that the day of the evildoer’s downfall is coming — כִּי יָבֹא יוֹמוֹ – and he will never have the opportunity to carry out his plans.
(יד) חֶרֶב פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם 
לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי דָרֶךְ:
Hashem laughs when He sees that the evildoers draw their sword — חֶרֶב פָּתְחוּ רְשָׁעִים  and bend their bows — וְדָרְכוּ קַשְׁתָּם , to bring down the poor and the destitute — לְהַפִּיל עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן , to slaughter those whose way is straight — לִטְבוֹחַ יִשְׁרֵי דָרֶךְ . Hashem laughs because He knows that the evildoers are driven by selfishness and they will end up fighting among themselves. So despite their wicked intentions they will fail in the end.
(טו) חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם 
וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה:
Hashem knows that in the end their sword will pierce their own heart — חַרְבָּם תָּבוֹא בְלִבָּם , and when they try to bend their weapons to shoot arrows, their bows will be broken — וְקַשְּׁתוֹתָם תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה  as a result of internal rivalries and squabbles.
(טז) טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק 
מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים:
Even when the evildoers appear to be prosperous, don’t be resentful. One cannot judge the true extent of a person’s fortune by outward appearances. Even when the wealth of the evildoer appears great, it may be short-lived. The little that the righteous — מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק  man has is effectively better  טוֹב  than the great abundance of the evildoers — מֵהֲמוֹן רְשָׁעִים רַבִּים .
(יז) כִּי זְרוֹעוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה 
וְסוֹמֵךְ צַדִּיקִים ה‘:
For the war-making arms of the evildoers will soon be broken — כִּי זְרוֹעוֹת רְשָׁעִים תִּשָּׁבַרְנָה  and they will be unable to bend the bow that they plan to use against the righteous. In any case, Hashem supports the righteous  וְסוֹמֵךְ צַדִּיקִים ה' , even when they are still physically weaker than the evildoers.
PART 5. A STARK CONTRAST
(יח) יוֹדֵעַ ה‘ יְמֵי תְמִימִם 
וְנַחֲלָתָם לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה:
Hashem knows — יוֹדֵעַ ה'  and appreciates the faithful devotion shown in all the days — יְמֵי  of the people who are wholly committed — תְמִימִם  to His service. Their inheritance  וְנַחֲלָתָם , which they will receive from Him, will be for eternity — לְעוֹלָם תִּהְיֶה , in this world and the next.
(יט) לֹא יֵבֹשׁוּ בְּעֵת רָעָה 
וּבִימֵי רְעָבוֹן יִשְׂבָּעוּ:
They will be secure in their inheritence and so they will not be shamed by having to seek help from other nations in time of global calamity — לֹא יֵבֹשׁוּ בְּעֵת רָעָה – such as plague or war. And even in time of world-wide famine — וּבִימֵי רְעָבוֹן – they will have their fill — יִשְׂבָּעוּ  of the harvest.
(כ) כִּי רְשָׁעִים יֹאבֵדוּ 
וְאֹיְבֵי ה‘ כִּיקַר כָּרִים כָּלוּ 
בֶעָשָׁן כָּלוּ:
But the evildoers will perish — כִּי רְשָׁעִים יֹאבֵדוּ , and the enemies of Hashem will be utterly consumed like the fat of sacrificial lambs — וְאֹיְבֵי ה' כִּיקַר כָּרִים כָּלוּ , which is vaporized in fire. The wealth which they have slowly and carefully amassed will not help them at the time of their destruction. All will be gone! Gone up in smoke!  בֶעָשָׁן כָּלוּ .
(כא) לֹוֶה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם
The evildoer will not last because his life is organized around what he can get out of the world instead of what value he can give. In the end, his self-serving schemes will do him in. The evildoer continues to borrow — לֹוֶה רָשָׁע  from the world but does not even repay  וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם  what he has taken. His indebtedness continues to mount and ultimately there will be an accounting.
וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן:
In contrast, the righteous person is a benefactor and a giver — וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן  to the world, without regard for what is due him. He lives in this world as a net creditor and Hashem will see to it that he ultimately gets what is due him — his eternal inheritence.
(כב) כִּי מְבֹרָכָיו יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ 
וּמְקֻלָּלָיו יִכָּרֵתוּ:
For His blessed ones will inherit the earth — כִּי מְבֹרָכָיו יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ , while His accursed ones, the evildoers, will be cut off — וּמְקֻלָּלָיו יִכָּרֵתוּ .
PART 6. THE BLESSING OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
(כג) מֵה‘ מִצְעֲדֵי גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ 
וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ:
Even though the righteous man may seem to be at a disadvantage in this world, Hashem loves him and supports him every step of his way through life. Thus, it is by a blessing from Hashem — מֵה'  that the righteous man’s footsteps — מִצְעֲדֵי גֶבֶר  are made firm — כּוֹנָנוּ . And because Hashem is pleased with that man’s way — וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ  He continues to help him and guide him.
(כד) כִּי יִפֹּל לֹא יוּטָל 
כִּי ה‘ סוֹמֵךְ יָדוֹ:
If it is Hashem’s will that he should fall into misfortune, he will not be completely brought down — כִּי יִפֹּל לֹא יוּטָל . For Hashem is there with him and supports his hand — כִּי ה' סוֹמֵךְ יָדוֹ . Thus, he will always have an opportunity to raise himself. In contrast the evildoer will never recover when things go against him.
(כה) נַעַר הָיִיתִי גַּם זָקַנְתִּי 
וְלֹא רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב 
וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ לָחֶם:
I can attest to what I have been saying because I have seen much in my own eventful life. I was once a young fellow  נַעַר הָיִיתִי  eager to learn and do the right thing but there were times when I thought I would never make it to old age. Over the years I survived many threats to my life and I have even grown old — גַּם זָקַנְתִּי  in experience if not in years. Yet in all my life I have never seen a righteous man abandoned by society and unable to buy minimal food and clothing — וְלֹא רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב . Nor, after his death, have I seen his offspring on the streets begging for bread — וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ לָחֶם .
(כו) כָּל הַיּוֹם חוֹנֵן וּמַלְוֶה 
וְזַרְעוֹ לִבְרָכָה:
Don’t expect the righteous person to be wealthy, for his purpose in life is not to grow rich. In fact, every day he is generous  כָּל הַיּוֹם חוֹנֵן  in providing sustenance to the needy. And when it is appropriate he lends — וּמַלְוֶה  what he can to help them establish their livelihood. He continues to act with kindness even when he is experiencing financial difficulties of his own. And as a result, his children — וְזַרְעוֹ , who are influenced by the example of their father, are a blessing — לִבְרָכָה  to him and others.
PART 7. THE RIGHT WAY.
(כז) סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב 
וּשְׁכֹן לְעוֹלָם:
Therefore, don’t be misled by current conditions such as the success of the evildoer. Hold fast to your principles. Consistently turn away from evil and do good — סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב . You will then live in peace and security all your life — וּשְׁכֹן לְעוֹלָם  under the protection of Hashem.
(כח) כִּי ה‘ אֹהֵב מִשְׁפָּט 
וְלֹא יַעֲזֹב אֶת חֲסִידָיו
As I said, “I have never seen a righteous man abandoned” (verse 25). Why is that? For Hashem loves justice — כִּי ה' אֹהֵב מִשְׁפָּט  and so He loves the man of integrity who is careful never to take what is not his by right. And He will surely not forsake His devout ones — וְלֹא יַעֲזֹב אֶת חֲסִידָיו , who go beyond the letter of the law. They prefer to yield on their own rights to avoid the risk of infringing upon those of another.
לְעוֹלָם נִשְׁמָרוּ 
וְזֶרַע רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָת:
They and their offspring will always be protected — לְעוֹלָם נִשְׁמָרוּ , but the offspring of the evildoers, who trample on the rights of others, will be cut off — וְזֶרַע רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָת . For when the evildoers are done away with, their offspring will be cut off with them.
(כט) צַדִּיקִים יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ 
וְיִשְׁכְּנוּ לָעַד עָלֶיהָ:
Not only will the righteous be protected from harm, they will be rewarded for their steadfastness. Since the evildoers will be no more, the righteous will inherit the earth — צַדִּיקִים יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ  and dwell forever upon it — וְיִשְׁכְּנוּ לָעַד עָלֶיהָ  in peace and security.
(ל) פִּי צַדִּיק יֶהְגֶּה חָכְמָה 
וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ תְּדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּט:
The righteous are worthy of inheriting the earth because their goal in life is not the gathering of riches but in serving Hashem. They do so by helping others (posuk 26) and teaching them the wisdom of the Torah. Thus, the mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom — פִּי צַדִּיק יֶהְגֶּה חָכְמָה  and his tongue speaks justice — וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ תְּדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּט . But only the righteous man is able to do so. His true understanding of what is right is directly dependent upon the life he leads.
(לא) תּוֹרַת אֱלֹקָיו בְּלִבּוֹ 
לֹא תִמְעַד אֲשֻׁרָיו:
The righteous man lives a consistent life. Thus, the Torah of his G-d is in his heart — תּוֹרַת אֱלֹקָיו בְּלִבּוֹ  as well as in his actions. His footsteps do not slide away  לֹא תִמְעַד אֲשֻׁרָיו  from the Torah that is in his heart. He does not look for ways to minimize the obligations that the Torah places on him.
PART 8. PROTECTION FROM EVIL.
(לב) צוֹפֶה רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק 
וּמְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲמִיתוֹ:
The happiness that the righteous man finds in serving Hashem is highly disturbing to the evildoer because it stands as a silent accusation to his way of life. So the evildoer eagerly watches and waits for the righteous — צוֹפֶה רָשָׁע לַצַּדִּיק  to suffer some misfortune and if that doesn’t happen, he seeks to have him put to death — וּמְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲמִיתוֹ  by informing on him to the authorities.
(לג) ה‘ לֹא יַעַזְבֶנּוּ בְיָדוֹ 
וְלֹא יַרְשִׁיעֶנּוּ בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ:
But Hashem will not abandon him — ה' לֹא יַעַזְבֶנּוּ  and leave him defenseless under the evildoer’s hand — בְיָדוֹ . Nor will Hashem let that righteous man be unjustly condemned when he is judged  וְלֹא יַרְשִׁיעֶנּוּ בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ .
PART 9. DESTINY
(לד) קַוֵּה אֶל ה‘ וּשְׁמֹר דַּרְכּוֹ 
וִירוֹמִמְךָ לָרֶשֶׁת אָרֶץ 
בְּהִכָּרֵת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה:
Now that you have seen how Hashem helps the righteous man who is faithful to Him, even if the evildoer makes life difficult for you, I urge you to place your hope in Hashem — קַוֵּה אֶל ה'  and continue to trust Him. Remain faithful to Him and keep to His way — וּשְׁמֹר דַּרְכּוֹ , which is the way of patience and long-suffering. For He will surely save you from the evildoers and raise you high to inherit the earth — וִירוֹמִמְךָ לָרֶשֶׁת אָרֶץ . He will fight your battle and you will witness the destruction of the evildoers — בְּהִכָּרֵת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה  even though they appear to be successful at the moment.
(לה) רָאִיתִי רָשָׁע עָרִיץ 
וּמִתְעָרֶה כְּאֶזְרָח רַעֲנָן:
With my own eyes I saw a powerful, wealthy evildoer — רָאִיתִי רָשָׁע עָרִיץ , who was in the prime of life and solidly rooted in his community like an ancient flourishing tree — וּמִתְעָרֶה כְּאֶזְרָח רַעֲנָן .
(לו) וַיַּעֲבֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵינֶנּוּ 
וָאֲבַקְשֵׁהוּ וְלֹא נִמְצָא:
But then he passed on — וַיַּעֲבֹר , and when I looked  וְהִנֵּה  he was no more — אֵינֶנּוּ ! I searched for him, but he could no longer be found — וָאֲבַקְשֵׁהוּ וְלֹא נִמְצָא . His entire wealth and even his extensive family had vanished. The many people who had been dependent on him denied that he had ever existed.
(לז) שְׁמָר תָּם וּרְאֵה יָשָׁר 
כִּי אַחֲרִית לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם:
Observe  שְׁמָר  how different is the fate of the man of moral purity — תָּם , who is devoted to his duty. And watch — וּרְאֵה  what happens to the upright man — יָשָׁר . You will see that there is a bright destiny — כִּי אַחֲרִית  for the man of peace  לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם , whose life in This World is in harmony with his Creator and with his future in the World to Come.
(לח) וּפֹשְׁעִים נִשְׁמְדוּ יַחְדָּו 
אַחֲרִית רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָתָה:
But effectively, the transgressors — וּפֹשְׁעִים  have already been destroyed all together — נִשְׁמְדוּ יַחְדָּו  and that is because they share a common sin — defiance of their Creator. If they seem to be prospering, it doesn’t mean anything because they have no future. The future of the evildoers has already been be cut off — אַחֲרִית רְשָׁעִים נִכְרָתָה .
PART 10. CONCLUSION.
(לט) וּתְשׁוּעַת צַדִּיקִים מֵה‘ מָעוּזָּם בְּעֵת צָרָה:
In contrast to the fate of the evildoers, the future of the righteous is assured. This is because the yeshuah of the righteous is a certain promise from Hashem — וּתְשׁוּעַת צַדִּיקִים מֵה' . He is their Stronghold in time of distress — מָעוּזָּם בְּעֵת צָרָה  when they feel defenseless.
(מ) וַיַּעְזְרֵם ה‘ וַיְפַלְּטֵם 
יְפַלְּטֵם מֵרְשָׁעִים 
וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם כִּי חָסוּ בוֹ:
In the past Hashem helped them — וַיַּעְזְרֵם ה'  in their effort to become morally elevated. And He freed them — וַיְפַלְּטֵם  from all the threats of physical annihilation. He will surely free them from the threat of harm by the current group of evildoers — יְפַלְּטֵם מֵרְשָׁעִים . And He will grant them an eternal life of yeshuah — וְיוֹשִׁיעֵם , which is their just reward for they have put their trust in Him — כִּי חָסוּ בוֹ .
Living the Mizmor
Listed below are some of the lessons that you can draw from this mizmor, as well as some of the thoughts you might have in mind when you say the words of the mizmor as a tefillah, expressing your devotion to Hashem.
Lessons for Life - Your Attitude.
[37:1] ENVY. – אַל תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל תְּקַנֵּא בְּעֹשֵׂי עַוְלָה – “Don’t be disturbed by bad people. Don’t be envious of wrongdoers.” Don’t let yourself be tempted to associate with wrongdoers and emulate them because of their apparent good fortune. It won’t last.
[37:2] – כִּי כֶחָצִיר מְהֵרָה יִמָּלוּ וּכְיֶרֶק דֶּשֶׁא יִבּוֹלוּן – “For like grass they will be quickly cut down. Like vegetation they will wither.
[37:3] BITACHON. – בְּטַח בַּה' וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב שְׁכָן אֶרֶץ וּרְעֵה אֱמוּנָה – “Trust in Hashem and do good. Dwell in the land and nourish [your] faith.” Maintain your trust in Hashem despite difficulties; you will be rewarded with security and happiness.
[37:4] DELIGHT – וְהִתְעַנַּג עַל ה' וְיִתֶּן לְךָ מִשְׁאֲלֹת לִבֶּךָ – “Delight in Hashem. He will grant you the desires of your heart.” Serve Hashem with joy in your heart, for you are pleasing Him.
[37:8] RESENTMENT – הֶרֶף מֵאַף וַעֲזֹב חֵמָה אַל תִּתְחַר אַךְ לְהָרֵעַ – “Let go of anger and forsake resentment. Don’t let yourself be disturbed, for [such feelings] bring only harm.” You will only harm yourself if you indulge in anger and resentment. If you focus on what is good in your life, your attitude will be its own reward.
[37:27] THE FUTURE. – סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב וּשְׁכֹן לְעוֹלָם – “Turn away from evil and do good. You will then live [in peace] all your life.” Hold fast to your principles in spite of difficulties and you will be able to look ahead to a fulfilled life.
Lessons for Life - Your Behavior.
[37:21] INTEGRITY. – לֹוֶה רָשָׁע וְלֹא יְשַׁלֵּם – “The evildoer borrows but does not repay.” Don’t borrow unless you really need to; if you have borrowed, treat your debt as a holy obligation.
[37:21] GENEROSITY. – וְצַדִּיק חוֹנֵן וְנוֹתֵן – “but the righteous person is a benefactor and a giver.” Be generous and helpful to others, without undue concern about being reimbursed.
Tehillos for Life - Contemplation of Hashem.
[37:23] LOVE OF THE RIGHTEOUS. – מֵה' מִצְעֲדֵי גֶבֶר כּוֹנָנוּ וְדַרְכּוֹ יֶחְפָּץ – “From Hashem the righteous man’s footsteps are made firm and Hashem is pleased with his way.” Even though the righteous man may seem to be at a disadvantage in this world, Hashem loves him and supports him every step of his way through life.
[37:39] YESHUAH. – וּתְשׁוּעַת צַדִּיקִים מֵה' מָעוּזָּם בְּעֵת צָרָה – “The yeshuah of the righteous is from Hashem, their stronghold in time of distress.” The future of the righteous is assured because their yeshuah is a certain promise from Him.
Sources
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses of this mizmor are listed below.
א - רש"י, רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך, אבן יחייא, מלבי"ם, רשר"ה
ב - רש"י, בן־רמוך, אבן יחייא, מצודות, באר אברהם, רשר"ה
ג - רש"י, אבן עזרא, בן־רמוך, מצודות, מלבי"ם
ד - רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך, מלבי"ם, רשר"ה
ה - רש"י, רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך, מלבי"ם, רשר"ה
ו - רד"ק, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה
ז - רש"י, רד"ק, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה
ח - רד"ק, המאירי, באר אברהם, רשר"ה
ט - רש"י, רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך,
י - רש"י, רד"ק, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה, נר לרגלי
יא - אבן עזרא רד"ק, רשר"ה
יב - רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה
יג - רד"ק, בן־רמוך
יד - בן־רמוך
טו - רד"ק
טז - אבן עזרא, המאירי, רשר"ה
יז - אבן עזרא, בן־רמוך, אבן יחייא, מלבי"ם
יח - רש"י, באר אברהם, רשר"ה
יט - אבן עזרא, בן־רמוך, ספורנו, אבן יחייא
כ - רד"ק, המאירי, אבן יחייא, מלבי"ם, רשר"ה
כא - באר אברהם, רשר"ה
כב - רד"ק
כג - רש"י, אבן עזרא, המאירי, אבן יחייא, מצודות, מלבי"ם, נר לרגלי
כד - רש"י, רד"ק, המאירי, רשר"ה
כה - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, בן־רמוך, אבן יחייא
כו - רש"י, רד"ק, רשר"ה
כז - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, מלבי"ם, רשר"ה
כח - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, נר לרגלי
כט - רד"ק, אבן יחייא
ל - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, בן־רמוך
לא - אבן עזרא, המאירי, רשר"ה
לב - בן־רמוך, רשר"ה, נר לרגלי
לג - רד"ק, מצודות
לד - רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך
לה - רש"י, אבן עזרא, אבן יחייא
לו - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, אבן יחייא, נר לרגלי
לז - רש"י, אבן עזרא, רד"ק, המאירי, רשר"ה
לח - רשר"ה, נר לרגלי
לט - מצודות, רשר"ה
מ - רשר"ה