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Psalms 37:20

Context

37:20 But 1  evil men will die;

the Lord’s enemies will be incinerated 2 

they will go up in smoke. 3 

Psalms 37:24

Context

37:24 Even if 4  he trips, he will not fall headlong, 5 

for the Lord holds 6  his hand.

Psalms 37:35-38

Context

37:35 I have seen ruthless evil men 7 

growing in influence, like a green tree grows in its native soil. 8 

37:36 But then one passes by, and suddenly they have disappeared! 9 

I looked for them, but they could not be found.

37:37 Take note of the one who has integrity! Observe the godly! 10 

For the one who promotes peace has a future. 11 

37:38 Sinful rebels are totally destroyed; 12 

evil men have no future. 13 

1 tn Or “for,” but Hebrew כי in this case would have to extend all the way back to v. 17a. Another option is to understand the particle as asseverative, “surely” (see v. 22).

2 tc The meaning of the MT (כִּיקַר כָּרִים [kiqar karim], “like what is precious among the pastures/rams”) is uncertain. One possibility is to take the noun כָּרִים as “pastures” and interpret “what is precious” as referring to flowers that blossom but then quickly disappear (see v. 2 and BDB 430 s.v. יָקָר 3). If כָּרִים is taken as “rams,” then “what is precious” might refer to the choicest portions of rams. The present translation follows a reading in the Dead Sea Scrolls (4QpPs37), כיקוד כורם (“like the burning of an oven”). The next line, which pictures the Lord’s enemies being consumed in smoke, supports this reading, which assumes confusion of the Hebrew letters resh (ר) and dalet (ד) at the end of the first word in the sequence.

3 tn Heb “they perish in smoke, they perish.” In addition to repeating the verb for emphasis, the psalmist uses the perfect form of the verb to picture the enemies’ demise as if it had already taken place. In this way he draws attention to the certitude of their judgment.

4 tn Other translation options for כִּי in this context are “when” (so NASB) or “though” (so NEB, NIV, NRSV).

5 tn Heb “be hurled down.”

6 tn The active participle indicates this is characteristically true. See v. 17.

7 tn The Hebrew uses the representative singular again here.

8 tn Heb “being exposed [?] like a native, luxuriant.” The Hebrew form מִתְעָרֶה (mitareh) appears to be a Hitpael participle from עָרָה (’arah, “be exposed”), but this makes no sense in this context. Perhaps the form is a dialectal variant of מִתְעָלָה (“giving oneself an air of importance”; see Jer 51:3), from עָלָה (’alah, “go up”; see P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 [WBC], 296). The noun אֶזְרָח (’ezrakh, “native, full citizen”) refers elsewhere to people, but here, where it is collocated with “luxuriant, green,” it probably refers to a tree growing in native soil.

9 tn Heb “and he passes by and, look, he is not [there].” The subject of the verb “passes by” is probably indefinite, referring to any passerby. Some prefer to change the form to first person, “and I passed by” (cf. NEB; note the first person verbal forms in preceding verse and in the following line).

10 tn Or “upright.”

11 tn Heb “for [there is] an end for a man of peace.” Some interpret אַחֲרִית (’akharit, “end”) as referring to offspring (see the next verse and Ps 109:13; cf. NEB, NRSV).

12 tn Or “destroyed together.” In this case the psalmist pictures judgment sweeping them away as a group.

13 tn Heb “the end of evil men is cut off.” As in v. 37, some interpret אַחֲרִית (’akharit, “end”) as referring to offspring (see Ps 109:13). The perfect verbal forms in v. 38 probably express general truths. Another option is that they are used emphatically to state with certitude that the demise of the wicked is as good as done.



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