on Psalms 37 :3
Dwell in the land - Do not flee to foreign climes to escape from that providence which, for thy own good, denies thee affluence in thy own country.
And verily thou shalt be fed - God will provide for thee the necessaries of life: its conveniences might damp thy intellect in its inventions, and lead thee into idleness; and its superfluities would induce thee to pamper thy passions till the concerns of thy soul would be absorbed in those of the flesh and, after having lived an animal life, thou mightest die without God, and perish everlastingly.
The original, ורעה אמונה ureeh emunah, might be translated, "and feed by faith." The Septuagint has και ποιμανθησῃ επι τῳ πλουτῳ αυτης, and thou shalt feed upon its riches. The Vulgate Ethiopic, and Arabic, are the same. The Syriac, seek faith. The Chaldee, be strong in the faith. The Anglo-Saxon, and feeded thou shalt be in its welfare. Old Psalter, and thu sal be fed in ryches of it. But it is probable that אמונה emunah here signifies security. And thou shalt be fed in security.
Dr. Delaney supposed that the Psalm might have been written by David in the behalf of Mephibosheth, who, being falsely aecused by his servant Ziba, had formed the resolution to leave a land where he had met with such bad treatment. David, being convinced of his innocence, entreats him to dwell in the land, with the assurance of plenty and protection. It is more likely that it is addressed to the captives in Babylon; and contains the promise that they shall return to their own land, and again enjoy peace and plenty.
on Psalms 37 :3
Trust in the Lord - Confide in him; rest on him. Instead of allowing the mind to be disturbed and sad, because there are wicked men upon the earth; because they are prosperous and apparently happy; because they may injure you in your person or reputation Psalm 37:6, calmly confide in God. Leave all this in his hands. Feel that he rules, and that what he permits is wisely permitted; and that whatever may occur, it will all be overruled for his own glory and the good of the universe.
And do good - Be engaged always in some work of benevolence.
(a) If there are wicked men in the world, if wickedness abounds around us, there is the more reason for our endeavoring to do good. If others are doing evil, we should do good; if they are wicked, we cannot do a better work than to do good to them, for the best way of meeting the wickedness of the world is to do it good.
(b) The best way to keep the mind from complaining, chafing, and fretting, is to be always engaged in doing good; to have the mind always occupied in something valuable and useful. Each one should have so much of his own to do that he will have no thee to murmur and complain, to allow the mind to prey on itself, or to "corrode" for lack of employment.
So shalt thou dwell in the land - This would be more correctly translated as a command: "Dwell in the land." That is, abide safely or securely in the land - referring, perhaps, to "the land" as the land of promise - the country given to the people of God. The idea is, that they should abide there calmly and securely; that they should not worry themselves because there were wicked men upon the earth, and because they were successful, but that they should be thankful for their inheritance, and partake gratefully of the bounties which they receive from the hand of God. Compare the notes at Matthew 5:5.
And verily thou shalt be fed - Margin, "in truth or stableness." The "literal" meaning would be, "Feed on truth." The word rendered "fed" is here in the imperative mood. It properly means to feed, as a flock; and then, to feed upon anything in the sense of delighting in, or taking pleasure in anything, as if we found our support or sustenance in it; and here it means, doubtless, "Feed on truth;" that is, seek after truth; find delight in it; let it be the food of your souls. The word here rendered "verily" means, as in the margin, "truth:" and the meaning is, that they should seek after truth, and find their support and comfort in that. There are, then, in this verse, four things prescribed as duty, in order to keep the mind calm in view of the fact that wickedness abounds in the world:
(1) to confide in God;
(2) to be actively employed in doing good;
(3) to abide calmly and gratefully in the land which God has given us;
(4) to seek after truth, or a true view of the character and government of God as the great Ruler.
If people would do these things, there would be little complaining and fretting in the world.
on Psalms 37 :3