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A Psalm of David.
A comparison between the lot of the wicked and the good; that the wicked, though they flourish for a short time, at last perish and are cast into hell, verses 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 12 to 15, 17, 20, 21, 28, 32, 35, 36, 38; that the good are saved by the lord, and taken up into heaven, verses 3 to 7, 11, 16, 18, 19, 22 to 31, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40.
Verse 2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and be withered like the green herb. The vile principles of delights are called the green herb, because they are merely worldly and corporeal, or external; for, as was said, the pleasures, which are in things corporeal or external, derive their origin from delights more interior in order; the delights, which are perceived in outermost or corporeal things, are respectively vile; for every delight is such, that it becomes viler, the more it approaches to things external, and happier in proportion as it accedes to things internal, wherefore, as was said, in proportion as they are unfolded in order, or external things are separated, in the same proportion delights become more gratifying and happy; this may be sufficiently manifest from the consideration, that the delight of man's pleasures, during his life in the body, is vile when compared with his delight after the life of the body, when he comes into the world of spirits, yea, so vile, that good spirits altogether despise the delights of the body, nor are they willing to return into them, even supposing them to be gifted with every delight which the whole world could supply: the delight of these spirits, in like manner, becomes vile when they are elevated by the lord into the heaven of angelic spirits, for in such case they put off those interior delights, and put on delights still more interior; in like manner the delight, which angelic spirits have enjoyed in their heaven, becomes comparatively vile, when they are elevated by the lord into the angelic: or third heaven, in which heaven the happiness is inexpressible, because internal things are alive, and nothing but mutual love prevails. AC 996.
Verse 6. And he shall bring forth your justice, etc. See Exposition, Psalm xxxvi. verse 6.
Verses 10, 37. The afflicted shall inherit the earth, and shall be delighted with the abundance of peace. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. By the afflicted are here meant those who are in temptations in the world, by the abundance of peace with which they shall be delighted, are signified the delights which succeed temptations, for after temptations are given delights from the lord resulting from the conjunction of good and truth on the occasion, and from conjunction thence with the lord; that from the conjunction of good and truth man has the delight of peace, is meant by mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; the perfect man who is to be marked, is predicated of good in the Word, and the upright who is to be seen, is predicated of truth; the end is the termination of combat when peace comes. AE 365.
Verse 12. The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes upon him with his teeth. Teeth signify the ultimates of the life of the natural man; there are two kinds of sensuals, the one of the will, and the other of the understanding; the sensuals of the understanding are signified by teeth; these last sensuals, that is, sensual men who are in them, or in falses from confirmation, seem to themselves to be in power over all things, so as to be altogether invincible; for which reason the teeth of the locusts, Rev 9:8, by which such sensuals are signified were like the teeth of lions, for by lion is signified power. AR 435.
The sensual man, or he who thinks and acts from the sensual principle, is one who believes nothing but what is obvious to the external senses, and who is led merely by corporeal appetites, pleasures, and cravings; such being the quality of the sensual man, he therefore rejects every thing internal, till at length he is unwilling even to hear it named; hence he in heart denies whatever is of heaven; the life after death he certainly does not believe, because he places life solely in the body, wherefore he supposes that he himself shall die in like manner as a beast: he thinks as it were in the surface, that is, in ultimates or extremes, and is altogether ignorant that there is given interior thought, according to the perception of truth and good; the ground of this ignorance, and the reason why he does not even know that there is an internal man, is because his interiors look downwards to those things which are of the world, of the body, and of the earth, with which they act in unity, hence they are diverted from looking upwards or to heaven, for they are in a contrary direction. To look upwards, or to heaven, does not consist in thinking about the things which are of heaven, but in regarding them as an end, that is, in loving them above all other things, for whither the love turns itself, thither the interiors of the man are also turned; hence also the thought. From these considerations it may be manifest what is the quality of man's sensual principle, or of the natural principle in the extremes, for he is called a sensual man, who thinks from the sensual principle. AC 7693.
Verse 14. The wicked draw the sword, and bend their bow, to cast down the poor and needy. That by the poor and needy are here meant those who are spiritually such, but who still desire the knowledges of truth and good, is evident, for it is said that the wicked draw the sword and bend the bow; for by the sword is signified the false principle combating against truth, and attempting to destroy it; and by the low the doctrine of what is false in opposition to the doctrine of what is true; hence it is that it is said, that they do this to cast down the poor and needy. AE 238.
Verse 15. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bow shall be broken. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, signifies that they will perish by their own false principle, and their bow shall be broken signifies that their doctrine of what is false will he dissipated, which is also the case after their departure out of the world, on which occasion falses destroy them, and their doctrine, so far as it has been applied to truth, is dissipated by falses. AE 357.
Verses 18, 19. jehovah knows the days of the perfect, and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. The days of the perfect signify the states of those who are in good and thence in truths, or those who are in charity and thence in faith; by jehovah being their inheritance for ever is signified that they are his own and in heaven; by their not being ashamed in the time of evil is signified that they conquer when they are tempted by evils; and by being satisfied in the days of famine is signified that they will be sustained by truths when they are tempted and infested by falses, the time of evil and the days of famine signify states of temptations, and temptations are from evils and falses. AE 386.
Verse 20. The wicked shall perish, and the enemies of jehovah shall he consumed as the fat of lambs; in smoke shall they be consumed. That the wicked and the enemies of jehovah shall be consumed in smoke, signifies that they will perish by the falses of evil: they are called wicked who are in falses, enemies who are in evil, and smoke is the false principle of evil. AE 539.
Verse 21. The wicked borrows and pays not again, but the just man is merciful and gives. In the word, where mention is made of borrowing and lending, it signifies to be instructed, and to instruct, from the affection of charity, as in Matthew, "Give to every one that asks of you, and from him that is desirous to borrow of you, turn not away," Matt 5:42. That, in this passage, by asking is not meant to ask, is evident, for it is said, give to every one that asks; thus, neither by desiring to borrow is meant to desire to borrow; for, if a man were to give to every one that asks, and also to every one that is desirous to borrow, he would be deprived of all his property; but, inasmuch as the lord spoke from the Divine [Being or principle] by asking and being desirous to borrow, and by giving and receiving what is borrowed, is meant the communication of celestial goods, which are the knowledges of good and truth; for in regard to this communication the case is this,—the more an angel gives to another from the affection of charity, the more flows in with him from the common good out of heaven, that is, from the lord, AC 6478; thus, by giving to him that asks, an angel is not deprived but enriched with goods. The case is the same also with man, when he does good to another from the affection of charity. This affection consists in communicating good, without having recompense as an end; but the non-affection of charity consists in communicating good for the sake of recompense as an end. AC 9174.
Verse 30. The mouth of the just meditates wisdom. That the mouth from correspondence, thus in the spiritual sense, signifies thought, but in the natural sense, utterance, may be manifest from the following passages: The mouth of the just meditates wisdom, Psalm 37:30, where, by mouth is signified thought grounded in affection, for man, from that thought, meditates wisdom, but not from the mouth and its speech; and in Luke, "jesus said, I will give you a mouth and a wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to deny and resist," Luke 21:15, where mouth denotes speech grounded in understanding, thus the thought from which man speaks; and in Matthew, "Not that which enters into the mouth renders a man unclean, but what comes forth from the mouth, this renders man unclean: what enters into the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the drought; but those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies;" Matt 15:11, 17, 18, 19; by those things which enter into the mouth, in the sense of the letter, are meant foods of every kind, which, after use in the body, go through the belly into the drought; but in the spiritual sense, by the things which enter into the mouth are signified all things, which from the memory, and likewise from the world, enter into the thought; these things also correspond to foods, and those which enter into the thought, and not at the same time into the will, do not render man unclean, for the memory and the thought thence derived are only as an entrance to him, since the will is the man himself, the things therefore, which enter the thought and no further, are rejected as it were by the belly, and cast into the drought; the belly from correspondence signifies the world of spirits, whence thoughts flow in with man, and the drought signifies hell. It is to be noted that man cannot be purified from evils and consequent falses, unless the unclean things belonging to him emerge even to the thought, and are there seen, acknowledged, distinguished, and rejected. From these considerations it is evident, that by what enters into the mouth, in a spiritual sense, is signified what enters into the thought from the memory, and from the world; but that by what comes forth from the mouth, in a spiritual sense, is signified thought from the will, or from the love; for, by the heart, from which it comes forth into the mouth, and from the mouth, is signified the will of man and the love; and since the love and the will make the whole man, for man is such as his love is, hence those things, which go forth thence into the mouth and from the mouth, make man unclean, which, that they are evils of every kind is evident from their enumeration above. In this manner are these words of the lord understood in the heavens. AE 580.
Verse 3. Trust in jehovah and do good, dwell in the land and feed on truth. In the received version of the Psalms, what is here rendered feed on truth, is expressed by these words, verily you shall be fed; but the translation here given is in perfect accord with the original Hebrew.
The pious reader will not fail to note the several distinct degrees of love and adoration of the almighty, to which he is called by the several distinct precepts here presented of trusting in jehovah, of delighting in him, of committing our way to him, of resting in him, and of waiting patiently for him, and he will perceive that the observance of these precepts has a manifest tendency to lead him gradually to a closer conjunction with the Divine mercy and blessing of the most high.PSALMS 37 Other translations - previous - next - meaning - Psalms - BM Home - Full Page