Psalms 37:16

16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;

Psalms 37:16 in Other Translations

16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.
16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.
16 Less is more and more is less. One righteous will outclass fifty wicked,
16 Better the little that the righteous man has than the abundance of many wicked people.

Psalms 37:16 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 37:16

A little that a righteous man hath
It is the portion of the righteous, for the most part, to have but little of this world's goods; some indeed have been rich, as Abraham, Lot, David, Joseph of Arimathea, and others; but, generally speaking, the wicked have the largest share of worldly things, and the righteous but little, and are as having nothing comparatively; and yet their little

[is] better than the riches of many wicked;
not that a little is better than much, or that poverty is better than riches, or a poor man better than a rich man; but the comparison is between a righteous man and a wicked man; the emphasis lies there; and the sense is, that a "righteous" man's "little" is better than a "wicked" man's "much"; the righteous have a right to what they have, through Christ, who is heir of all things, but not the wicked; they have what they have in love and with a blessing, not so the wicked; they are contented in their state and condition, when the wicked are never satisfied; they possess and enjoy what they have, even all they have, when God oftentimes does not give the wicked an heart to eat and drink of what they are possessed, but a stranger eats it; they have the presence of God with them, and that makes a little sweet, and to go a great way; and they live without any anxious, distressing, burdensome care; not so the wicked; and before long the tables will be turned, and they will have their good things, and the wicked their evil things; see ( Proverbs 16:8 ) ( Proverbs 15:16 Proverbs 15:17 ) ; wherefore they have no need to fret under present circumstances, nor envy the happiness of wicked men. Arama interprets it, of a little help that a righteous man has, better than the riches of many wicked; and Gussetius


F18 understands all this not of the smallness and largeness of the substance of different persons, but of their numbers, the one small, the other large; and Jarchi, that the sense is, that a few persons with the righteous, which was the case of Abraham and Gideon, are better and succeed more than the multitude of many wicked persons; and the church should be content with a small number of believers, and not draw in a multitude of wicked men into their communion.

F18 Ebr. Comment. p. 213, 475.

Psalms 37:16 In-Context

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Proverbs 15:16; Proverbs 16:8
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