Psalm 37 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Psalm 37 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

"They shall ... wither as the green herb."
Does hell exist?
This verse is not about what happens after death, but what will be left on this earth of those who die and what will be left of their works.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Those who trust in God and do good, will never be hungry. (Those who starve to death didn't trust him or did bad things.)
Indeed, those who trust in God, will receive good from His hand. The inference that those who go hungry have done some special evil is refuted many times in the Bible, see for example Luke 13:4-5. All of us have sinned, none of us have rights, the good we receive, we receive by the grace of God.
See chapter 34:10.

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

If you delight yourself in God, he'll give you whatever you want.
The delight of those who delight in God, is God himself. That is what they will receive: communion with God. They do not desire anything above this.

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Jehovah will destroy the bad ones.
Enjoy Life on Earth Forever! (brochure) 1982 p.28
The brochure the author of the SAB here refers to is another peculiar belief from the Jehovah witnesses: some will go to heaven, but most of the Jehovah witnesses will live here in earth. In 1914 they even said that they had a generation that would not pass away. They probably won't talk much about that now, as most of them have died. And some years ago, they redefined the concept (after having received “new light”, sigh). but this earth will not be forever, but it will be consumed by fire, 2 Pet. 3:10-11.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

"The meek shall inherit the earth." Will they really? In nature they inherit nothing, but die painful deaths from predation, starvation, and disease.
The struggle for life is the operational principle on this earth, isn't it? But not. When God created this earth it was very good. But when man sinned, sin entered this world, and indeed, there is death and struggle. But it will not last forever.

12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

"The wicked plotteth against the just."
Has there ever been a just person?

13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

"The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming."
God laughs at those that he will later torment.
While the wicked is plotting evil, verse 12, God laughs. The meaning is that there scheming will come to nothing. They think they rule this earth and they can do what they like, but God mocks them.
On tormenting, as usual the author of the SAB believes that punishment is torment. When the author of the SAB is president of the USA he will pardon all criminals currently in jail, because that is torture.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

"The wicked shall perish."
Does hell exist?
Perish from this earth that is. But their soul goes upwards to the judgment seat of God, Eccl. 3:21.

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

Yes, it is wrong to steal.

22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

If we put the bar for being wealthy at not having to beg for bread, everyone is wealthy. At what point we need another word for wealthy to distinguish between those who are truly wealthy and those who are merely wealthy.

26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

No, this earth won't last forever, 2 Pet. 3:10-11. But there will be a new earth, 2 Pet. 3:10-13 wherein righteousness shall dwell. And the righteous will inherit that new earth. Evil should not last forever.
But having said that, the meaning is probably not that there will be an entirely new planetary body in place of this earth. This earth as we know it, will not last, but it will be cleansed from unrighteousness, so in some sense it is the same earth and in another sense it isn't.
John Gill comments in another place:

for ever: as to the substance of it; though as to the qualities of it, it will be done away, and a new one arise; otherwise it will abide for ever, Eccl. 1:4.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.