Scripture Verse

I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:2–3


Jessie S. Irvine (1836–1887)

Words: From The Book of Psalms (Pitts­burgh, Penn­syl­van­ia: Unit­ed Pres­by­ter­ian Board of Pub­li­ca­tion, 1871), pag­es 278–81.

Music: Cri­mond Jes­sie S. Ir­vine, in The North­ern Psal­ter, 1872. Har­mo­ny by Da­vid Grant (🔊 pdf nwc).


Yet God is good to Israel,
To each pure-hearted one.
With me, my steps had nearly slipped,
My feet were almost gone.

For I was envious, and grudged
The foolish ones to see,
When I perceived the wicked men
Enjoyed prosperity.

Because their strength continues firm;
Their death from bands is free.
They are not toiled like other men,
Nor plagued, as others be.

Their pride doth therefore like a chain,
Encompass them about;
And, as a garment, violence
Doth cover them throughout.

Their eyes stand out with fat, they have
More than their hearts could wish.
They are corrupt; their talk of wrong
Both lewd and lofty is.

They set their mouth against the heav’ns
In their blaspheming talk;
And their reproaching tongue at large
Throughout the earth doth walk.

His people, therefore, oftentimes
Look back, and turn about;
And in abundance unto them
The waters are poured out.

And thus they say, How can it be
That God these things doth know?

Or, Can there in the Highest be
Knowledge of things below?

Behold, how these, the wicked ones,
Do prosper at their will
In worldly things; how they increase
In wealth and riches still!

I verily have sought in vain
My heart to purify;
And vainly also washed my hands
In innocence have I.

For daily, and all day throughout,
Great plagues I suffered have;
Yea, every morning I anew
Did chastisement receive.

If in this manner foolishly
To speak I would intend,
Thy children’s generation then
Behold I should offend.

When I this thought to know, it was
Too hard a thing for me;
Till to God’s holy place I went,
Then I their end did see.

Them set upon a slippery place
Assuredly Thou hast;
And suddenly didst Thou, O Lord,
Them to destruction cast.

How in a moment suddenly
To ruin brought are they!
With fearful terrors utterly
They are consumed away.

E’en like an empty dream when one
From sleeping doth arise;
So Thou, when Thou awakest, Lord,
Their image shalt despise.

Thus grieved within me was my heart,
And me my reins oppressed:
So rude was I, and ignorant,
And in Thy sight a beast.

Yet not withstanding this, O Lord,
I ever am with Thee:
Thou hast me held by my right hand,
And still upholdest me.

With Thy good counsel while I live,
Thou wilt me safely guide;
And into glo­ry afterward
Receive me to abide.

O whom have I in heavens high
But Thee, O Lord, alone?
And in the earth whom I desire
Besides Thee there is none.

My flesh and heart do faint and fail,
But God my heart sustains;
The strength and portion of my heart
He ev­er­more remains.

For, lo, they that are far from Thee
Forever perish shall;
And as for those who from Thee stray
Thou hast destroyed them all.

But surely it is good for me
That I draw near to God:
In God I trust, that all Thy works
I may declare abroad.