The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.…
I. IN THEIR USEFULNESS.
1. While other trees are distinguished by their devious trunks, the palm shoots perpendicularly upward to a considerable height, and thus resembles the pious mind, whose inclinations and pursuits ever tend toward heaven. Even Mahomet could say of the generous man: "he stands erect before his Lord: in every action he follows the impulse received from above, and his whole life is devoted to the welfare of his fellow-creatures."
2. The palm-tree is noted for the abundance of its fruit. The powerful action of the sap is developed not only in thick umbrageous foliage, but in multitudes of flowers and dates. Are not thus the righteous pictured forth by this tree? They who "have put on Christ" abound in every good thought, word, and work, and remembering that they are the branches of the living vine, they yield much fruit of righteousness to the glory and praise of God. Are they not eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, and feet to the lame?
II. IN THEIR RESISTANCE TO EXTERNAL CALAMITY. Neither weight nor violence can make this tree grow downwards or crooked; but the more it is oppressed, the more it flourishes, the higher it towers, and the stronger and broader it becomes at the top. From this singular quality it became the emblem of constancy, patience, and victory by the Eastern nations; and hence Christ was honoured at Jerusalem by the waving of the palm branches; and the redeemed in heaven are described as carrying palms in their hands, in token of the triumphs they had achieved. No situation so thoroughly proves the Christian as the afflictions of mortality. The feeblest infant may endure the sunshine, but it requires the man to face the storm.
III. IN THEIR DURATION. It has been the prayer of the great and good, that they might never outlive their usefulness: and when we behold the aged, hoary, not with wisdom, but with hairs, we tremble lest they have lived in vain. But when we contemplate the pious patriarch spared for threescore years and ten, who has been both parent and priest of his domestic flock, he resembles, indeed, a fruitful palm-tree, which, still yielding fruit in its old age, is only awaiting for the transplantation of the master of the vineyard. Many are they which have flourished thus around us; but their time of vigour and usefulness has expired, and now they beautify, and enrich the paradise of God.
Parallel VersesKJV: The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.