On Psalm 41

(Psa 41:1) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

(Mat 5:7) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

(Psa 41:2) The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.
(Psa 41:3) The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.

In verse 3, the Hebrew verb translated "to make" means "to turn, overthrow, overturn". Moreover, the word translated "bed" is related to a verb meaning "to lie down" and means also "a lying down". Thus, a better translation of "thou wilt make all his bed" would be "thou wilt overthrow all his lying down", which could be interpreted as complete deliverance from illness. Other Bible translations interpret the verse also in the sense of healing.

(Psa 41:4) I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

Various other passages imply that sin can result in sickness, such as 1Co 11:31 and Jas 5:15-16. Iniquities and diseases are also mentioned together in Ps 103:3.

(Psa 103:2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
(Psa 103:3) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

(Psa 41:5) Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?
(Psa 41:6) And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.

When a person follows the Lord, those who hate him are typically people who do not like the Lord. "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (Joh 15:18-20).

(Psa 41:7) All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
(Psa 41:8) An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.

The words for "evil disease" are more literally translated "destructive thing".

(Psa 41:9) Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

A reference to the verse above can be found in Jn 13:18. At that time the Lord Jesus was instructing his disciples. In Jn 13:18 he mentioned that not all of them were followers.

(Joh 13:18) I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

While various translations place the statement "He that eateth bread with me ... " between quotation marks, the Greek text does not imply that Jesus quotes Ps 41:9, though it seems obvious that he makes a reference to it. Jesus had to die, in order to fulfill what had been written. Moreover, based on the verse above, we can infer that Ps 41:9 had also to be fulfilled in the life of Jesus. While Ps 41 does not seem to directly address Jesus, for Jesus was without sin, we know that he had to be tested in all points. Therefore, his tests had to include the betrayal of a close friend.

(Heb 4:15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

(Psa 41:10) But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

Above, the Hebrew word translated "requite" does not necessarily imply revenge, though it implies some response. The word has the meanings "to complete, pay, reward, requite, ... ". The believer is not allowed to revenge himself (Ro 12:19, Lev 19:18, Pr 20:22, Pr 24:29). Rather, he is to love his enemies and do good to those who hate him (Mt 5:44-48). Therefore, his response should be in love.

(Psa 41:11) By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
(Psa 41:12) And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.

The statement "thou upholdest me in mine integrity" can remind us that the Lord helps those who walk in integrity (Ps 84:11).

(Psa 41:13) Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.


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