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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Psalms 41

Verses 1-13

Let us turn at this time in our Bibles to Psalms 41:1-13 . This is another one of the psalms that begins with a beatitude. The very first psalm begins with a beatitude, "Blessed is the man." Here again,

Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the LORD will deliver him in the time of trouble ( Psalms 41:1 ).

Now the Bible has much to say about God's concern and God's interest with the poor. And God is constantly exhorting us in His Word that we should be concerned for the poor. That we should seek to help the poor. It is biblical that our concern should be for the poor. In fact, there is a scripture that says, "He that lendeth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord" ( Proverbs 19:17 ). So if ever you want to loan the Lord anything, go out and find a poor person and lend them some money. Not looking, really, for a return from them, but just looking to the Lord to return it to you. Because really you are lending to the Lord, and He actually pays fantastic interest. "Blessed is he who considers the poor." One of the blessings, "The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."


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

Now, it is an interesting thing that the psalmist speaks of God in such a personal kind of a way. If you have been generous towards the poor, if you have been interested in giving to the poor, among other things, God will take care of you when you are sick in bed. Now, this is an interesting concept concerning God, and is certainly far from the pagan concepts of their gods. Can you imagine this being said of Jove? Or of Jupiter or of Buddha or whatever? That he will take care of you when you're sick in bed. And yet, we think of God in these beautiful, intimate kind of relationships, of even watching over us when we are sick. When we are languishing on our bed, taking care of us.

Now, this is the first part of the psalm. The first three verses declaring, really, the interest, the concern, and the blessedness if we will just take care of the poor. The interest we should have, the concern for the poor.

Now he turns to his own case and he said,

I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? ( Psalms 41:4-5 ).

This is what his enemies were saying, "When is he going to die, when is he going to perish?"

And if he comes to see me he, speaks emptiness: his heart gathereth iniquity to himself; and when he goeth abroad, he tells it ( Psalms 41:6 ).

He comes and he sort of, you know, interrogates me. Or he acts in very friendly, gets me to confide in him, and then he goes out and tells everything that I have confided. And,

All that hate me whisper together against me: and they seek to devise my hurt. They say an evil disease cleaves fast to him: and now he is lying down, he is not going to rise again ( Psalms 41:7-8 ).

As the psalmist is crying out his woe, in the next verse, actually, he utters a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ and His betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

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

In the thirteenth chapter of the gospel of John, verse John 13:18 , Jesus quotes this verse as referring to Judas Iscariot and the betrayal of one of His own followers. So it is interesting that as the psalmist is speaking of his own position, that suddenly he lapses over into prophecy and speaks to the Lord.

But thou, LORD, be merciful unto me, raise me up, that I may requite them. By this I know that thou favorest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, you uphold me in mine integrity, and you set me before thy face for ever ( Psalms 41:10-12 ).

And the psalm closes with a benediction.

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

Now this is the end of the first book of psalms. There are actually five books of psalms. Some of the old Bible scholars see in the five books of psalms sort of a sequel to the five books of Moses, the five books of the Pentateuch. In the five books of the Pentateuch you find God speaking unto man, giving the laws, and establishing the covenant with man. In the Psalms, they see in the five psalms the sequel to the Pentateuch, only it is now man expressing himself to God in his worship and his praise and all. Whether or not they can actually be tied together, the five books of the psalms with the five books of the Pentateuch, is a thing for theologians to worry about. We don't need to concern ourselves with it. However, each of the books of the psalms do end with a benediction, similar to what we have here, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Amen, and amen." "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 41". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.