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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Psalms 41

Verses 1-13

This whole song depends for interpretation on its opening beatitude. The man who is considerate toward the weak, who is compassionate, is blessed. His blessings are then described. Emphasize "him" and "he" and "his" in verses Psalms 41:1-3. It will then be seen that all these things come to the man at first described, namely the compassionate man. Then the psalmist confesses his sin. In the light of the beatitude the sin is seen to have been lack of compassion, and this is the secret of the bitter hatred of his enemies, which he proceeds to describe.

Returning to his cry for mercy, his words should be carefully noted (verse Psa 41:10 ). What is the meaning of "requite"? Almost all expositors agree it indicates revenge, and then attempt to explain it away. The word may certainly be translated recompense and is far oftener used to indicate a kind action than a vindictive one. If that be so here, the consistency of the argument is apparent. The psalmist has failed in compassion, therefore his enemies and even his friends are against him. He asks for Jehovah's mercy, that being raised up he may treat his enemies differently. The Messianic reference is not destroyed. The wrong of those who harmed the Christ is greater because they acted without cause. Even then His prayer, "Father, forgive," harmonizes with this interpretation. His raising up by God was for blessing on men.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Psalms 41". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.