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Psalm 41

Assurance of God’s Help and a Plea for Healing

To the leader. A Psalm of David.


Happy are those who consider the poor;

the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.


The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;

they are called happy in the land.

You do not give them up to the will of their enemies.


The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;

in their illness you heal all their infirmities.



As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;

heal me, for I have sinned against you.”


My enemies wonder in malice

when I will die, and my name perish.


And when they come to see me, they utter empty words,

while their hearts gather mischief;

when they go out, they tell it abroad.


All who hate me whisper together about me;

they imagine the worst for me.



They think that a deadly thing has fastened on me,

that I will not rise again from where I lie.


Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted,

who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.


But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,

and raise me up, that I may repay them.



By this I know that you are pleased with me;

because my enemy has not triumphed over me.


But you have upheld me because of my integrity,

and set me in your presence forever.



Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen and Amen.

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Ps 41:1-13. The Psalmist celebrates the blessedness of those who compassionate the poor, conduct strongly contrasted with the spite of his enemies and neglect of his friends in his calamity. He prays for God's mercy in view of his ill desert, and, in confidence of relief, and that God will vindicate his cause, he closes with a doxology.

1-3. God rewards kindness to the poor (Pr 19:17). From Ps 41:2, 11 it may be inferred that the Psalmist describes his own conduct.

poor—in person, position, and possessions.

2. shall be blessed—literally, "led aright," or "safely," prospered (Ps 23:3).

upon the earth—or land of promise (Ps 25:13; 27:3-9, &c.).

3. The figures of Ps 41:3 are drawn from the acts of a kind nurse.

4. I said—I asked the mercy I show.

heal my soul—(Compare Ps 30:2). "Sin and suffering are united," is one of the great teachings of the Psalms.

5, 6. A graphic picture of the conduct of a malignant enemy.

6. to see me—as if to spy out my case.

he speaketh … itself—or, "he speaketh vanity as to his heart"—that is, does not speak candidly, "he gathereth iniquity to him," collects elements for mischief, and then divulges the gains of his hypocrisy.

7, 8. So of others, all act alike.

8. An evil disease—literally, "a word of Belial," some slander.

cleaveth—literally, "poured on him."

that he liethwho has now laid down, "he is utterly undone and our victory is sure."

9. mine … friend—literally, "the man of my peace."

eat … bread—who depended on me or was well treated by me.

hath lifted up heel—in scornful violence. As David and his fortunes typified Christ and His (compare Introduction), so these words expressed the treatment he received, and also that of his Son and Lord; hence, though not distinctly prophetical, our Saviour (Joh 13:18) applies them to Judas, "that the Scripture may be fulfilled." This last phrase has a wide use in the New Testament, and is not restricted to denote special prophecies.

10. A lawful punishment of criminals is not revenge, nor inconsistent with their final good (compare Ps 40:14, 15).

11-13. favourest—or tenderly lovest me (Ge 34:19), evinced by relief from his enemies, and, farther, God recognizes his innocence by upholding him.

12. settest … before thy face—under thy watch and care, as God before man's face (Ps 16:8) is an object of trust and love.

13. Blessed—praised, usually applied to God. The word usually applied to men denotes happiness (Ps 1:1; 32:1). With this doxology the first book closes.