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41. Psalm 41

Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

2The 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.

3The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.

4I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

5Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?

6And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.

7All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

8An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.

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

10But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

11By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.

12And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.

13Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.

10 Do thou, O Jehovah I have mercy upon me. From a consideration of the wrongful cruelty of his enemies, he again takes encouragement to pray. And there is included in what he says a tacit contrast between God and men; as if he had said, Since there is to be found no aid or help in the world, but as, on the contrary, a strange degree of cruelty, or secret malice, every where prevails, be thou, at least, O Lord! pleased to succor me by thy mercy. This is the course which ought to be pursued by all the afflicted, whom the world unjustly persecutes; that is to say, they ought not only to occupy themselves in bewailing the wrongs which are done them, but they ought also to commend their cause to God: and the more Satan endeavors to overthrow their faith, and to distract their thoughts, the more should they fix their minds attentively on God alone. In using such language, the Psalmist again ascribes his restoration to the mercy of God as its cause. What he says in the concluding clause of the verse of taking vengeance seems harsh and unaccountable. If he confessed truly and from the heart, in the preceding part of the psalm, that God was just in thus afflicting him, why does he not extend forgiveness to others, as he desires that forgiveness should be granted to himself? Surely it were a shameful abuse of the grace of God, if, after having been restored and pardoned by him, we should refuse to follow his example in showing mercy. Besides, it would have been a feeling far removed from that of humility or kindness, for David, even while he was yet in the midst of death, to have desired revenge. But here two things are to be taken into account: First, David was not as one of the common people, but a king appointed by God, and invested with authority; and, secondly, It is not from an impulse of the flesh, but in virtue of the nature of his office, that he is led to denounce against his enemies the punishment which they had merited. If, then, each individual indiscriminately, in taking vengeance upon his enemies, should allege the example of David in his own defense, it is necessary, first, to take into account the difference which subsists between us and David, by reason of the circumstances and position in which he was placed by God; 110110     “Pour raison de la condition et estat qu’il avoit de Dieu.” — Fr. and, secondly, it is necessary to ascertain whether the same zeal which was in him reigns also in us, or rather, whether we are directed and governed by the same divine Spirit. David, being king, was entitled, in virtue of his royal authority, to execute the vengeance of God against the wicked; but as to us our hands are tied. In the second place, As he represented the person of Christ, so he cherished in his heart pure and holy affections: and hence it is, that, in speaking as he does in this verse, he indulged not his own angry spirit, but fulfilled faithfully the duties of the station to which he had been called of God. In short, in acting thus, he executed the righteous judgment of God, just in the same way as it is lawful for us to pray that the Lord himself would take vengeance upon the ungodly; for, as we are not armed with the power of the sword, it is our duty to have recourse to the heavenly Judge. At the same time, in beseeching him to show himself our guardian and defender, by taking vengeance on our enemies, we must do so in a calm and composed state of mind, and exercise a watchful care lest we should give too loose reins to our desires, by casting off the rule prescribed by the Spirit. As to David, the duties of his station required that he should employ means for subduing the rebellious, and that he should be truly the minister of God in inflicting punishment upon all the wicked.


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