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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.

9. Even the man of my peace. As the very height of all his miseries, David here declares that he had found the same treachery in some one, or, indeed, in many of his greatest friends. For the change of number is very frequent in the Hebrew language, so that he may speak of several individuals as if they were only one person. Thus the meaning would be: Not only the common people, or strangers of whom I had no knowledge or acquaintance, but my greatest friends, nay, even those with whom I was most intimate, and those of my own household, whom I admitted to eat and drink with me at my table, vaunt themselves reproachfully against me. Among the Hebrews, the expression, men of peace, denotes their kinsfolk and connections; but it was a much closer alliance, and one which ought to have secured a stricter observance of the laws of friendship, to eat the bread of David in company with himself: for it is as if he had employed the appellation, My companion. 107107     “Mon compagnon ordinaire, et qui estoit a pot et a feu avec moy, ainsi qu’on dit en commun proverbe.” — Fr. “My usual companion, and one who, according to the common proverb, had bed and board with me.” If, however, any would rather understand it of some particular traitor than of several persons, I have no objection to it. To lift up the heel is, in my opinion, to be understood metaphorically, and signifies to rise up disdainfully against a man who is afflicted and cast down. 108108     “Hath lifted against me his heel; i.e. hath spurned me, hath kicked at me, as a vicious beast of burden does, hath insulted me in my misery. Comp. Psalm 36:11.” — Cresswell. Others explain the expression by to lay wait secretly; but the former interpretation is more appropriate, That the wicked, seeing that David was placed in embarrassed circumstances, or already prostrated in the dust, took occasion from this to assail him indirectly indeed, but, nevertheless, always with insolence; a thing which usually happens among people of a wicked and servile disposition. Christ, in quoting this passage, (John 13:18,) applies it to the person of Judas. And certainly we ought to understand that, although David speaks of himself in this psalm, yet he speaks not as a common and private person, but as one who represented the person of Christ, inasmuch as he was, as it were, the example after which the whole Church should be conformed — a point well entitled to our attention, in order that each of us may prepare himself for the same condition. It was necessary that what was begun in David should be fully accomplished in Christ; and, therefore, it must of necessity come to pass, that the same thing should be fulfilled in each of his members, namely, that they should not only suffer from external violence and force, but also from internal foes, ever ready to betray them, even as Paul declares that the Church shall be assailed, not only by “fightings without,” but also by “fears within,” (2 Corinthians 7:5.)


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