Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 41

Verses 1-13

The Psalmist has been brought low by sickness, and pronounces a blessing on those who consider such sufferers as himself (Psalms 41:1-3). His own experience has been of an opposite kind. His enemies have triumphantly anticipated his end, and their hypocritical sympathy has only been the guise of malice (Psalms 41:5-8). One friend in particular has done his utmost to injure him (Psalms 41:9). He asks God to restore his health that he may requite all this unkindness, and finally expresses his confidence in God's favour and unchanging support (Psalms 41:10-12). In John 13:18 the words of Psalms 41:9 are appropriately applied to Judas. Psalms 41:13 is not a part of the Ps., but forms the concluding doxology to Book 1 of the Psalter.

1. Poor] a different word from that so often used for the afflicted righteous. It means the 'weak' or 'sick.'

2. Blessed upon the earth] rather, 'counted happy in the land.'

6. The visitor who comes in pretended sympathy only seeks information to be maliciously used outside.

8. An evil disease] or, a result of wickedness; lit. 'a thing of belial.'

9. Which did eat.. my bread] The ties of hospitality, which in the East are regarded as specially sacred, had been violated as well as those of friendship. Lifted up his heel] a figure for unfeeling violence and brutality.

10. That I may requite them] a touch of vindictiveness which Christians may not imitate: see Intro.

11. Recovery has begun. The enemy has been disappointed of his triumph. This is already taken as a proof of God's favour.

12. Integrity] The consciousness of an upright purpose is not inconsistent with the confession of sin in Psalms 41:4 : see on Psalms 25:21. Settest me before thy face for ever] the opposite of the fate predicted by his enemies in Psalms 25:5, Psalms 25:8. To be in God's presence is to enjoy true and unending life.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 41". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.