PSALM 41#A thanksgiving for rescue from illness (Ps 41:4, 5, 9). Many people, even friends, have interpreted the illness as a divine punishment for sin and have ostracized the psalmist (Ps 41:5–11). The healing shows the return of God’s favor and rebukes the psalmist’s detractors (Ps 41:12–13).
Thanksgiving After Sickness
1For the leader. A psalm of David.
2Blessed the one concerned for the poor;#Blessed the one concerned for the poor: cf. Ps 32:1–2; 34:9; 40:5; 65:5. The psalmist’s statement about God’s love of the poor is based on the experience of being rescued (Ps 41:1–3).
on a day of misfortune, the Lord delivers him.#a. [41:2] Tb 4:7–11.
3The Lord keeps and preserves him,
makes him blessed in the land,
and does not betray him to his enemies.
4The Lord sustains him on his sickbed,
you turn down his bedding whenever he is ill.#You turn down his bedding whenever he is ill: the Hebrew is obscure. It suggests ongoing attentive care of the one who is sick.
5Even I have said, “Lord, take note of me;
heal me, although I have sinned against you.
6My enemies say bad things against me:
‘When will he die and his name be forgotten?’
7When someone comes to visit me, he speaks without sincerity.
His heart stores up malice;
when he leaves, he gossips.#b. [41:7] Ps 31:12; 38:12–13; 88:8; Jb 19:13–19; Jer 20:10.
8All those who hate me whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst about me:
9‘He has had ruin poured over him;
that one lying down will never rise again.’
10#Even my trusted friend…has raised his heel against me: Jn 13:18 cites this verse to characterize Judas as a false friend. Raised his heel against me: an interpretation of the unclear Hebrew, “made great the heel against me.”Even my trusted friend,
who ate my bread,
has raised his heel against me.#c. [41:10] Ps 55:14–15; Jn 13:18.
11“But you, Lord, take note of me to raise me up
that I may repay them.”#That I may repay them: the healing itself is an act of judgment through which God decides for the psalmist and against the false friends. The prayer is not necessarily for strength to punish enemies.
12By this I will know you are pleased with me,
that my enemy no longer shouts in triumph over me.
13In my integrity may you support me
and let me stand in your presence forever.
14#The doxology, not part of the Psalm, marks the end of the first of the five books of the Psalter, cf. Ps 72:18–20; 89:53; 106:48.Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from all eternity and forever.
Amen. Amen.#d. [41:14] Neh 9:5.