The Bible – Old Testament
1 For the leader. A psalm of David.
2 Happy those concerned for the lowly and poor; when misfortune strikes, the LORD delivers them.
The LORD keeps and preserves them, makes them happy in the land, and does not betray them to their enemies.
The LORD sustains them on their sickbed, allays the malady when they are ill.
Once I prayed, “LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, I have sinned against you.
My enemies say the worst of me: ‘When will that one die and be forgotten?’
When people come to visit me, they speak without sincerity. Their hearts store up malice; they leave and spread their vicious lies.
My foes all whisper against me; they imagine the worst about me:
I have a deadly disease, they say; I will never rise from my sickbed.
3 Even the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned me.
4 But you, LORD, have mercy and raise me up that I may repay them as they deserve.”
By this I know you are pleased with me, that my enemy no longer jeers at me.
For my integrity you have supported me and let me stand in your presence forever.
5 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from all eternity and forever. Amen. Amen.
1 [Psalm 41] A thanksgiving for rescue from illness (⇒ Psalm 41:4, 5, 9). Many people, even friends, have interpreted the illness as a divine punishment for sin and have ostracized the psalmist (⇒ Psalm 41:5-11). The healing shows the return of God’s favor and rebukes the psalmist’s detractors (⇒ Psalm 41:12-13).
2  Happy those concerned for the lowly and poor: other psalms use the same formula (“Happy those”) for those whom God favors. Cf ⇒ Psalm 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 (⇒ Psalm 41:1-3).
3  Even the friend . . . has scorned me: ⇒ John 13:18 cites this verse to characterize Judas as a false friend. Scorned me: an interpretation of the unclear Hebrew, “made great the heel against me.”
4  That I may repay them as they deserve: 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.