Psalm 41

Psalm 41
Christ as a Man Entering into the Sorrows of the Persecuted Remnant
Psalm 41. This is a Psalm of David, most likely written in the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Prophetically, this Psalm speaks of Christ as a man in His humiliation, entering into the sorrows of the persecuted remnant. However, as v.4 shows, the whole Psalm is not of Christ. In v.4 we have a confession of sin, making this a penitential Psalm. The theme of the Psalm is the blessedness of those who sympathize with those who are suffering, particular under God’s chastening.1
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Blessed is he that understandeth the poor: Jehovah will deliver him in the day of evil.
2 Jehovah will preserve him, and keep him alive; he shall be made happy in the land; and thou wilt not deliver him to the will of his enemies.
3 Jehovah will sustain him upon the bed of languishing: thou turnest all his bed in his sickness.
vv.1-3 The Blessedness of Understanding the Poor. At this time, David was historically in hiding to the east of Jordan. We know that God used a man named Barzillai to shelter and comfort David during this time (2 Sam. 17:27, 29). It could very well be that these verses historically were composed by David with Barzillai in mind; “blessed is he that understandeth the poor”. In application to Christ, it is Christ personally who was able to understand the poor, because He identified Himself with “the poor of the flock” (Zech. 11:7). Those who have a sympathetic heart are marked by Jehovah for blessing. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). In fact, this is one of the Asherite psalms, and it shows that one of the keys to happiness is to have a symptomatic care for others. Prophetically, these verses also speak of those who will show kindness toward the persecuted Jewish remnant in the great tribulation (Matt. 25:34-36). These ones, much like Barzillai and his sons, would naturally be targets of the enemy. But Jehovah will preserve and sustain them in a remarkable way (vv.2-3). The suffering would be deep (a “bed of languishing”), but Jehovah Himself would comfort them (“thou turnest all his bed in his sickness”).
4 As for me, I said, Jehovah, be gracious unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
5 Mine enemies wish me evil: When will he die, and his name perish?
6 And if one come to see me, he speaketh falsehood; his heart gathereth wickedness to itself: he goeth abroad, he telleth it.
7 All that hate me whisper together against me; against me do they devise my hurt.
8 A thing of Belial cleaveth fast unto him; and now that he is laid down, he will rise up no more.
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I confided, “who did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” [quoted John 13:18]
vv.4-9 The reproach felt deeply. The remnant confess their sin, and ask Jehovah to graciously heal them in a spiritual sense. This v.4 cannot be applied to Christ, as the other verses can, because Christ committed no sin. But in vv.5-7 the faithful deeply feel the hatred of their enemies. We can see the application of these verses to Christ. This is an example of Christ’s interpersonal sufferings. To have others wish His demise, to be lied about, to be slandered, to be hated, to be whispered about, to be plotted against, are all things that cause deep suffering in the human heart. However, there is a hint of victory in v.8; a “thing of Belial”, or a disease, “cleaveth fast unto him; and now that he is laid down, he will rise up no more”. They can see that the wicked are as good as dead. In v.9, we have a heartbreaking cry from the faithful, even from Christ personally. Historically, the “familiar friend” was Ahithophel, who betrayed David and joined forces with Absalom (2 Sam. 15:31). Here David laments at the betrayal of his close friend and counsellor. But prophetically, it looks on to the betrayer of our Lord; Judas Iscariot. Thus v.9 is quoted by Jesus in John 13:18, and applied to Judas. It was necessary because of this Psalm that the Messiah would have a betrayer. However, it didn’t have to be Judas. Judas fit himself, by his own actions, for that role. It troubled the Lord deeply that one of His closest companions, who shared daily fellowship with Him, would betray Him. Although the immediate events had to do with David, the Spirit of God was really writing prophetically of Christ! This is one of five psalms that speak prophetically of Judas; Psalm 35:14; Psa. 41:9; Psalm 55:12-14; Psalm 69:4; and Psalm 109:1-20. Prophetically, Judas, as the son of perdition, is a type of Antichrist. He will appear to be Israel’s familiar friend, with nothing but their best interests at heart. They will even let him into their temple. But then he will betray them, suddenly and painfully. The remnant also, on a personal level, will be betrayed by many of their countrymen, who follow Antichrist. But the Lord’s experience with Judas fits Him perfectly to sympathize with the remnant!
10 But thou, Jehovah, be gracious unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
11 By this I know that thou delightest in me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
12 But as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
vv.10-12 The faithful upheld. In spite of great suffering, the faithful cry out to Jehovah to deliver them, and raise them up to be vindicated in connection with the enemies. They see the Lord’s hand upholding them in the trial, and this as proof that “thou delightest in me”. This is an appeal to Jehovah for faithfulness on the ground of their own faithfulness. They can look forward to their final deliverance; “and settest me before thy face for ever”. 
13 Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, from eternity to eternity! Amen, and Amen.
v.13 Conclusion of the First Book. This is the glorious outcome of the deliverance of Israel; Jehovah, the God of Israel, blessed from eternity to eternity! The words “Amen, and Amen” divide the first and second books of the Psalms.
  1. The point of the psalm is the blessedness of those who understand and enter into the position of those with whom Jehovah is dealing. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.