TO THE CHIEF MUSICIAN, A PSALM OF DAVID
[Psalms 41:1] BLESSED IS HE THAT CONSIDERETH THE POOR: THE LORD WILL DELIVER HIM IN TIME OF TROUBLE.
Most Commentators (e.g. HaMairi) seem to connect this Psalm with illness and recovery from it. In such a case the Psalm opens up by praising he who visits the sick and takes consideration of them. It may also be understood at its simple initial level as blessing they who care for the poor. People who look after poor people will be blessed and protected.
"THE POOR": The Hebrew word used here is "DAL" also found as "DALEL" or shallow, weakened, dilluted. The poor person here is someone who has lost or been deprived of what should naturally be theirs whether the matter concerns a lacking of health or wealth.. The English word "dull" has basically the same meaning and probably comes from the same word-root.
[Psalms 41:2] THE 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.
By "Enemies" is meant not only those who know you and have something against you but also all those who would do you harm for any reason or at any time. "Enemy" by extension also means all forces of adversity including illness and other calamities. The Psalm may also be considered to give expression to the sentiments of someone visiting the sick and feeling for them: The visitor blesses God who watches over the sick (41:1) expresses the wish that the sick person live and overcome the sickness which is like an "enemy" besieging him (41:2). The visitor continues in the rest of the Psalm his expressions of good will identifying completely with the patient and making supplication in his name. Sickness and recovery from it is one of the major themes in the Book of Psalms and attacks of illness may well have been another of the life-long battles David was to wage. We tend to associate sickness with weakness and therefore do not like to imagine David our hero languishing but overcoming pain and physical afflictions also requires strength of character and heroism. Let us all hope that if we have ourselves ever personally to know about these matters that it at least b from a distance and not in ourselves or those around us. The Commentary of "Mairi" goes on and suggests that the Psalm may also be considered as an allegory and depicts the trials and suffering of Judah in Exile. These different explanations are actually various applications of the same principle of overcoming adversity, baring up through affliction, and trusting in the Almighty despite oppressive circumstances and enemy antagonism.
[Psalms 41:3] THE LORD WILL STRENGTHEN HIM UPON THE BED OF LANGUISHING: THOU WILT MAKE ALL HIS BED IN HIS SICKNESS.
Even if the good man does become sick for some reason or other God will give him strength and help him make it through.
"THOU WILT MAKE ALL HIS BED IN HIS SICKNESS": I would translate this expression from the Hebrew as saying: YOU CAUSED HIS LAYING DOWN IN SICKNESS TO BE REVERSED.
[Psalms 41:4] I SAID, LORD, BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME: HEAL MY SOUL; FOR I HAVE SINNED AGAINST THEE.
"SOUL": Hebrew "Naphshi" i.e. My "psyche", my mind. Because of sins we acquire negative thought patterns and these distort our judgments and attitude causing us and those around us harm. David asks God for mercy that the negative forces within be restrained and channeled into positive energies.
[Psalms 41:5] MINE ENEMIES SPEAK EVIL OF ME, WHEN SHALL HE DIE, AND HIS NAME PERISH? The more important a person is the morel ikely is he/she to have those who do not like them. David was a great monarch and reformer changing many practices. This along with his piety caused many to hate him.
[Psalms 41:6] AND IF HE COME TO SEE ME, HE SPEAKETH VANITY: HIS HEART GATHERETH INIQUITY TO ITSELF; WHEN HE GOETH ABROAD, HE TELLETH IT. People who wished David and his policies harm were approaching him as if they were on his side but their intentions were destructive and malicious. "HIS HEART GATHERETH INIQUITY TO ITSELF": By telling lies and deception the deceiver harms himself more than others.
[Psalms 41:7] ALL THAT HATE ME WHISPER TOGETHER AGAINST ME: AGAINST ME DO THEY DEVISE MY HURT.
People talk, words are a weapon. Words were used against David.
[Psalms 41:8] AN EVIL DISEASE, SAY THEY, CLEAVETH FAST UNTO HIM: AND NOW THAT HE LIETH HE SHALL RISE UP NO MORE. They said he was finished, diseased in mind and body.
[Psalms 41:9] YEA, MINE OWN FAMILIAR FRIEND, IN WHOM I TRUSTED, WHICH DID EAT OF MY BREAD, HATH LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.
This happens, familiar "buddies" can turn against you especially in moments of weakness when you are most vulnerable. These "friends" in the case of David probably justified their behavior by saying that David had sinned, David was sick, David was impaired and was not functioning as he should. They convinced themselves that they were in the right and sought to undermine their leader. There is a Yiddish folk saying:
"Why do you hate me? I never did you any favors?"
Those who received help often resent the circumstances of life that bring them to have need of such help and sometimes this resentment can be directed at those who are helping. Together with this when one helps others it is wise to try to do so as tactfully as possible.
[Psalms 41:10] BUT THOU, O LORD, BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME, AND RAISE ME UP, THAT I MAY REQUITE THEM.
David asks for mercy and also for the ability to take retribution against the evildoers who had sought to undo the good he had effected. David did not only represent himself but also the poor and downtrodden in his kingdom who he had taken steps to rehabilitate but his enemies and erstwhile friends were trying to reverse his policies.
The desire for revenge, to get bark at those who have hurt you or at least to show them that you are not beaten is not necessarily a negative emotion but can be utilized to strengthen the determination for recovery. If someone wants to get better, no matter why, they have probably an increased chance of doing so.
[Psalms 41:11] BY THIS I KNOW THAT THOU FAVOUREST ME, BECAUSE MINE ENEMY DOTH NOT TRIUMPH OVER ME.
David saw that God was n his side.
[Psalms 41:12] AND AS FOR ME, THOU UPHOLDEST ME IN MINE INTEGRITY, AND SETTEST ME BEFORE THY FACE FOR EVER.
"INTEGRITY": David was able to look at hmself in the mirror and not be ashamed of his intentions.
This is not a little matter.
[Psalms 41:13] BLESSED BE THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL FROM EVERLASTING, AND TO EVERLASTING AMEN, AND AMEN.
God will help all they who seek to good, truth, and justice and we will praise Him.