Psalm 41 is the final psalm in the first volume of the entire Book of Psalms. It begins with the phrase “Blessed is” as the parallel bookend to Psalm 1:1. (Psalm 32 is the only other psalm in this volume to begin with this phrase.) It also appropriately ends with a doxology of praise to God, closing with an “Amen and amen!” 1
David’s praise was for how God blesses those who take care of the poor (Psalm 41:1-3). Even when they are sick, God takes care of them because of how they treat the poor. Constable believes that Psalm 41:4-10 contains a personal example of those who did not treat David properly when he was sick. Instead, they wished for his death and only pretended to be friendly in order to gain information so they could slander him. One of his closest friends even betrayed him (Psalm 41:9), a verse that Jesus quoted in John 13:18 referring to what Judas Iscariot did to him.
Because David was the LORD’s anointed king of Israel, to speak against him was to speak against God himself, so David asked for the privilege of punishing this man, if God would restore him to health. This was not simple revenge on David’s part (as many other psalms show him relying on God’s vengeance) but a desire to protect God’s name in Israel.
The psalm ends with a word of praise (Psalm 41:11-13). David knew that God loved him and was pleased with him, because he did recover from the illness described earlier. Whether or not he punished his betrayer is unknown without any more information. David did not thank God for that but rather for allowing him access again into God’s presence. Christians can and should join with David’s praise: “The LORD God of Israel deserves praise in the future and forevermore!”
- This is the literal phrase in Hebrew and found in most translations. It is better than then NET’s “We agree! We agree!” ↩