Traditionally, the Hebrew text divided the psalms into five books, the last of which in each finishes with a doxology (a short hymn of praise to God, which occurs here in verse 13); and chapter 41 concludes book one. As is the case with many psalms, this one has meaning for the situation in David’s life at the time, as well as having application for the Jesus the Messiah.
Many consider that this psalm was written at a time when David suffered from a great illness that may have facilitated Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15). The word “poor” in verse one is sometimes translated “weak,” which especially fits verses 1-8. Jesus applies verse 9 to Judas in John 13:18. In David’s case, the identity of the close friend of that verse is believed by many to be Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:31). The reference to the resurrection and ascension to heaven are hard to miss in verses 10-12, with the enemy in verse 11 clearly as Satan. And verse 9 unmistakably points to Judas during Jesus’ act of instituting the Lord’s supper:
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me”
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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