Psalm 41:9

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 9. Yea. Here is the climax of the sufferer's woe, and he places before it the emphatic affirmation, as if he thought that such villainy would scarcely be believed. Mine own familiar friend. "The man of my peace," so runs the original, with whom I had no differences, with whom I was in league, who had aforetime ministered to my peace and comfort. This was Ahithophel to David, and Iscariot with our Lord. Judas was an apostle, admitted to the privacy of the Great Teacher, hearing his secret thoughts, and, as it were, allowed to read his very heart. "Et tu Brute?" said the expiring Caesar. The kiss of the traitor wounded our Lord's heart as much as the nail wounded his hand. In whom I trusted. Judas was the treasurer of the apostolic college. Where we place great confidence an unkind act is the more severely felt. Which did eat of my bread. Not only as a guest but as a dependant, a pensioner at my board. Judas dipped in the same dish with his Lord, and hence the more accursed was his treachery in his selling his Master for a slave's price. Hath lifted up his heel against me. Not merely turned his back on me, but left me with a heavy kick such as a vicious horse might give. Hard is it to be spurned in our need by those who formerly fed at our table. It is noteworthy that the Redeemer applied only the last words of this verse to Judas, perhaps because, knowing his duplicity, he had never made a familiar friend of him in the fullest sense, and had not placed implicit trust in him. Infernal malice so planned it that every circumstance in Jesus' death should add wormwood to it; and the betrayal was one of the bitterest drops of gall. We are indeed, wretched when our quondam friend becomes our relentless foe, when confidence is betrayed, when all the rites of hospitality are perverted, and ingratitude is the only return for kindness; yet in so deplorable a case we may cast ourselves upon the faithfulness of God, who, having, delivered our Covenant Head, is in verity engaged to be the very present help of all for whom that covenant was made.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 9. Yea, mine own familiar friend, etc. The sufferings of the church, like those of her Redeemer, generally begin at home: her open enemies can do her no harm, until her pretended friends have delivered her into their hands; and, unnatural as it may seem, they who have waxed fat upon her bounty, are sometimes the first to lift the heel against her. George Horne.

Verse 9. Mine own familiar friend. He who, on visiting me, continually saluted me with the kiss of love and veneration, and the usual address: peace be to thee. Hermann Venema.

Verse 9. Which did eat of my beard. If the same sentiment prevailed among the Hebrews, which prevails at the present day among the Bedouin Arabs, of sacred regard to the person and property of one with whom they have eaten bread and salt, the language is very forcible. Hath lifted up his heel: a metaphor drawn from the horse, which attacks with its heel. This language may well have been used by our Saviour, in John 13:18 , in the way of rhetorical illustration or emphasis. George R. Noyes, D.D.

Verse 9. Hath lifted up his heel against me. In this phrase he seems to allude to a beast's kicking at his master by whom he is fed, or the custom of men's spurning at or trampling upon those that are cast down on the ground, in a way of despite and contempt. Arthur Jackson.

Verse 9. Hath lifted up his heel against me; i.e., hath spurned me, hath kicked at me, as a vicious beast of burden does; hath insulted me in my misery. Daniel Cresswell.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 7-12. On a sick bed a man discovers not only his enemies and his friends, but himself and his God, more intimately.

Verse 9. The treachery of Judas.