Psalm 41:10
But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 41:10. But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me — They censure me grievously, and conclude my case to be desperate; but, Lord, do thou vindicate me, and confute them. Raise me up, that I may requite them — Hebrew, ואשׁלמה, veashallemah, and I will requite them, that is, punish them for their malicious, perfidious, and wicked practices, which, being now a magistrate, it was his duty to do, for the public good. For he was not to bear the sword in vain, but, being a minister of God, invested with his authority, was to be a revenger, to execute wrath upon those that did evil, Romans 13:4; although, when a private person, he was so far from revenging himself that he rendered good for evil, Psalm 35:12-13. In this prayer of David, that God would raise him up, is included a prophecy of the exaltation of Christ, whom God raised from the dead, that he might be a just avenger of all the wrongs done to him and to his people, particularly by the Jews, whose utter destruction followed not long after. Thus, “the hour is coming when the church shall arise to glory, and all her enemies shall be confounded.” — Horne.

41:5-13 We complain, and justly, of the want of sincerity, and that there is scarcely any true friendship to be found among men; but the former days were no better. One particularly, in whom David had reposed great confidence, took part with his enemies. And let us not think it strange, if we receive evil from those we suppose to be friends. Have not we ourselves thus broken our words toward God? We eat of his bread daily, yet lift up the heel against him. But though we may not take pleasure in the fall of our enemies, we may take pleasure in the making vain their designs. When we can discern the Lord's favour in any mercy, personal or public, that doubles it. If the grace of God did not take constant care of us, we should not be upheld. But let us, while on earth, give heartfelt assent to those praises which the redeemed on earth and in heaven render to their God and Saviour.But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me - That is, give me strength; restore me from my sickness and weakness.

And raise me up - From my bed of languishing.

That I may requite them - That I may repay them; or may recompense them. The word used here - שׁלם shālam - means properly, to be whole, sound, safe; then, in Piel, to make secure, or preserve in safety; and then, to complete, to make whole, to make good, to restore; and then, to make whole or to complete in the sense of recompensing or requiting: to make the matter equal. It would be well expressed here by the familiar language, "giving them what they deserve." But it is not necessary to understand this as indicating an unforgiving spirit. The writer may have meant to say that the persons who demeaned themselves in this manner ought to be punished; that the public good required it; and being a magistrate, he spoke as one appointed to administer the laws, and prayed for a restoration to strength, that he might administer justice in this and in all similar cases. It is possible also that he meant to say he would repay them by "heaping coals of fire on their heads" - by acts of kindness in place of the wrongs that they had done him (see Proverbs 25:21-22; compare Romans 12:20-21); though I admit, that this is not the obvious interpretation. But in order to show that this was uttered with a bad spirit, and under the promptings of revenge, it would be necessary to show that neither of these supposable interpretations could be the true one. It may be added here that we may not be required to vindicate all the expressions of personal feeling found in the Psalms in order to any just view of inspiration. See General Introduction, 6 (6).

10. A lawful punishment of criminals is not revenge, nor inconsistent with their final good (compare Ps 40:14, 15).10 But thou O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

"But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me." How the hunted and affrighted soul turns to her God! How she seems to take breath with a "but, thou!" How she clings to the hope of mercy from God when every chance of pity from man is gone! "And raise me up." Recover me from my sickness, give me to regain my position. Jesus was raised up from the grave; his descent was ended by an ascent. "That I may requite them." This as it reads is a truly Old Testament sentence, and quite aside from the spirit of Christianity, yet we must remember that David was a person in magisterial office, and might without any personal revenge, desire to punish those who had insulted his authority and libelled his public character. Our great Apostle and High Priest had no personal animosities, but even he by his resurrection has requited the powers of evil, and avenged on death and hell all their base attacks upon his cause and person. Still the strained application of every sentence of this Psalm to Christ is not to our liking, and we prefer to call attention to the better spirit of the gospel beyond that of the old dispensation.

Be merciful unto me: they censure me grievously, and conclude my case to be desperate; but, Lord, do thou vindicate me, and confute them.

That I may requite them; or, and I will requite them, i.e. punish them for their malicious, and perfidious, and wicked practices; which, being now a magistrate, he was obliged to revenge, Romans 13:4; although when he was a private person, he was so far from revenging evil, that he rendered good for it, as we see, Psalm 35:12,13, and elsewhere.

But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up,.... Not from a bed of illness, nor from a state of poverty and want; but from the dead: it was by the will of his divine Father that he suffered death, and it was to him he made satisfaction and reconciliation for the sins of his people, by his sufferings and death; and therefore it was but a reasonable request, that, having done this, he should be raised from the dead: besides, his Father had promised it, and he had believed it; so that this prayer was a prayer of faith, founded upon a divine promise; and the resurrection of Christ is for the most part ascribed to God the Father as his act; though not to the exclusion of the Son, who had power, as to lay down his life, so to take it up again; and though the resurrection of Christ from the dead is not only an act of power, but also of justice, he having paid his people's debts, atoned for their sins, and satisfied law and justice, it was but right and equitable that he should be discharged from the prison of the grave, and set free; yet here it is requested as an act of mercy, grace, and kindness; for, by doing it, it would appear that his Father's wrath was taken away from him, and that he had turned himself from the fierceness of his anger to him, and that he was well pleased with his righteousness and sacrifice; besides, it was giving him glory, as well as rolling away the reproach he lay under; and, however, it was in mercy to his body the church, whom he represented, since it was for their justification; nay, their regeneration is influenced by it; and so is the resurrection of their bodies, of which Christ's resurrection is the pledge and pattern. The end Christ had in view in making the request follows;

that I may requite them: not "him", Judas, last mentioned; for justice pursued and overtook him; he destroyed himself, and was gone to his own place, before Christ's resurrection from the dead; but them, the Jews, as a body; his enemies that spoke ill of him, wished ill to him, conspired against him, to take away his life, and did bring him to the dust of death: and this his requital of them, after his resurrection, was either of good for evil, by ordering his disciples to preach his Gospel, first at Jerusalem, to those very persons who were concerned in his death, many of whom were converted, baptized, and added to the church; or of evil, for their evil to him, which had its accomplishment in part, at the destruction of Jerusalem, and will more fully at the day of judgment, when they that have pierced him shall see him come in the clouds of heaven.

But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. But thou, O Jehovah, in contrast to their malignity, be thou gracious unto me: though they say ‘he shall rise up no more,’ raise me up.

that I may requite them] The words have a vindictive ring, which is startling, and seems inconsistent with Psalm 7:4; Proverbs 20:22. Yet if the speaker was David, conscious of his divine appointment to be king, he might well pray that he might be restored to punish traitors as they deserved. For the most part he would leave vengeance to Jehovah (1 Samuel 25:33; 2 Samuel 3:39), yet in this instance he might feel that he would be acting as Jehovah’s instrument, in punishing those who were conspiring to resist His purposes. See Introd. p. xc f.

10–12. After describing his urgent need, the Psalmist resumes his prayer from Psalm 41:4, and affirms his confident assurance of God’s favour.

Verse 10. - But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me (comp. ver. 4). The writer passes from complaint to prayer, and once more calls on God to deliver him. And raise me up. Falsify the prediction of my enemies (ver. 8); raise me up from my sick-bed, and re-establish me in a position of authority. That I may requite them. This was not private revenge, but David's duty as a king (Romans 13:4). Psalm 41:10(Heb.: 41:11-13) Having now described their behaviour towards him, sick in soul and body as he is, so devoid of affection, yea, so malignantly hostile and so totally contrary to the will and promise of God, David prays that God would raise him up, for he is now lying low, sick in soul and in body. The prayer is followed, as in Psalm 39:14 and many other passages, by the future with ah: that I may be able to requite them, or: then will I requite them. What is meant is the requiting which it was David's duty as a duly constituted king to exercise, and which he did really execute by the power of God, when he subdued the rebellion of Absalom and maintained his ground in opposition to faithlessness and meanness. Instead of בּזאת אדע (Genesis 42:33, cf. Genesis 15:8, Exodus 7:17; Numbers 16:28; Joshua 3:10) the expression is בּזאת ידעתּי in the sense of (ex hoc) cognoverim. On חפצתּ בּי cf. Psalm 18:20; Psalm 22:9; Psalm 35:27. By the second כּי, the בּזאת, which points forwards, is explained. The adversatively accented subject ואני stands first in Psalm 41:13 as a nom. absol., just as in Psalm 35:13. Psalm 41:13 states, retrospectively from the standpoint of fulfilment, what will then be made manifest and assure him of the divine good pleasure, viz., Jahve upholds him (תּמך as in Psalm 63:9), and firmly sets him as His chosen one before Him (cf. Psalm 39:6) in accordance with the Messianic promise in 2 Samuel 7:16, which speaks of an unlimited future.
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