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Psalm 41[a]

For the music director, a psalm of David.

41 How blessed[b] is the one who treats the poor properly.[c]
When trouble comes,[d] may[e] the Lord deliver him.[f]

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  1. Psalm 41:1 sn Psalm 41. The psalmist is confident (vv. 11-12) that the Lord has heard his request to be healed (vv. 4-10), and he anticipates the joy he will experience when the Lord intervenes (vv. 1-3). One must assume that the psalmist is responding to a divine oracle of assurance (see P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 [WBC], 319-20). The final verse is a fitting conclusion to this psalm, but it is also serves as a fitting conclusion to the first “book” (or major editorial division) of the Psalter. Similar statements appear at or near the end of each of the second, third, and fourth “books” of the Psalter (see Pss 72:19; 89:52, and 106:48 respectively).
  2. Psalm 41:1 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 34:9; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).
  3. Psalm 41:1 sn One who treats the poor properly. The psalmist is characterizing himself as such an individual and supplying a reason why God has responded favorably to his prayer. The Lord’s attitude toward the merciful mirrors their treatment of the poor.
  4. Psalm 41:1 tn Heb “in the day of trouble” (see Ps 27:5).
  5. Psalm 41:1 tn The prefixed verb יְמַלְּטֵהוּ (yemalletehu) has the form of the pronominal suffix typical of the jussive not the imperfect (יְמַלְּטֶנּוּ, yemalletennu). The jussive form continues throughout the next verse. The principle that begins v. 1 is the basis for the petition in vv. 1b-2. Verse 3 transitions to a statement of confidence and testimony.
  6. Psalm 41:1 tn That is, the one who has been kind to the poor.