|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 8. - An evil disease (literally, a thing of Belial), say they, cleaveth fast unto him. (On the meaning of "Belial," see the comment on Psalm 18:4.) The "thing of Belial" here intended may, perhaps, be the disease from which David was suffering, but is more probably some disgraceful charge or infamous calumny which had been circulated concerning him, and was now crushing him down. This calumny is represented as poured out upon him like a coating of molten metal (see Job 41:23, 24), and so cleaving to him. And now that he lieth; i.e. "now that he is prostrate upon a sick-bed." He shall rise up no more. He shall not recover, but die of his malady.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him,.... Not any bodily one, of which they might hope he would die; much less any foul disease, the disease of sin; but, as the phrase may be rendered, "a word of Belial" (y); that is, a wicked charge or accusation; a charge of sin brought against him by the sons of Belial, as of blasphemy and sedition, which they concluded would be fastened upon him, and stick by him, and in which they should succeed to their wishes; or else the shameful punishment the death of the cross, inflicted on him, which they fancied would fix an indelible mark of infamy and scandal on him, since cursed is he that hangeth on a tree;
and now that he lieth, let him rise up no more; has much as he was dead, of which they had full proof, and was laid in the grave, his tomb watched, and the stone rolled to it sealed; they thought all was safe, and it was all over with him, that he would never rise again, as he had given out, and his disciples incapable of committing a fraud they afterwards accused them with: this, according to the above learned writer, see Psalm 41:6, was said by Absalom, as he thinks Ahithophel is the person designed in Psalm 41:9.
(y) "verbum Belijahal", Montanus, Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. An evil disease—literally, "a word of Belial," some slander.
cleaveth—literally, "poured on him."
that he lieth—who has now laid down, "he is utterly undone and our victory is sure."
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