Psalm 41:3
The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
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(3) Will strengthen.—Literally, will prop him up, support him.

Wilt make.—Literally, hast turned. Some think with literal allusion to the fact that the Oriental bed was merely a mat, which could be turned while the sick man was propped up. But such literalness is not necessary. To turn here is to change, as in Psalm 66:6; Psalm 105:29, and what the poet says is that, as in past times, Divine help has come to change his sickness into health, so he confidently expects it will be now, “in his sickness” being equivalent to “in the time of his sickness.”

41:1-4 The people of God are not free from poverty, sickness, or outward affliction, but the Lord will consider their case, and send due supplies. From his Lord's example the believer learns to consider his poor and afflicted brethren. This branch of godliness is usually recompensed with temporal blessings. But nothing is so distressing to the contrite believer, as a fear or sense of the Divine displeasure, or of sin in his heart. Sin is the sickness of the soul; pardoning mercy heals it, renewing grace heals it, and for this spiritual healing we should be more earnest than for bodily health.The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing - The word rendered strengthen here means to support; to uphold; to sustain. The idea here is, that God would enable him to bear his sickness, or would impart strength - inward strength - when his body failed, or when but for this aid he must sink under his disease and die. The word rendered languishing means properly languor or sickness; and more generally something sickening; that is, something unclean, unwholesome, nauseating, Job 6:6. The idea here, in accordance with what is stated above, is, that acts of religion will tend to promote our welfare and hap piness in this life; and more particularly that the man who shows favor Psalm 41:1 to those who are weak, sick, helpless, will find in turn that God will support him when he is sick. Thus, Psalm 18:25, "With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful."

Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness - Margin, as in Hebrew: "turn." So the Septuagint, ἔστρεψας estrepsas. Luther renders it, "Thou dost help him." The idea is, that God will turn his bed or his couch; that is, that he will render favor like turning his couch, or making his bed when he is sick; or, in other words, he will relieve his suffering, and make him comfortable on his bed. It does not mean that he will turn his sickness to health, but that he will relieve and comfort him, as one is relieved and soothed on a sick bed by having his bed made up. This, too, is in accordance with the general sentiment that God will show himself merciful to those who are merciful; kind to those who are kind. On the bed of languishing it will be much to be able to remember that we, in our health, have contributed to the comfort of the sick and the dying.

(a) The recollection itself will do much to impart inward satisfaction then, for we shall then appreciate better than we did when we performed the act the value of this trait of character, and have a deeper sense of gratitude that we have been able to relieve the sufferings of others;

(b) we may believe and trust that God will remember what we have done, and that he will manifest himself to us then as our gracious supporter and our comforter.

It will not be because by our own acts we have merited his favor, but because this is his gracious purpose, and because it is in accordance with his nature thus to bestow kindness on those who have been kind to others.

3. The figures of Ps 41:3 are drawn from the acts of a kind nurse. Either,

1. Change or overturn his bed of sickness; which is done when a man is restored to health. Or rather,

2. Give him ease and comfort, which sick men receive by the help of those who turn and stir their whole bed, to make it soft and easy for them; for the words foregoing and following these suppose him to be and continue in a state of sickness. Thus the Lord elsewhere compares himself to a servant, waiting upon his people at table, Luke 12:37; as here, to one that makes their bed; metaphors implying strange condescension.

The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing,.... When on a sick bed, or a death bed, where he lies languishing, and ready to expire; when his natural strength, spirits, and heart fail him, then the Lord strengthens him with strength in his soul; and is the strength of his heart, and his portion for ever. The Targum is,

"the Word of the Lord shall help him in his life, and shall appear to him on the bed of his illness, to quicken him;''

thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness; or "all his bed thou hast turned" or "wilt turn in his sickness" (t); meaning not the recovery of him from a bed of sickness to a state of health, which is the sense given by many; much less a turning him from a state of ease and rest into trouble and distress; but making him easy and comfortable on a bed of sickness; which, in a literal sense, is done when a sick person's bed is turned or made, or he is turned upon it from side to side; so the Lord, by the comforts of his Spirit, makes a sick and death bed easy to them that believe in Christ, and often puts that triumphant song into their mouths in their dying moments, "O death! where is that sting?" &c. 1 Corinthians 15:55; and this is the peaceful end and blissful state of such who wisely consider Christ and believe in him; low estate, through the sins of his the insults of his enemies, and the treachery of one of his disciples, is described in the following verses.

(t) "versasti", Pagninus, Montanus; "vertisti", Vatablus; "ita vertes", Michaelis; so Ainsworth; , Apollinarius.

The LORD will strengthen him upon the {b} bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his {c} bed in his sickness.

(b) When for sorrow and grief of mind he calls himself on his bed.

(c) You have restored him in his sick bed and sent him comfort.

3. The Lord will support him upon the couch of languishing (R.V.), uphold him (Psalm 18:35) and preserve him from sinking into the grave.

thou wilt make all his bed] Lit. thou hast turned (or, changed) his lying down: changed his sickness into health. Cp. Psalm 30:11. Instead of a general truth a particular example is appealed to: or perhaps faith pictures the result as already attained. ‘The Lord will support … nay, thou hast already raised him up.’

The verse is commonly explained as a metaphor from the nurse supporting the patient’s head and shifting the bed and pillows to give ease and relief, but usage does not seem to warrant this interpretation.

Verse 3. - The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing. If he falls into a sickness, God will support him through it. Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness; literally, thou wilt turn all his bed; i.e. rearrange it, turn its cushions, make it such that he can comfortably lie on it (see Kay, who quotes Bellarmine). Others understand, "Thou wilt change his couch from one of sickness to one of convalescence." Psalm 41:3(Heb.: 41:2-4) The Psalm opens by celebrating the lot, so rich in promises, of the sympathetic man. דּל is a general designation of the poor (e.g., Exodus 30:15), of the sick and weakly (Genesis 41:19), of the sick in mind (2 Samuel 13:4), and of that which outwardly or inwardly is tottering and consequently weak, frail. To show sympathising attention, thoughtful consideration towards such an one (השׂכּיל אל as in Nehemiah 8:13, cf. על Proverbs 17:20) has many promises. The verb חיּה, which elsewhere even means to call to life again (Psalm 71:20), in this instance side by side with preserving, viz., from destruction, has the signification of preserving life or prolonging life (as in Psalm 30:4; Psalm 22:30). The Pual אשּׁר signifies to be made happy (Proverbs 3:18), but also declaratively: to be pronounced happy (Isaiah 9:15); here, on account of the בּארץ that stands with it, it is the latter. The Chethb יעשּׁר sets forth as an independent promise that which the Ker ואשּׁר joins on to what has gone before as a consequence. אל, Psalm 41:3 (cf. Psalm 34:6 and frequently), expresses a negative with full sympathy in the utterance. נתן בּנפשׁ as in Psalm 27:12. The supporting in Psalm 41:4 is a keeping erect, which stops or arrests the man who is sinking down into death and the grave. דּוי ( equals davj, similar form to שׁמי, מעי, but wanting in the syllable before the tone) means sickness. If Psalm 41:4 is understood of the supporting of the head after the manner of one who waits upon the sick (cf. Sol 2:6), then Psalm 41:4 must, with Mendelssohn and others, be understood of the making of the couch or bed. But what then is neat by the word לך? משׁכּב is a sick-bed in Exodus 21:18 in the sense of being bedridden; and הפכתּ (cf. Psalm 30:12) is a changing of it into convalescence. By כל־משׁכבו is not meant the constant lying down of such an one, but the affliction that casts him down, in all its extent. This Jahve turns or changes, so often as such an one is taken ill (בחליו, at his falling sick, parallel with דוי על־ערשׂ דוי htiw). He gives a complete turn to the "sick-bed" towards recovery, so that not a vestige of the sickness remains behind.
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