Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Psalm 41:9Psalm 41:9. Here is an instance of
Very special treachery, which would be regarded as black indeed in the light of Oriental hospitality. Yet he who was in all points tempted like as we are, endured treachery viler still. To this reference is made in John 13:18. The note of Bishop Perowne hereon is so truly helpful, that we quote it in full below) - C.
Exodus 7.); that as Joseph said of Pharaoh's dreams, the dreams are two, hut the interpretation is but one; so among friends the hearts are two, yet there is but one joy, one desire, and but one affection between them both. O what an accursed crime it is to cancel such a bond, much more to falsify and corrupt it! more unnatural than to divide one living child into two dead parts like the uncompassionate harlot. St. Basil did so cleave to the familiarity of holy Nazianzen, whom he called his necessary friend, that he thought not his knowledge solid, or his study profitable, or the daylight to be clear without him. Xenophon was so inflamed with the love of Proxenus, dear to him as his own soul, that he changed his bookish life, and entered into a dangerous war, as he confesseth, that he might follow him as the shadow did the body. Perfect lawgivers, says , have had more careful regard to settle friendship in their polities, than to settle justice; for there is a recompense and satisfaction for any fault that infringeth justice, but it is past our value and exceeds all estimation how to salve up an injury which abuseth friendship: besides, there is prevention in all points of justice that an innocent may sustain no hurt, but the wounds of a false friend, how is it possible to avoid them? such an Ahithophel is like hot iron taken out of the fire which neither glows nor shines, but burns more violently than the flame that threatens. We have a test to try gold, says Euripides, a touchstone to betray deceit in counterfeit metals; but to know the mischief of a dissembler's heart, there's no mark or character to discern it. Moreover, every man hath a share in his whole friend, in all his estate and faculties, but every single man hath but his part in that commonwealth whereof he is a citizen: then reason within yourselves, can he that wrongs a friend, who is all and every whit his own, be true to that kingdom wherein he hath but a share and moiety? As the poet warned the sparrow not to build a nest in Medaea's statue, for she spared not to kill her own young ones, and could the little birds, who were but inmates, expect succour from her? So believe him not that he will be just to others, who was unjust to his other self: let him be rooted out, let him be cut off like unprofitable ivy that undermines the building upon which it creeps.
Obadiah 1:7, where substantially the same language is employed in reference to the enemies of Edom, as supporting the national reference of the present passage. No one denies that false allies may be described by such a figure, or that nations may be personified; but is there any event in the post-exilic history which shows Israel deceived and spurned by trusted allies? The Davidic authorship and the personal reference of the psalm are separable. But if the latter is adopted, it will be hard to find any circumstances answering so fully to the details of the psalm as the Absalomic rebellion and Abithophel's treason. Our Lord's quotation of part of ver. 9, with the significant omission of "in whom I trusted," does not imply the Messianic character of the psalm, but is an instance of an event, and a saying which were not meant as prophetic, finding fuller realization in the life of the perfect type of suffering godliness than in the original sufferer.
Yea, mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
I. IT IS A GRIEVOUS THING THAT THEY WHO EAT OF THE LORD'S COMMON DREAD SHOULD LIFT UP THEIR HEEL AGAINST HIM.
1. But they thus lift up their heel when —(1) They do not serve Him by whom they are maintained. If we live by Him we should surely live for Him.(2) When their lusts are fed and fattened by God's good benefits bestowed on them, so that instead of being led to repentance thereby, they are led farther away from God ("Jeshurun" and Ezekiel 16:49, 50). And(3) when the good things God gives are wasted on our lusts to satisfy their cravings.(4) When in any manner of way they live to the dishonour of God (Romans 2:3-6).
2. Now, the causes of such evil conduct are —(1) The corruption of man's nature, which tends to make an ill use of everything.(2) Our forgetting our dependence upon God.
3. The evil of this practice.(1) It is monstrous ingratitude. Of. Isaiah.(2) It has dismal effects, provoking God to take away His bread from men. Therefore let us be humbled on account of this sin, and resolve to reform and amend our ways.
II. IT IS A VERY GRIEVOUS THING THAT THEY WHO EAT OF THE LORD'S SACRAMENTAL BREAD SHOULD LIFT UP THEIR HEEL AGAINST HIM. Note —
1. How His professed friends may do this.(1) By unsteadiness in their walk. We are bidden "walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise."(2) By returning to their openly profane courses (2 Peter 2:20-22).(3) By carnality and worldliness in the ordinary frame of their hearts.(4) By formality and listlessness in the duties of religion.(5) By secret dalliance with some bosom idol, to the slighting of Christ.(6) By neglecting opportunities of communion with God, as Sabbaths and public ordinances.(7) By the heart losing the esteem it once had for Christ.(8) By wearying of converse with God.(9) By habitual neglect of the duties of practical godliness (Galatians 2:20). As the life of faith; the acknowledging of God in all our ways; self-examination; mourning for our own sins, and the sins of the land; commending Christ and religion to others who are strangers to Him.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
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