on Psalms 41 :3
The Lord will strengthen him - Good, benevolent, and merciful as he is, he must also die: but he shall not die as other men; he shall have peculiar consolations, refreshment, and support, while passing through the valley of the shadow of death.
Thou wilt make all his bed - הפכת haphachta, thou hast turned up, tossed, and shaken it; and thou wilt do so to all his bed - thou wilt not leave one uneasy place in it - not one lump, or any unevenness, to prevent him from sleeping. Thou wilt do every thing, consistently with the accomplishment of the great decree, "Unto dust thou shalt return," to give him ease, refreshment, and rest. We may sum up the privileges of the merciful man:
1. He is generally blessed, Psalm 41:1.
2. He will be delivered in the time of trouble, Psalm 41:1.
3. He will be preserved by a particular providence, Psalm 41:2.
4. He shall be kept alive amidst infection and danger, Psalm 41:2.
5. He shall be blessed on the earth in his temporal concerns, Psalm 41:2.
6. His enemies shall not be able to spoil or destroy him, Psalm 41:2.
7. He shall be strengthened on a bed of languishing, to enable him to bear his afflictions, Psalm 41:3.
8. He shall have ease, comfort, and support in his last hours, Psalm 41:3.
on Psalms 41 :3
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.
on Psalms 41 :3
41:3 Make his bed - Give him ease and comfort, which sick men receive by the help of those who turn and stir up their bed, to make it soft and easy for them.