A prayer for mercy in time of illness, when friends betray and enemies attack.
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 =vv. 4-9
st. 3 =vv. 10-13
As in Psalms 38 and 39, the psalmist prays for God's mercy and restoration in a time of illness, which he views as discipline for his sins. The psalmist's enemies seize the occasion to publicly discredit him. Even his "close friend" (v. 9) turns against him. Apparently betrayal was not rare in ancient Israel. Jesus himself experienced profound betrayal by Judas at a time when Jesus seemed powerless before the growing opposition of Jewish religious leaders. This psalm expresses our confidence that the LORD delivers the godly from illness and from the attack of enemies (st. 1). In it we appeal for God's mercy in the face of our enemies' gloating and a friend's betrayal (st. 2) and pray that God will restore us and undo the slander of our enemies (st. 3). Bert Polman (PHH 37) versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal, borrowing the opening lines from the paraphrase in the 1912 Psalter.
Suitable as a confession of sin, but also appropriate during illness or other distress occasioning slander or the alienation of friends. Because Jesus experienced a close parallel in the betrayal by Judas, this psalm is also fitting for Holy Week.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook