Psalm 41

Betrayed by a Friend

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 (KJV)

Judas walked with Jesus for three years. He saw miracles, heard teachings—not only the public ones, but also the amplified versions Jesus taught His disciples in private. Judas ate and slept with the group. He was entrusted with the job of treasurer.

When Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus, Judas asked, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” (John 12:5). Matthew records that Judas then went to the chief priests and asked what they’d give him to deliver Jesus. They gave him thirty pieces of silver, and “from then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over” (Matthew 26:12-16).

Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray Him (John 6:64), but He never treated Judas differently than He treated the other disciples. Jesus placed him in the honored spot at the last supper next to Himself. He washed Judas’s feet knowing what he was about to do.

When Jesus said, “one of you is going to betray me,” the disciples “stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant” (John 13:22). Some thought Jesus was sending Judas on an errand since he had charge of the money (John 13:29). They didn’t know he’d been stealing from them.

John, who leaned against His Savior, noted that Jesus was “troubled in spirit” (John 13:21). He heard Jesus quote “he lifted his heel against me” (from Psalm 41:9). David wrote that psalm after his trusted adviser and friend, Ahithophel, joined David’s son Absalom’s revolt. To “lift your heel” was an idiom borrowed from kicking “or from a wrestler tripping up his antagonist.”*

In another psalm, David wrote, “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers” (Psalm 55:12-14). Jesus also endured the scorn of His enemies, and He felt the pain of betrayal from one who had been so close.

Have you been betrayed by a close friend? Jesus understands. Will you respond as He compassionately as He did?


What happened as a result of Judas’s decisions according to John 13:2 and 27? What’s the significance of John’s comment in v. 30?

Although the disciples didn’t understand at the time, how did Jesus’ obvious foreknowledge of what was going to happen increase their faith later when they remembered His words? See John 13:2, 10-11, 18-19, and 26. Does it increase your faith?

Do you think David’s words in Psalms 41 and 55 were prophetic? Did the Spirit prompt him to say these things that Jesus would later say, or did Jesus just identify with David’s feelings of betrayal? Consider what Jesus said in Luke 24:44.

 Nancy J. Baker

Note: This devotion is part of a series: Psalms of the Messiah.

*“Greek Lexicon :: heel G4418 (KJV).”Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 2 March 2015.

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