Reformed commentators tend to find Christ in the Psalms typologically, and that approach to the text is demonstrated in John Calvin’s (1509-1564) interpretation of Psalm 41:9. While Christ applied this text to Judas, Calvin finds a broader correspondence between David and Christ. David’s words concerning his own situation, Calvin argues, are representative of Christ, and so are only fully understood when applied to him.
David Typifies Christ’s Coming Betrayal
Christ, in quoting this passage, applies it to the person of Judas. And certainly we ought to understand that, although David speaks of himself in this psalm, yet he speaks not as a common and private person but as one who represented the person of Christ, inasmuch as he was, as it were, the example after which the whole church should be conformed . . . Each of us should prepare himself for the same condition. It was necessary that what was begun in David should be fully accomplished in Christ. Therefore, it must of necessity come to pass that the same thing should be fulfilled in each of his members, namely, that they should suffer not only from external violence and force but also from internal foes, ever ready to betray them, even as Paul declares that the church shall be assailed not only by “fighting from without” but also by “fears within.”
COMMENTARY ON PSALM 41:1-13.
RCS Series: Christology and the Psalms
Martin Luther | All of Scripture in the Psalms
Cardinal Cajetan | Apostles, Psalms, and Literal Exposition
Wolfgang Musculus | Typology and the Psalms
John Calvin | Davidic Typology
Konrad Pellikan | Messianic Expectation and the Psalms
John Downame | Christological Righteousness
Philipp Melanchthon | Christ the Son and Lord of David
Wolfgang Musculus | Christology and Deliverance in the Psalms
The Psalms among the Reformers: An Interview with Herman J. Selderhuis