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.

Psalms 1-72, ed. Herman J. Selderhuis, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, OT vol. 7, p. 322.

 

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