How Blest Are Those Who Thoughtfully

How blest are those who thoughtfully the poor and weak befriend

Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman (1985)
Published in 1 hymnal

Audio files: MIDI

Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman

Bert Polman served as chair of the Music Department at Calvin College and senior research fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Dr. Bert studied at Dordt College (BA 1968), the University of Minnesota (MA 1969, PhD in musicology 1981), and the Institute for Christian Studies. Dr. Bert was a longtime professor of music at Redeemer College in Ancaster, Ontario, and organist at Bethel Christian Reformed Church, Waterdown, Ontario. His teaching covers a wide range of courses in music theory, music history, music literature, and worship, and Canadian Native studies. His research specialty is Christian hymnody. He is also an organist, a frequent workshop leader at music and worship conferences, and contributor to journals such as… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How blest are those who thoughtfully the poor and weak befriend
Title: How Blest Are Those Who Thoughtfully
Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman (1985)
Meter: D
Language: English
Copyright: Text and music © 1987, CRC Publications


A prayer for mercy in time of illness, when friends betray and enemies attack.

Scripture References:
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.

Liturgical Use:
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



GREELEY, composed by Roy Hopp (PHH 11) in 1984 for the Psalter Hymnal, was first sung on tour by the Dordt College Concert Choir on March 31, 1985. Hopp named the tune after Greeley, Colorado, where his wife studied for a time. A classically designed tune (in which lines 1, 2, and 4 are similar and…

Go to tune page >


Instances (1 - 1 of 1)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #41Text InfoTune InfoAudio