Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. 10 But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them. 11 By this I know that You are well pleased with me, Because my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And set me before Your face forever. Psalm 41:9-12 NKJV
A “backstabber” is a betrayer, i.e., someone disloyal and unfaithful who commits an act of infidelity or treachery—they double-cross you. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? (Prov. 18:14). Nothing hurts more than the wound from a friend. You expect an enemy to say and do all kinds of evil things against you—but not a friend. In times of trouble, you expect a real friend to support you with love, acceptance, healing, and understanding (Prov. 17:17). But a real friend doesn’t abandon you, slander you, conspire against you, and betray you. “A real friend walks in when others walk out” (Anonymous), but a traitor will stab you in the back!
David, the great King of Israel, was betrayed by a close friend and trusted counselor (See 2 Sam. 15, 17). The betrayer was a man whom David considered to be a valued companion, a close friend, with whom he enjoyed sweet fellowship, and one whom he walked together to worship in the house of God (Psalm 55:13-14). David’s close friend and counselor, Ahithophel, was a backstabber.
Jesus was betrayed by Judas who was a fellow member of the tribe of Judah as was Jesus, one of the twelve apostles who traveled with Him, ate with Him, and handled the finances of His ministry (John 13:2-5, 18). Jesus’ hand-picked disciple, Judas, was a backstabber.
In both David and Jesus’ cases, they were both “stabbed in the back” and both, undoubtedly experienced a feeling of being deeply wounded in their humanity. But there are different levels of friendships; thus, there are varying degrees of pain when double-crossed by a friend. Some friends are just acquaintances, some are casual, some are close friends, and a few others you would probably consider to be intimate friends, e.g., a spouse, a sibling, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or one that you deem to be a best friend forever (BFF). A “stab in the back” by an intimate friend hurts deeper than the betrayal of an acquaintance or casual one—it hurts to the inner most parts of your being (Prov. 18:8).
But be encouraged. God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). What the “backstabber” meant for evil against you, God intends it for your good, in order to bring about His greater good and plan and purpose for your life, and the lives of others that you may impact (Gen. 50:20). Beware of the “backstabbers.” “They smile in your face, but all the time they want to take your place” (Ojays).