Psalms 3

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

1 [a]LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”[b]
3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
7 Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

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Psalms 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

David complains to God of his enemies, and confides in God. (1-3) He triumphs over his fears, and gives God the glory, and takes to himself the comfort. (4-8)

Verses 1-3 An active believer, the more he is beaten off from God, either by the rebukes of providence, or the reproaches of enemies, the faster hold he will take, and the closer will he cleave to him. A child of God startles at the very thought of despairing of help in God. See what God is to his people, what he will be, what they have found him, what David found in him. 1. Safety; a shield for me; which denotes the advantage of that protection. 2. Honour; those whom God owns for his, have true honour put upon them. 3. Joy and deliverance. If, in the worst of times, God's people can lift up their heads with joy, knowing that all shall work for good to them, they will own God as giving them both cause and hearts to rejoice.

Verses 4-8 Care and grief do us good, when they engage us to pray to God, as in earnest. David had always found God ready to answer his prayers. Nothing can fix a gulf between the communications of God's grace towards us, and the working of his grace in us; between his favour and our faith. He had always been very safe under the Divine protection. This is applicable to the common mercies of every night, for which we ought to give thanks every morning. Many lie down, and cannot sleep, through pain of body, or anguish of mind, or the continual alarms of fear in the night. But it seems here rather to be meant of the calmness of David's spirit, in the midst of his dangers. The Lord, by his grace and the consolations of his Spirit, made him easy. It is a great mercy, when we are in trouble, to have our minds stayed upon God. Behold the Son of David composing himself to his rest upon the cross, that bed of sorrows; commending his Spirit into the Father's hands in full confidence of a joyful resurrection. Behold this, O Christian: let faith teach thee how to sleep, and how to die; while it assures thee that as sleep is a short death, so death is only a longer sleep; the same God watches over thee, in thy bed and in thy grave. David's faith became triumphant. He began the psalm with complaints of the strength and malice of his enemies; but concludes with rejoicing in the power and grace of his God, and now sees more with him than against him. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord; he has power to save, be the danger ever so great. All that have the Lord for their God, are sure of salvation; for he who is their God, is the God of Salvation.

Cross References 15

  • 1. Psalms 22:8; Psalms 71:11; Isaiah 36:15; Isaiah 37:20
  • 2. S Genesis 15:1; Psalms 28:7
  • 3. Psalms 27:6
  • 4. S Job 30:20
  • 5. Psalms 2:6
  • 6. S Leviticus 26:6; Proverbs 3:24
  • 7. Psalms 17:15; Psalms 139:18
  • 8. Job 11:15; Psalms 23:4; Psalms 27:3
  • 9. Psalms 118:11
  • 10. S 2 Chronicles 6:41; Psalms 7:6
  • 11. Psalms 6:4; Psalms 7:1; Psalms 59:1; Psalms 109:21; Psalms 119:153; Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 33:22; Isaiah 35:4; Isaiah 36:15; Isaiah 37:20; Jeremiah 42:11; Matthew 6:13
  • 12. Job 16:10
  • 13. Job 29:17; Psalms 57:4; Proverbs 30:14; Lamentations 3:16; Psalms 58:6
  • 14. Psalms 27:1; Psalms 37:39; Psalms 62:1; Isaiah 43:3,11; Isaiah 44:6,8; Isaiah 45:21; Hosea 13:4; John 2:9; Revelation 7:10
  • 15. Numbers 6:23; Psalms 29:11; Psalms 129:8

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 3:1-8 is numbered 3:2-9.
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 4 and 8.

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. This is the first of the psalms that has a title, and is called a Psalm; the word for which, "mizmor", comes from one which signifies to "cut" or "prune" {r}, as trees are lopped of their superfluous branches; showing this to be a composition of even feet, in proper metre, formed for the modulation of the voice, to some tune or musical instrument; and it is said to be "a psalm of David", which may be rendered "a psalm for" or "to David" {s}, as if it was wrote by another for his use, and inscribed to him; or rather that it was given to him by the Holy Spirit, who was the author of it, though he was the penman. It is observed by some, that wherever the dative case is used in the title of the psalm, as it most frequently is, as such a psalm to David, or to Asaph, it may signify that it came from the Lord to him, or was divinely inspired; just as it is said, the word of the Lord came to the prophets; though some render it "a psalm concerning David" {t}, his troubles, his faith and security in God, his victory over his enemies, and salvation from the Lord. However, David was the composer of this psalm, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, occasioned by his flight from Absalom; who, having stolen away the hearts of the people of Israel, entered into a conspiracy with them to dethrone his father and place himself in his stead; and the people so increased continually with him, that David thought it advisable to flee from Jerusalem, 2Sa 15:12-14; and at the time of his flight, or after it, he penned this psalm on account of it, and as suitable to it. And now was fulfilled what God had said, by Nathan the prophet, should befall him, because of the affair of Bathsheba and Uriah; see 2Sa 12:11, 16:21,22. David was an eminent type of Christ, and so he was in his troubles, and in these; as one of his sons conspired against him to dethrone him, and take away his life; so Judas, one of Christ's disciples or children, for disciples were called children, his familiar friend, that did eat of his bread, lifted up his heel against him, and sought to betray him, and did; and who, though he knew the designs of Judas against him, and did not flee from him, but rather went to meet him, yet it is easy to observe that he took the same route from Jerusalem as David did. At this time he went over the brook Kidron, and to the mount of Olives; see Joh 18:1, Mt 27:30; compared with 2Sa 15:23,30; And indeed the whole psalm may be applied to Christ; and so as the second psalm sets forth the dignity of Christ's person, as the Son of God, and the stability and enlargement of his kingdom, notwithstanding the opposition made to him; this expresses his troubles from his enemies, his death and resurrection from the dead, his victory over his enemies, and the salvation he wrought out for his people. In short, it may be understood of David as the type, of Christ as the antitype, and of the people of God, being suited to their experiences, more or less, in all ages; and in this large and extensive way I shall choose to interpret it. {r} rwmzm "a radice" rmz "praescidit", Gejerus. {s} dwdl "psalmus Davidi", "sub. datus", Genebrardus. {t} "De Davide, vel in Davidem"; so some in Mariana.

Psalms 3 Commentaries

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