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Psalm 3

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#1
ayin jade

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Psalm 3

This psalm purports in the title to be “A Psalm of David,” and is the first one to which a title indicating authorship, or the occasion on which a psalm was composed, is mentioned.

The psalm was written by David at the time when he fled from Absalom. Some of the Psalms bear the date of the time of the persecution under Saul, but only this and probably Psa_63:1-11 have that of Absalom. It was the opinion of the ancient rabbis that this psalm was actually composed when David, with naked feet, and with his head covered, ascended the Mount of Olives, as he fled from Jerusalem, 2Sa 15:3. When obliged to leave Jerusalem, passing by the mount of Olives, weeping, with his clothes rent, and with dust upon his head.

The flight of David, which is supposed to be referred to here, is described in 2 Sam. 15–18. Absalom rebelled against his father; gathered together a great number of the disaffected in the kingdom; and under pretence of performing a vow which he had made, obtained permission to go to Hebron, having given instructions to his followers to meet him, and having made arrangements to be proclaimed king there. So artful had he been, so numerous were his followers, so extensive seemed to be the defection, and so little prepared was David to meet it, that the only prospect of safety seemed to be in flight. With a few attendants David left Jerusalem, and passed over the Mount of Olives, designing to seek a place of refuge. This was to him the great trial of his life, for there is no greater trial than the ingratitude of a son when he seeks the life of his father. All the circumstances of this case are such that we should suppose that David would cry to God in some such language as is found in this psalm.

Literary construct
The psalm is naturally and regularly divided into four strophes or parts, each one embracing two verses; and in three of them closed by the word Selah, indicating a pause either in the sense, in the melody, or in both.

I. The first is expressive of the anxiety of the psalmist from the fact that many enemies had risen up against him, Psa_3:1-2.

II. The second expresses his confidence in God in the midst of his troubles, Psa_3:3-4. III. The third refers to the fact that in his troubles he had been permitted to lie down calmly and to sleep, and to arise again in the morning. Psa_3:5-6.

IV. In the fourth part, the psalmist calls upon God to arise and save him for in other times he had smitten his enemies upon their cheek bone, and had broken the teeth of the ungodly, and salvation belonged only unto him, Psa_3:7-8.

The word Psalm, mizmor, comes from zamar, to cut or prune 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, for the direction of the singers.

David was an eminent type (picture in someone’s life that foreshadows an event) of Christ. (For a study on typology in the bible, please click this link.) At this time David went over the brook Kidron, and to the mount of Olives; 2Samuel 15:23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over. The king himself also passed over the torrent Kidron, and all the people passed over toward the way of the wilderness. Compare to John 18:1 Having spoken these words, Jesus went out with His disciples over the winter stream Kidron, where there was a garden. He and His disciples entered into it.
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#2
ayin jade

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Psa 3:1 A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.

Many are they that rise up against me - That is, that have become my enemies. The allusion is to those who were now enlisted under Absalom, and who were engaged in endeavoring to overthrow the government. We are told that the hearts of all Israel went after Absalom, 2Sa_15:13; and David is astonished to find such a sudden and general revolt. Not only the common people, but his counsellors also, and many of his chief captains. In the horrible rebellion of Absalom we see the adultery of Bath-sheba, and the murder of Uriah. Now the words of Nathan begin to be fulfilled: “The sword shall not depart from thy house.”

Lord, how are they increased that trouble me - David's enemies increased in the conspiracy against him, 2Samuel 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel of Giloh, David's counselor, from his city Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people with Absalom grew more and more. The hearts of the men of Israel were after Absalom, and against him. If this can be seen in typology, Christ's enemies increased when Judas with a multitude came to take him; when the body of the common people cried out, Crucify him; when the assembly of the wicked enclosed him, and pierced his hands and his feet.

Two things he complains of, concerning his enemies: -
1. That they were very many: Lord, how are they increased! beyond what they were at first, and beyond whatever he thought they would have been.
2. That they were very malicious. They rose up against him; they aimed to trouble him; but that was not all: they said of his soul, There is no help for him in God. That is,
a.) They put a spiteful and invidious construction upon his troubles, as Job's friends did upon him, concluding that, God had deserted him and abandoned his cause,
b.) They blasphemously reflected upon God as unable to relieve him: “His danger is so great that God himself cannot help him.”c.) They endeavoured to shake his confidence in God and drive him to despair of relief from him: “They have said it to my soul;”

Psa 3:2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.

Many there be which say of my soul - Or rather, perhaps, of his “life,” for so the word used here - nephesh - frequently means Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your souls. For it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul. Deuteronomy 12:23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood. For the blood is the life. And you may not eat the life with the flesh. See also Gen_9:4; Gen_35:18; 1Ki_17:21. The object of their persecution, as here stated, was not his soul, as such, in the sense in which we now understand the word, but his life;

Selah - Much has been written on this word, and still its meaning does not appear to be wholly determined. It is rendered in the Targum or Chaldee paraphrase, lealmin, for ever, or to eternity. In the Latin Vulgate, it is omitted, as if it were no part of the text. In the Septuagint it is supposed to refer to some variation or modulation of the voice in singing. The word occurs seventy-three times in the Psalms, and three times in the book of Habakkuk (Hab_3:3, Hab_3:9, Hab_3:13). In the Psalms, it is generally at the end of a sentence or paragraph; but in Psa_51:19 and Psa_57:3, it stands in the middle of the verse. In all these places the original word Selah is retained. It occurs only in poetry, and is supposed to have had some reference to the singing or cantillation of poetry, and to be probably a musical term. In general, also, it indicates a pause in the sense, as well as in the musical performance. It is supposed that the most probable meaning of this musical term or note is silence or pause, and that its use was, in chanting the words of the Psalm, to direct the singer to be silent, to pause a little, while the instruments played an interlude or harmony. It is probable, if this was the use of the term, that it would commonly correspond with the sense of the passage, and be inserted where the sense made a pause suitable; and this will doubtless be found usually to be the fact.

Selah - It either comes from sal, to raise or elevate, and may denote a particular elevation in the voices of the performers, which is very observable in the Jewish singing to the present day; or it may come from salah, to strew or spread out, intimating that the subject to which the word is attached should be spread out, meditated on, and attentively considered by the reader. Some scholars contend for this meaning; and think it is confirmed by Psa_9:16, where the word higgaion is put before selah at the end of the verse. Now higgaion certainly signifies meditation, or a fit subject for meditation; and so shows selah to be really a nota bene, attend to or mind this.
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#3
ayin jade

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Psa 3:3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me - As a shield covers and defends the body from the strokes of an adversary, so wilt thou cover and defend me from them that rise up against me. The declaration here has a general form, that he will trust in him at all times. The shield was a well-known part of ancient armor, of use when swords, and spears, and arrows were employed. They were usually made of tough and thick hides, fastened to a rim, and so attached to the left arm that they could be readily thrown before the body when attacked, or so that, as they were usually held, the vital parts of the body would be protected. From this use of the shield it was natural to speak of God as the “shield,” or the “Protector” of his people - an appellation which is often given to him in the Scriptures Genesis 15:1 After these things the Word of Jehovah came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward. See also Deu_33:29; 2Sa_22:3; Psa_28:7; Psa_119:114; Psa_144:2; Psa_33:20; Psa_84:11; Pro_30:5.

And the lifter up of my head - The head, in time of trouble and sorrow is naturally bowed down, as if overpowered with the weight of affliction. See Psa_35:14 : “I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother;” Psa_38:6 : “I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day.” To lift up the head, therefore, or to raise one up, is to relieve his distresses, or to take away his troubles.

my glory - who took David from the sheepfold, and made him king over Israel, and raised him to all the glory he had enjoyed; and in whom he gloried as his covenant God, and of whom he made his boast; and not of his strength, valor, wisdom, riches, and honor.

and the lifter up mine head - the Lord was lifter up of David's head when he brought him to the throne, and afterwards gave him victory over his enemies; for so the phrase of lifting up the head signifies. And He was the lifter up of Christ's head when He raised Him from the dead; and exalted Him, both with and at His right hand, to be a Prince and a Savior, and gave Him a name above every name. And He is the lifter up of the heads of His people in conversion, when He raises them from a low estate, and sets them among princes to inherit the throne of glory; and when He gives them comfort, peace, and joy, which causes them to lift up their heads and when He gives them boldness and confidence, as at the throne of grace now, through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon them; so at the bar of judgment hereafter, through the righteousness of Christ put upon them, as that they shall not be ashamed nor confounded. Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to happen, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near. He will be the lifter up of their heads in the resurrection morn, and when they shall appear with Christ in glory.

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me - The word in the original signifies more than a shield; it means a buckler round about, a protection which shall surround a man entirely, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within.

For thou, O Lord, art my helper, my glory, and the lifter up of my head - David here contrasts three things with three; helper, with many troubling; glory, with many rising up; and the lifter up of the head, with the blaspheming and insulting.

Psa 3:4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

I cried unto the Lord - The form of the verb here is future - “I will cry” or call unto the Lord; probably, however, designed to state a general habit with him, that when troubles came he always called on the Lord. Thus, the language is not so much retrospective as it is indicative of the uniform state of his mind in the midst of afflictions.

With my voice - Not merely mentally, but he gave utterance to the deep anguish of his soul in words. So the Savior did in the garden of Gethsemane Mat_26:39; and so, perhaps, most persons do in deep affliction. It is natural then to cry out for help; and besides the fact that we may hope that any prayer then, though mental only, would bring relief by being answered, there is a measure of relief found by the very act of giving utterance or vent to the deep and, as it were, pent-up feelings of the soul.

And he heard me - The psalmist refers to what he had constantly found to be true, that God was a hearer of prayer.

Out of his holy hill - Zion. That was the place to which David had removed the ark, and which was regarded, therefore, as the special dwelling-place of the Most High.
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#4
ayin jade

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Psa 3:5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

I laid me down and slept - Notwithstanding these troubles and dangers I had such confidence that God hears prayer, and such calm trust in his protection, that I laid me down gently and slept securely. The psalmist mentions this as a remarkable proof of the divine protection and favor. He was driven from his capital, his throne, and his home. He was compelled to wander as a poor fugitive, accompanied by only a few friends. He was pursued by enemies, who were numbered by thousands. He was made an exile, and persecuted by his own son; and with this son there were men of age and of experience in war. The forces of his enemies might come upon him at any moment. In these circumstances, persecuted as he was, and under all the anxiety and distress which he felt in view of the ungrateful conduct of his own son, he regarded it as a singular proof of the divine favor, and as an illustration of the peace which confidence in God gives to those who put their trust in him, that on such a dreadful night he was permitted to lie calmly down and sleep.

I awaked - Still safe and secure. He had not been suddenly attacked by his foes, and made to sleep the sleep of death; he had not been crushed by anguish of spirit.

For the Lord sustained me - He kept me from danger; he preserved me from death. And it is as true now as it was then, that God is the supporter of life when men sleep. He guards us. Its actually future tense. That this God will protect him, His protection during the past night is now a pledge to him in the early morning.

I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me - Some see this as a foreshadow of Christ, by the words of this verse signifying his death and burial.

Psa 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.

Round about - Intending to hem me in on every side. Of course this was to be apprehended in such a rebellion; yet David says that he could now look with calmness on all this, for he had confidence in God. Compare Psalms 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
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#5
ayin jade

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Psa 3:7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.

Arise, O Lord - This is a common mode of calling upon God in the Scriptures, as if he had been sitting still, or had been inactive. The idea is simply that David now calls upon God to interpose in his behalf and to deliver him. Psalms 44:23 Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever; and Numbers 10:35 Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You."

Save me, O my God - In accordance with a common usage in the Scriptures, and with what is right for all the people of God, he calls him “his” God: “O my God.” That is, he was the God whom he recognized as his God in distinction from all idols, and who had manifested himself as his God by the many mercies which he had conferred on him.

For thou hast smitten all mine enemies - That is, in former exigencies, or on former occasions. In his conflicts with Saul, with the Philistines, and with the surrounding nations, he had done this; and as the result of all he had established him on the throne, and placed him over the realm. In the remembrance of all this he appeals with the full confidence that what God had done for him before He would do now, and that, notwithstanding he was surrounded with numerous foes, He would again interpose. He speaks in full confidence of God’s interference; and knows as surely that he shall have the victory.

Upon the cheek-bone - This language seems to be taken from a comparison of his enemies with wild beasts; and the idea is, that God had disarmed them as one would a lion or tiger by breaking out his teeth. The cheek-bone denotes the bone in which the teeth are placed; and to smite that, is to disarm the animal. To smite anyone upon the cheek is reckoned reproachful, and is casting contempt upon them; Job 16:10 "They have gaped at me with their mouth, They have slapped me on the cheek with contempt; They have massed themselves against me. The idea of contempt is combined with that of rendering harmless in this “smiting upon the cheek.” What is meant is a striking in of the jaw-bone and therewith a breaking of the teeth in pieces. David means, an ignominious end has always come upon the ungodly who rose up against him and against God's order in general, as their punishment. Compare to Proverbs 30:14 There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords And his jaw teeth like knives, To devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men.

Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly - The same idea is continued here, expressed under another form, “as if” the teeth of wild animals were broken out, toothless lions, rendering them harmless. As God had thus disarmed his enemies in times past, the psalmist confidently called on Him to do it.

Psa 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

Salvation belongeth unto the Lord - That is, it pertains to God alone to save. The psalmist had no expectation of saving himself; he had no confidence in the unaided prowess of his own arm. If he was to be saved he felt that it was to be only by God, and the praise of this was to be given to Him.

Thy blessing is upon thy people - Or perhaps, rather, “thy blessing be upon thy people,” regarding this as a “prayer” rather than an “affirmation.” Also may be seen as let "thy blessing be upon thy people" either upon those that were on the side of David, or on those, as others interpret it, who had imprudently joined themselves to Absalom; which latter sense shows in what a divine frame and disposition of mind the psalmist was, to pray for his enemies: or the words are an assertion, that the blessing of the Lord was come upon his covenant people, and does descend upon them as they are called by grace; even all spiritual blessings, the blessings of a justifying righteousness, of pardon of sin, of reconciliation and peace by the blood of Christ, of adoption, and of eternal life; the blessing of grace, and the blessing of glory.
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#6
nebula

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This Psalm has been an encouragement to me many times.

The portion: "Many are they that say of my soul, 'There is no help for him in God.' But You Oh Lord are a shield for me..." struck home.

How often do we in struggle believe the lie from the enemy (though we think it's our own thoughts) that God has abandoned us / won't help us / etc.

I've run to this Psalm to remind myself those fears are lies.
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#7
James Hutton

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This was a nice study for me to read. It is amazing how so many passages in the bible can be overlooked because there is simply so much to learn and read in God's Word. It is easy to not see particular verses all that often. The psalms are great, but there are so many of them that they can be easily missed, or not thought about for significant amounts of time. This is one such psalm for me.

I appreciated the comment on vs. 3, "But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." The idea of the shield actually being a buckler and covering the person all around is good.

Vs. 7, "Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies [upon] the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.", was also helpful for me. Specifically the comments about the cheek bone etc. When one's foes are disarmed, it is a great thing. It is also beneficial with the idea that people can try to bite and devour those who are trying to do what is right. Sometimes they may succeed (if but for a moment, or longer), but if people rely on God, He will raise them up physically and spiritually.

Thanks!
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#8
valeristic

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Really lovely study -- read it all -- thank you! What stood out to me this evening, was the concept of God not only protecting us, but taking away our shame.

"...the One who lifts my head high..."

He gives sleep in trouble, and is a just God who deals with the wicked, while still blessing his people.
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#9
1peterlight

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I'm sorry, I haven't had a chance to read the whole study (plan to get back to it as my younguns are running about right now ) but speaking of Psalms, can anyone tell me what 'selah' means? :confused:
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#10
FresnoJoe

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  • Interests:The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:24-27 - - - Love, Your Brother Joe

I'm sorry, I haven't had a chance to read the whole study (plan to get back to it as my younguns are running about right now ) but speaking of Psalms, can anyone tell me what 'selah' means? :confused:


To Me It Means "Think On It'
But Than Again I Can't Carry A Note Nor Keep A Beat :)

or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selah


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1peterlight

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I'm sorry, I haven't had a chance to read the whole study (plan to get back to it as my younguns are running about right now ) but speaking of Psalms, can anyone tell me what 'selah' means? :confused:


To Me It Means "Think On It'
But Than Again I Can't Carry A Note Nor Keep A Beat :)

or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selah



Thank you! That's very interesting!
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#12
sassycat

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I love the Psalms. They can be such a comfort in a time of need. I thank God for His protection!
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#13
RedMomma

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Wow Jadey this was worth looking at and im sorry i didnt read it last night!!! I was sitting here thinking of how david must of felt during that trial and i could feel his pain and his worries and yet he still looked to God and i dont know about you all but our emotions can blind us to even think of seeking the Lord when we hurt etc thank you jadey for taking the time to do this i needed to see this Gbu
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#14
RedMomma

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Will you be doing more? if so please let me know okay
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#15
ayin jade

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Yes I will be doing more. Ive been a bit lazy the last couple of months :taped: and havent done any to post.

I do have more already in this forum. Do a search for this forum for psalm or do an advanced search for this forum for topics started by me.
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#16
RedMomma

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ok will do and thanks girl for answering too and you work too much as it is lol but thats just my opinion '
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#17
ayin jade

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I have forgotten to add this to other studies Ive posted here about the psalms. It is posted in one of my studies already though. Here is my disclaimer about sources used and how I study.


I read a chapter then I go over it verse by verse. I read through commentaries etc to glean background information, rejecting what does not seem correct and keeping what does. I mix it up, add some of my own, interspersed with paragraphs from the commentaries. The commentaries and all my notes are what I post with each verse. For copyright purposes, I use the KJV since it is not copyrighted in the US, and for posting publicly, I use commentaries whose copyrights are open. When reading my study/ studies, I encourage you to use whichever version of the bible you are most comfortable with. I used the following commentaries: John Wesley's Explanatory Notes; Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge; Spurgeon's A Treasury of David; Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary; Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament; Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary; Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible; Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible; John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible and Strong's Concordance. I have read modern commentaries but have not posted from them in my public studies.
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