Psalm 3:1-8

A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.

1 Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.

2 Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.”

3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

4 I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.

5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.

6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

7 Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.

8 Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people.

Absalom’s rebellion is recorded in 2 Samuel 15-19. David, and those loyal to him, fled across the Jordan until the rebellion was put down and Absalom was killed.

Psalm (heading) — Hebrew, mizmor — this word occurs 57 times, only in the heading of psalms — probably “a psalm sung by the Levites in the Temple, accompanied by musical instruments

they … who trouble me (v.1) — David’s adversaries aren’t Gentiles, but Israelites led by his own son

many (v.1) — Therefore I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, like the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person (2 Samuel 17:11-12) — Hushai was no doubt using hyperbole here.

there is no help for him in God (v.2) — they weren’t denying God’s ability but His will to save David personally (2 Samuel 16:8).

help (v.2) and salvation (v.8) — both words are translations of the Hebrew yeshua

lifts up my head (v.3) — a picture of God’s provision (Psalm 27:6; Psalm 110:7)

For God’s answer to his cry of distress David looks to His holy mountain, referring to Zion and the Temple Mount in particular (see Psalm 2:6), the reason for this being not only that it was in the Temple specifically that God’s presence was manifest in the “cloud” of His glory (see Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:11), but also because one of the three primary means of communication between God and the kings of Israel was the Urim and Thummim (“yes”/”no” lots), which were kept in the breastplate of the high priest (Exodus 28:30; the two other means were “prophets” and “dreams” — see 1 Samuel 28:6). — Wechsler, page 27.

I lay down and slept (v.5) — evidence of David’s faith in God

Arise, O, Lord (v.7) — contrasting David’s reliance on God as opposed to them who rise up (v.1) against him

Striking the enemies on the jaw (v.7) is an expression of humiliation (cf. 1 Kings 22:24; Isaiah 50:6). the metaphor of the breaking of teeth likens the enemies to wild animals whose strength is taken away when their teeth are crushed (cf. Psalm 58:6). — Barker, page 796.

David ends (v.8) with a blessing on the very people who seek his death.

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