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This is the first of the ’Davidic’ Psalms. It is a morning prayer as Psalms 3:6 suggests. The heading of the Ps. provides a historical setting for it in the revolt of Absalom, and it is the only Ps. specifically dated at that time. There are many features in that revolt (2 Samuel 16-18) which suit the circumstances to which the Psalmist refers. He speaks of the increasing number of his enemies (cp. 2 Samuel 17:11), of the contempt in which many held him (cp. 2 Samuel 16:7-10), of the danger in which he lay (cp. 2 Samuel 17:2), and of his preservation by Jehovah (cp. 2 Samuel 17:14). The Ps. contains the Psalmist’s description of his foes (1, 2); his inward assurance of God’s help (3, 4); his statement of his present experience (5, 6); and his prayer for complete deliverance and national blessing (7, 8).
1. Increased] cp. 2 Samuel 15:12, 2 Samuel 15:13.
2. Of my soul] i.e. of myself.
3. A shield] a natural metaphor in days when kings were warriors: cp. Psalms 18:2; Psalms 84:9, Psalms 84:11; Psalms 115:9, etc.
4. Out of his holy hill] i.e. Zion, the seat of Jehovah’s worship, where in a special sense He was present. The Psalmist was probably at a distance from Jerusalem. Selah] This word is found 71 times in the Psalter. It occurs in 40 Pss., as well as three times in Habakkuk 3, which is also a Ps. Its meaning and use are both uncertain. Possibly it is derived from a root, meaning to ’lift up.’ LXX translates it ’interlude,’ while the Jewish tradition renders it ’for ever.’ (1) Some think that it is an instruction to the musicians to ’strike up’ with an interlude during an interval of the singing. (2) Prof. Briggs suggests that the LXX and Jewish renderings are really two aspects of the same thing: the former (’interlude’) denoting the point where the benediction might be sung and the Ps. concluded for that service; while the latter (’for ever’) gives the last word of the benediction, which would indicate the same thing. (3) Taking another derivation (from sallem, ’supplement’), others conjecture that the note may indicate the point at which the MS has to be, or has been, supplemented from another MS. It is best, perhaps, just to regard it generally as a ’musical interlude.’
5. I laid me down, etc.] His very sleep, natural as it was, was a proof of God’s care, for he might have slept the sleep of death.
Sustained] RV ’sustaineth,’ suggesting continual oversight.
7. Arise, O Lord] The ancient marching-song of the Hebrew host began with these words (Numbers 10:35).
8. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord] A triumphant assertion of what the adversaries denied in Psalms 3:2. Thy blessing is] RV ’thy blessing be’ upon the people as upon their leader. Selah] see on Psalms 3:4.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 3". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany