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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 3

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2981. B.C. 1023.

As the foregoing Psalm, under the emblem of David in preferment, showed us the royal dignity of the Redeemer; so this, by the example of David in distress, shows us the peace and holy security of the redeemed, under the divine protection. David, being now driven out from his palace, from the royal city, by his rebellious son Absalom, complains to God of his enemies, Psalms 3:1 , Psalms 3:2 . Encourages and comforts himself in God, and in the experience he had had of the divine goodness, Psalms 3:3-6 . Triumphs in the salvation of God, Psalms 3:7 , Psalms 3:8 . David either composed this Psalm during his flight, or the matter of it was then in his thoughts; which afterward he digested into this form and order. And a hymn could not easily be composed with greater propriety, or nobler sentiments of religion, upon such an extraordinary event as that of the rebellion of a beloved son, who had drawn many thousands of others into the conspiracy.

Verse 1

Psalms 3:1. Lord, how are they increased that trouble me? He might well say so, for the party that sought his ruin was very numerous and very formidable. Absalom his son had stolen away the hearts of the generality of the people, and was at the head of them: Ahithophel, his counsellor, sought his ruin: Shimei, with others of his enemies, reproached him as utterly forsaken of God; while many of his friends, undoubtedly, trembled for his safety, and, had Ahithophel’s advice been followed, his ruin, morally speaking, would have been unavoidable. No wonder, then, that he was in great trouble, as he certainly was in great danger: but in the midst of it he takes the right method, and has recourse to God, his strong helper. As he went up the mount of Olives, with his head covered and barefoot, he wept and prayed, wept and believed, and God heard him from his holy habitation.

Verse 2

Psalms 3:2. Many there be that say of my soul Of me; the soul being commonly put for the person: There is no help for him in God God hath utterly forsaken him for his many crimes, and will never help him more. Selah This word is nowhere used but in this poetical book, and in the song of Habakkuk. Probably it was a musical note, directing the singer either to lift up his voice, to make a pause, or to lengthen the tune. But, withal, it is generally placed at some remarkable passage; which gives occasion to think that it served also to quicken the attention of the singer and hearer.

Verse 3

Psalms 3:3. But thou art a shield for me Or, about me, on every side, where also mine enemies are; that is, thou art my defence; my glory Thou hast formerly given, and wilt further give me, occasion of glorying in thy power and favour; and the lifter up of my head Thou wilt restore me to my former power and dignity. Thus David, in the midst of his dangers and distress, quiets his mind by calling to remembrance the power, and love, and faithfulness of God, and trusting in him. Reader, go thou, and do likewise, in all thy perplexities and troubles.

Verses 4-5

Psalms 3:4-5. I cried unto the Lord with my voice By prayer I commended myself to the divine protection; and he heard me out of his holy hill Out of heaven, so called Psalms 15:1. I laid me down and slept Securely, casting all my cares upon God. I awaked As after a sweet and undisturbed sleep, as though no danger had been near me. “It was an argument of settled courage, and shows the unspeakable advantage of a true and genuine confidence in God, that David was able, in such distressing and dangerous circumstances, thus to lie down, calmly sleep, and wake in peace. But what cannot that man do who is sustained of God, propped up by him, as the word יסמכני , jesmecheni, properly signifies, by inspiring his mind with confidence and courage.” Chandler. But let it be remembered, this peace and serenity were the effects of pardoning love, and not experienced by him till, in consequence of genuine repentance for his foul transgressions, he was made a partaker of forgiveness, and tasted that the Lord is gracious: see Psalms 32:3-5.

Verse 6

Psalms 3:6. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Were I beset with as many nations as I see men now encamp themselves on all sides against me, I should not be at all daunted at it. “Faith,” says Dr. Horne, “revived and invigorated by prayer, and fixed on God alone, is a stranger to fear in the worst of times. The innumerable examples of saints rescued from tribulation, and, above all, the resurrection of the Son of God from the dead, render the believer bold as a lion, although the name of his adversary be legion.”

Verse 7

Psalms 3:7. Arise, O Lord, save me Defer no longer, but let them see thou hast not forsaken me; O my God Who art mine by special relation and covenant: Lord, save thy own. Deliver me from these my rebellious subjects, whose policy and power I am unable to withstand without thee. For thou hast smitten mine enemies Namely, in times past; on the cheek bone Hast discomfited and put them to shame, hast subdued and exposed them to contempt and reproach. Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly That is, their strength, and the instruments of their cruelty. As, then, thou hast hitherto helped me, do not now leave me; but deliver me from these, as thou hast formerly delivered me from other powerful enemies. Thus David, in his distress, encouraged himself in God by the experience he had had of his former gracious interpositions in his favour, by saving him from his cruel enemies, who had frequently attempted his destruction, and whom he compares to savage beasts, which tear their prey with their teeth, and grind it with their jaws, an allusion which, in a country abounding with these ravenous creatures, was natural and expressive. Some, however, consider him as relating, in the former verses, the state of his mind during his flight, and as expressing, in the latter part of this, and in the following, his thankfulness for his deliverance, which he ascribes entirely to God’s power and goodness. See Chandler.

Verse 8

Psalms 3:8. Salvation belongeth unto God I expect not salvation from my counsels or forces, but from thy power and favour alone. Thy blessing is Or rather, let it be; upon thy people Either upon my friends and followers, who alone are thy people, the rest being rebels to thee as well as to me; or upon all thy people Israel, to preserve my friends, to convince and convert my enemies, and to save the body of the nation, which, without thy mercy, are likely, by this civil war, to be brought to utter ruin.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 3". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/psalms-3.html. 1857.
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