Psalm 3

Psalm 3(ESV)

3 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah[a] 3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah 5  I lay down and slept;

I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Conversation with God/Prayer What the unrighteous are saying How God Answered the Prayer How is the effect of God’s answer on the Speaker
3 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah[a] 4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

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

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

Comments

1-O  Lord: Often used to call on Jesus, through whom God had created this physical realm.

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2-This question, in reality, is neither interrogative nor rhetoric. Its purpose is to express surprise and the exaggeration of the number. It means: I have a multitude of foes.

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Rising against: this could be an internal uprise, or an external (international) one.

The analysis in table 1 below. 1-There was a strong cry to the Lord followed by a relief, asleep and an awakening.

The sleep may mean death or a period of stagnation. The awakening could be either a physical resurrection or a spiritual revival.

God does not only protect ‘shield’, but He’s also behind every success and a triumph (glory, lifter of my head)

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God has always protected Israel and will, in the end,  lift her head up high.

6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people!

7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! 7…For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
Another cry for help- The speaker bends the knee to the Lord rather than to the desperate condition. The speaker goes back to cry to God because of his/her faith-based relationship with God. The speaker chooses to remember the way God has dealt with problems before and hung on to that.  We sense a strong relationship with the Lord based on trust and complete surrender.
סֶלָה read as Selah although punctuation was added to the original
 Comment: There are many interpretations of this hard word already. The only interpretation I could add is a remote possibility that this word was punctuated wrongly.
The word [Selah] could be pronounced [salah]. This word means ‘prayer’ in Arabic. If ancient Aramaic agrees with this meaning and provides the same word than this meaning is very possible.

Table 1 -Verse 2

2 many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah[a]
many are saying The speaker doesn’t want to specify the identity of the enemy. However, let’s assume that the enemy here is the same as in chapter 2, which means many around the world since the speaker was talking about the rulers of the earth.
of my soul  These critiques are not only criticising the speaker’s behaviour but also the nature of his soul. These are pioneers who have an intellectual input and a theological influence.
there is no salvation for him in God These critiques know God and even have the ‘confidence’ to judge on his behalf. They condemn the Speaker solely on the basis that his ‘soul’ will have ‘no salvation in God’. These are serious accusations which can only emerge from an organised, monotheistic, religious leaders. Though religion during the time of David was neither truly monotheistic nor really organised.  David was the one who tried to establish these two characteristics in religion.  So, it is unlikely that he would be criticised by anyone based on these two factors. Therefore, I think this sentence is a good give away about the identity of these enemies. These are clearly religious leaders who were trained within a monotheistic, well organised, religious institution.  These are the religious leaders who will back up the ‘kings and rulers of the earth’, to conspire against the Son of God.  This criticism about the salvation of the soul is simply a direct accusation of being a ‘false prophet or preacher’.  This scenario highly resembles the position the Pharisees took during the first coming of the Messiah.  The only difference is that during the time of Jesus, not all the rulers of the earth conspired against him.  Consequently, could this be talking about the second coming of the Messiah? Is the Speaker the Son of God himself, or is He, in fact, the nation of Israel?

Verse 4 & 5

4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

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

Verse 4

Verse 5

4 I cried aloud to the Lord,

5 I lay down and slept;

and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

for the Lord sustained me.

I woke again

This is a narrative that could be read, based on parallel verses. Verse 4 is made up of 2 main parts. These two parts are reflected by two other main parts in verse 5. The last part of verse 5 could apply to both verses, hence the formation of symmetry.

The first part of verse 4 talks about ‘I’; the speaker, and so is the first part of verse 5.
The verbs are in the past or meaning to be in the past tense. For example, verb ‘lay’ in verse 5 was put in the present, however, we know from the structure of the sentence that it means the past tense. The first verb was followed by the verb ‘to sleep’, put in the past tense. The conjunctive ‘and’ shows that those two verbs should be treated the same way, as both project two simultaneous actions (laying followed by sleeping).
In spite of this luring symmetrical effect, we notice that the parts do not follow the same exact fragments in their structure, which gains them freedom and allow them more power to convey the meaning.

The desperate crying was a result of a devastating event. For David the King, this was his problem with Absalom his son. But for the prophet, this could be something even bigger and on a wider scale.