Book I—Psalms 3–41[a]
Trust in God in Time of Danger
1 A psalm of David. When he was fleeing from his son Absalom.
2 O Lord, how great is the number of my enemies,
how many are those who rise up against me.
3 How numerous are the ones who say of me,
“He will not receive salvation from God.” Selah[c]
4 But you, O Lord, are a shield to protect me;
you are my glory and the one who raises my head high.[d]
5 Whenever I cry aloud to the Lord,
he answers me from his holy mountain.[e] Selah
6 I lie down and sleep;
I awaken again, for the Lord sustains me.[f]
7 Thus, I will not fear the multitudes
who have surrounded me on every side.
8 Rise up, O Lord!
Rescue me, O my God!
You will strike all my enemies across the face[g]
and break the teeth of the wicked.
9 Salvation comes from the Lord.
May your blessing be upon your people. Selah
- Psalm 3:1 At the beginning of the Book we find a collection of psalms attributed to David. His life, replete with difficulties and brimming with confidence, was presented as an example: it inspired poems that David did not himself compose. One theme dominates the diversity of psalms that make up this first part: the innocent find themselves in the grip of the wicked. Hope is ceaselessly renewed as is torment: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1). It is the trial of darkness; still one certitude remains: “You will fill me with joy in your presence” (Ps 16:11). Is not this the dialogue that takes place in the life of believers?
- Psalm 3:1 In time of great danger and anguish, the psalmist finds refuge in God as his shield (protector) and the one who fills him with courage. God answers his prayer and bestows peace and deliverance.
- Psalm 3:3 Selah: a word whose meaning is uncertain; possibly a musical term.
- Psalm 3:4 God will preserve the psalmist from dishonor and humiliation by means of his grace (see Pss 18:3; 27:5; 62:8; 110:5; Deut 33:29; Sir 11:12f).
- Psalm 3:5 Holy Mountain: see note on Ps 2:6.
- Psalm 3:6 This passage (see Prov 3:24) is applied by the Fathers of the Church to the dead and risen Christ.
- Psalm 3:8 God treats the wicked like ferocious beasts whose jaws are shattered (see Pss 22:14f; 35:16; 58:7; Job 29:17; Ezek 22:25). The initial appeal reminds one of Jer 2:27. See notes on Pss 5:10; 35.