Psalm 3

Psalm 3

Save Me, O My God

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

  O LORD, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
  many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
  But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
  I cried aloud to the LORD,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
  I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
  I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.
  Arise, O LORD!
    Save me, O my God!
  For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.
  Salvation belongs to the LORD;
    your blessing be on your people! Selah


Psalm 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

When studying the Psalms, you can generally classify them into three different categories of petition, thanksgiving, and praise. This approach to the Psalms is validated in 1 Chronicles.

Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.

1 Chronicles 16:4 ESV

Psalm 3 is definitely a petition psalm. It could be subcategorized as a lament. The author is under persecution and in need of God’s help.

The superscription of Psalm 3 reads, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” Some methods used to study the Psalms (such as historical criticism) mistakenly discarded these superscriptions in favor of philosophy and the evolution of Israel’s religion. Scholars who applied this flawed method attributed the Psalm “to a leader caught in the partisan battles and struggles of that time.” No major scholar accepts that interpretation today.

It is interesting to consider how this flawed approach changes the context and theology of the author. If the psalm is dealing with a leader caught in the partisan battles and struggles of the time, that has a different feel than King David fleeing his son Absalom. The story of David fleeing Absalom is a story we can read about in Scripture, so it breathes new life into the context of this psalm. This psalm is probably referring to the event record in 2 Samuel 15 where God uses Hushai to bring deliverance to David.

This has a great effect on my spiritual life because it now becomes personal. Psalm 3 provides a vivid picture of petitioning to God in a specific situation and then seeing the deliverance firsthand through the rest of Scripture. Rather than a general, impersonal admonition to pray, the superscriptions provide a landscape of context to the prayer, and, in this case, a result of God’s deliverance. It is amazing to consider that David most likely wrote Psalm 3 somewhere in the midst of his struggles during 2 Samuel 15 and we can read the result of deliverance that God brings him. This is so encouraging!

Practically speaking, there is much to be said about the assurance these words provide. All of us are surrounded by trouble and overwhelming thoughts. We all deal with stress, anxiety, and fear. If we’re honest, we usually fall prey to these emotions before realizing that we have a Mighty God who is faithful to deliver.

Psalm 3 is a great reminder that even a man after God’s own heart like David struggled with fear, anxiety, and relationships. He wasn’t perfect, but we see that when he was in trouble, he cried out to God with everything he had, and we can see the results play out through the rest of the Bible.

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