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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 3

Verses 1-8

Psalms 3:1-8. Title. These titles are found in the Hebrew, though it is said, that several of them are wanting in some manuscripts. They seem however, in general, to belong to the Psalms to which they are prefixed, and to be of the same authority with them. In this and other instances, they are useful in fixing the interpretation : but often their meaning is to ns doubtful or difficult.

V. 1, 2. David abruptly, but in lively faith, addresses himself to the Lord, as amazed to hear of the numbers who followed the unnatural rebellion of Absalom ; and especially that many whom he had favoured and trusted, had joined that party. (Notes, ,2 Samuel 15:12-30.) He also was astonished at the insolence and impiety of his enemies, and that they should interpret his troubles as evidences that God had rejected him, and either could not or would not help him. (Notes, Psalms 42:3; Psalms 42:9-10; Psalms 71:10-11. 2 Samuel 16:5-14.) The meaning of the word "Selah," which occurs three times in this psalm, and frequently in others, and also in the prophecy of Habakkuk, is not fully ascertained by expositors. Some entirely omit it : but this may be thought taking an warrantable liberty with Scripture. Others suppose it to be merely a musical term, and the Septuagint seem to have thus understood it. ( a change of song, or melody.) In general, however, it appears to have been used, as a call on him who read or sang, to pause and reflect ; as something peculiarly important or surprising had been mentioned. ’ Selah here signifies a ’ lifting up of the voice, to cause us to consider the sentence, as a thing of great importance.’ Marginal Notes to Barker’s

V. 3- 5. Instead of despairing of help and salvation as from God, the afflicted Psalmist considered him " Shield" around him, yea, as his Glory. (Notes, Psalms 4:2; Psalms 84:11-12. 2 Samuel 22:2-3.)

He had often called on God in trouble and danger, and had been heard : and having now, as in many former instances, committed himself to the divine protection by faith and prayer, he was enabled to sleep with as much composure, as if he had been in perfect peace ; and accordingly he was supported, and protected from all injury. (Note, Psalms 4:6-8.)

V. 6-8. (Notes, Psalms 27:13. 2 Samuel 18:5.) The Lord had helped David, and disabled his enemies, when persecuted by Saul and his ungodly adherents ; and he was confident, that he would thus appear for him in his present distress : for salvation, temporal and spiritual, came from God alone ; and he never failed to bless his faithful people.

(Notes, Psalms 71:16-18. Psalms 115:9-13. Psalms 118:1-12.)


The most excellent and eminent persons must expect opposition and ill usage ; and they should prepare for ingratitude and contempt, as the recompence of their labours for the good of others. The number and power of their adversaries may become very formidable ; and they may be astonished to find among them, such as they have most depended on ; nay, their very confidence in God will often be derided, as delusion or presumption. Yet he is a " Shield " to all those that trust in him : they count their relation to him their "glory," in preference to all dignities or achievements ; and in all dangers they continue to hope that he will yet lift up their head above all their enemies. Indeed, all true Christians should avow their confidence in God, and their expectation from him, in seasons of deep distress ; and be open and avowed, as well as fervent, in their prayers unto him, upon his mercy-scat in his holy temple. Thus they will enjoy safety and inward peace, in the midst of enemies and the alarms of war : for the Lord will, hear and sustain them ; and what are ten thousands of armwl foes encamped against those whom the Omnipotent protecteth? (Notes, 2 Chronicles 32:8. Romans 8:28-31.)

Past experience should encourage the hope of future answers to our prayers ; we may even rejoice in being the objects of the enmity of ungodly men ; and should desire that they may be deprived of their power to do mischief, but not that any further harm may befal them. Every temporal deliverance should be received as an earnest of eternal salvation ; the honour of which must be ascribed to the Lord, who confers that blessing on his people. But we shall cease to wonder at the troubles of the king of Israel, and almost to think of our own light afflictions, if we duly look unto Jesus, and contrast his glory and his grace, with the contempt and cruelty with which he was treated. Having yielded himself to death, he sanctified the grave, and became the first-fruits of the resurrection ; his head was then lifted up above his enemies ; and thus he has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. His enemies therefore will surely be disappointed and perish ; but his people may go down to the grave, as to their beds, in hope and comfort : for the same God watches over them in both, and they will at length awake to everlasting happiness.

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 3". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.