Psalm 3

Yahweh, how many my adversaries! * How many rise against me!
    How many eye my life! * “No salvation for him from God.”
    But you, Yahweh, are my Master as long as I live, * my Glorious One who lifts up my head.
        If I cry out to Yahweh, * he answers from his holy mountain.
           If I lie down to sleep, * I shall wake up, * for Yahweh sustains me.
        I do not fear the arrows of people * stationed on every side, Most High.
    Rise up, Yahweh, * save me, my God!
    May you yourself strike * all my enemies on the jaw! * Smash the teeth of the wicked!
O Yahweh, salvation! * Upon your people your blessing!

1 The psalm of David when he fled from the face of his son Absalom.

3:0 This is the third Psalm, which has a title that would seem to indicate the author of the Psalm and the time it was written. It is said to be a Pslam of David, that is, written by him, when he fled from the face of his son Absolom, which indicates the time and reason why the Psalm was composed. And that is the trouble brought on David by his son Absolom, which is narrated in 2 Sam 15-18. But according to a spiritual understanding, the Psalm is more truly about Christ. The incident referred to has a general reference to Christ and the persecution he suffered from his traitor son, Judas. In this affair, David is a good figure of Christ in three ways: (1) in affection -As David loved Absolom as his son, so Christ loved Judas. Thus he calls him a son along with the others -Mat 9:15 The sons of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them. (2) in deed -As David had to go away from his son, fleeing from his persecution, so Christ had to leave Judas in his obstinancy and go with his other disciples to the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:32). He also spiritually withdrew far from his mind, abandoning him altogether in his preoccupation with the devil. -John 13:27 After Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. (3) in the outcome -As after the death of Absolom, David reigned in peace, so after Judas hung himself (Mat 27:3-10, Acts 1:15-2;6), Christ rose glorious and, with no fear of anyone, stated (Mat 28:18): All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth.

Absolom likewise prefigured Judas in three ways: (1) in the meaning of his name -Absolom means "father of peace". Judas too came to Christ with a show of peace when he greeted and kissed him (Mat 26:49). (2) in deed -As Absolom raised an army against his father David, so Judas came against Christ with a cohort and guards (John 18:3). (3) in outcome -Both of them died by hanging.

The meaning of the title, therefore, is: a Psalm of David, that is about the true David, and the persecution he suffered from the traitor Judas, and how he withdrew from him physically and spiritually.

Note that the Psalm has two parts: (1) The first is about the attack that Christ underwent in his passion. (2) The second is about the victory and triumph he won in his resurrection, which dispels the idea that he was defeated: "I have slept…" It was following the right order for the first Psalm to be about happiness, the second about persecution and tribulation which lead to happiness, and the third Psalm to be about the attack on Christ and his suffering, which is the reason and cause why tribulation is the way to happiness.

The first part has two sections: (1) The first has to do with the side attacking Christ, (2) the second with his defence: "But you, O Lord…" The first of these has two points: (1) first, the number of those attacking, (2) secondly the number of their attacks, and this first by deed: "Many are those who rise…", and secondly by word: "Many who say…"

2 Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me?
Yahweh, how many are my adversaries!

3:1.1.1 So Christ says to the Father: Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Jerome uses the phrase "my enemies", which refers to the Scribes, the Pharisees, Pilate, the soldiers carrying out the crucifixion, the crowd of Jews etc. -Ps 119:69 The wickedness of the proud is multiplied against me (Vul). -Ps 118:157 Many are my persecutors and adversaries.

Many are they who rise up against me.
How many who rise up against me!

3: Many are their hostile actions. -Ps 27:12 False witnesses have risen against me and they are breathing out violence. The proper aim of "rising against" (insurgere) is to harm, "to rise with" (consurgere) is to cooperate, "to rise for" (assurgere) is to honor. Note also that the enemies of Christ, that is, the wicked, are many in their number, possessions, sins, and punishments: (1) As for number, Mat 20:16 Many are called, few are chosen. (2) As for possessions, Ps 4:7 Their grain, wine and oil abound (Vul). -Job 12:6 The tents of robbers are many and they boldly provoke God (Vul). (3) As for sins, -Ps 69:27 Add guilt to their guilt; may they have no acquittal from you. -Sir 3:27 A stubborn mind will be burdened by troubles, and the sinner adds sin to sins, whereas we have Sir 5:5 Do not add sin to sin. (4) as for punishments, Ps 109:29 May they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle. -Job 24:19 They will go from snow water to excessive heat (Vul). -Isaiah 66:24 Their worm shall not die etc.

3 Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God.
How many who eye my life! * "No salvation for him from God."

3: Many say to my soul, fighting me with abusive words, "There is no salvation for him in his God". That is, the salvation that he gives to others he cannot get for himself from God, who is his Father. -Mat 12:24 By Beelzebul, the prince of devils, he casts out devils. Another reading is: "his soul has no salvation from his God," that is, he cannot be saved by the one he calls his God. -Wis 2:13 He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. -2:17 Let us see if his words are true. -Mat 27:40 If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. -Luke 23:37 If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah (12:8): My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me. -Ez 35:13 Great was your insolence towards me, many your speeches against me.

Note that it is really amazing that Christ should have anyone oppose him: (1) First, because he resembled them in nature -Sir 13:16 All living beings associate with their own kind. -Phil 2:7 He emptied himself, taking the form oa a slave, becoming a man like one of us. (2) Secondly, because he did no harm to anyone. -Micah 6:3 O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! (3) Likewise, there was nothing he should have done that he did not do. -Isaiah 5:4 What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? -Gen 1:31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. -Mark 7:37 He has done everything well. (4) Besides, he was completely innocent, so that even the irrational power of fire spared him. -Dan 3:50 The fire did not touch them at all and caused them no pain or distress. (5) He also had an attractive appearance. -Ps 45:2 You are the most handsome of men. His attractive appearance is a natural cause of loving him, not persecuting him. -Sirach 40:22 The eye desires grace and beauty. (6) He was well spoken. -Ps 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste. -Sirach 6:5 Pleasant speech multiplies friends, and a gracious tongue multiplies courtesies. (7) He was generous and liberal to all. -Ps 145:16 You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. -Prov 19:6 Many seek the favor of the generous, and everyone is a friend to a giver of gifts. Therefore I am amazed that he was attacked, when he had every reason to be loved, and not hated. -Ps 120:7 They fought me for no reason (Vul). So it is said in Isaiah 21:4 Babylon, my beloved, has shocked me (Vul). -Jer 5:30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land.

4. But thou, O Lord art my protector,
But you, Yahweh, are my Master as long as I live,

3:1.2 Here we see Christ's defence, which was double: First there was divine consolation against those who fought against him in action. Secondly there was efficacious prayer against those who fought against him in word: "I have cried to the Lord…" The divine consolation comes from three things: the union of his human nature with the divine, his glorious enjoyment of glory, and his being lifted up in power: "the lifter up of my head".

3: So he says, "They persecute me, but I do not succumb," because you, Lord, are my protector, by taking my nature in the identity of the person of your Son. -Ps 65:4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. This is the elevation which David requested on behalf of the whole human race -Ps 119:16 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live.

my glory,
my Glorious One

3: giving me a blessed and glorious happiness from the same union, which is true glory. -2 Cor 1:31 Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. -Jer 9:24 Let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me. And Christ says of himself (Mat 11:27): No one knows the Father but the Son. -John 1:18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known. Thus I am your glory, and you are mine, according to another reading of Isaiah 49:3 See my son, my glory, in whom I boast (Vul). Prov 10:1 A wise child makes a glad father.

and the lifter up of my head.
who lifts up my head.

3: giving me full and powerful authority. -Ps 8:6 and Heb 2:8 You have put everything under his feet. -Ps 46:10 I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. And that is right, because I was humiliated in my passion. -Ps 110:7 He will drink from the stream by the road. Therefore he will lift up his head. -Phil 2:7-9 He humbled himself, taking the form of a slave… becoming obedient unto death, death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him

Note that on the moral side spiritual enemies are many. They rise against the soul (1) first by suggesting sin to it. (2) They also rise up by consent and delight in sin. (3) But they also tell the soul that it has no salvation in God when it commits sin. (1) As regards temptation, it is said in Ps 119:69 The evil of the wicked is multiplied over me (Vul). (2) As for the second, we have Ps 27:3 Though war rise up against me. (3) As for the third, we have Lam 2:16 All your enemies open their mouths against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry: "We have devoured her! Ah, this is the day we longed for; at last we have seen it!"

But a Prelate should support a subject of his tempted in this way. -Prov 11:30 The wise man captivates souls. -Isaiah 40:11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom. He should be the glory of the one he supports, helping him with his prayers and freeing him from temptation. -Judith 15:8 You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the great boast of Israel, you are the great pride of our nation!. And in the humble subject there should be fulfilled the promise of Prov 29:23 One who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. He should lift up the person's very head, by good example lifting him up to higher things, so that there will be no fear of his falling back. -Prov 1:17 In vain is the net baited while the bird is looking on.

5 I have cried to the Lord with my voice:
If I cry aloud to Yahweh,

3:> The second defence is efficacious prayer. The first point is the mode of prayer, then its fruit: "And he heard me." The mode includes four things: (1) The absence of superfluity, which is indicated by the word "my voice". (2) The presence of purity, which is indicated by what is called "secret matter". (3) The absence of vanity, indicated by the words "to the Lord". (4) The presence of devotion, noted in the words "I called".

(1) So he says, "So, Lord, from you came consolation, from me prayer, and not with too many words, because it is with my voice, and not voices. -Mat 6:7 When you pray, do not talk long as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying much they will be heard.

(2) My voice indicates that I alone am pure and clean of sin. -Isaiah 53:9, 1 Pet 2:22 He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. For you do not listen to sinners who wish to remain in their sins. -John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. -Isaiah 1:15 Though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

(3) To the Lord indicates that the prayer is made in secret. -Mat 6:6 Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. -Ps 18:6 He heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

(4) Although in secret, yet I called with a fervent and devout heart. Note, however, that the word "calling" can sometimes be used widely for the cause of calling, for example Gen 4:9 Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground! -Gen 18:21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. -James 5:4 The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out. There are two types of calling: One is by the heart, that is, by fervor and devotion, as did Susanna cried out with her heart, although her mouth was silent (Dan 13:35). And so did Moses when Pharaoh was after him; so he was told (Ex 14:15) Why are you calling to me? And there is calling with the mouth, which is good when it is joined to calling with the heart, as the man Christ called to the Father, and he as man called to himself as God. -Mat 27:46 With a loud voice he cried, "Eli, Eli". -Heb 5:7 Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. But calling with the mouth only is of little value. -Amos 5:23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. -Prov 1:28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer. Why? Because of what is said in Isaiah 29:13 Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me. -Jer 12:2 You are near in their mouths yet far from their hearts.

and he hath heard me from his holy hill.
he answers from his holy mountain.

3: Here we see the fruit of prayer. His holy mountain is heaven, which is called a mountain because of its stability. -Ps 36:6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains. Or the mountain can mean mercy, which is elevated above justice. -James 2:13 Mercy triumphs over judgment. Or it can refer to Christ himself, with the meaning: "God heard me, a man, from within me, that is, existing in me. I am called a mountain because I have all virtues, and am a more excellent mountain than all others. -Dan 2:34 A stone was cut out, not by human hands, that is, Christ was conceived and born of the Virgin without human action, and came to the great mountain. -Isaiah 2:2 In days to come the mountain of the Yahweh's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains

6 I have slept
If I lie down

3:2. This is the second part of the Psalm, which has to do with victory. But victory is sometimes followed by vanity, not usefulness. -2 Kings 14:10 You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. So first there is a description of the victory of the Head, secondly the usefulness of this for the whole body, in the last verse: "Salvation is from the Lord."

The first part has two points: (1) first that Christ was not defeated, (2) secondly that he won: "For you struck." (1) He first shows that Christ was not defeated bodily, because he was not held down by death, (2) secondly that he was not defeated in mind, because he was not struck by fear: "I will not fear." The former has four points: (1) First he acknowledges that he died, (2) secondly buried, which is more: "and taken my rest", (3) thirdly that he was not held down in death: "I arose", and (4) fourthly the reason why he was not held down: "Because the Lord…"

3: So he says I have slept the sleep of death. Note that there is: (1) natural sleep, of which the disciples spoke (John 11:12) If he has fallen asleep, he will be all right. (2) And there is the sleep of sin, of which Paul spoke (Eph 5:14) Rise up, you who sleep. (3) And there is the sleep of laziness. -Prov 6:9 How long will you lie there, O lazy one? When will you rise from your sleep? (Cf. Prov 24:30-34). (4) And there is the sleep of grace. -Cant 5:2 I slept, but my heart was awake. (5) And there is the sleep of glory. -Acts 7:59 [Stephen] slept [in the Lord]. (6) And there is the sleep of tribulation and fatigue. -Mat 26:40 Jesus came to his disciples and found them sleeping. That is because their eyes were heavy (26:43) from tribulation and fatigue. (7) And there is the sleep of death, spoken of here and in Ps 76:5 They sank into sleep; none of the troops was able to lift a hand.

Christ's death is called a sleep for several reasons: (1) As people voluntarily go to sleep, so Christ voluntarily went to his death. -Isaiah 53:7 He was offered up because he wished it (Vul). -John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. (2) He could easily arise. Christ rose from the tomb just easily as people get up from sleep. In the same vein, Lazarus (John 11:11) and the daughter of the synagogue leader (Mat 9:24) was said to be asleep. (3) He kept his bodily integrity. In sleep the body does not corrupt; so Christ's body was not corrupted by the separation of his soul. -Psalm 16:10 You will not allow your holy one to see corruption (Vul). (4) His body was strengthened by the rest, since before he could suffer, but after rising he could suffer no more. -Rom 6:9 Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again. And on his behalf it is said in Jer 31:24 I awoke and saw that my sleep had been sweet to me.

and taken my rest:
to sleep,

3: by being buried and sealed in by a stone, as if dead and held down by death. -Mat 27:59 Joseph took the body, wrapt it in linen, and put it in the tomb which had been dug out of rock, and he rolled a large stone over the opening. This rest is elsewhere called "sitting". -Ps 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up. This is the heavy trance that came upon Abraham when he was offering God a sacrifice (Gen 15:12). This is the deep sleep of Adam when Eve was separated from his body (Gen 2:21). For when Christ was asleep, the Church was formed from him.

and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me.
I shall wake up, for Yahweh sustains me.

3: meaning that he took back his own body and clothed it with glory.

3: He did so not by his human power, but because the Lord took me up, that is, he took my nature into a personal union. -Isaiah 42:1 Here is my servant, whom I uphold. -Gen 49:9 He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness -who dares rouse him up?. This raising of the man Christ by God from the tomb was prefigured in Jonah, whom the whale spewed out by divine power after three days (Jon 2:10).

Note the moral lessons: (1) First, a man sleeps by taking pleasure in sin, he is buried by contempt, and he rises by repenting, and God eventually takes him into glory. This glorification was prayed for in Psalm 119:22 Lift up your servant (Vul). (2) The soul also sleeps by contemplation. -Cant 5:2 I sleep, but my heart is awake. It is buried in contemplation by resting there a long time. -Cant 8:4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up or awaken my beloved before she pleases. It rises by returning to action. -Cant 7:13 Let us get up in the morning and go to the vineyard. And the Lord holds it up in action by preserving it from sin. -Ps 91:2 My upholder and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust (Vul).

7 I will not fear thousands of the people, surrounding me:
I do not fear the arrows, O Strong One, which are aimed at me from every side, Most High.

3: This shows that he was not defeated even in mind, by being afraid. But lack of fear sometimes comes from trusting in oneself, which is temerity, or from having sufficient help, which is security. So (1) he first shows that he is afraid in the first way, (2) but not afraid in the second way, because he trusts in the Lord: "Arise, O Lord."

3: The idea is: I arose, that is, will arise (the past for the future) in body, and I will not fear thousands of people, that is any number whatsoever, surrounding me to kill me. For the people surrounded Christ like barking dogs or heavy bulls attacking with their horns. -Ps 22:16 Many dogs surround me. 22:12 Strong bulls of Bashan surround me. -Ps 118:12 They surrounded me like bees, or like swords stabbing me. -Job 16:13 His archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; he pours out my gall on the ground. -Lam 3:5 He has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation.

arise, O Lord; save me, O my God.
Rise up, Yahweh, save me, my God!

3: as if to say, "This security will not come from me, but from you. Therefore, O Lord, arise," that is, wake up, "although you may sometimes seem to sleep." -Ps 78:65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a warrior shouting because of wine. Or the meaning can be: "I will not fear, but I can only be without fear because of you. Therefore I pray, 'Arise, Lord,'" that is, make me arise. For God is said to do what he makes us do, as in Rom 8:26 The Spirit prays for us, that is he makes us pray.

Save me, my God, by preserving my body from corruption, and bringing my soul back from the underworld. -Ps 16:10 For you will not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.

8 For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause:

May you yourself strike all my enemies on the jaw!

3: This part shows that Christ not only was not defeated, but that he won the battle. First is his victory over his foes in action, secondly in word: "You shattered the teeth of sinners." The idea is: Not only was I not defeated, but I won, because you struck all my adversaries. -Ps 78:66 He put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting disgrace. -Jer 48:38 I have broken Moab like a vessel that no one wants. Moab, on his father's side, signifies the Jewish people, of whom it was said, John 8:44 You have the devil as your father. It was rightly struck, because it struck [Christ]. -Micah 5:1 With a rod they will strike the ruler of Israel upon the cheek.

You struck all who are my adversaries without cause. -John 19:6 I find no case against him. -John 15:25 They hated me without cause. So they are struck, but not corrected. -Jer 5:3 You have struck them, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. -Prov 23:35 They struck me, but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it.

thou hast broken the teeth of sinners.
Smash the teeth of the wicked!

3: as if to say, "You struck not only those who opposed me by action, but also those who opposed me by word, reducing them to nothing." -Isaiah 33:14 Sinners in Zion are afraid, that is, detractors who are symbolized by teeth.

Note that there are bad teeth and good ones. The bad are detractors, as here and many other places. -Ps 57:4 Their teeth are spears and arrows. -Prov 30:14 There are those whose teeth are swords. Teeth also refer to robbers. -Job 29:17 I broke the fangs (molars) of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth. Note that there is mention of both molars and teeth. Teeth are sometimes robbers, but molars are because they eat, chew and consume what was robbed. -Isaiah 3:15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?

But good teeth are the preachers and teachers of truth. -Cant 4:2 Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins etc. These are the teeth of Moses, which never fell out (Deut 34:7 -Vul). Christ's teeth should have been most firmly fixed. But he complains, Lam 3:16 He broke some of my teeth (Vul), that is, the devil broke certain prelates and doctors.

Other teeth have rotted from over-enjoyment and occupation with temporal affairs, which are shit. -Prov 25:19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is trust in a faithless person in time of trouble.

The preacher's teeth should shine with innocence, be joined together by charity, be in proper order by justice, be firm by constancy, have the enamel of fortitude, and should be able to bite into sinners with teaching and truth.

9. Salvation is of the Lord:
Yahweh, salvation!

3:2.2. This is the second branch of the second part of the Psalm, which has to do with victory. Here we see how the Head's victory is useful for his body, and there are two advantages for the body: (1) First is the lesson that we should hope for a similar victory. (2) The second is a prayer for that very victory: "Your blessing be on your people."

3:2.2.1 So he says, "So I am to obtain victory. Therefore, my friends, you should know that salvation is from the Lord, and from him alone, not from ourselves." -Hosea 13:9 Your destruction, Israel, is from you. Help is only from me (Vul). For salvation is only from God. -Hosea 13:4 You know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. Acts 4:12 There is no other name by which believers must be saved. -Isaiah 49:6 I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. -Ps 54:1 Save me, O God, by your name.

10. and thy blessing is upon thy people.
Upon your people your blessing!

3:2.2.2, as if to say, "Salvation is from the Lord, and therefore I ask you, Lord," the Son says to the Father, "that your blessing may be upon my people, which is yours." -John 17:10 All that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is mine. The blessing is that of Jacob, not of Esau (Gen 27). That is , it is a blessing with the right hand, so as to give grace in the present and glory in the future. And the Father answers, Isaiah 44:3 I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,by giving grace, and my blessing on your offspring, concluding with glory. These two are referred to in Num 16:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you by grace freeing you from past sin and preserving you from future sin; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. May his face shine on your reason, be gracious by putting goodness in your concupiscible powers, and give you peace in your iracscible powers. In this way reason will enjoy the fulness of light, the concupiscible power the fulness of tranquility, and the irascible the fulness of peace.