Psalms 3 COMMENTARY (Gill)

Psalm 3
Gill's Exposition
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Kiss the Son,.... The Son of God, spoken of in Psalm 2:7; the word used is so rendered in Proverbs 31:2; and comes from another which signifies to "choose", and to "purify", or "to be pure"; hence some render it "the elect" or "chosen One", or "the pure One" (k); and both agree with Christ, who is God's elect, chosen to be the Redeemer and Saviour of his people, and who is pure free from sin, original and actual. And whereas a kiss is a token of love among friends and relations, at meeting and parting, Genesis 33:11; it may here design the love and affection that is to be expressed to Christ, who is a most lovely object, and to be loved above all creatures and things; or, as it sometimes signifies, homage and subjection, 1 Samuel 10:1, and it is the custom of the Indians to this day for subjects to kiss their kings: it may here also denote the subjection of the kings and judges and others to Christ, who is Lord of all; or else, as it has been used in token of adoration and worship, Job 31:26; it may design the worship which is due to him from all ranks of creatures, angels and men, Hebrews 1:6; and the honour which is to be given to him, as to the Father, John 5:22; which shows the greatness and dignity of his person, and that he is the true God and eternal life: in the Talmud (l) this is interpreted of the law, where it is said,

"there is no but the law, according to Psalm 2:12;''

which agrees with the Septuagint version;

lest he be angry; though he is a Lamb, he has wrath in him, and when the great day of his wrath comes in any form on earth, there is no standing before him; and how much less when he shall appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire; then kings and freemen will call to the rocks to fall upon them, and hide them from him;

and ye perish from the way; the Syriac version renders it "from his way", the Son's way; and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions "from the righteous way"; and the Arabic version "from the way of righteousness"; or "as to the way", as others (m), the good way; all to one sense; meaning that way of righteousness, salvation and eternal life by Jesus Christ, which being missed by persons, they are eternally lost and undone: some render it "because of the way" (n); that is, because of their sinful course of life; for the way of the ungodly shall perish itself, and therefore they that pursue it shall perish also: others render it "in the way" (o); and then the sense is, lest they perish in the midst of their course of sin, in their own evil way, they have chosen and delighted in, or, to use the words of Christ, "die in their sins", John 8:21, and everlastingly perish; for this perishing is to be understood not of corporeal death, in which sense righteous men perish, but of everlasting destruction: or the word which is rendered "from the way" may be translated "suddenly" (p), "immediately", or "straightway", and our English word "directly" is almost the same; and so may design the swift and sudden destruction of such persons who provoke the Son to wrath and anger; which sense is confirmed by what follows;

when his wrath is kindled but a little; either to a small degree, or but for a little while; for the least degree and duration of it are intolerable, and who then can dwell in everlasting burnings, or abide the devouring flames? or when it is kindled "suddenly" (q), in a moment, as Jarchi interprets it; and so sudden wrath brings sudden destruction;

blessed are all they that put their trust in him; not in horses and chariots, in riches and honours, in their own wisdom, strength, and righteousness; but in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and who is truly and properly God; or otherwise faith and trust would not be required to be put in him: and happy are those who betake themselves to him as to their strong hold and place of defence; who look to him and believe in him for pardon, peace, righteousness, every supply of grace and eternal life; these are safe and secure in him, nor shall they want any good thing needful for them; and they have much peace, joy, and comfort here, and shall have more grace as they want it, and hereafter eternal glory and happiness.

(k) Aquila; "purum", Cocceius; so Kimchi & Ben Melech. (l) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 92. 1.((m) "quoad viam", Cocceius, Gussetius. (n) "Propter viam", Vatablus, Muis. (o) "In via", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth, Gejerus. (p) "Subito", Noldius, p. 230. No. 1052. (q) Sept. "subito", Noldius, p. 433. No. 1371.


A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. This is the first of the psalms that has a title, and is called a Psalm; the word for which, "mizmor", comes from one which signifies to "cut" or "prune" (r), as trees are lopped of their superfluous branches; showing this to be a composition of even feet, in proper metre, formed for the modulation of the voice, to some tune or musical instrument; and it is said to be "a psalm of David", which may be rendered "a psalm for" or "to David" (s), as if it was wrote by another for his use, and inscribed to him; or rather that it was given to him by the Holy Spirit, who was the author of it, though he was the penman. It is observed by some, that wherever the dative case is used in the title of the psalm, as it most frequently is, as such a psalm to David, or to Asaph, it may signify that it came from the Lord to him, or was divinely inspired; just as it is said, the word of the Lord came to the prophets; though some render it "a psalm concerning David" (t), his troubles, his faith and security in God, his victory over his enemies, and salvation from the Lord. However, David was the composer of this psalm, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, occasioned by his flight from Absalom; who, having stolen away the hearts of the people of Israel, entered into a conspiracy with them to dethrone his father and place himself in his stead; and the people so increased continually with him, that David thought it advisable to flee from Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 15:12; and at the time of his flight, or after it, he penned this psalm on account of it, and as suitable to it. And now was fulfilled what God had said, by Nathan the prophet, should befall him, because of the affair of Bathsheba and Uriah; see 2 Samuel 12:11. David was an eminent type of Christ, and so he was in his troubles, and in these; as one of his sons conspired against him to dethrone him, and take away his life; so Judas, one of Christ's disciples or children, for disciples were called children, his familiar friend, that did eat of his bread, lifted up his heel against him, and sought to betray him, and did; and who, though he knew the designs of Judas against him, and did not flee from him, but rather went to meet him, yet it is easy to observe that he took the same route from Jerusalem as David did. At this time he went over the brook Kidron, and to the mount of Olives; see John 18:1; compared with 2 Samuel 15:23; And indeed the whole psalm may be applied to Christ; and so as the second psalm sets forth the dignity of Christ's person, as the Son of God, and the stability and enlargement of his kingdom, notwithstanding the opposition made to him; this expresses his troubles from his enemies, his death and resurrection from the dead, his victory over his enemies, and the salvation he wrought out for his people. In short, it may be understood of David as the type, of Christ as the antitype, and of the people of God, being suited to their experiences, more or less, in all ages; and in this large and extensive way I shall choose to interpret it.

(r) "a radice" "praescidit", Gejerus. (s) "psalmus Davidi", "sub. datus", Genebrardus. (t) "De Davide, vel in Davidem"; so some in Mariana.

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
Lord, how are they increased that trouble me?.... David's enemies increased in the conspiracy against him, 2 Samuel 15:12; the hearts of the men of Israel were after Absalom, and against him. Christ's enemies increased when Judas with a multitude came to take him; when the body of the common people cried out, Crucify him; when the assembly of the wicked enclosed him, and pierced his hands and his feet. And the enemies of God's people are many; the men of this world are against them; legions of devils oppose them; and they have swarms of sins in their own hearts; and all these give trouble. David's enemies troubled him; he wept as he went up the hill, to think that his own son should seek to destroy him; that his subjects, whom he had ruled so long with clemency, and had hazarded his person in war for their defence, and to protect them in their civil and religious rights, should rebel against him. Christ's enemies troubled him, when they bound and led him away as a malefactor; when they spit upon him, smote and buffeted him; when they scourged and crucified him, and mocked at him. The enemies of the saints are troublers of them; in the world, and from the men of it, they have tribulation; Satan's temptations give them much uneasiness and distress; and their indwelling sins cause them to cry out, "Oh wretched men that we are!" This address is made to the Lord, as the Lord God omniscient, who knew the case to be as it was, and who had a concern in it not being without his will, but according to it, he having foretold it, and as he who only could help out of it: and the psalmist delivers it in a complaining way, and in an expostulatory manner; reasoning the case why it should be so, what should be the reason of it, for what end and purpose it was; and as wondering at it, suggesting his own innocence, and how undeserving he was to be treated in such a way;

many are they that rise up against me; many in quantity, and great in quality, great in the law, in wisdom, in riches, and in stature, as Jarchi interprets it; such as Ahithophel and others, who rose up against David in an hostile manner, to dispossess him of his kingdom, and to destroy his life. And many were they that rose up against Christ; the multitude came against him as a thief, with clubs and staves: the men of this world rise up against the saints with their tongues, and sometimes with open force and violence; Satan, like a roaring lion, seeks to devour them, and their own fleshly lusts war against them.

Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
Many there be which say of my soul,.... Or "to my soul" (u), the following cutting words, which touched to the quick, reached his very heart, and like a sword pierced through it:

there is no help for him in God; or "no salvation" (w): neither in this world, nor in that which is to come, as Kimchi explains it. David's enemies looked upon his case to be desperate; that it was impossible he should ever extricate himself from it; yea, that God himself either could not or would not save him. And in like manner did the enemies of Christ say, when they had put him upon the cross; see Matthew 27:43; and how frequent is it for the men of the world to represent the saints as in a damnable state! and to call them a damned set and generation of men, as if there was no salvation for them? and how often does Satan suggest unto them, that there is no hope for them, and they may as well indulge themselves in all sinful lusts and pleasures? and how often do their own unbelieving hearts say to them, that there is no salvation in Christ for them, though there is for others; and that they have no interest in the favour of God, and shall be eternally lost and perish? And this account is concluded with the word

selah, which some take to be a musical note; and so the Septuagint render it which Suidas (x) interprets the change of the song, of the note or tune of it; and the rather it may be thought to be so, since it is only used in this book of Psalms, and in the prayer of Habakkuk, which was set to a tune, and directed to the chief singer. Kimchi derives it from a root which signifies "to lift up", and supposes that it denotes and directs to an elevation, or straining of the voice, at the place where this word stands. Others understand it as a pause, a full stop for a while; and as a note of attention, either to something that is remarkably bad and distressing, as here; or remarkably good, and matter of rejoicing, as in Psalm 3:4. Others consider it as an affirmation of the truth of anything, good or bad; and render it "verily", "truly", as, answering to "Amen"; so be it, so it is, or shall be; it is the truth of the thing: to this sense agrees Aben Ezra. But others render it "for ever", as the Chaldee paraphrase; and it is a tradition of the Jews (y), that wherever it is said, "netzach", "selah", and "ed", there is no ceasing, it is for ever and ever; and so then, according to this rule, the sense of David's enemies is, that there was no help for him in God for ever. A very learned man (z) has wrote a dissertation upon this word; in which he endeavours to prove, that it is a name of God, differently used, either in the vocative, genitive, and dative cases; as, O Selah, O God, or of God, or to God, &c. as the sense requires.

(u) , Sept. "animae meae", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so the Targum. (w) "non est salus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "non ulla salus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth. (x) In voce (y) T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 54. 1. Vid. Ben Melech in loc. (z) Paschii Dissertatio de Selah, p. 670. in Thesaur. Theolog. Philolog. par. 1.

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me,.... Or "about me" (a) protecting and defending me. David was a military man, and often alludes to military affairs; and borrows words from thence, expressive of his great security from the Lord; see Psalm 18:2. So Jehovah the Father was a shield to Christ, in his infancy, from Herod's rage and fury; and afterwards from the insults of the Pharisees, and their attempts to take away his life before the time; and in his sufferings and death, so as that his faith and confidence in him were kept up, and he got the victory over sin, Satan, and the world; see Psalm 22:9. And the Lord is a shield unto all his people, Genesis 15:1. They are kept by his power, and encompassed about with his favour, as with a shield; his veracity and his faithfulness in his promises, and his truth, are their shield and buckler: and especially his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the shield which faith makes use of, particularly his blood and righteousness, and salvation by him; which it holds up, and defends itself with, against the charges of the law, the accusations of conscience, and the temptations of Satan; and which are a security from the justice of God, and wrath to come;

my glory; who took David from the sheepfold, and made him king over Israel, and raised him to all the glory he had enjoyed; and in whom he gloried as his covenant God, and of whom he made his boast; and not of his strength, valour, wisdom, riches, and honour. So God the Father is the glory of Christ, the glorifier of him, by supporting him under his sufferings, raising him from the dead, and setting him at his own right hand, where he is crowned with glory and honour: he is the glory of his people, in whom they glory, and by whom they are called to eternal glory; and who will give it to them, and reveal it in them, even an eternal weight of it, which the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared unto;

and the lifter up mine head; such as the helmet is: the Lord was lifter up of David's head when he brought him to the throne, and afterwards gave him victory over his enemies; for so the phrase of lifting up the head signifies; see 2 Kings 25:27. And he was the lifter up of Christ's head when he raised him from the dead; and exalted him, both with and at his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, and gave him a name above every name. And he is the lifter up of the heads of his people in conversion, when he raises them from a low estate, and sets them among princes to inherit the throne of glory; and when he gives them comfort, peace, and joy, which causes them to lift up their heads; whereas in sorrow, and mourning, and distress, the head is bowed down like a bulrush, Isaiah 58:5; and when he gives them boldness and confidence, as at the throne of grace now, through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon them; so at the bar of judgment hereafter, through the righteousness of Christ put upon them, as that they shall not be ashamed nor confounded; see Luke 21:28; and he will be the lifter up of their heads in the resurrection morn, and when they shall appear with Christ in glory.

(a) "circa me", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Muis, Ainsworth, Cocceius, Michaelis.

I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
I cried unto the Lord with my voice,.... The experience which the psalmist had of being heard in prayer, was what gave great encouragement to his faith, as to his interest in God and salvation by him, when his enemies were so increased about him; for crying here is to be understood of prayer, as it is often used in this book of Psalms: and so the Targum renders it, "I prayed"; and this designs vocal prayer. Sometimes there is a crying in prayer and no voice heard, as it is said of Moses, Exodus 14:15; and was the case of Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:13; but this was with a voice, and a loud one, as in Psalm 55:17; denoting ardour, fervency, and importunity; and such prayer avails much with God. The object addressed in prayer is the Lord, the God of his life, and who was able to save him, and supply all his wants;

and he heard me out of his holy hill; either out of the church, the holy hill of Zion, Psalm 2:6; where David prayed and God granted his presence, and gave an answer to his prayers; or out from the mercy seat and ark, which was a type of the propitiatory, Christ, and which David had brought to his own city, the hill of Zion; or from heaven, the habitation of God's holiness: David was a man of prayer, and he was often heard and answered by God. And this also is true of Christ, he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to God Hebrews 5:7, that was able to save him; and he was heard by him, yea, the Father always heard him: and God is a God hearing and answering the prayers of his people, sooner or later: sometimes before, sometimes at, and sometimes after their crying to him.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
I laid me down and slept,.... After the battle was over between Absalom's men and his, says Aben Ezra; but rather this was in the midst of his trouble and distress, since he afterwards prays for salvation: and this sleep was either, as Jarchi observes, through his heart being overwhelmed with grief; for there have been instances of persons sleeping through sorrow, as Elijah, Jonah, and the disciples of Christ, 1 Kings 19:4; or rather this is expressive of the calmness and serenity of his mind amidst his troubles; he laid himself down in peace, and slept quietly and comfortably; he did not lose a night's rest, his sleep was sweet unto him; which was a blessing of life from the Lord that everyone does not enjoy; see Psalm 127:2;

I awakened; in the morning, alive and cheerful, Some lay themselves down and never awake more, as Sisera the captain of Jabin's army, and Ishbosheth the son of Saul; and this might have been David's case, considering the circumstances he was in: and others, through perplexing thoughts and cares, or pains of body, or uneasy dreams, rise fatigued and distressed; but David arose in good health of body, and tranquillity of mind, and comfortably refreshed;

for the Lord sustained me; the psalmist committed himself to the care and protection of God; he laid himself down in his arms, and there slept in safety; the Lord preserved him, who is Israel's keeper, that neither slumbers nor sleeps: and he rose in health and cheerfulness in the morning, supported by his right hand. This shows, that lying down to sleep, when in such circumstances, and awaking with cheerfulness, were not owing to rashness, stupidity, and insensibility, but to divine supports. These words may be interpreted, as they are by some of the ancients, of the death of Christ, and of his resurrection from the dead by the power of God; death is often expressed by sleep, and the resurrection of the dead by an awaking out of sleep, Daniel 12:2; and Christ's death being signified by lying down and sleeping, may denote both the voluntariness of it, that he laid down his life freely and willingly; and his short continuance under the power of death, it was but like a night's sleep; and his resurrection from the dead, being expressed by an awaking through the Lord's sustaining him, shows that it was by the power of God, even the exceeding greatness of his power: and the whole of this may be applied to the case and state of the saints and people of God, who at times have rest and peace amidst their enemies; though they have tribulation in the world, they have peace in Christ; and notwithstanding the temptations of Satan, and the corruptions of their own hearts, they have joy and comfort through believing in Christ; the Lord sustains them with precious promises, and supports them with the discoveries of his love, and upholds them with the right hand of his righteousness.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of the people,.... David was a man of courage from his youth; the instances of his attacking the lion and the bear, when he kept his father's sheep, his engaging with Goliath, and his military exploits, show it; and though there were now many thousands up in arms against him, and his own son at the head of them; all the tribes of Israel were revolting from him, and he was only attended with a few of his friends, yet he was not dismayed; for that he refers to this insurrection appears by what follows,

that have set themselves against me round about; and this was owing not to himself; but to the Lord's sustaining of him; see Psalm 27:1; and such courage and greatness of soul did his antitype the Messiah express, and to a greater degree, when Judas, with his band of soldiers, and the multitude with clubs and staves, entered the garden to apprehend him; and when the prince of this world was marching towards him, and when he was engaged with all the powers of darkness, and when the sorrows of death compassed him about, yet he failed not, nor was he discouraged: and something of this spirit appears in true believers, When they are in the exercise of faith, have the presence of God, and the discoveries of his love; they are then not afraid what man can do unto them; nor are they afraid of devils themselves, but wrestle against them; nor of any nor all their enemies, they having victory over them, given by God through Christ.

Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God,.... God sometimes, in the apprehension of his people, seems to be as if he was asleep: when he does not appear to them and for them, and does not exert his power on their behalf, then they call to him to awake and arise; see Psalm 44:23; and it may be some respect is had to the words of Moses when the ark set forward, Numbers 10:35; and it may be observed, that though David enjoyed so much peace and tranquillity of mind, and was in such high spirits as not to be afraid of ten thousands of men, yet he did not neglect the right means of deliverance and safety, prayer to God, who he knew was his God; and he addresses him as such, and uses his covenant interest in him, as an argument with him to arise and save him from his enemies, who was able to do it, and to whom salvation belongs: so Christ, his antitype, prayed to God as his God to save him, and was heard by him in like manner; so the saints call upon God in a day of trouble, cry to him in their distresses, to be delivered out of them;

for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheekbone; to smite anyone upon the cheek is reckoned reproachful, and is casting contempt upon them; see Job 16:10 and the sense is, that God had poured contempt upon his enemies in time past, and had brought them to shame and confusion: hence he puts up the above prayer as a prayer of faith for salvation, founded on past experience of God's goodness; he prayed that his God would arise and save him, and he believed he would because he had hitherto appeared for him, and against his enemies;

thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly; who were like to beasts of prey, whose strength lies in their teeth, whereby they do the mischief they do; and the breaking of their teeth signifies the taking away from them the power of hurting, and refers to the victories which God had given David over the Philistines, Edomites, Syrians, and others; and maybe applied to Christ, and be expressive of sin, Satan, the world, and death, being overcome and abolished by him, and of the victory which the saints have through him over the same enemies.

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