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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Psalms 3-4; 12-13; 28; 55 Listen
This Psalm reflects some bad times (Psalm 3)
A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.
1 ¶ LORD, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.”
3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the LORD with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.
5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O LORD;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people.
The subtitle says, "A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son." Absalom was a problem to his father, David, from II Samuel 13 through 18 when he tried to have David killed so that he might reign in his stead.
Click here for commentary on II Samuel 13-15
Click here for commentary on II Samuel 16-18
Imagine...fleeing your own hometown and leaving the leadership of your own kingdom behind in flight from your own son. So how do you feel when your eldest son is trying to kill you? Here's the answer in Psalm 3. It is interesting to see, however, what David has learned through the years concerning leaving his enemies to God. That brings me to a great appreciation for verse 5, "I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me." David is saying, in other words, "I'm not losing sleep over this ordeal, and everyday I wake up is a good day!"
A Psalm to the guy in charge of stringed instruments (Psalm 4)
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
2 How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood?
3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD.
6 There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
David is the author, although we are not told the circumstances in the subtitle.
Following is an excerpt from Easton's Bible Dictionary regarding the word "Selah":
Selah: a word frequently found in the Book of Psalms, and also in Hab. 3:9, 13, about seventy-four times in all in Scripture. Its meaning is doubtful. Some interpret it as meaning silence or pause; others, end, a louder strain, piano, etc.
Verse 8 would indicate that David wrote this intending it to be a prayer at bed time.
The Godless conduct of people (Psalm 12)
To the Chief Musician. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
2 They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
4 Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
7 You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
8 The wicked prowl on every side,
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
Here's a Psalm in which David speaks of the deceitful god-rejecting people around us who, with their words, attempt to sour our own relationship with God. I particularly like David's comments on God's word in verses 6-7, "The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever." They are preserved and forever pure.
How loooong...x4? (Psalm 13)
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
It seems quite likely that David would have penned these words while fleeing his son Absalom in II Samuel 13-18 (see above), although we are not specifically told so in the subtitle. David begins this Psalm in distress asking the Lord "how long" four times. What an effective way to express impatience. Hey! I can think of at least one famous speech of the 20th century which inserted that same line...over and over again. With regard to deliverance from his enemies, David demonstrates an unwavering faith that it's not a case of "if," but when God will deliver him.
Don't let me be lumped in with the wicked (Psalm 28)
A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.
6 Blessed be the LORD,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
8 The LORD is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
9 Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.
David is credited with this one. Again, it seems quite likely that David would have penned these words while fleeing his son Absalom in II Samuel 13-18 (see above), although it is not specifically stated. David says: I don't belong with the wicked. Let them get what is coming to them according to their works. Bless me. Notice particularly verse 4, "Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve." Along with David, it is completely appropriate to pray for those who practice evil to receive the just recompense for their practices.
Forsaken by friends (Psalm 55)
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Contemplation of David.
1 ¶ Give ear to my prayer, O God,
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
2 Attend to me, and hear me;
I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,
3 Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the oppression of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me,
And in wrath they hate me.
4 My heart is severely pained within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me,
And horror has overwhelmed me.
6 So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 Indeed, I would wander far off,
And remain in the wilderness.
8 I would hasten my escape
From the windy storm and tempest.”
9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues,
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around it on its walls;
Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it.
11 Destruction is in its midst;
Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets.
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.
15 Let death seize them;
Let them go down alive into hell,
For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.
16 As for me, I will call upon God,
And the LORD shall save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
18 He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.
19 God will hear, and afflict them,
Even He who abides from of old.
Because they do not change,
Therefore they do not fear God.
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him;
He has broken his covenant.
21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,
But war was in his heart;
His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn swords.
22 Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
23 But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;
But I will trust in You.
Again, David is the author. We've seen David write a lot of songs about God delivering him from his enemies. Here's a song with a little different angle - delivery from double-crossing friends. Notice verses 12-13, "For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance."
We don't know to whom he was referring. Some have suggested that this Psalm is prophetic regarding the betrayal of Jesus. There really isn't any indication in scripture that would validate that position. But...you do hate it when your friends turn on you.