Note some firsts regarding this Psalm:
• The first psalm ascribed to David.
• The first psalm that bears a superscription that relates it to an episode in David’s life.
• The first lament psalm.
• The first use of the word “Selah.”
A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom [cf. 2 Sam. 15:1—19:43].
A. David’s complaint concerning his enemies.
3:1 Lord [Yahweh, God’s revealed covenant name], how many [indicates a united front; refers to David’s enemies; “Troubles always come in flocks. Sorrow hath a numerous family.” (Spurgeon)] are my [David recognized that these were his enemies] foes! How many [refers to the growing opposition against David] rise up [cf. 3:7 where the Lord arises] against me [David recognized that the growing opposition was directed against him]!
3:2 Many [refers to the skeptics who were trying to demoralize David; cf. 2 Sam. 16:7-8 re: those who cursed David] are saying [it is often what people say about us that demoralizes us] of me, “God will not deliver him [to think or believe that God will not help us is a frightening thought].”
B. David’s confidence in the Lord.
3:3 But [this little conjunction introduces a difference] you [in contrast to David’s enemies], Lord, are a shield [a metaphor that describes the nature of God; David trusted in God’s protection] around me, my glory [one of God’s attributes; His glory is greater than any human power], the One who lifts my head high [as when a parent places a hand under the chin of a child whose eyes are downcast and lifts up their countenance; see description of David in 2 Sam. 15:30 re: when he had to leave Jerusalem].
3:4 I call out [the importance of prayer] to the Lord, and [note David’s confidence that God would answer him] he answers me from his holy mountain.
C. David’s trust in the Lord.
3:5 [peace is the product of prayer] I lie down and sleep [cf. Acts 12:6 re: Peter sleeping on the night before his scheduled execution]; I wake again, because [David gave God the credit for why he was able to sleep peacefully] the Lord [the Lord never sleeps (Ps. 121:3-4); He thinks about us all the time (Ps. 139:17)] sustains [cares and protects] me.
3:6 I will not fear [we must not trust only when appearances are favorable; we must trust in spite of the things that cause us to fear] though tens of thousands [numbers are not a factor when God is with you] assail me on every side.
D. David’s prayer for deliverance.
3:7 [cf. David’s “cry” in verse 4; these are the words that David cried out in prayer] Arise [in contrast to those that had arisen against David (cf. 3:1)], Lord! Deliver me [David’s enemies tried to demoralize him by saying that God would not deliver him in verse 2], my [emphasizes David’s personal relationship with God] God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw [an expression of humiliation]; break the teeth [refers to taking away the strength of an adversary; cf. Ps. 58:6] of the wicked.
E. David’s hope in the Lord.
3:8 From the Lord comes deliverance [the psalm ends on a confident note]. May your blessing be on your people [note David’s concern for his people].