Psalm 3

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Psalm 3
Rembrandt van Rijn - David in Prayer.jpg
Psalm 3 is a prayer by David. David in Prayer by Rembrandt van Rijn (1652)
Textby David
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 3 is the third Psalm of the Bible. It is a personal thanksgiving to God, who answered the prayer of an afflicted soul. Psalm 3 is attributed to David, in particular, when he fled from Absalom his son. David, deserted by his subjects, derided by Shimei, pursued for his crown and life by his ungracious son, turns to his God, makes his supplications, and confesses his faith. The story of Absalom is found in the 2 Samuel, Chapters 13-18.


Commentary by Matthew Henry[1][edit]

In Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, verse 1-3 represents David complaining to God of his enemies, and confiding in God. Verses 4-8 represents his triumphs over his fears, and giving God the glory, while taking to himself the comfort.

Martin Luther[edit]

Writers like Martin Luther [2]felt that, overall, the goal in this Psalm is to impart the confidence of those who consider themselves followers of YHWH to call on him. "But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me, my glory, and uplifts my head." (Verse 4): This is the emphatic prayer of the oppressed who turn aside to YHWH. Although written in the mouth of David (verse 1)[3] The reader is encouraged to consider how God rescues someone like David, who was at that time very in distress, saved and later raised to be king over all Israel.

Commentary by St. Augustine of Hippo[edit]

New Advent: St. Augustine, Exposition on Psalm 3

Musical settings[edit]

Psalm 3 has been scored in music by many artists, including "Thou Art A Shield For Me",[4] by Byron Cage, "Christian Karaoke Praise Song Psalm 3 worship",[5] by Andrew Bain. In 1691,Michel-Richard Delalande composed his grand motet Domine quid sunt Multiplicati (S.37) for the offices of the Chapel of Versailles, and Henry Purcell set a variant version of the Latin text, "Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei," for five voices and continuo.


Psalm3:6 in Jegłownik cemetery.


Eastern Orthodox Church[edit]

  • Psalm 3 is the first Psalm, of "The Six Psalms", which are read as part of every Orthros (Matins) service. During the reading of the Six Psalms, movement and noise are strongly discouraged, as it is regarded as one of the most holy moments of the Orthros service.[9]

Catholic Church[edit]

About 530 in the Rule of St. Benedict, Benedict of Nursia chose this Psalm for the beginning of the office of matins, namely as the first psalm in the liturgy of the Benedictine during the year.[10] In the abbeys that preserve the tradition, it is currently the first Psalm Sunday for the office of vigils.[11]

Given the current Liturgy of the Hours, 3 Psalm is sung or recited the first Office of Readings on Sunday of the week, after the first two psalms.[12]


  1. ^ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 3
  2. ^ Martin Luther: Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche Schriften, (St. Louis 1880), p 1375.
  3. ^ Siehe: Howard N. Wallace, Psalms. Readings. A New Biblical Commentary, (Sheffield 2009).
  4. ^ Thou Art A Shield For Me Psalm 3 lyrics Archived 2009-02-26 at the Wayback Machine, by Byron Cage.
  5. ^ Christian Karaoke Praise Song Psalm 3 worship, by Andrew Bain.
  6. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 291
  7. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 63
  8. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 619
  9. ^ Dykstra, Tyler. "The Six Psalms". Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  10. ^ Prosper Guéranger, La règle de Saint Benopit, p. 37 & 38.
  11. ^ D’après le Complete Artscroll Siddur, compilation des prières juives.
  12. ^ The main cycle of liturgical prayers takes place over four weeks.

External links[edit]

  • Psalm 3 in Hebrew and English - Mechon-mamre
  • Psalm 3 King James Bible - Wikisource