|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-3 An active believer, the more he is beaten off from God, either by the rebukes of providence, or the reproaches of enemies, the faster hold he will take, and the closer will he cleave to him. A child of God startles at the very thought of despairing of help in God. See what God is to his people, what he will be, what they have found him, what David found in him. 1. Safety; a shield for me; which denotes the advantage of that protection. 2. Honour; those whom God owns for his, have true honour put upon them. 3. Joy and deliverance. If, in the worst of times, God's people can lift up their heads with joy, knowing that all shall work for good to them, they will own God as giving them both cause and hearts to rejoice.
Verse 1. - Lord, how are they increased that trouble me: rather, Lord. how numerous are they that trouble me! We arc told, in the Book of Samuel, that "the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom (2 Samuel 15:12), and again, "Absalom, and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him" (2 Samuel 16:15). Ahithophel proposed to attack David with twelve thousand men only (2 Samuel 17:1), but the actual number which went against him must have been far larger, for some twenty thousand men, chiefly, no doubt, Absalom's partisans, fell in the battle (2 Samuel 18:7). Many are they that rise up against me; i.e. "that rebel against me, and rise up in arras to make war upon me" (comp. Psalm 18:48; Psalm 44:5; Psalm 59:1, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
The Treasury of David
1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
The poor broken-hearted father complains of the multitude of his enemies, and if you turn to 2 Samuel 15:12, you will find it written that "the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom," while the troops of David constantly diminished! "Lord how are they increased that trouble me!" Here is a note of exclamation to express the wonder of woe which amazed and perplexed the fugitive father. Alas! I see no limit to my misery, for my troubles are enlarged! There was enough at first to sink me very low; but lo! my enemies multiply. When Absalom, my darling, is in rebellion against me, it is enough to break my heart; But lo! Ahithophel hath forsaken me, my faithful counsellors have turned their backs on me; lo! my generals and soldiers have deserted my standard. "How are they increased that trouble me!" Troubles always come in flocks. Sorrow hath a numerous family.
"Many are they that rise up against me." Their hosts are far superior to mine! Their numbers are too great for my reckoning!
Let us here recall to our memory the innumerable hosts which beset our Divine Redeemer. The legions of our sins, the armies of fiends, the crowd of bodily pains, the host of spiritual sorrows, and all the allies of death and hell, set themselves in battle against the Son of Man. O how precious to know and believe that he has routed their hosts, and trodden them down in his anger! They who would have troubled us he has removed into captivity, and those who would have risen up against us he has laid low. The dragon lost his sting when he dashed it into the soul of Jesus.
David complains before his loving God of the worst weapon of his enemies' attacks, and the bitterest drop of his distresses. "Oh!" saith David, "many there be that say of my soul, There is no help for him in God." Some of his distrustful friends said this sorrowfully, but his enemies exultingly boasted of it, and longed to see their words proved by his total destruction. This was the unkindest cut of all, when they declared that his God had forsaken him. Yet David knew in his own conscience that he had given them some ground for this exclamation, for he had committed sin against God in the very light of day. Then they flung his crime with Bathsheba into his face, and they said, "Go up, thou bloody man; God hath forsaken thee and left thee." Shimei cursed him and swore at him to his very face, for he was bold because of his backers, since multitudes of the men of Belial thought of David in like fashion. Doubtless, David felt this infernal suggestion to be staggering to his faith. If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be led to fear that there is no help for us in God. And yet remember our most blessed Saviour had to endure this in the deepest degree when he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He knew full well what it was to walk in darkness and to see no light. This was the curse of the curse. This was the wormwood mingled with the gall. To be deserted of his Father was worse than to be the despised of men. Surely we should love him who suffered this bitterest of temptations and trials for our sake. It will be a delightful and instructive exercise for the loving heart to mark the Lord in his agonies as here portrayed, f, or there is here, and in very many other Psalms, far more of David's Lord than of David himself.
"Selah." This is a musical pause; the precise meaning of which is not known. Some think it simply a rest, a pause in the music; others say it means, "Lift up the strain - sing more loudly - pitch the tune upon a higher key - there is nobler matter to come, therefore retune your harps." Harp-strings soon get out of order and need to be screwed up again to their proper tightness, and certainly our heartstrings are evermore getting out of tune. Let "Selah" teach us to pray
"O may my heart in tune be found
Like David's harp of solemn sound."
At least, we may learn that wherever we see "Selah," we should look upon it as a note of observation. Let us read the passage which precedes and succeeds it with greater earnestness, for surely there is always something excellent where we are required to rest and pause and meditate, or when we are required to lift up our hearts in grateful song. "Selah."
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 3:1-8. For the historical occasion mentioned, compare 2Sa 15:1-17:29. David, in the midst of great distress, with filial confidence, implores God's aid, and, anticipating relief, offers praise.
1. Lord … increased—The extent of the rebellion (2Sa 15:13) surprises and grieves him.
Psalm 3:1 Parallel Commentaries
Psalm 3:1 NIV
Psalm 3:1 NLT
Psalm 3:1 ESV
Psalm 3:1 NASB
Psalm 3:1 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible