Psalm 3:3
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
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(3) For me.—Better, behind me. A protection from the emissaries of Absalom, now on his track.

My glory, and the lifter up of mine head.


“O et praesidium et dulce decus meum.”

HORACE, Ode I., 1:2.

The significance of this sublime trust comes out as we read in 2Samuel 15:30 how the humiliated monarch went barefoot over Olivet, with head bent down and muffled in his mantle; no glory or dignity left; mute and humiliated under the insults and curses of Shimei.

Psalm 3:3. But thou art a shield for me — Or, about me, on every side, where also mine enemies are; that is, thou art my defence; my glory — Thou hast formerly given, and wilt further give me, occasion of glorying in thy power and favour; and the lifter up of my head — Thou wilt restore me to my former power and dignity. Thus David, in the midst of his dangers and distress, quiets his mind by calling to remembrance the power, and love, and faithfulness of God, and trusting in him. Reader, go thou, and do likewise, in all thy perplexities and troubles.

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.But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me - Not only in these dangers, but in all dangers. The declaration here has a general form, as if he could trust in him at all times. It shows what his feelings were on the occasion here referred to, when dangers stood thick around him, and what his feelings habitually were in times of peril. The shield was a well-known part of ancient armor, of use, according to the ancient modes of warfare, when swords, and spears, and arrows were employed, but of use only then, since they would constitute no defense against a musket or cannonball. They were usually made of tough and thick hides, fastened to a rim, and so attached to the left arm that they could be readily thrown before the body when attacked, or so that, as they were usually held, the vital parts of the body would be protected. See the notes at Ephesians 6:14-16. From this use of the shield it was natural to speak of God as the "shield," or the "Protector" of his people - an appellation which is often given to him in the Scriptures (Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 33:29; 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 28:7; Psalm 119:114; Psalm 144:2; Psalm 33:20; Psalm 84:11; Proverbs 30:5.

My glory - My honor, or the source of my honor. That is, he bestows upon me all the honor that I have, and it is my glory that I may put my trust in him. I regard it as an honor to be permitted, in times of danger and trouble, to rely on him - a sentiment in which every true child of God will unite.

And the lifter up of my head - The head, in time of trouble and sorrow is naturally bowed down, as if overpowered with the weight of affliction. See Psalm 35:14 : "I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother;" Psalm 38:6 : "I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day." Compare Psalm 42:5; Psalm 44:25; Psalm 57:6; John 19:30. To lift up the head, therefore, or to raise one up, is to relieve his distresses, or to take away his troubles. Such a helper, David says, he had always found God to be, and he looks to him as one who is able to help him still. That is, he feels that God can so entirely take away his present griefs as to reinstate him in his former happy and honorable condition.

3. But—literally, "and" (Ps 2:6). He repels the reproach by avowing his continued trust.

shield—a favorite and often-used figure for protection.

my glory—its source.

lifter up of mine head—one who raises me from despondency.

3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

4 I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

Here David avows his confidence in God. "Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me." The word in the original signifies more than a shield; it means a buckler round about, a protection which shall surround a man entirely, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within. Oh I what a shield is God for his people! He wards off the fiery darts of Satan from beneath, and the storms of trials from above, while, at the same instant, he speaks peace to the tempest within the breast. Thou art "my glory." David knew that though he was driven from his capital in contempt and scorn, he should yet return in triumph, and by faith he looks upon God as honouring and glorifying him. O for grace to see our future glory amid present shame! Indeed, there is a present glory in our afflictions, if we could but discern it; for it is no mean thing to have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. David was honoured when he made the ascent of Olivet, weeping, with his head covered; for he was in all this made like unto his Lord. May we learn, in this respect, to glory in tribulations also! "And the lifter up of mine head" - thou shalt yet exalt me. Though I hang my head in sorrow, I shall very soon lift it up in joy and thanksgiving. What a divine trio of mercies is contained in this verse! - defence for the defenceless, glory for the despised, and joy for the comfortless. Verily we may well say, "Them is none like the God of Jeshurun."

"I cried unto the Lord with my voice." Why doth he say, "with my voice?" Surely, silent prayers are heard. Yes, but good men often find that, even in secret, they pray better aloud than they do when they utter no vocal sound. Perhaps, moreover, David would think thus: - "My cruel enemies clamour against me; they lift up their voices, and, behold, I lift up mine, and my cry outsoars them all. They clamour, but the cry of my voice in great distress pierces the very skies, and is louder and stronger than all their tumult; for there is one in the sanctuary who hearkens to me from the seventh heaven, and he hath 'heard me out of his holy hilt.'" Answers to prayers are sweet cordials for the soul. We need not fear a frowning world while we rejoice in a prayer-hearing God.

Here stands another Selah. Rest awhile, O tried believer, and change the strain to a softer air.

For me, or about me, on every side, where also mine enemies are.

My glory; either,

1. The author of my princely glory and majesty. Thou didst first give it, and I doubt not thou wilt defend and restore it. Or,

2: The matter of my glorying. Thou hast formerly and frequently given, and wilt further give me occasion of glorying or boasting of thy power and favour to me.

The lifter up of my head; thou dost and wilt enable me to look up to thee with comfort and cheerfulness, and upon mine enemies with confidence; and thou wilt lift me out of the mire in which I now lie, and restore me to my former power and dignity from which I am fallen. For the phrase, see Genesis 4:7 Job 11:15 Luke 18:13.

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.

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
3. a shield for me] More significantly the original, a shield about me. A natural metaphor for a warrior-poet. Cp. God’s promise to Abraham, Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 18:2, &c.

my glory] The honour of the Israelite king was derived from Jehovah, whose representative he was. Cp. Psalm 21:5; Psalm 62:7; and see note on Psalm 4:2. My worship (P.B.V.) = my honour or glory.

the lifter up of mine head] A general truth. David is still confident that as Jehovah raised him from low estate to royal dignity, and brought him up from depths of trouble in times past, He can even now save him and restore him to the throne. Cp. 2 Samuel 15:25.

3, 4. Men may say that God has forsaken him, but he knows that it is not so.

Verse 3. - But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; or, about me(see the Revised Version). (For the sentiment, comp. Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 33:29; 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 28:7; Psalm 33:20; Psalm 84:9, etc.) The expression has peculiar force in David's mouth, who, as a "man of war," fully appreciated the saving power of a shield. My glory (comp. Psalm 62:7). And the lifter up of mine head. As God had raised up David to the throne (2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:3), and prospered him in his wars (2 Samuel 8:1-14), and exalted him above all the other kings of the period, so he was well able now, if he so willed, to restore him to his place and re-establish him in the monarchy (comp. 2 Samuel 15:25; Psalm 43:3). Psalm 3:3(Heb.: 3:4-5) But cleansed by penitence he stands in a totally different relationship to God and God to him from that which men suppose. Every hour he has reason to fear some overwhelming attack but Jahve is the shield which covers him behind and before (בּעד constr. of בּעד equals Arab. ba‛da, prop. pone, post). His kingdom is taken from him, but Jahve is his glory. With covered head and dejected countenance he ascended the Mount of Olives (2 Samuel 15:30), but Jahve is the "lifter up of his head," inasmuch as He comforts and helps him. The primary passage of this believing utterance "God is a shield" is Genesis 15:1 (cf. Deuteronomy 33:29). Very far from praying in vain, he is assured, that when he prays his prayer will be heard and answered. The rendering "I cried and He answered me" is erroneous here where אקרא does not stand in an historical connection. The future of sequence does not require it, as is evident from Psalm 55:17. (comp. on Psalm 120:1); it is only an expression of confidence in the answer on God's part, which will follow his prayer. In constructions like קולי אקרא, Hitzig and Hupfeld regard קולי as the narrower subject-notion beside the more general one (as Psalm 44:3; Psalm 69:11; Psalm 83:19): my voice - I cried; but the position of the words is not favourable to this in the passage before us and in Psalm 17:10; Psalm 27:7; Psalm 57:5; Psalm 66:17; Psalm 142:2, Isaiah 36:9, though it may be in Psalm 69:11; Psalm 108:2. According to Ew. 281, c, קולי is an accusative of more precise definition, as without doubt in Isaiah 10:30 cf. Psalm 60:7; Psalm 17:13.; the cry is thereby described as a loud cry.

(Note: Bttcher, Collectanea pp. 166f., also adopts the view, that נפשׁי, פּי, קולי are each appositum vicarium subjecti and therefore nomin. in such passages. But 1) the fact that את never stands beside them is explained by the consideration that it is not suited to an adverbial collateral definition. And 2) that elsewhere the same notions appear as direct subjects, just as 3) that elsewhere they alternate with the verbal subject-notion in the parallel member of the verse (Psalm 130:5; Proverbs 8:4) - these last two admit of no inference. The controverted question of the syntax is, moreover, an old one and has been treated of at length by Kimchi in his Book of Roots s. r. אוה.)

To this cry, as ויּענני as being a pure mood of sequence implies, succeeds the answer, or, which better corresponds to the original meaning of ענה (comp. Arab. ‛nn, to meet, stand opposite) reply;

(Note: Vid., Redslob in his treatise: Die Integritat der Stelle Hosea 7.4-10 in Frage gestellt S. 7.)

and it comes from the place whither it was directed: מהר קדשוּ. He had removed the ark from Kirjath Jeraim to Zion. He had not taken it with him when he left Jerusalem and fled before Absolom, 2 Samuel 15:25. He was therefore separated by a hostile power from the resting-place of the divine presence. But his prayer urged its way on to the cherubim-throne; and to the answer of Him who is enthroned there, there is no separating barrier of space or created things.

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