Psalm 3:3
But you, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

“Comp.—

“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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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). The Anointed One himself now speaks and expresses what he is, and is able to do, by virtue of the divine decree. No transitional word or formula of introduction denotes this sudden transition from the speech of Jahve to that of His Christ. The psalmist is the seer: his Psalm is the mirrored picture of what he saw and the echo of what he heard. As Jahve in opposition to the rebels acknowledges the king upon Zion, so the king on Zion appeals to Him in opposition to the rebels. The name of God, יהוה, has Rebia magnum and, on account of the compass of the full intonation of this accent, a Gaja by the Sheb (comp. אלהי Psalm 25:2, אלהים Psalm 68:8, אדני Psalm 90:1).

(Note: We may observe here, in general, that this Gaja (Metheg) which draws the Sheb into the intonation is placed even beside words with the lesser distinctives Zinnor and Rebia parvum only by the Masorete Ben-Naphtali, not by Ben-Asher (both about 950 a.d.). This is a point which has not been observed throughout even in Baer's edition of the Psalter so that consequently e.g., in Psalm 5:11 it is to be written אלהים; in Psalm 6:2 on the other hand (with Dech) יהוה, not יהוה.)

The construction of ספּר with אל (as Psalm 69:27, comp. אמר Genesis 20:2; Jeremiah 27:19, דּבּר 2 Chronicles 32:19, הודיע Isaiah 38:19): to narrate or make an announcement with respect to... is minute, and therefore solemn. Self-confident and fearless, he can and will oppose to those, who now renounce their allegiance to him, a חק, i.e., an authentic, inviolable appointment, which can neither be changed nor shaken. All the ancient versions, with the exception of the Syriac, read חק־יהוה together. The line of the strophe becomes thereby more symmetrical, but the expression loses in force. אל־חק rightly has Olewejored. It is the amplificative use of the noun when it is not more precisely determined, known in Arabic grammar: such a decree! majestic as to its author and its matter. Jahve has declared to Him: בּני אתּה,

(Note: Even in pause here אתּה remains without a lengthened ā (Psalter ii. 468), but the word is become Milel, while out of pause, according to Ben-Asher, it is Milra; but even out of pause (as in Psalm 89:10, Psalm 89:12; Psalm 90:2) it is accented on the penult. by Ben-Naphtali. The Athnach of the books תאם (Ps., Job, Prov.), corresponding to the Zakeph of the 21 other books, has only a half pausal power, and as a rule none at all where it follows Olewejored, cf. Psalm 9:7; Psalm 14:4; Psalm 25:7; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 31:14; Psalm 35:15, etc. (Baer, Thorath Emeth p. 37).)

and that on the definite day on which He has begotten or born him into this relationship of son. The verb ילד (with the changeable vowel i)

(Note: The changeable i goes back either to a primary form ילד, ירשׁ, שׁאל, or it originates directly from Pathach; forms like ירשׁוּה and שׁאלך favour the former, ē in a closed syllable generally going over into Segol favours the latter.))

unites in itself, like γεννᾶν, the ideas of begetting and bearing (lxx γεγέννηκα, Aq. ἔτεκον); what is intended is an operation of divine power exalted above both, and indeed, since it refers to a setting up (נסך) in the kingship, the begetting into a royal existence, which takes place in and by the act of anointing (משׁח). Whether it be David, or a son of David, or the other David, that is intended, in any case 2 Samuel 7 is to be accounted as the first and oldest proclamation of this decree; for there David, with reference to his own anointing, and at the same time with the promise of everlasting dominion, receives the witness of the eternal sonship to which Jahve has appointed the seed of David in relation to Himself as Father, so that David and his seed can say to Jahve: אבי אתּה, Thou art my Father, Psalm 89:27, as Jahve can to him: בּני אתּה, Thou art My son. From this sonship of the Anointed one to Jahve, the Creator and Possessor of the world, flows His claim to and expectation of the dominion of the world. The cohortative, natural after challenges, follows upon שׁאל, Ges. 128, 1. Jahve has appointed the dominion of the world to His Son: on His part therefore it needs only the desire for it, to appropriate to Himself that which is allotted to Him. He needs only to be willing, and that He is willing is shown by His appealing to the authority delegated to Him by Jahve against the rebels. This authority has a supplement in Psalm 2:9, which is most terrible for the rebellious ones. The suff. refer to the גּוים, the ἔθνη, sunk in heathenism. For these his sceptre of dominion (Psalm 90:2) becomes a rod of iron, which will shatter them into a thousand pieces like a brittle image of clay (Jeremiah 19:11). With נפּץ alternates רעע ( equals רעץ frangere), fut. תּרע; whereas the lxx (Syr., Jer.), which renders ποιμανεῖς αὐτοὺς ἐν ῥάβδῳ (as 1 Corinthians 4:21) σιδηρᾷ, points it תּרעם from רעה. The staff of iron, according to the Hebrew text the instrument of punitive power, becomes thus with reference to שׁבט as the shepherd's staff Psalm 23:4; Micah 7:14, an instrument of despotism.

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