Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for you have smitten all my enemies on the cheek bone; you have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou hast smitten . . . broken.—Better, thou smitest . . . breakest. The enemies are conceived of as wild beasts, like the lion and bear of the adventures of David’s own youth, whom God would render harmless to him.Psalm 3:7. Arise, O Lord, save me — Defer no longer, but let them see thou hast not forsaken me; O my God — Who art mine by special relation and covenant: Lord, save thy own. Deliver me from these my rebellious subjects, whose policy and power I am unable to withstand without thee. For thou hast smitten mine enemies — Namely, in times past; on the cheek bone — Hast discomfited and put them to shame, hast subdued and exposed them to contempt and reproach. Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly — That is, their strength, and the instruments of their cruelty. As, then, thou hast hitherto helped me, do not now leave me; but deliver me from these, as thou hast formerly delivered me from other powerful enemies. Thus David, in his distress, encouraged himself in God by the experience he had had of his former gracious interpositions in his favour, by saving him from his cruel enemies, who had frequently attempted his destruction, and whom he compares to savage beasts, which tear their prey with their teeth, and grind it with their jaws, an allusion which, in a country abounding with these ravenous creatures, was natural and expressive. Some, however, consider him as relating, in the former verses, the state of his mind during his flight, and as expressing, in the latter part of this, and in the following, his thankfulness for his deliverance, which he ascribes entirely to God’s power and goodness. See Chandler.
Save me, O my God - He was still surrounded by numerous enemies, and he, therefore, calls earnestly upon God to help him. In accordance with a common usage in the Scriptures, and with what is right for all the people of God, he calls him "his" God: "O my God." That is, he was the God whom he recognized as his God in distinction from all idols, and who had manifested himself as his God by the many mercies which he had conferred on him.
For thou hast smitten all mine enemies - That is, in former exigencies, or on former occasions. In his conflicts with Saul, with the Philistines, and with the surrounding nations, he had done this; and as the result of all he had established him on the throne, and placed him over the realm. In the remembrance of all this he appeals with the full confidence that what God had done for him before He would do now, and that, notwithstanding he was surrounded with numerous foes, He would again interpose. So we may derive comfort and assurance in present trouble or danger from the recollection of what God has done for us in former times. He who has saved us in former perils can still save us; we may believe that he who did not forsake us in those perils will not leave us now.
Upon the cheek-bone - This language seems to be taken from a comparison of his enemies with wild beasts; and the idea is, that God had disarmed them as one would a lion or tiger by breaking out his teeth. The cheek-bone denotes the bone in which the teeth are placed; and to smite that, is to disarm the animal. The idea here is not that of "insult," therefore; but the meaning is simply that he had deprived them of the power of doing him wrong.
Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly - The same idea is here expressed under another form, "as if" the teeth of wild animals were broken out, rendering them harmless. As God had thus disarmed his enemies in times past, the psalmist hoped that he would do the same thing now, and he confidently called on him to do it.
His only hope is in his God, but that is so strong a confidence, that he feels the Lord hath but to arise and he is saved. It is enough for the Lord to stand up, and all is well. He compares his enemies to wild beasts, and he declares that God hath broken their jaws, so that they could not injure him; "Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly." Or else he alludes to the peculiar temptations to which he was then exposed. They had spoken against him; God, therefore, has smitten them upon the cheek bone. They seemed as if they would devour him with their mouths; God hath broken their teeth, and let them say what they will, their toothless jaws shall not be able to devour him. Rejoice, O believer, thou hast to do with a dragon whose head is broken, and with enemies whose teeth are dashed from their jaws!Arise; bestir thyself on my behalf, and be no longer as an idle spectator of my miseries.
O my God; who art mine by special relation and covenant, and I am thy son and thy servant; Lord, save thine own.
Thou hast smitten all mine enemies thou hast hitherto helped me, do not now leave me.
Upon the cheek-bone; which implies either contempt and reproach, as this phrase signifies, 1 Kings 22:24 Micah 5:1 John 18:22 19:3; or the smartness and soreness of the blow, whereby, as the next clause explains it, their teeth were struck out; and so they did not only receive hurt themselves, but were disenabled from doing that mischief to others which they desired and were accustomed to do.
The teeth, i.e. their strength and the instruments of their cruelty. He compares them to wild beasts. Psalm 44:23; and it may be some respect is had to the words of Moses when the ark set forward, Numbers 10:35; and it may be observed, that though David enjoyed so much peace and tranquillity of mind, and was in such high spirits as not to be afraid of ten thousands of men, yet he did not neglect the right means of deliverance and safety, prayer to God, who he knew was his God; and he addresses him as such, and uses his covenant interest in him, as an argument with him to arise and save him from his enemies, who was able to do it, and to whom salvation belongs: so Christ, his antitype, prayed to God as his God to save him, and was heard by him in like manner; so the saints call upon God in a day of trouble, cry to him in their distresses, to be delivered out of them;
for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheekbone; to smite anyone upon the cheek is reckoned reproachful, and is casting contempt upon them; see Job 16:10 and the sense is, that God had poured contempt upon his enemies in time past, and had brought them to shame and confusion: hence he puts up the above prayer as a prayer of faith for salvation, founded on past experience of God's goodness; he prayed that his God would arise and save him, and he believed he would because he had hitherto appeared for him, and against his enemies;
thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly; who were like to beasts of prey, whose strength lies in their teeth, whereby they do the mischief they do; and the breaking of their teeth signifies the taking away from them the power of hurting, and refers to the victories which God had given David over the Philistines, Edomites, Syrians, and others; and maybe applied to Christ, and be expressive of sin, Satan, the world, and death, being overcome and abolished by him, and of the victory which the saints have through him over the same enemies.Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. Arise, O Lord] The opening words of the ancient marching-shout of Israel, rich in memories of deliverance and victory. See Numbers 10:35. Cp. Psalm 68:1.
for thou hast smitten] Again, as in Psalm 3:4, appeal is made to the experience of the past as the ground of prayer. Hitherto Jehovah has put His enemies to shame, and destroyed their power for mischief. The buffet on the cheek was a climax of insult which shewed that all spirit and power of resistance were gone. Cp. 1 Kings 22:24; Job 16:10; Lamentations 3:30; Micah 5:1. Then, by a natural figure (how appropriate in David’s mouth! cp. 1 Samuel 17:34), the wicked are pictured as ferocious wild beasts, rushing upon their prey, but suddenly deprived of their power to hurt. Cp. Psalm 58:6.
7, 8. The Psalm concludes with a prayer for deliverance as in times past, and for a blessing on the people.Verse 7. - Arise, O Lord (comp. Numbers 10:35; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 68:1). This call is generally made when God's forbearance towards his enemies is thought to have been excessive, and his tolerance of sinners too great. Save me, O my God. David was in imminent danger. "All Israel" had come against him (2 Samuel 16:15). He was short of supplies (2 Samuel 17:29). He was doubtful how God was disposed towards him (2 Samuel 15:25, 26). It was a time when, unless God would save, there could be no hope. Hence the intense earnestness of his prayer. For thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek-bone. Heretofore, i.e., thou hast always taken my part - thou hast smitten mine enemies, and given me victory over them, and by breaking their jaw-bones thou hast taken away from them all power to hurt (see Psalm 58:6). The reference is, of course, to David's long series of victories, as those over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1), over Moab (2 Samuel 8:2), over Hadadezer, King of Zobah (2 Samuel 8:3, 4), over the Syrians of Damascus (2 Samuel 8:6), over the Edomites (2 Samuel 8:13, 14), over the Ammonites (2 Samuel 10:7-14), and over the "Syrians beyond the river" (2 Samuel 10:16-19). Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly (comp. Job 4:10; Psalm 58:6). The ungodly, enemies alike of David and of God, are represented as wild beasts whose weapons are their jaws and teeth. Let God break these, and they are harmless. Psalm 104:24); the accentuation of the perf. of verbs עע very frequently (even without the Waw consec.) follows the example of the strong verb, Ges. ֗67 rem. 12. A declaration then takes the place of the summons and the רבּים implied in the predicate רבּוּ now becomes the subject of participial predicates, which more minutely describe the continuing condition of affairs. The ל of לנפשׁי signifies "in the direction of," followed by an address in Psalm 11:1 ( equals "to"), or, as here and frequently (e.g., Genesis 21:7) followed by narration ( equals "of," concerning). לנפשׁי instead of לי implies that the words of the adversaries pronounce a judgment upon his inmost life, or upon his personal relationship to God. ישׁוּעתה is an intensive form for ישׁוּעה, whether it be with a double feminine termination (Ges., Ew., Olsh.), or, with an original (accusative) ah of the direction: we regard this latter view, with Hupfeld, as more in accordance with the usage and analogy of the language (comp. Psalm 44:27 with Psalm 80:3, and לילה prop. νύκτα, then as common Greek ἡ νύκτα νύχθα). God is the ground of help; to have no more help in Him is equivalent to being rooted out of favour with God. Open enemies as well as disconcerted friends look upon him as one henceforth cast away. David had plunged himself into the deepest abyss of wretchedness by his adultery with Bathsheba, at the beginning of the very year in which, by the renewal of the Syro-Ammonitish war, he had reached the pinnacle of worldly power. The rebellion of Absolom belonged to the series of dire calamities which began to come upon him from that time. Plausible reasons were not wanting for such words as these which give up his cause as lost.
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