Psalms 3


מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד בְּבָרְחוֹ מִפְּנֵי אַבְשָׁלוֹם בְּנוֹ׃   3:1

Psal. 3:1   A psalm of David’s during his flight from the face of Absalom, his son:

From this point on through the rest of the book of Psalms, most psalms carry a heading such as this one.  It is

called a superscription.

יְהוָה מָה־רַבּוּ צָרָי רַבִּים קָמִים עָלָי׃   3:2

Psal. 3:2   O Lord, how my enemies are multiplied!

                              Many are rising against me.

רַבִּים אֹמְרִים לְנַפְשִׁי אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה לּוֹ בֵאלֹהִים סֶלָה׃   3:3

Psal. 3:3   Many are saying about me, “There is no salvation for him in God.”            Selah.

The word Selah is transliterated from the Hebrew.  Appearing 71 times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk

(Haba. 3:3, for example) it is always transliterated.  Its meaning is uncertain, but is thought to indicate where the

music accompaniment is to start or pause .  I find little reason to believe this explanation.  As far as I am concerned,

the meaning of the word is still not understood.  I have a theory, though.  I suspect it may have a meaning, that of

exaltation.  It may mean “Exalt!”  I haven’t examined every one of its occurrences, but those that I have seem to

come after or just before a triumphant or glad statement.  I suspect that when it comes before, it should be

placed at the start of the pertinent verse rather than at the end of the previous one.  Its root word has meanings that

hint at this:  to lift up or to raise, for example.

                              [Return to Psal. 52:5]          [Return to Psal. 77:4]          [Return to Psal. 88:8]   

                         [Return to Psal. 89:46]              [Return to Psal. 140:9]              [Return to Psal. 143:6]

וְאַתָּה יְהוָה מָגֵן בַּעֲדִי כְּבוֹדִי וּמֵרִים רֹאשִׁי׃   3:4

Psal. 3:4   But You, oh Lord, are a Shield about me,

                              my Glory, and the Uplifter of my head.

קוֹלִי אֶל־יְהוָה אֶקְרָא וַיַּעֲנֵנִי מֵהַר קָדְשׁוֹ סֶלָה׃   3:5

Psal. 3:5   Aloud, to the Lord I will call,

                              and He will answer me from His holy mountain.            Selah.

אֲנִי שָׁכַבְתִּי וָאִישָׁנָה הֱקִיצוֹתִי כִּי יְהוָה יִסְמְכֵנִי׃   3:6

Psal. 3:6   I lay down when I might be sleepy,

                               I awaken, for the Lord will sustain me.

The second and the last Hebrew words in this verse (which is numbered 3:5 in most bibles) are mistranslated

universally.  The Hebrew indicates the imperfect (roughly future) tense in both cases, with the vav prefix in the first

of the two being non-inverting, but are always found to be translated in the perfect tense.  As a result of these errors

 the verse is thought to indicate that this is a morning prayer.  The verse is almost always translated as

something like “I laid down and slept, and I awake, for the Lord sustains me.”  Seems plausible, but is not an

accurate translation.

לֹא־אִירָא מֵרִבְבוֹת עָם אֲשֶׁר סָבִיב שָׁתוּ עָלָי׃   3:7

Psal. 3:7  I will not be frightened by myriads of people who set up against me on every side.

קוּמָה יְהוָה הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי אֱלֹהַי כִּי־הִכִּיתָ אֶת־כָּל־אֹיְבַי לֶחִי שִׁנֵּי רְשָׁעִים שִׁבַּרְתָּ׃   3:8

Psal. 3:8   Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!

                              For You have smitten the cheek of all my enemies.

                   You have broken the teeth of the wicked.

לַיהוָה הַיְשׁוּעָה עַל־עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶךָ סֶּלָה׃   3:9

Psal. 3:9   Salvation belongs to the Lord.

                              Your blessings are on Your people.            Selah.

The phrase translated as on Your people must refer to those who revere and follow the Lord.  One other point:  If, as

some scholars believe, the term Selah means the music accompaniment is to start or pause, why would it appear at the

end of a psalm, as it does here?  An exception to the rule?


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