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Psalm 3

New International Version

1 A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom. LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, 'God will not deliver him.' 3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 4 I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. 7 Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
English Standard Version

1 A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. 4 I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah
King James Version

1 {A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.} 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. 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. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 7 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. 8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
New American Standard Bible

1 A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O LORD, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. 2 Many are saying of my soul, 'There is no deliverance for him in God.' Selah. 3 But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. 4 I was crying to the LORD with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.
New Living Translation

1 A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom. O LORD, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. 2 So many are saying, 'God will never rescue him!' Interlude 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. 4 I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude 5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. 7 Arise, O LORD! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! 8 Victory comes from you, O LORD. May you bless your people. Interlude
Christian Standard Bible

1 LORD, how my foes increase! There are many who attack me. 2 Many say about me, "There is no help for him in God." Selah 3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. 4 I cry aloud to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. Selah 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not be afraid of thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side. 7 Rise up, LORD! Save me, my God! You strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the LORD; may your blessing be on your people. Selah

What does Psalm 3 mean?

David's son, Absalom, began a violent revolution. He even contemplated sending a 12,000-man army to kill his father (2 Samuel 17:1–3). Only the interference of David's ally prevented that overwhelming assault from happening (2 Samuel 17:15–16). That was the background for this prayer of David.

David begins by expressing the trouble he faces. His enemies are vast in number, and increasing in their power and influence. Beyond that, it seems David's peers are suggesting he's been abandoned by God. The situation seems bleak. Other people are telling David to give up and accept his doom (Psalm 3:1–2).

However, this is not the first time David has faced dire circumstances. Many times, he has trusted God to carry him through danger. Faced with those struggles and threats, David slept soundly knowing God was entirely in control. This present trouble, for David, is no different. Even though there are—literally—thousands of people against him, his faith is not shaken (Psalm 3:3–6).

Based on that conviction, David prays for God to deliver victory over these enemies. The imagery here is graphic, picturing a devastating blow that shatters an enemy and leaves them incapable of fighting back. Confidence based on experience shines through in David's prayer over his dangerous situation (Psalm 3:7–8).