Psalm 35:3

ESV Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!”
NIV Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, 'I am your salvation.'
NASB Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.'
CSB Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers, and assure me, "I am your deliverance."
NLT Lift up your spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Let me hear you say, 'I will give you victory!'
KJV Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

What does Psalm 35:3 mean?

David looks to the Lord for deliverance. He seeks deep, spiritual reassurance from God, specifically asking the Lord to reaffirm salvation to his very soul. David certainly had faith in God's supernatural power, but this context speaks of physical rescue in literal battle. In the prior verse, David referred to defensive tools: two distinct kinds of shields (Psalm 35:2). Those are related, but not used at the same time. The point of the request was for God to be David's protection in war. Here, the request changes to offensive weapons, once again using more than one example.

The most common translation choice is "spear and javelin." A spear is a long-handled weapon with a sharp point meant mostly for thrusting attacks, but which can be thrown as well. A javelin is a smaller, spear-like object primarily meant to be thrown. However, the two words used in the verse are not entirely clear. One is hanit, usually referring to a spear. The other is sagar, which is less well defined. Some interpreters believe one means the metal blade of the spear, while the other refers to the handle. Others see this as "spear and battle-axe," or that the second term refers more to blocking, as if interfering with the enemy's movement.

On more than one occasion, when David was serving in Saul's court, Saul launched a spear at him (1 Samuel 18:10–11; 19:10; 20:23). If this psalm is a response to Saul's persecution (1 Samuel 19:1–2), this may be David asking God to act against Saul. Those who interpret the phrasing of this verse to mean the socket-handle of a spear perceive David asking the Lord to block the way between himself and Saul. This may be a reference to the episode at the Red Sea, when the angel of God moved behind the Hebrews. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of the Hebrews to a position behind them, cutting off the attack of pursuing Egyptian forces (Exodus 14:19–20).
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