Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 3

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Psalm iii. (Domine quid multiplicati.)

Notes & Commentary:

Hebrew and Septuagint have literally, "a psalm of David," (to David) which may mean that it was addressed to him by God, or that he would set it to music himself, (Haydock) or that it was composed by him, or on his occasion. The part.[particle?] l. has various meanings, and it does not incontestably prove that the person before whose name it is placed, must be regarded as the author. (Calmet) --- Yet there is no reason for doubting that this psalm was composed by David. (Haydock) --- The Jews say he wrote it on the ascent of Mount Olivet, 2 Kings xv. 17. But he rather waited till he had re-entered his capital, and herein expressed his gratitude, specifying at the same time the sentiments with which he had been impressed in the hour of danger. Ven. Bede explains this and many other psalms of Ezechias, as he perhaps did not read or attend to the title. (Calmet) --- This deserves more attention, as it is the same in all Bibles, though all interpreters do not consider them as canonical, no more than that which is prefixed to the Lamentations. (Berthier) --- They are authentic, being inspired to Esdras or the Septuagint. (Worthington) --- But this is doubtful. (Haydock)

Ver. 2. Why. Let me know the enormity of my sins. All Israel follows Absalom, 2 Kings xv. 13. So all rose up against Christ. (Worthington) --- The Church was assailed on all sides, (Calmet) and every soul must live in expectation of battle from innumerable enemies. Hebrew also, (Haydock) "How are they multiplied." (Houbigant) --- David is surprised at the sudden change, and adores the depth of God's judgments, which had been denounced unto him, 1 Kings xii. 10. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. God. His case is desperate. (Worthington) --- He must therefore be a criminal. This is the usual judgment of the world, though very false, as we have seen in the person of Job; for temporal punishments are frequently an effect of the divine clemency. Semei upbraided David on this occasion, as the Jews did Christ, 2 Kings xvi. 7., and Matthew xxvii. 42. At the end of this verse, Hebrew adds, Selah, (Calmet) sle and Septuagint diapsalma, (Haydock) a word which is not much better understood. Houbigant therefore informs us that he has omitted it entirely, as the Vulgate seems to have done, except [in] Psalm lxi. 8., where it is rendered, in Šternum, "for ever," (Berthier) as St. Jerome expresses it semper, in his Hebrew version. It would perhaps be as well to leave the original term. (Haydock) --- It occurs seventy-one times in the psalms, and thrice in Habacuc. Some think it is a sign to raise the voice, or to pause, &c., (Berthier) at the end of the lesson, before the psalter was divided. None, except Eusebius, asserts that it was inserted by the original authors, and it seems now to be useless. (Calmet, Dis.)

Ver. 4. Protector. Hebrew, "shield." --- Glory. God is the hope of his servants, (1 Corinthians xv. 31.) and grants their requests. (Calmet) --- He has not abandoned me, when I had fallen into sin. (Haydock) --- He gives me the victory, and confirms my throne. (Worthington)

Ver. 5. Hill. Sion, where the ark had been placed, (Calmet) or from heaven. (Menochius) --- Hebrew adds, "Selah." (Protestants) (Haydock)

Ver. 6. Rest, in sin; (St. Athanasius) or, I have not lost my confidence in God, though dangers threaten on every side. (Calmet) --- Jesus remained undaunted, when his enemies surrounded him; he continued (Theodoret, &c.) free among the dead, and rose again by his own power. (Haydock) --- If he prayed that the chalice might be removed, it was to teach us how to behave. (Calmet) --- He was buried, and rose again, and his disciples believed the Scriptures (John ii. 22.) recorded here, and in other places. (Worthington) --- The same word refers to past and future things. (St. Gregory, Mor. xx. 1.) (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Thousands. Septuagint, "myriads." (Haydock) --- If my enemies were still more numerous, I should not fear. (Calmet) --- I beseech thee to help me. (Worthington)

Ver. 8. Without cause. Hebrew, "on the jaw." (Haydock) --- Without redress. (Calmet) --- Septuagint seems to have read leinom, as "some Jews say that the ancient copies were different." (Origen, A.D. 231.) (Kennicott) --- Teeth. Strength and fury.

Ver. 9. Blessing. Abundance of grace is promised to God's servants, who must look up to him for salvation. David gives thanks for the victory, though he grieved at his son's death. (Worthington) --- He shewed proofs of the greatest clemency on this occasion. It is evident, from this psalm being inserted before many which regard Saul, that no chronological order is observed. (Calmet) --- Selah occurs a third time here, as some may have ended the lecture at one, while others ordered it to be continued to another, or even to the 3rd or 5th verse of the next psalm, if that be its real import. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The prophet's danger and delivery from his son, Absalom: mystically the passion and resurrection of Christ.

1 The psalm of David when he fled from the face of his son Absalom. [2 Kings xv.]

2 Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? many are they who rise up against me.

3 Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God.

4 But thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.

5 I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill.

6 I have slept and taken my rest: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me.

7 I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me: arise, O Lord; save me, O my God.

8 For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners.

9 Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people.