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Summary:  An Ancient poem written by King David which is recorded in the Bible

Date:  About 1020 B.C. during a large scale revolt led by David's son, Absalom

Location:  Israel, The Middle East

 - Introduction -


    In 1020 B.C a significant poem was penned by the second king of Israel.  Astonishingly, many of us actually possess English copies of this poem today.  Now called Psalm 3, it is included in the best selling book of all time among 150 other Psalms.  However, although this Psalm is known to many the surrounding events are rarely discussed.

The book of Psalms image

    The second King of Israel, David, was a former shepherd who had been selected by God and anointed by the prophet Samuel to rule the land.  David was a courageous young man as well as a wonderful poet.


     In 1055 B.C after the death of King Saul, the first king of Israel, David was crowned the new king.  Initially his reign was highly successful, however in latter years David was plagued with trouble.  Many of the other Psalms that David wrote portray the immense difficulties that he was experiencing.

    Thirty-five years after his ascension to the throne David learnt of a large scale rebellion being led by his son, Absalom.  David's followers were able to warn him of the danger in time for him to flee his palace.  Absalom again made plans to hunt down and kill his father.  David, however, discovered Absalom's intentions and moved his small army to the far side of the Jordan River.  It was here that Psalm 3 was written.


    A great battle was fought in Gilead, near an important city (the exact city is unknown to historians).  Though the original sizes of the two armies cannot be verified, we can be quite sure that there were some twenty thousand casualties.  These casualties included Absalom who was killed against David's will, by Joab, commander of David's forces.  The Ancient book of 2 Samuel tells us that more people died as a result of the rough forest terrain than were killed by the opposing sides. 


    In this Psalm David displays both an anxiety in his enemies and a confidence in God.  He talks of God providing rest and protection and calls on God to save him from his enemies.  Psalm 3 seems to clearly display David's feelings throughout the entire ordeal.

The star of David image

The English translation of Psalm 3 is below:

Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

Researched and Written By

Cody B. Mitchell

Written in the most difficult of times, Psalm 3 portrays King David of Israel's unfailing trust in his Lord.
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