Psa 3.1-8 is a “Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” Now, right off we have a concept that we need to bring out. The heading in non-Jewish Bibles that introduce this psalm just quoted here is the first verse in Jewish published Bibles. To understand the psalm the reader must understand the historical background concerning Absalom’s revolt (2 Sam 13 through 18). For more information on this, go to “Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Second Samuel” part 11 through 16.
In Psalm 2 we learned that the nations rebel against Yehovah and his Messiah. A picture of this can be found in the story of David, who is a type of the Messiah, and Absalom being a type of the False Messiah (2 Sam 13 through 18). These chapters describe a seven year drama that is a picture of the seven thousand year plan of God, from the sin of Amnon (the first Adam) and the death of Absalom (the False Messiah) and David restoring his kingdom.
David laments about his adversaries and how they have increased, showing the extent of the rebellion. The word for “many” in verse 2 is “rabim” meaning the great men of the time. Keep in mind that this psalm in the Peshat level (literal/historical) is about David and Absalom, but it is also a picture of the Messiah and the False Messiah in the birth-pains (what Christianity calls the Tribulation) in the Sowd level (deeper meaning). They say there is no deliverance for David.
Then we have the word “Selah” and this word is only found in Psalms, and three times in Habakkuk. It is a musical notation that basically means to “watch what is next” after a pause or a prostration. But David knows God is a “shield” (magen) to him (Prov 30.4-6) in verse 3. He cried to Yehovah and he answered from his “holy mountain” (Zion where the Ark was).
David could sleep because he had confidence in Yehovah and was not afraid of the masses who followed Absalom (False Messiah) and who have set themselves against him by making war and trying to trap him (v 5). David says, “Arise, O Lord; save me, Omy God.” Yehovah is figuratively represented as “asleep” here to denote his apparent indifference, but David also knows God has helped him in the past. He has “shortened the teeth of the wicked” in the past. His enemies were like beasts of prey who had powerful teeth (v 6-7).
He knows “salvation (Hebrew “Yeshua”) belongs to Yehovah” and God’s responsibility is to save his people, and the people’s responsibility is to bless God for it. That is why David says in v 8, “They blessing be upon they people.” Selah (pause, prostrate) is used at the end of this psalm telling us to stop and reflect for a moment because Psalm 4 continues with the same concepts.
Psalm 4.1-8 was also written by David as he fled from Absalom, so this will also have prophetic themes. He addresses his enemies who follow Absalom, so this is a message to those who follow after false messiahs. Again, verse one in Jewish published Bibles is, “For the Conductor; with instrumental music. A Psalm of David.” Now, the “conductor” is the Levite who was designated to direct the Temple musicians. The “instrumental music” is “N’ginot” in Hebrew meaning the instruments used in the Temple.
God has always answered David in the past so he wants Yehovah to be gracious (unmerited favor) to him now. David followed the Torah and knows God hears him (Prov 28.9). The followers of Absalom are called “sons of men” and asks, “How long will my honor (his enemies did not call David by name when angry, only “son of Jesse”) be a reproach.” He asks how long will they love worthless things and seek deception (false reports about David)?” Again, we have the word “Selah.” He says, “Know (yada) that Yehovah has set apart the devout one (a “chassid” or one who follows the Torah) for himself” and they will not succeed against him (v 1-3).
If they have no sense of “awe” for David, at least fear God. Then we have “selah” again telling us to “stop and think” (v 4). He wants them to “turn” (repent) and offer the sacrifices of righteousness and be sincere. He knows that those who follow Absalom are only concerned about themselves. He wants them to abandon their evil and have genuine repentance (teshuvah). Only God can satisfy them, not killing David for their own gain (v 5).
They wanted David dead so their “dreams would come true” but they should not look around at others who seem to be prospering for now (v 6). David says that even though it looks like the followers of Absalom prosper, God’s truth means more to him than their prosperity (v 7). David can sleep knowing that God hears him, so he can get some rest (Matt 11.27-30) in safety. This is the ideal state of a believer (v 8).
Psa 5.1-12 describes those in the revolt who take concepts of Torah and distort them for their own benefit and needs, and only in appearance, wanting power and honor (like Absalom and the False Messiah). The first verse in a Jewish published Bible reads, “For the Conductor (of the Levitical orchestra); for the flute (“nechilot”). A Psalm of David.” Each psalm was to have a certain sound made by certain instruments. We know that the one who played the flute was called the “pierced one” and this clearly alludes to Yeshua.
David wants Yehovah to give ear to his words and “consider my groaning (perceive my thoughts/meditation).” he says he will pray “in the morning” and eagerly watch for the answer (v 1-3). Because God does not take pleasure in wickedness (“rasha”) and no evil dwells (remains under protection) with him, it is inevitable that evildoers will be punished, like Ahitophel and Absalom (v 4-6). But David will enter “thy house” and worship toward your holy “heichal” and bow before the Lord (where the Shekinah and the Ark was in David’s time) in reverence (v 7).
He wants Yehovah to lead him in “they righteousness” which means the Torah because my “watchful enemies” will try to exploit any weakness or errors (v 8). They are not sincere in what they say and their heart is treacherous. Their throat is a dwelling place for corruption (like a grave). Their words “flatter” but that covers only from their mouths outward (v 9). David may have Doeg the Edomite and Ahitophel in mind here.
He wants the Lord to convict them of their guilt and cast them down from their lofty offices. They are rebellious against God because they reject his king. When he topples the wicked, the righteous will “be glad.” God will shelter (sukkah) them and those who love “your name” (Yehovah), and they will be liberated from their bonds, resulting in exultation and a feeling of overcoming the resistance. This is proof that their joy is in God and not because of material things. God will surround the righteous with favor like a shield. The word in Hebrew here for shield in not “magen” but “zinah.” a zinah shield is one which protects the person from almost four sides and it is a full body shield, much larger than a “magen.” It is also called a “buckler” in Psa 35.2 (v 10-12).
Psa 6.1-10 was written when David was sick and bed-ridden, and is a prayer for mercy in a time of trouble. The first verse says, “For the Conductor (of the Levitical orchestra); with instrumental music; upon an eight-stringed lyre (called a “shemonit”). A Psalm of David.”
So, right off we have an allusion to the eighth day of Sukkot called “Shemini Atzeret.” It is a picture of the eighth day in biblical eschatology which is called the Olam Haba, or the “world to come. The number eight in Jewish thought is the number of a “new beginning” and the Olam Haba is a time when the Messianic Redemption has been completed (1 Cor 15. 20-28; Rev 21 and 22). It is the number of “release” from this world and when all things “become new.” David may be using an eight string instrument here because he is alluding to being free from the lusts that drew him, and to the time when the righteous will be free from the lusts that drew them as well.
So, on top of all that, there is another message here. A six-stringed instrument alludes to the physical, or the Olam Ha Zeh, which is a sis thousand year period from creation to the beginning of the Day of the Lord. A seven-stringed instrument speaks of the spiritual, perfection, completion and alludes to the Day of the Lord, also called the Messianic Kingdom and the Atid Lavo. An eight-stringed instrument alludes to a release from this world (the seven thousand years) and the entering into the Olam Haba (world to come). A ten-stringed instrument alludes to being one, a harmonious “Kahal” which is the eschatological congregation or assembly of true believers in Yeshua who keep the Torah.
David’s choice of the eight-stringed “Shemonit” to play with this psalm shows his anguish over breaking the Torah because of sin. He did not write this psalm only for himself, but for every person in distress with a sickness. It is a plea for forgiveness and mercy. David asks God to lighten his hand upon him. Chastening is a sign we belong to him (Heb 12.7). Whatever his sin was he deserved what was happening to him (v 1).
In Psa 6.2-3 it tells us he had physical weakness and pain. He also had a spiritual weakness and pain. He asks, “How long” till he is healed. He wants the Lord to return (desist) from his anger and rescue him from his sickness. He says he cannot praise the Lord in Sheol (death). He is tired from sighing and has shed so many tears he “swims” in his bed, and his eyes are sore and red (v 4-7). Psa 6.8-10 shows that David is confident that the Lord has heard his prayers and he will be delivered, and that is not good news to his enemies and they will be “greatly dismayed.”
Psa 7.1-17 tells us that David is justified in his dealings with Saul. Again, the heading says, “A Shigayon of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush a Benjaminite.” This is verse one in a Jewish published Bible, and refers to Saul (1 Sam 9.1). A “shigayon” is a musical instrument (Hab 3.1). But the word can mean “error” or “mistaken choice.” What this is exactly we don’t know, but it could be referring to when David cut off Saul’s tzitzit in 1 Sam 24.1-22.
In Psa 7.1-2 David says that he trusts Yehovah and wants to be saved from those who pursue him. He says he does not deserve this abuse and wants Yehovah to evaluate him. He often had the advantage over Saul but did not take advantage of it. If he did, then let his enemies overtake him (v 3-5). But, since he did not do this, he wants Yehovah to defend him and let the evil of the wicked come to an end, for Yehovah tests (examines) the hearts (lev) and minds (literally “kilyaot” or kidneys). This is a Hebrew parallelism meaning the “heart” is the same as the “kidney” as far as a center for the thoughts and desires of the person. God is his shield (magen) and he saves the righteous in heart because he knows who they are (v 6-11).
If (because) the evildoer does not turn, he (God) will sharpen his sword and bends his bow to cause affliction and trouble. The person who caused this to others and did not repent will have these things come upon him for an example. He (wicked) labors (like in childbirth) in wickedness and is pregnant with mischief and lies. He digs a pit for others but will fall into it himself. His mischief will return upon his own head. David will give thanks to the Lord because everything God does is just. We must come to the understanding that either God controls all things or he doesn’t. As for David, he believes that God’s ways are right because they are his ways, not because he fully sees them as so (v 12-17).