Psalms of Solomon, Psalm 3 – Analysis

Psalm 3 – A Psalm. Pertaining to Salomon. Concerning the Righteous.

A psalm of Solomon; concerning the righteous. Why do you sleep, O my soul, and do not bless the Lord? Sing a new song, to God who is worthy to be praised.
Sing and be wakeful against his awaking, for good is a psalm (sung) to God from a glad heart.
The righteous remember the Lord at all times, with thanksgiving and declaration of the righteousness of the Lord’s judgments
The righteous despise not the chastening of the Lord; his will is always before the Lord.
The righteous stumbles and holds the Lord righteous: he falls and looks out for what God will do to him; he seeks out when his deliverance will come.
The truth of the righteous is from God their deliverer. There lodges not in the house of the righteous sin upon sin.
The righteous continually searches his house, to remove utterly (all) iniquity (done) by him in error.
He makes atonement for (sins of) ignorance by fasting and afflicting his soul, and the Lord counts guiltless every pious man and his house.
The sinner stumbles and curses his life, the day when he was begotten, and his mother’s travail.
He adds sins to sins in his life, the day; he falls — for evil is his fall — and rises no more.
The destruction of the sinner is forever, and he will not be remembered, when the righteous is visited.
This is the portion of sinners forever. But they that fear the Lord will rise to life eternal. And their life (shall be) in the light of the Lord, and will come to an end no more.

The Righteous is introduced in the third psalm and stand in contrast to the sinners. The first verse which speaks of one who sleeps combined with the second verse with the command to awaken finds its parallel in Ephesians 5.14, where Paul quotes (διὸ λέγει· introduces a quote, see Ephesians 4.8 and James 4.6) an unknown source. While the third psalm does not provide an exact quote for Paul, it does hold the same imagery. Along with this is the crowning achievement in later chapters of the Messiah, it is plausible that Paul may have been quoting, at least in part, these verse. Further, the Paul mentions the singing of hymns, psalms and spiritual songs while making a melody from the heart. Again, the same image is found in Psalm 3.1-2;

ἵνα τί ὑπνοῖς ψυχή καὶ οὐκ εὐλογεῖς τὸν κύριον ὕμνον καινὸν ψάλατε τῷ θεῷ τῷ αἰνετῷ

ψάλλε καὶ γρηγόρησον ἐπὶ τὴν γρηγόρησιν αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἀγαθὸς ψαλμὸς τῷ θεῷ ἐξ ἀγαθῆς καρδίας (Pss Sol 3.1-2)

λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς [ἐν] ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς, ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ κυρίῳ, (Ephesians 5.19)

The rest of the Psalm is filled with a comparison between the Righteous and the laborious atonement which occurs while waiting for God and the sinner which, like the impious in the Wisdom of Solomon 2-6, sees nothing after this life. The Psalm finishes with a warning to the sinner who will suffer destruction forever (v11) while the righteous will have everlasting life, a dichotomy which figures heavily in the New Testament.

Post By Joel Watts (9,934 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, working on the use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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