3 God is different from the “many” who oppose him. David addressed God confidently with an emphatic and contrastive use of the personal pronoun “you” (weʾattâ). How different he is from the rebellious masses! David was certain of God’s promises that are confirmed in the covenant (cf. 2:6–9); therefore, his confidence rested in the nature of God, described here by a metaphor (“shield”) and by one of his attributes (“glory”). He was convinced that God’s kingship is forever. And although the kingship was forcibly removed from the Lord’s anointed, he was still protected by God’s kingship. With the metaphor, “shield” (māgēn; cf. 7:10; 18:2, 30; 28:7; Ge 15:1), the psalmist places himself under the protection of the Great King, who has promised to protect his own (Ge 15:1; Dt 33:29; see Reflections, p. 733, Yahweh Is the Divine Warrior).
The power of the Great King is referred to by the word “glory” (kebôdî, lit., “my Glorious One,” NIV text note). The phrase signifies the Lord’s glorious rule over his kingdom. He is the Lord of hosts, with tens of thousands of angels at his command. Even as a king can be described as glorious because of his vast armies, so the Lord is glorious because he can marshal the angelic host to aid his children (34:7; 91:11). The king puts his confidence in the protection that God alone can provide, because his glory is greater than any human power. The glory of God is nothing less than the revelation of his hiddenness!
The psalmist explains further that the “Glorious One” gives him reason to lift up his head. The “lifting up of the head” is a Hebraism expressive of confidence in the Lord, who has power to raise up the humble and abase the mighty (1 Sa 2:7–8; Ps 103:7–9). He exalts whom he wills and when he wills. The psalms express confidence that the Lord will “lift up the head” of his people when he is victorious over his enemies (cf. 18:46–50; 27:4–6; 110:5–7).
Even though the king had reason for despondency, his knowledge of God gave him reason for hope. The confidence of the king was not in his knowledge of the future or in the might of his forces, but in God, who had installed him as king (2:6).
3 Affirmation: divine protection. But you, is emphatic. The breakthrough from the gloom of vs 1, 2 is to grasp afresh what God is. My Glorious One, (lit.) ‘my glory’: David has been stripped of all earthly pomp but cannot be deprived of God. My head (cf. 2 Sa. 15:30).
3:3. In the face of such antagonism, David found comfort in God’s character. Using the metaphor of a shield, he said that God was the true Source of his protection (in spite of their taunts). The psalmists often spoke of God as a shield to depict His protection (7:10; 18:2, 30; 28:7; 33:20; 59:11; 84:11; 115:9–11; 119:114; 144:2). David was confident that God would restore him to his throne. The words lifts up my head express restoration to dignity and position (see the same idiom in Gen. 40:13, 20; 2 Kings 25:27, kjv).
3:3 The mood of the Psalm changes in verse 3. David gets his eyes off his enemies and on the Lord, and that changes his whole outlook. Immediately he realizes that he has in Jehovah a shield, a source of glory, and the One who lifts up his head. As his shield, the Lord gives him complete protection from enemy assaults. As his glory, the Lord gives him honor, dignity and vindication in place of the shame, reproach and slander that were being heaped upon him. As the lifter of his head, the Lord encourages and exalts him.
3:3 are a shield around me His enemies’ taunts have not caused him to doubt God. The psalmist trusts Yahweh to protect him like a shield—a common metaphor for God’s protection (7:10; 18:2, 30; 28:7).
the one who lifts up my head A lifted head signaled confidence and pride (27:6), while a lowered head signaled defeat and disgrace (Judg 8:28).
3:3 The line uses several metaphors—“shield” for God’s protection (Gn 15:1), “glory” for the evidence of His blessing of kingship (Ps 34:7; 91:11), and “lifts up my head” for the restoration to the throne (Gn 40:13; 1 Sm 2:7–8; Ps 110:7).
3:3 The image of God as a shield is common, especially in the Psalms (18:30; 115:9; 144:2). It represents protection during a time of attack. A more unusual description is identifying God as one’s glory. The Hebrew word kavod (lit “heavy”) is often used of a person’s reputation or significance, sometimes being translated as “honor.” Its use here seems to indicate that the psalmist found his own significance and honor linked to his relationship with the Lord rather than in his own strength.
 VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 102). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Motyer, J. A. (1994). The Psalms. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 490). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
 Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 793). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 3:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
 Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 791). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 819). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.