Psalm 3, normally attributed to David, is often assumed to be speaking primarily of David’s experiences. However, Augustine finds the subscription to be a clear reference to Christ,as the rising up statement appears to be that of resurrection (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318531). Likewise, the mention of David’s flight from his son. Augustine takes it to refer allegorically to the fact that when Judas was betraying Christ to death, the Spirit of Christ was not with Judas, having fled from him. Augustine continues to make comparisons between Absalom and Judas, as the betrayer who was still welcomed at the table of the master (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318547).
At this point we should note that the verses referred to by Augustine include the author and subscription as verse one. Aubustine counts our verse one as his verse two.
The betrayal of Jesus can be seen clearly in verse one, where Augustine observes that he would not have been betrayed if his opponents had actually believed he would rise from the dead (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318555). Yet, despite his awareness of all his opponents, Christ and David alike understood God to be the one who is reliable. He is our glory and the one who raises us up.
Augustine numbered our verses two and three together, so the numbering again matches starting inverse four. The Psalmist and the Christ pour out prayers to God, ot, as Augustine says, “with the voice of the body, which is drawn out with the sound of the reverberation of the air; but with the voice of the heart, which to men speaks not, but with God sounds as a cry” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318563). The whole person cries out to God, whether aloud or not.
Again, in verse five, Augustine ties this Psalm to Christ, speaking of his willingness to lay his life down for his people (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318571). Augustin e goes on to speak of the many passages of Scripture in which sleep stands for death. He does discuss the fact that various translations approach the Greek “hupnosa” differently, though he is not specific about their differences. It is telling that Augustine refers to a Septuagint as the authority rather than seeking out a Hebrew original (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318579). He is very clear that the Bible’s use of verb tenses is purposeful, not merely ornamental.
Again, in verse six, Augustine sees Christ as the one who, even surrounded by enemies, never lost his trust in God. The deliverance of God in verse seven is then what allows the punishment of sin to come about. Augustine gives the sense, “Since Thou has smitten all who oppose me without a cause, Thou hast broken the teeth of the sinners” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318595) He observes that the imagery of teeth in the Bible is both that of bringing harm and of bringing nourishment and prosperity.
At the close of the Psalm, salvation is of the Lord. It asks God’s blessing to be on His people. Augustine again takes this as something that the Christ wold proclaim. He is the head of the Church, gathering his people together under his blessing (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318627). Augustine closes his comments on Psalm 3 by observing that the Church is a partaker of Christ. When God lifts up His Christ, He also lifts up all who trust in him. Those who believe in Jesus are thus covered under God’s promiss given in this Psalm. Augustine points out the very real confidence which Christians have held, even in times of persecution (Augustine Psalms, loc. 318643). Their real hope is in Christ, the head of all.