The prayer before the battle (Ps 20:1-20:3)

“To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David.

May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble!

May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!

May he send you help from the sanctuary!

May he give you support from Zion!

May he remember all your offerings!

May he regard with favor your burnt offerings!


This Psalm 20 is attributed to David before he began his military campaign. Once again there is mention of a choir leader. Yahweh was to answer David in his days of trouble. The name of the God of Jacob, Yahweh, would protect David. David wanted help from the sanctuary, from Mt Zion, where the holy Temple was. He wanted Yahweh to remember all his burnt offerings and look with favor on them. This clearly is a psalm of the Temple before a battle. There is a moment of Selah, pause or silence, so that Yahweh could remember his sacrifices.

The wicked are caught in their own traps (Ps 9:15-9:16)

“The nations have sunk in the pit that they made.

They have fallen into the net that they hid.

Now their own foot has been caught.

Yahweh has made himself known.

He has executed judgment.

The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.



David said that the various pagan nations have sunk into the very pits that they made to catch others. They were caught in their own nets. Yahweh had made himself known to all. He had executed his judgment. Thus the wicked ones were caught in their own nets and traps that they themselves had made. The term Selah, which appears over 70 times in the psalms, means a musical interlude or pause. The term Higgaion only appears 3 times in the psalms. However, it also means some kind of musical meditation. This public prayer stops for a musical mediation or pause.

The foes rise up (Ps 3:1-3: 2)

A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.


How many are my foes?

Many are rising against me.

Many are saying of me.

There is no help for you in God.


In 2 Samuel, chapters 15-18, David fled from his son Absalom who wanted to take the throne away from him. Thus this Psalm 3 has an explicit mention of when David might have composed his psalm as he left Jerusalem. David addressed Yahweh in a complaining way. He had so many enemies, that even his son had rebelled against him. Many others were joining his son Absalom. They were saying that God would not help him. Then we have the “Selah,” which either means a pause or a musical interlude before the continuation of the psalm. This term “Selah” appears over 70 times in the various psalms.