I'm studying Psalm 35, and I am not sure how to interpret the last (in bold) part of v. 3

Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

So far, I have come to two possibilities: The psalmist is looking for a word of assurance (according to Grogan's commentary), or it's a poetic way to call the Lord to intervene.

The first one is very literal, but it distunes with the rest of the psalm in which the psalmist is calling all along for God's personal intervention against his adversaries. However, the second one doesn't convince me either.

I would be very grateful for any help.

2 Answers 2


Psalm 35 is messianic. It looks forward to Christ's rejection, betrayal, hatred for him, false accusations against him - though he did nothing wrong - and culminates in crucifixion.

We know this because Jesus himself says that his mistreatment would fulfill Psalm 35 (John 15:25). So any part of it should be interpreted in this light.

The psalmist is a 'type' of Christ. Similar to Psalm 22 when the psalmist says, "my God my God, why have you forsaken me" - a more obvious fulfilment of Christ on the cross. Jesus is speaking to the Father.

Similarly, Psalm 35's "Contend, Oh Lord" could replace the psalmist with Jesus speaking to the Father.

If that assertion is correct, the same goes with "Say to my soul, "I am your salvation"" in verse 3. Jesus speaking to the Father.

We know that Christ rose again from the dead, his body didn't see decay, the resurrection made a "public spectacle" of his enemies, he sat down at the right hand of the Father and was given a "name above all names". His enemies didn't triumph over him. The Lord came to his rescue. The Lord "contended" with those who contended with Jesus. The Lord became his "salvation".

So I think the words "I am your salvation" are best interpreted as Jesus's assumed humanity and weakness and reliance on the Father in full view of his death and resurrection.


Ps 35 is a desperate request by David for two things as listed in the first three verses:

1 Contend with my opponents, O LORD; fight against those who fight against me.

2 Take up Your shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid.

3 Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers; say to my soul: “I am your salvation.”

Note that David requests two things of God:

  • for God to fight his battles for him
  • for comfort and assurance in his time of need by the LORD saying, "I am your salvation"

David goes on to say, if he is given these two things:

9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and exult in His salvation.

10 All my bones will exclaim, “Who is like You, O LORD, who delivers the afflicted from the aggressor, the poor and needy from the robber?”

That is, David recognizes his great need of divine intervention and comfort and pleads with God to provide both. When God does provide both, David rejoices in the LORD his God.

"Say to my soul ..."

In verse 3 we have the very Hebraistic idiom of using "my soul" as "me/I"; eg, Isa 42:1, Ps 43:5, 63:1, 116:8, etc. Thus, Barnes correctly observes:

Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation - Say to "me," I will save you. That is, Give me some assurance that thou wilt interpose, and that thou wilt guard me from my enemies. Man only wants this assurance to be calm in respect to any danger. When God says to us that he will be our salvation; that he will protect us; that he will deliver us from sin, from danger, from hell, the mind may and will be perfectly calm. To a believer he gives this assurance; to all he is willing to give it. The whole plan of salvation is arranged with a view to furnish such an assurance, and to give a pledge to the soul that God "will" save. Death loses its terrors then; the redeemed man moves on calmly - for in all the future - in all worlds - he has nothing now to fear.

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