Ruth Fidler, «A Touch of Support: Ps 3,6 and the Psalmist’s Experience», Vol. 86 (2005) 192-212
Vv. 5-6 mark a turning point in Psalm 3, both structurally and thematically, probably reflecting a significant personal experience. Due to the mention of sleeping and waking (v. 6a) this experience is sometimes interpreted as a dream in which the psalmist got word of his imminent deliverance. Recently supported by a Qumran parallel that mentions dreaming explicitly (11QPsa xxiv 16-17;B. Schroeder, Biblica 81  243-251), this argument nevertheless seems questionable, given e.g. the tendency of later Judaism to attribute dreams also to biblical figures that are not characterized in such terms in the Bible. The main thrust of this article is to examine the psalm in comparison with theophanic reports elsewhere in the Bible and in ANE literature. This analysis shows the language of Psalm 3 to be compatible with an incubatory ritual that culminates in a real experience of presence with a divine gesture of support. These findings are related to the proximity to God that finds expression in the psalms.