Psalm 91sn Psalm 91. In this psalm an individual (perhaps a priest) addresses one who has sought shelter in the Lord and assures him that God will protect him from danger (vv. 1-13). In vv. 14-16 God himself promises to keep his loyal follower safe.
1 As for you, the one who livestn Heb “[O] one who lives.” in the shelter of the sovereign One,tn Traditionally “the Most High.”
and resides in the protective shadowsn The Lord is compared here to a bird who protects its young under the shadow of its wings (see v. 4). of the mighty kingsn The divine name used here is “Shaddai” (שַׁדַּי, shadday; see also Ps 68:14). Shaddai (or El Shaddai) is the mighty king (sovereign judge) of the world who grants life/blesses and kills/judges. In Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness.
2 I say this about the Lord, my shelter and my stronghold,
my God in whom I trust –
3 he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the huntertn The word refers specifically to a fowler (or hunter of birds).
and from the destructive plague.
4 He will shelter youtn Heb “put a cover over you” (see Ps 5:11). with his wings;tc The Hebrew text has the singular, but the plural should be read. The final yod (י) of the suffix, which indicates the plural, has dropped off by haplography (note the yod [י] at the beginning of the next word).
you will find safety under his wings.
His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.tn Traditionally the Hebrew term סֹחֵרָה (sokherah), which occurs only here in the OT, has been understood to refer to a buckler or small shield (see BDB 695 s.v.). But HALOT 750 s.v., on the basis of evidence from the cognate languages, proposes the meaning “wall.”
5 You need not fear the terrors of the night,tn This probably alludes to a sneak attack by enemies in the darkness of night (see Song 3:8).
the arrow that flies by day,
6 the plague that comes in the darkness,
or the disease that comes at noon.sn As in Deut 32:23-24, vv. 5-6 closely associate military attack and deadly disease. Perhaps the latter alludes to one of the effects of siege warfare on the population of an entrapped city, which was especially vulnerable to the outbreak of epidemics.
7 Though a thousand may fall beside you,
and a multitude on your right side,
ittn Apparently the deadly disease mentioned in v. 6b is the understood subject here. will not reach you.
8 Certainly you will see it with your very own eyes –
you will see the wicked paid back.tn Heb “retribution on the wicked.”
9 For you have taken refuge in the Lord,
my shelter, the sovereign One.tn Heb “for you, the Lord, my shelter, the Most High, you have made your dwelling place.”
10 No harm will overtaketn Or “confront.” you;
no illnesstn For this sense of the Hebrew term נגע see Ps 38:11. will come near your home.tn Heb “your tent.”
11 For he will order his angelstn Heb “for his angels he will command concerning you.”
to protect you in all you do.tn Heb “in all your ways.”
12 They will lift you up in their hands,
so you will not slip and fall on a stone.tn Heb “so your foot will not strike a stone.”
13 You will subduetn Heb “walk upon.” a lion and a snake;tn Or perhaps “cobra” (see Ps 58:4).
you will trample underfoot a young lion and a serpent.
14 The Lord says,tn The words “the Lord says” are supplied in the translation to clarify that the words which follow are the Lord’s oracle of assurance.
“Because he is devoted to me, I will deliver him;
I will protect himtn Or “make him secure” (Heb “set him on high”). because he is loyal to me.tn Heb “because he knows my name” (see Ps 9:10).
15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him.
I will be with him when he is in trouble;
I will rescue him and bring him honor.
16 I will satisfy him with long life,tn Heb “length of days.”
and will let him see my salvation.