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Psalms 91:1-13

Psalm 91 1 

91:1 As for you, the one who lives 2  in the shelter of the sovereign One, 3 

and resides in the protective shadow 4  of the mighty king 5 

91:2 I say this about the Lord, my shelter and my stronghold,

my God in whom I trust –

91:3 he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter 6 

and from the destructive plague.

91:4 He will shelter you 7  with his wings; 8 

you will find safety under his wings.

His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall. 9 

91:5 You need not fear the terrors of the night, 10 

the arrow that flies by day,

91:6 the plague that comes in the darkness,

or the disease that comes at noon. 11 

91:7 Though a thousand may fall beside you,

and a multitude on your right side,

it 12  will not reach you.

91:8 Certainly you will see it with your very own eyes –

you will see the wicked paid back. 13 

91:9 For you have taken refuge in the Lord,

my shelter, the sovereign One. 14 

91:10 No harm will overtake 15  you;

no illness 16  will come near your home. 17 

91:11 For he will order his angels 18 

to protect you in all you do. 19 

91:12 They will lift you up in their hands,

so you will not slip and fall on a stone. 20 

91:13 You will subdue 21  a lion and a snake; 22 

you will trample underfoot a young lion and a serpent.

1 sn 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.

2 tn Heb “[O] one who lives.”

3 tn Traditionally “the Most High.”

4 sn The Lord is compared here to a bird who protects its young under the shadow of its wings (see v. 4).

5 sn 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.

6 tn The word refers specifically to a fowler (or hunter of birds).

7 tn Heb “put a cover over you” (see Ps 5:11).

8 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).

9 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.”

10 tn This probably alludes to a sneak attack by enemies in the darkness of night (see Song 3:8).

11 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.

12 tn Apparently the deadly disease mentioned in v. 6b is the understood subject here.

13 tn Heb “retribution on the wicked.”

14 tn Heb “for you, the Lord, my shelter, the Most High, you have made your dwelling place.”

15 tn Or “confront.”

16 tn For this sense of the Hebrew term נגע see Ps 38:11.

17 tn Heb “your tent.”

18 tn Heb “for his angels he will command concerning you.”

19 tn Heb “in all your ways.”

20 tn Heb “so your foot will not strike a stone.”

21 tn Heb “walk upon.”

22 tn Or perhaps “cobra” (see Ps 58:4).

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