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Psalm Ninety One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

dwelleth. Although the 91st psalm does not have a specifically named author, it is possible that it was written by Moses as a supplement to his previous psalm, Psalm 90. Both begin with the theme of God as the dwelling place of the believer, and have various other points of commonality in viewpoint. Both psalms are most easily understood in terms of the wanderings, hardships, and enemies of the Israelites during their forty years in the wilderness.

most High. The two names of God in this verse—“most High” (Hebrew Elyon) and “Almighty” (Shaddai)—suggest that God is both “over all” and “under all,” thereby surrounding us, able both to provide and protect.

Psalm 91:2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

the Lord. Two more names of God appear in this verse: “the Lord” (Jehovah) and “God” (Elohim). He is both our Redeemer and our Creator. Psalm 91:2 is, in effect, a personal acceptance of the gracious invitation given by the Holy Spirit in the first verse.

Psalm 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

Surely He. Psalm 91:3-13 is the Spirit's testimony of assurance and guidance, given by the Spirit to the new believer in the third person, whereas Psalm 91:14-16 is the Father's personal promise to the trusting believer.

fowler. That is, “hunter of birds.”

Psalm 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

his truth. God's inscripturated Word provides our sure defense against Satan's deceptions. Note Ephesians 6:14-16; John 17:14-17.

Psalm 91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Psalm 91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

Psalm 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Psalm 91:8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Psalm 91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

Psalm 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

Psalm 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

all thy ways. The key significance of this psalm is pointed up by the fact that Satan recognized it as a Messianic psalm and quoted from it in seeking to tempt Jesus to bypass the cross (Matthew 4:6). He misquoted the Scripture, however, in omitting the qualifier “in all thy ways.”

Psalm 91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

up in their hands. Although this promise applied most specifically to Jesus, it is also a marvelous representation of the available ministry of angels on behalf of the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14) when so directed by God.

Psalm 91:13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

lion and adder. In using this passage, perhaps Satan recognized it as a reference to the accomplishment by Christ of the primeval promise of Genesis 3:15, that the Seed of the Woman would eventually crush the Serpent's head.

dragon. Both the lion and the dragon are symbolic of Satan (1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9). Here, incidentally, is further proof that dragons were animals as real as adders and lions. It appears that dragons were animals similar to dinosaurs (see notes on Job 40:15-19).

Psalm 91:14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

Psalm 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Psalm 91:16 With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

long life. Psalm 90 had stressed the brevity of our human life (Psalm 90:9-10), but now Psalm 91 promises the believer “long life”—that is, eternal life, “my salvation.” The Hebrew for “long life” (i.e., “long days”) is the same as “for ever” in Psalm 23:6.