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Verses of Psalms 91

Psalms 91 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

This exquisite Psalm may no doubt simply describe the security of the godly man under Jehovah’s protection amid the perils of his journey through life. But it gains in point and force if it is regarded as addressed to Israel [50] in a crisis of its history. Psalms 90, 91, 92 are connected by several links of thought and language. Cp. Psa 90:1, Psa 91:9, ‘dwelling-place’; Psa 90:6, Psa 92:7, ‘flourish’; Psa 90:15-16, Psa 92:4, ‘make glad,’ ‘thy work’; Psa 91:1; Psa 91:9, Psa 92:1, ‘Most High’; Psa 91:8, Psa 92:11, the judgement of the wicked. It is natural to consider them as a group. If now Psalms 90 is the plea of Israel in exile, and Psalms 92 its thanksgiving for deliverance, may not Psalms 91 be the voice of faith assuring Israel that it will be safe in the midst of the calamities which are about to fall upon Babylon? As Israel was untouched by the judgements upon the Egyptians which were the prelude to its deliverance, so it will be now before the exodus from Babylon. Jehovah’s Presence will defend His people in a day of distress. The promises of Exo 23:20 ff. and Jeremiah’s prophecies of Israel’s deliverance from Babylon seem to have been in the Psalmist’s mind. With Psa 91:11 cp. Exo 23:20; with Psa 91:16 cp. Exo 23:26; Exo 23:3; Exo 23:5-7 are an expansion of Exo 23:25 b; with Psa 91:15 cp. Jer 30:7, “a time of distress for Jacob”; Jer 30:11, “I am with thee to save thee”; Jer 30:19, “I will glorify them”; with Psa 90:15, Psa 92:4 cp. Jer 31:13, “I will make them glad.”

[50] For the address to Israel in the singular cp. Exo 23:20 ff.; Deu 32:6; and many other passages. See Introd. pp. li f.

The use of the first person in Psa 91:2 ; Psa 91:9 a, followed by the second person in Psa 91:3 ff., Psa 91:9 b ff., is somewhat perplexing. Many commentators suppose that the text is corrupt and emend it in various ways (see notes on Psa 91:1 ; Psa 91:9). But the two occurrences of the first person mutually support one another. If the interpretation suggested above is adopted, Psa 91:1-2 ; Psa 91:9 a will be the profession of the Psalmist’s faith, on the strength of which he addresses to Israel the comforting words of Psa 91:3 ff., Psa 91:9 b ff. If the reference of the Psalm is not national but individual, these verses will be addressed, in accordance with the usual practice of the didactic style, to any godly Israelite. Cp. e.g. Psalms 37. Another possible explanation is that the Psalmist, after addressing God in words of confident faith, addresses himself, and reminds himself in detail of all that is meant by that Divine guardianship. For a parallel comp. Psalms 121. It has also been suggested that the Psalm was intended to be sung antiphonally; one voice or choir chanting Psa 91:1-2, and another answering in Psa 91:3-8; the first striking in again with Psa 91:9 a, and the second again responding in Psa 91:9 b Psa 91:13, while a third recited the Divine speech in Psa 91:14-16 [51] .

[51] The Targum recognises the idea of a plurality of speakers, explaining the Ps. as a dialogue between David and Solomon. Psa 91:2-3, “David said, ‘I will say to Jehovah,’ &c. ‘For He shall deliver thee, Solomon my son,’ &c.” Psa 91:9, “Solomon answered and said thus, ‘For thou Jehovah art my refuge, in a lofty dwelling hast Thou placed the abode of Thy Majesty’ ( Shechinah).” Psa 91:10, “The Lord of the world answered and said thus, ‘There shall no evil befall thee,’ &c.”

The Psalm falls into two equal divisions. (i) The Psalmist’s profession of trust in Jehovah, the Most High, the Almighty, gives the theme of the Psalm (Psa 91:1-2), which is developed in detail (Psa 91:3-8): (ii) the repetition of this profession in the briefest form (Psa 91:9 a) introduces a further development of it (Psa 91:9 b Psa 91:13), and the Psalm closes with a Divine assurance answering to the Psalmist’s opening profession, and authoritatively confirming his confidence (Psa 91:14-16).

This Psalm expands the thought of Psa 90:1, and furnishes a corrective to the somewhat desponding tone of that Psalm.

Like Psalms 90 it shews familiarity with the language of Deuteronomy 32. Cp. Psa 91:2 with Deu 32:37; Deu 32:4; Deu 32:12 with Deu 32:11; Psa 91:6 with Deu 32:24; Psa 91:8 with Deu 32:35; Deu 32:41; Psa 91:13 with Deu 32:33.

Compare also Psalms 121; Job 5:19-26; Pro 3:23-26.

Verses of Psalms 91

Consult other comments:

Psalms 91:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 91:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 91:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 91:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 91:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 91:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 91:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 91:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 91:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges