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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 91

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-16

This psalm is sent down to us as an ode of praise by David, written when the pestilence was stayed. The Targum considers it as a dialogue between David and Solomon, giving the Almighty the final word. But whoever was the author, the sublime and beautiful are joined in the composition. Like the pectoral of the highpriest, it is studded with gems of logic, and brilliants of rhetoric. The views of a protecting providence are set forth to perfection, and built on facts in the extraordinary preservation of holy men.

Psalms 91:1 . The secret place of the Most High, where he resides on the mercyseat. There the refugee covers himself with the shield of omnipotence. All the evils of the fowler’s snares, of pestilence and war, are set at defiance.

Psalms 91:4 . He shall cover thee with his feathers, the wings of the cherubim. Ezekiel 1:6.

Psalms 91:7 . Thousands shall fall in battle. David could say this with confidence, for God had always covered his head in the day of battle. To others, both in war and pestilence, this special favour has been denied.

Psalms 91:11 . He shall give his angels charge over thee, as illustrated in Psalms 34:7. The repetition seems a further proof that David was the author of this psalm.


This psalm describes the happiness of the man who is in close covenant with God. The numerous perils of the night, and all the dangers of the day, shall not make him afraid; whether the arrow which pierces in a moment, or the pestilence which destroys in an hour, either at noonday or at night. Likewise in the dreadful carnage, when whole columns are cut in pieces, the good man shall be safe, even while a spectator of the Lord’s tragic work. When he also ventures into the forests, he shall receive no harm from the furious lion, or the subtle serpent; these shall be subject to his power. But the psalm is to be understood of a good man under God’s special protection, of the man whom he loves, and whom he has called to do a great work in the earth. Paul at Corinth had the promise, “No man shall set on thee to hurt thee.” Likewise when at sea, the Lord said to him, “Lo I have given thee all the souls that sail with thee in the ship.” God gave his angels charge to keep him; and of His marvellous protection, history abounds with examples. But we should learn from those words which Satan adduced to our Saviour, not to tempt providence; for the wise man and the fool often die together, or fall alike by the same stroke. And in a spiritual view we should be still more confident of safety against ghostly enemies; for the God of peace will shortly bruise Satan under our feet as the adder, and awe the lions of the earth who would devour his flock.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 91". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-91.html. 1835.
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