May 22, 2017: Verse of the day

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91:3 It seems that the Holy Spirit’s voice is heard in verses 3–13, assuring the Lord Jesus of the tremendous security that was His because of His life of perfect trust. What are the guarantees of security? There are nine:

Deliverance from hidden dangers. The snare of the bird-trapper speaks of the enemy’s evil plot to trap the unwary.

Immunity from fatal disease. In our Lord’s case, there is no reason to believe that He was ever sick at all.

91:4 Shelter and refuge in the Almighty. God’s tender, personal care is likened to that of a mother bird with her young.

Protection in the faithfulness of God. His promises are sure. What He has said, He will do. This is the believer’s shield and buckler.[1]


91:3 snare of the trapper. This metaphor represents any plots against the believer intended to endanger his life. deadly pestilence. The reference here and in v. 6 is specifically to dreaded diseases, plagues, and epidemics (cf. Jer 14:12; Eze 5:12; 14:19).

91:4 under His wings. Pictures the protection of a parent bird (see note on Ps 57:1).[2]


3–4 The emphatic pronoun “he” (“Surely he,” v. 3) amplifies the care of the Lord. He gets wholly involved with the welfare of his people. He protects them from all adversity perpetrated by evil persons—adversity likened to “the fowler’s snare” (cf. 119:110; 124:7; 141:9; 2 Ti 2:26) and “the deadly pestilence.” He protects them tenderly, as with feathers, i.e., “his wings” (v. 4; cf. 17:8; 36:7; NEB, “pinions”; lit., “his ligament”; cf. v. 1; Dt 32:11; Isa 31:5; Mt 23:37; Lk 13:34). Divine protection is likened to that of a bird (“feathers,” “wings”) that is kept from being trapped by the “fowler’s snare.” The “shield” and “rampart” (cf. 35:2) develop the imagery of “refuge” and “fortress” (v. 2). Yahweh’s care is both tender and sufficient because he is faithful, i.e., “true” to his people.[3]


91:3 the snare of the fowler Refers to a bird trap. Because birds must come to the ground to eat, drink, and nest, they are vulnerable to clever hunters.

the plague of destruction The Hebrew text here seems to refer to disease (possibly the bubonic plague) and can be associated with siege warfare situations.

91:4 he will cover The Hebrew word used here, sakhakh, means to “shut off” or “make inaccessible,” for the purpose of protection.

With his feathers May refer to the larger flight feathers of a bird’s wing.

under his wings Yahweh’s care and actions are combined in the picture of a bird caring for its young. See note on 17:8; note on Ruth 2:12.

a shield and a buckler Used for protection for battle.[4]


91:3 he will deliver you. God is present and able to deliver His people.

91:4 with his pinions. Psalms of confidence often have a metaphor for God’s compassion at their core. God is likened to a mother bird who protects her young.

his faithfulness. God’s steadfast love and the certainty that He will keep His promises sustain the psalmist.[5]


[1] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 690). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 91:3–4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 698). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 91:3–4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 939). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

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