|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
91:1-8 He that by faith chooses God for his protector, shall find all in him that he needs or can desire. And those who have found the comfort of making the Lord their refuge, cannot but desire that others may do so. The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is a noisome pestilence. Great security is promised to believers in the midst of danger. Wisdom shall keep them from being afraid without cause, and faith shall keep them from being unduly afraid. Whatever is done, our heavenly Father's will is done; and we have no reason to fear. God's people shall see, not only God's promises fulfilled, but his threatenings. Then let sinners come unto the Lord upon his mercy-seat, through the Redeemer's name; and encourage others to trust in him also.
Verse 6. - Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness. The plague god is personified and represented as stalking through the land in the hours of darkness. Parallels have been found in the literature of the Babylonians (see 'Babylonian and Oriental Record,' vol. 1, p. 12) and elsewhere. Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. The rare word, קטב, translated "destruction" here and in Deuteronomy 32:24, is rendered by the LXX. διαμόνιον, and the entire phrase, "for the destruction that wasteth at noonday" becomes ἀπὸ συμπτώματος καὶ δαιμονίου μεσημβρινοῦ - "from ruin and the demon of the midday" - by which sunstroke would seem to be meant (comp. Psalm 121:6, "The sun shall not smite thee by day").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness,.... Some think, and not without cause, that what is figuratively expressed in the preceding verse is here explained; and, indeed, the "pestilence" may well be called the "terror by night": the name of the plague, at a distance, is terrible; the near approach of it is more so; when it enters a country, city, or town, what fleeing is there from it? and in the night season it is more dreadful than in the day; not only to think of it in the gloomy watches of the night, but to see the vast numbers carried out to be interred, and to hear the dismal cry, Bring out your dead: and so it is here said to "walk in darkness"; in the darkness of the night, or to arise from dark and unknown causes; when it moves and walks through cities, towns, and villages, and there is no stopping it: and this also may be the "arrow that flieth by day"; which flies as swift as an arrow, and that flies as swift as a bird (r); this is taken out of the Lord's quiver, has its commission and direction from him, and does execution by night and by day: the plague that smote the firstborn in Egypt was in the night; and that which was in David's time, and might be the occasion of penning this psalm, began in the day, Exodus 12:29,
nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon day; as the pestilence, which may be increased, and rage the more, through the heat of the day; and which destroys great numbers wherever it comes: seventy thousand were taken off in three days by the plague occasioned by David's numbering of the people: the Targum is,
"of a company of devils that destroy at noon day;''
that is, thou shall not be afraid: some think respect is had to a pestilential hot wind, common in the eastern countries, which begins to blow about eight o'clock in a morning, and is hottest at noon; which instantly suffocates persons, burns them, and reduces them to ashes presently, which the Arabs call "sammiel", or a poison wind (s).
(r) "Voluces sagittae", Virgil. Aeneid. 12. "volante sagitta", Ovid. Trist. eleg. 10. (s) Vide Thevenot's Travels, par. 2. sect. 1. c. 12. p. 54. & l. 3. c. 8. p. 135.
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