Psalm 91:13
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Lion . . . adder . . . young lion.—These are used no doubt, emblematically for the various obstacles, difficulties, and danger which threatens life. (For “adder,” see Note, Psalm 58:4; “dragon,” Psalm 74:13.)

Psalm 91:13. Thou shalt tread upon the lion — The lion shall lie prostrate at thy feet, and thou shalt securely put thy feet upon his neck, as the Israelites did upon the necks of the Canaanitish kings, Joshua 10:24. The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample, &c. — By which he figuratively understands all pernicious creatures, though never so strong, and fierce, and subtle, and all sorts of enemies. “The fury and venom of our spiritual enemies,” especially, “are often portrayed by the natural qualities of lions and serpents.” And it is observable, that when the seventy disciples returned to Christ with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through thy name, he answered them in the metaphorical language of this Psalm, Behold I give unto you power to tread on scorpions and serpents, &c. A promise this, which, in part, at least, belongs to all his faithful servants, whom through grace, he makes more than conquerors in all their conflicts with the same adversaries; enabling them to resist the devil, as St. Peter exhorts, steadfast in the faith; or bruising Satan under their feet, as St. Paul expresses it. We have need, however, to pray “for courage to resist the lion’s rage, and wisdom to elude the serpent’s wiles.”

91:9-16 Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him in trouble. The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he looks unto Jesus. He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven. Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him? A man may die young, yet be satisfied with living. But a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. At length the believer's conflict ends; he has done for ever with trouble, sin, and temptation.Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder - Thou shalt be safe among dangers, as if the rage of the lion were restrained, and he became like a lamb, and as if the poisonous tooth of the serpent were extracted. Compare Mark 16:18. The word used here to denote the "lion" is a poetic term, not employed in prose. The word rendered "adder" is, in the margin, asp. The Hebrew word - פתן pethen - commonly means viper, asp, or adder. See Job 20:14, note; Job 20:16, note; compare Psalm 58:4; Isaiah 11:8. It may be applied to any venomous serpent.

The young lion - The "young" lion is mentioned as particularly fierce and violent. See Psalm 17:12.

And the dragon ... - Hebrew, תנין tannı̂yn. See Psalm 74:13, note; Job 7:12, note; Isaiah 27:1, note. In Exodus 7:9-10, Exodus 7:12, the word is rendered serpent (and serpents); in Genesis 1:21; and Job 7:12; whale (and whales); in Deuteronomy 32:33; Nehemiah 2:13; Psalm 74:13; Psalm 148:7; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Jeremiah 51:34, as here, dragon (and dragons); in Lamentations 4:3, sea monsters. The word does not occur elsewhere. It would perhaps properly denote a sea monster; yet it may be applied to a serpent. Thus applied, it would denote a serpent of the largest and most dangerous kind; and the idea is, that he who trusted in God would be safe amidst the most fearful dangers, as if he should walk safely amidst venomous serpents.

13. Even the fiercest, strongest, and most insidious animals may be trampled on with impunity. The lion shall lie prostrate at thy feet, and thou shalt securely put thy feet upon his neck, as the Israelites did upon the necks of the Canaanitish kings, Joshua 10:24.

The dragon; by which he synecdochically understands all pernicious creatures, though never so strong, and fierce, and subtle, and all sorts of enemies.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder,.... Or be unhurt by such savage and poisonous creatures; as the Israelites, when they travelled through the wilderness, in which were serpents and scorpions; and many of the servants of God have been delivered from them, or have slain them, as Samson, David, and Daniel; and so Christ was among the wild beasts in the wilderness, and yet not touched or hurt by them; and his disciples had power given them by him to tread on serpents and scorpions, and to take up serpents, without receiving any damage from them; and when a viper fastened on the hand of the Apostle Paul, he shook it off, without being hurt by it; see Mark 1:13, Acts 28:5, it may be understood figuratively of Satan, who, for his voraciousness and cruelty, is compared to a lion; and, for his craft and subtlety, to a serpent, 1 Peter 5:8,

the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample underfoot; which also may be understood of the great dragon, the old serpent, called the devil and Satan; whom Christ trampled under his feet when he hung on the cross, and spoiled him and his principalities and powers; and who, in a short time, will be bruised under the feet of his people, as he has been already by the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the {h} young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

(h) You will not only be preserved from all evil, but overcome it whether it is secret or open.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Thou shalt triumphantly overcome all obstacles and dangers, whether of fierce and open violence, or of secret and insidious treachery. Cp. Luke 10:19; Romans 16:20.

Verse 13. - Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder. Conquered enemies prostrated themselves before their conquerors, who, to mark the completeness of the subjection, placed a foot upon the prostrate form. From this practice the metaphor of "treading under foot" for conquering became a commonplace (see Psalm 7:5; Psalm 44:5; Psalm 55:12, etc.). The "lion" here represents all open and violent foes; the "adder," all secret and malignant ones. The young lion (kephir, the lion in the height of his strength) and the dragon (tannin, the most dreadful form of serpent) shalt thou trample under feet. An emphatic repetition, with a certain heightening of the colour. Psalm 91:13The first voice continues this ratification, and goes on weaving these promises still further: thou hast made the Most High thy dwelling-place (מעון); there shall not touch thee.... The promises rise ever higher and higher and sound more glorious. The Pual אנּה, prop. to be turned towards, is equivalent to "to befall one," as in Proverbs 12:21; Aquila well renders: ου ̓ μεταχθήσεται πρὸς σὲ κακία. לא־יקרב reminds one of Isaiah 54:14, where אל follows; here it is בּ, as in Judges 19:13. The angel guardianship which is apportioned to him who trusts in God appears in Psalm 91:11, Psalm 91:12 as a universal fact, not as a solitary fact and occurring only in extraordinary instances. Haec est vera miraculorum ratio, observes Brentius on this passage, quod semel aut iterum manifeste revelent ea quae Deus semper abscondite operatur. In ישּׂאוּנך the suffix has been combined with the full form of the future. The lxx correctly renders Psalm 91:12: μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου, for נגף everywhere else, and therefore surely here too and in Proverbs 3:23, has a transitive signification, not an intransitive (Aquila, Jerome, Symmachus), cf. Jeremiah 13:16. Psalm 91:13 tells what he who trusts in God has power to do by virtue of this divine succour through the medium of angels. The promise calls to mind Mark 16:18, ὄφεις ἀροῦσι, they shall take up serpents, but still more Luke 10:19 : Behold, I give you power to tread ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ ἐχθροῦ. They are all kinds of destructive powers belonging to nature, and particularly to the spirit-world, that are meant. They are called lions and fierce lions from the side of their open power, which threatens destruction, and adders and dragons from the side of their venomous secret malice. In Psalm 91:13 it is promised that the man who trusts in God shall walk on over these monsters, these malignant foes, proud in God and unharmed; in Psalm 91:13, that he shall tread them to the ground (cf. Romans 16:20). That which the divine voice of promise now says at the close of the Psalm is, so far as the form is concerned, an echo taken from Psalm 50. Psalm 50:15, Psalm 50:23 of that Psalm sound almost word for word the same. Genesis 46:4, and more especially Isaiah 63:9, are to be compared on Psalm 50:15. In B. Taanith 16a it is inferred from this passage that God compassionates the suffering ones whom He is compelled by reason of His holiness to chasten and prove. The "salvation of Jahve," as in Psalm 50:23, is the full reality of the divine purpose (or counsel) of mercy. To live to see the final glory was the rapturous thought of the Old Testament hope, and in the apostolic age, of the New Testament hope also.
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