Psalm 91:13
You shall tread on the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you 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. יקושׁ, as in Proverbs 6:5; Jeremiah 5:26, is the dullest toned from for יקושׁ or יוקשׁ, Psalm 124:7. What is meant is death, or "he who has the power of death," Hebrews 2:14, cf. 2 Timothy 2:26. "The snare of the fowler" is a figure for the peril of one's life, Ecclesiastes 9:12. In connection with Psalm 91:4 we have to call to mind Deuteronomy 32:11 : God protects His own as an eagle with its large strong wing. אברה is nom. unitatis, a pinion, to אבר, Isaiah 40:31; and the Hiph. הסך, from סכך, with the dative of the object, like the Kal in Psalm 140:8, signifies to afford covering, protection. The ἅπαξ λεγ. סחרה, according to its stem-word, is that which encompasses anything round about, and here beside צנּה, a weapon of defence surrounding the body on all sides; therefore not corresponding to the Syriac sḥārtā', a stronghold (סהר, מסגּרת), but to Syriac sabrā', a shield. The Targum translates צנּה with תּריסא, θυρεός, and סחרה with עגילא, which points to the round parma. אמתּו is the truth of the divine promises. This is an impregnable defence (a) in war-times, Psalm 91:5, against nightly surprises, and in the battle by day; (b) in times of pestilence, Psalm 91:6, when the destroying angel, who passes through and destroys the people (Exodus 11:4), can do no harm to him who has taken refuge in God, either in the midnight or the noontide hours. The future יהלך is a more rhythmical and, in the signification to rage (as of disease) and to vanish away, a more usual form instead of ילך. The lxx, Aquila, and Symmachus erroneously associate the demon name שׁד with ישׁוּד. It is a metaplastic (as if formed from שׁוּד morf de) future for ישׁד, cf. Proverbs 29:6, ירוּן, and Isaiah 42:4, ירוּץ, frangetur. Psalm 91:7 a hypothetical protasis: si cadant; the preterite would signify cediderint, Ew. 357, b. With רק that which will solely and exclusively take place is introduced. Burk correctly renders: nullam cum peste rem habebis, nisi ut videas. Only a spectator shalt thou be, and that with thine own eyes, being they self inaccessible and left to survive, conscious that thou thyself art a living one in contrast with those who are dying. And thou shalt behold, like Israel on the night of the Passover, the just retribution to which the evil-doers fall a prey. שׁלּמה, recompense, retribution, is a hapaxlegomenon, cf. שׁלּמים, Isaiah 34:8. Ascribing the glory to God, the second voice confirms or ratifies these promises.
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