Psalm 91 – Text, Meaning, Interpretations & FAQ

Psalm 91 is one of the most well-known and beloved passages of the Bible. It is a source of reassurance for those facing difficult times, reminding us that no matter what we may face, God is always with us and will never abandon us.

What is Psalm 91?

Psalm 91 is a psalm of protection in the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible. It is considered a “song of trust” in God’s protection.

The Psalm speaks of God as a refuge, a stronghold, and a protector, who will shield us from harm and deliver us from danger. It encourages us to call on God in times of need, and to trust in His faithfulness and provision.

It reads as follows:

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
my God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
and ten thousand at your right hand;
but it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.

Key verses and their meaning

  • Verse 1: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This verse emphasizes the idea of dwelling in God’s presence, and being protected by Him. The phrase “secret place of the Most High” can be understood as a metaphor for a close, intimate relationship with God. And the “shadow of the Almighty” is a metaphor for God’s protection, much like a shadow provides protection from the sun.
  • Verse 3: “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.” This verse speaks of God’s deliverance from danger, specifically the dangers of traps set by an enemy, and deadly diseases. It emphasizes God’s power to protect and save His people from harm.
  • Verse 14: “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.” This verse states that those who trust in God and cling to Him in love will be delivered and protected by Him. The phrase “because he knows my name” can be understood as a reference to having a personal relationship with God, where one knows and understands God intimately.
  • Verse 16: “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” This verse speaks of God’s promise to provide a long and satisfying life for those who trust in Him. The phrase “show him my salvation” can be understood as God revealing His salvation to the person and showing them the full extent of His protection and care.

Historical context

The historical context in which Psalm 91 was written is not entirely clear, as the psalm does not contain any direct references to historical events or figures. However, scholars believe that it was likely written during a time of national crisis or military threat, as the psalm emphasizes themes of protection and deliverance from danger. It is also believed that the psalm was likely written by an individual, rather than a community or group, as it is written in the first person singular and speaks of a personal relationship with God.

The psalm’s emphasis on God’s protection, refuge and stronghold would have been particularly important during a time of political instability, war, or persecution, in which people were in need of a safe haven. It is believed that the language and imagery used in Psalm 91 have connections to the temple and the cultic life, which would have been a central part of Jewish religion during the time of writing.

Interpretations and applications

In both Christian and Jewish traditions, Psalm 91 is also often seen as a reminder of God’s promise to protect and care for His people. Many people use this Psalm as a reminder to put their trust in God and to rely on Him for protection and guidance. Additionally, it is often associated with the protection of travelers, being a common practice among travelers to recite this Psalm before embarking on a journey.

In modern times, Psalm 91 is also used in healing and therapeutic settings as a way to help people cope with stress, fear, and anxiety.

Frequently asked questions

Who wrote Psalm 91?

The authorship of Psalm 91 is traditionally attributed to King David, but the actual authorship is uncertain. The psalm itself does not indicate who the author is, and there is no historical or textual evidence to confirm that David wrote it.

In the ancient world, it was common for psalms to be passed down and shared among different communities, and the psalm’s authorship may have been attributed to a prominent figure such as David for literary or liturgical reasons. Additionally, many of the Psalms are anonymous and it is not uncommon that the authorship is not specified.

What does Psalm 91 mean?

Psalm 91 is a psalm of protection that reassures the reader of God’s protection and care. The psalm begins by expressing the safety and security that can be found in dwelling in the presence of God and trusting in His protection.

The psalm goes on to speak about the protection God provides from dangers such as deadly diseases, deadly animals, and attacks from enemies. It also speaks of God’s protection from fear and panic, and reassures the reader that even in the midst of danger and adversity, God is always with them and will not forsake them.

When was Psalm 91 written?

The exact date when Psalm 91 was written is uncertain. The Psalms, including Psalm 91, are believed to have been written over a period of several centuries, from the time of King David, through the Babylonian exile, and up to the Second Temple period.

The Psalms are a collection of prayers, songs and poems that reflect the religious and cultural experiences of the ancient Israelites, and it is likely that different parts of the book were composed at different times by different authors or groups of authors.

What is the secret place of Psalm 91?

In Psalm 91, the “secret place” refers to a metaphor for a place of refuge and protection, where an individual can find safety and security in the presence of God. The phrase “secret place” is used in verse 1, which says: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

It’s worth noting that this “secret place” is not a physical location, but rather a state of mind, a spiritual condition in which an individual can feel close to God and rely on His protection.

What is a buckler in Psalm 91?

In Psalm 91, the word “buckler” is used as a metaphor for God’s protection and defense. A buckler is a small round shield that was used in ancient warfare to protect the body, especially the chest and abdomen, from enemy attacks.

In the context of Psalm 91, the “buckler” refers to God’s protection and defense against the various dangers and enemies that are described in the psalm, such as deadly diseases, deadly animals and attacks from enemies. The psalmist is saying that just as a soldier would use a buckler to protect themselves in battle, God will protect and defend them from all harm and danger.

Why is Psalm 91 also known as the Soldier’s Psalm or Soldier’s Prayer?

Psalm 91 is often referred to as the “Soldier’s Psalm” or the “Soldier’s Prayer” because of its powerful themes of protection, deliverance, and guidance in times of danger. These themes would have been particularly relevant and meaningful to soldiers and warriors, who face the dangers of battle on a daily basis.

Are there different versions of Psalm 91?

Psalm 91 is found in all versions of the Bible, but the wording may vary slightly depending on the translation. Depending on the version you choose, the language may be more formal or more modern, and the translation may be more literal or more dynamic.

One major translation of the Bible is the King James Version (KJV), which was first published in 1611. The language of the KJV is considered to be more formal and archaic in comparison to more modern translations such as the New International Version (NIV) which was first published in 1978.


Psalm 91 is a powerful and uplifting passage that offers comfort, protection, and guidance to those who trust in God. It reminds us that God is always with us, and that He will shield us from harm and deliver us from danger.

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