He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
In Semitic languages, “shadow” is often used figuratively, meaning “protection.” The term “shadow” originally was derived from the shadow of the trees under which weary travelers and the sick sought refuge and relief during the hot hours of the day. In those days, just as today in some Near Eastern countries, trees are venerated and visited as sacred shrines by the sick and the suffering.
In biblical days trees and groves were worshiped. The tree, through its inner energies, produces a cool shadow that helps the weary travelers and the sick.
In the Near East, when a king is good to his people they say, “We are under a good shadow,” meaning “protection.” On the other hand, dark shadows are symbolic of fear and uncertainty. “The valley of the shadow of death,” for instance, means “instant death.” “A secret place” in Aramaic means “fortress,” the place where the warriors defend the town—that is, the strongest and most secure place in a town or a city. Kings and princes have secret places to hide themselves from their
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Ps. 91:4.
The psalmist portrays God as a loving mother bird that tenderly shelters her brood under her soft feathers and covers them with her wings. The psalmist, being a shepherd and living in the outdoors, had carried newly born sheep under his thick woolen mantle and had seen, during times of danger, little birds taking refuge under their mother’s wings. Wings are symbolic of mercy, grace, protection, and trust. God has no wings but protects with goodness and loving kindness. This is symbolized by the everlasting wings constantly spread
over all creation, and especially over those who take refuge under them, for God is our refuge and our everlasting fortress (protection).
Conspiracy nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
The Aramaic word miltha in this verse means “conspiracy.” “Pestilence that walketh in darkness” is a mistranslation of the Aramaic idiom, miltha dam halkha bheshokha, meaning “the conspiracy that spreads in darkness.” Conspiracies are generally devised in secret and spread during the dark hours of the night when most people are asleep.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall thou trample under
feet. Ps. 91:13.
“Viper and adder” are used symbolically, meaning “deadly enemies” or “evil forces.” The lion and the dragon, metaphorically, are wicked men and oppressors who rebel against God and oppress the people of the Lord. Serpents and other deadly reptiles are symbolic of Satanic forces—that is, evil forces—and of men who are the enemies of God and spiritual truth. Jesus told his disciples that they could handle serpents and drink any deadly poison, meaning that they could handle the enemies of his gospel of God’s kingdom and overcome all kinds of attacks and defamation of their names. The reference is to the Messiah, who had the power to overcome all obstacles in his way and
to prove that, in the end, truth triumphs over evil forces.