What does Psalm 91:3 mean?
ESV: For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
NIV: Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
NASB: For it is He who rescues you from the net of the trapper And from the deadly plague.
CSB: He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague.
NLT: For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
KJV: Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
NKJV: Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
Verse Commentary:
This verse uses two interesting metaphors to continue praising God for His protection. The first is the "fowler's snare." Bird hunters in that era mostly relied on trickery. One common tactic was to trap younger birds and place them in cages to lure others. The bird-catchers would hide themselves, or their nets, to surprise the animals and entrap them.

Scripture portrays Satan as setting traps to catch believers. Paul gave instructions to Timothy regarding the office of an overseer. He indicated such leaders should have a good reputation, "so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil" (1 Timothy 3:7). The psalmist indicates that the Lord will not allow His people to succumb to traps; those who remain close to Him (Psalm 91:2) are in a place of safety against such schemes. Or, at least, in a better position to survive them if they should fall.

Sickness has been part of the world ever since the fall of Adam. Common dangers mentioned in texts such as the Old Testament are invasions, diseases, and natural disasters (1 Kings 8:37). While the promises of God do not guarantee a person will never suffer physical harm, the psalmist trusts that God will keep him safe. Those who honor Godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) give themselves a better chance of avoiding disaster (Proverbs 14:12).
Verse Context:
Psalm 91:1–4 declares the writer's trust in the Lord as the Most High and the Almighty. He sees God as his defender and faithful protector. This passage uses a wide variety of terms suggesting security, such as "shelter," "refuge, "fortress," "shield," and "buckler." Attempts to use these words as an absolute guarantee of personal safety were refuted by Jesus. He countered that interpretation when Satan tried to use later verses in this psalm as part of a temptation (Matthew 4:5–7).
Chapter Summary:
The psalmist expresses his trust that God is a source of safety. He uses various dangers as symbols of the terrors which God's people do not need to fear. When God has resolved to protect someone, nothing can overcome that safety. Jesus refuted inappropriate use of this promise when being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:5–7). Those who love God, and honor Him, can count on His provision and protection, and know that nothing happens without His approval.
Chapter Context:
This psalm includes similar phrases to psalms 90 and 92. The theme of this song is trust in God, a common theme in Scripture. Notable parallels can be found in 2 Samuel 22:31, Psalms 9, 37, 40, 84, and 118, Proverbs 3:5–6, Proverbs 14:26, Isaiah 26:3, Nahum 1:7, John 14:1–6, and Hebrews 11. In Psalm 91 the writer reveals what the Lord does for those who trust in Him. Verses 11 and 12 were cited by Satan when tempting Jesus in Matthew 4:5–6.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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