What does Psalm 91:6 mean?
ESV: nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
NIV: nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
NASB: Of the plague that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that devastates at noon.
CSB: the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon.
NLT: Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
KJV: Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
NKJV: Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
Verse Commentary:
Here the psalmist continues using dramatic imagery to describe human fears. Darkness—especially in an era without electricity or easy access to lights—was a more dangerous condition than it is today. Disease was more difficult to predict or cure, and water and food could more easily be contaminated. The "destruction that wastes at noonday" may refer to the scorching effects of the sun and heat. Despite those dangers, however, those who trust in God have reasons for confidence.

Scripture does not promise invincibility (Psalm 91:11–12; Matthew 4:5–7), but it does remind us that a sovereign God is in control. He offers not only His divine presence, but things like wisdom, human medicine, and other mundane means of assistance. God protected His people during their wilderness wanderings by giving them health laws. The book of Leviticus contains many distinctions between what the Israelites could eat and what they were forbidden to eat (Leviticus 11).

Likewise, believers today can trust the Lord and need not fear deadly disease; they should also avail themselves of medical help and practice healthy habits. Although the apostle Paul exercised strong faith in the Lord, he was accompanied on his missionary journeys by Luke, who was the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14).
Verse Context:
Psalm 91:5–13 points out that those who trust in the Lord have nothing to fear because the Lord watches over them. This continues the theme introduced in the prior passage. This segment is notable in that it was cited by the Devil when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:5–6). Jesus responded to Satan's attempt at twisting Scripture with additional Scripture and a better perspective (Matthew 4:7). Trust in God's sovereignty and goodness does not mean an absolute expectation of safety.
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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