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Psalm 91

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Title: Psalm 91  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Pesukei dezimra, Maariv, Psalm 20, Psalm 147, Psalm 146
Collection: Psalms, Shacharit for Shabbat and Yom Tov
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Psalm 91

End of 8th century ivory plaque with Christ treading on the beasts, illustrating verse 13[1]

Psalm 91[2] (Greek numbering: Psalm 90), referred to by its Latin title Qui habitat (after its first line, "Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the Most High"), is known as the Psalm of Protection. As a religious song, this Psalm is commonly invoked in times of hardship. The author of this psalm is unknown.[3]


  • Uses 1
    • Judaism 1.1
    • New Testament 1.2
    • Western Christianity 1.3
    • Eastern Orthodoxy 1.4
  • Christ treading on the beasts 2
  • Musical settings 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6



New Testament

The devil quotes verses 11 and 12 of this psalm during the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4:6 and Luke 4:10-11.

Western Christianity

In Western Christianity it is often sung or recited during services of Compline.[9] In the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C)[10] the psalm is appointed for the first Sunday in Lent, linking it to the temptation of Christ, where the devil quotes this psalm.

In the medieval Western Church it was included in the readings for Good Friday.

Eastern Orthodoxy

In Eastern Orthodoxy it is used in the prayers of the Sixth Hour, at Great Compline, and also in the Memorial Service for the departed (Pannikhida).

Christ treading on the beasts

Verse 13, in the King James Version "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet" was the origin of the iconography of Christ treading on the beasts, seen in the Late Antique period, and revived in Carolingian and Anglo-Saxon art.

Musical settings

Felix Mendelssohn composed a setting of two verses of Psalm 91 for his oratorio "Elijah".

Michael Joncas loosely based his song On Eagle's Wings on Psalm 91.

In popular culture

  • Sinéad O'Connor's debut album The Lion and the Cobra includes a recitation of verses 11 to 13 in Irish by singer Enya on the song "Never Get Old".
  • Canadian metal band Cryptopsy quotes this psalm in the song "The Pestilence That Walketh in Darkness" on their 2005 album Once Was Not.
  • Tommie Harris writes PSALMS 91 on his Breathe Right nose strip.[11]
  • Psalm 91 is known as the Soldier's Psalm. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines often carry a wallet-sized copy with them when deployed.
  • Brazilian-American metal band Soulfly covered this psalm in Portuguese on the bonus track "Salmo-91" on their fifth album Dark Ages.
  • Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis exposed his black with gold lettering "Psalms 91" undershirt following his final home game on January 6, 2013 and the Ravens' Super Bowl win on February 3, 2013.
  • Hershel Greene reads the Psalm in Season 3 of AMC's The Walking Dead.
  • The Jerry Garcia Band references verses 5-6 in its song "My Sisters and Brothers."
  • Madonna use this reference to the Virgin Mary (Intro) on her The MDNA Tour on 2012.


  1. ^ Favreau, Robert (1991). "Le thème iconographique du lion dans les inscriptions médiévales". Comptes-rendus des séances de l'année - Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (in Français) 135 (3): 613–636.  
  2. ^ Bible Study [3], Psalm 91 - He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, accessed August 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Spurgeon, Charles H.[4], The Treasury of David, 2001, accessed March 21, 2011.
  4. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 380
  5. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 594
  6. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 290
  7. ^ Belanger, Jeff (November 29, 2003). "Dybbuk - Spiritual Possession and Jewish Folklore". Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ Dennis, Geoffrey. "Jewish Exorcism". Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ "An Order for Night Prayer (Compline)". Church of England. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  10. ^ The Christian Year: Calendar, Lectionary and Collects. Church House Publishing, Church of England. 1997.  
  11. ^ "Si Players Lineup". CNN. 

External links

  • Tehillim - Psalm 91 (Judaica Press) — translation with
  • Text of Psalm 91 according to the 1928 Psalter
  • on the religious significance of the text
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