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Psalms 91:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder - Even the king of the forest shall not be able to injure thee; should one of these attack thee, the angels whom God sends will give thee an easy victory over him. And even the asp, (פתן pethen ), one of the most venomous of serpents, shall not be able to injure thee.

The asp is a very small serpent, and peculiar to Egypt and Libya. Its poison kills without the possibility of a remedy. Those who are bitten by it die in about from three to eight hours; and it is said they die by sleep, without any kind of pain. Lord Bacon says the asp is less painful than all the other instruments of death. He supposes it to have an affinity to opium, but to be less disagreeable in its operation. It was probably an this account that Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, chose to die by the asp, as she was determined to prevent the designs of Augustus, who intended to have carried her captive to Rome to grace his triumph.

The dragon shalt thou trample - The תנין tannin, which we translate dragon, means often any large aquatic animal; and perhaps here the crocodile or alligator.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder - Thou shalt be safe among dangers, as if the rage of the lion were restrained, and he became like a lamb, and as if the poisonous tooth of the serpent were extracted. Compare Mark 16:18. The word used here to denote the “lion” is a poetic term, not employed in prose. The word rendered “adder” is, in the margin, asp. The Hebrew word - פתן pethen - commonly means viper, asp, or adder. See Job 20:14, note; Job 20:16, note; compare Psalm 58:4; Isaiah 11:8. It may be applied to any venomous serpent.

The young lion - The “young” lion is mentioned as particularly fierce and violent. See Psalm 17:12.

And the dragon … - Hebrew, תנין tannı̂yn See Psalm 74:13, note; Job 7:12, note; Isaiah 27:1, note. In Exodus 7:9-10, Exodus 7:12, the word is rendered serpent (and serpents); in Genesis 1:21; and Job 7:12; whale (and whales); in Deuteronomy 32:33; Nehemiah 2:13; Psalm 74:13; Psalm 148:7; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Jeremiah 51:34, as here, dragon (and dragons); in Lamentations 4:3, sea monsters. The word does not occur elsewhere. It would perhaps properly denote a sea monster; yet it may be applied to a serpent. Thus applied, it would denote a serpent of the largest and most dangerous kind; and the idea is, that he who trusted in God would be safe amidst the most fearful dangers, as if he should walk safely amidst venomous serpents.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him in trouble. The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he looks unto Jesus. He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven. Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him? A man may die young, yet be satisfied with living. But a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. At length the believer's conflict ends; he has done for ever with trouble, sin, and temptation.
Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 457

God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them and admire His handiwork. As we study His works, angels from heaven will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from Satan's deceptions. As you look at the wonderful things that God's hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority. How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble oneself when it is too late! CT 457.1

The psalmist declares, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8. The whole of this psalm should find a place in the reading and spelling lessons of the school. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered—they forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Consider also the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. CT 457.2

These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come; and should they not be studied in our schools? The word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth? CT 457.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 429.4

Now the Saints Have Nothing to Fear—Strong and terrible have become the masters of iniquity in the world under the control of Satan, but strong is the Lord God who judgeth Babylon. The just have no longer anything to fear from force or fraud as long as they are loyal and true. A mightier than the strong man armed is set for their defense. All power and greatness and excellence of character will be given to those who have believed and stood in defense of the truth, standing up and firmly defending the laws of God. 3SM 429.4

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW), 1142

Direction to Study Several Psalms—How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble one's self when it is too late! Why, O why, do not men heed the invitation? The psalmist said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” [Psalm 27:8]. The whole of this psalm is excellent, and should be placed in the reading and spelling lessons of the classes. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people, and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered. They forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Read the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. My attention has been called to these matters. Shall we not consider the Word of the Lord? These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, and should they not be the objects of study in our schools? The Word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth (Manuscript 96, 1899)? 3BC 1142.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW), 1150

8. We May See Our Lives as God Does—To dwell upon the beauty, goodness, mercy, and love of Jesus is strengthening to the mental and moral powers, and while the mind is kept trained to do the works of Christ, to be obedient children, you will habitually inquire, Is this the way of the Lord? Will Jesus be pleased to have me do this? Will this course be to please myself or to please Jesus? 3BC 1150.1

Then will every soul remember the words of the Lord: Thou hast my secret sins in the light of thy countenance. Many need to make a decided change in the tenor of their thoughts and actions, if they would please Jesus. We can seldom see our sins in the grievous light that God can. Many have habituated themselves to pursue a course of sin, and their hearts harden, under the influence of the power of Satan. And their thoughts are brought into captivity to his evil influences; but when in the strength and grace of God they place their minds against the temptations of Satan, their minds are made clear, their hearts and consciences by being influenced by the Spirit of God are made sensitive, and then sin appears as it is—exceedingly sinful. Then is the time when the secret sins are set in the light of their countenance. They confess their sins to God, and repent of them and become ashamed of sin.... He casts them from the light of His countenance behind His back (Letter 43, 1892). 3BC 1150.2

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