John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1 (Psalms 91:1)

Verse 1

1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the High One. Some Hebrew interpreters read the three first verses as one continuous sentence, down to the words, he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler The whole would then run thus β€” β€œHe who dwells in the covert of the Most High, and abides under his shadow, to him will I say of Jehovah, that he is his hope and defense, and the God in whom he may safely rest, for he shall deliver him from the snare,” etc. This is evidently a forced construction to put upon the verses, and the reason which has led some to adopt it is weak and insufficient. They consider that the first verse repeats the same thing twice, and therefore conveys no proper meaning. But this is a great mistake; for the inspired penman of the psalm, whoever he may have been, states two ideas quite distinct, That he who is hid under the Divine protection occupies a safe and secure position, where no hostile weapon can reach him. Or should the verse be read β€” He who has God to be the guardian of his safety shall rest under the shadow of God; still the second clause would retain an emphatic meaning, for the power of God would be contrasted with that weak defense which man is able to extend. Those, too, who dwell in the secret place of God are here said by the Psalmist to dwell under his shadow, in the sense that they experience to what a rich extent his protection reaches. Men generally seek out a great-variety of hiding-places, having recourse to one or another, according as the calamities are different which threaten to overtake them; but here we are taught that the only safe and impregnable fortress to which we can betake ourselves is the protection of God. He contrasts the security of those who trust in God with the vanity of all other confidences by which we are apt to delude ourselves.

- John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible