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]



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


  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 French). 135 (3): 613–636. doi:10.3406/crai.1991.15027. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  2. Bible Study , Psalm 91 - He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, accessed August 12, 2013.
  3. Spurgeon, Charles H., 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. ISBN 0-7151-3799-9.
  11. "Si Players Lineup". CNN.
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