Psalms 121:6

6 Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.

Psalms 121:6 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 121:6

The sun shall not smite thee by day
With its rays, which it shoots forth like darts, and which fly swiftly, and pierce and hurt: hence Apollo, the same with the sun, is represented with a bow and arrows F15; so the rays of the sun seem to be called in ( Habakkuk 2:11 ) ;

nor the moon by night;
this clause should be supplied, as a learned man


F16 observes, thus, "neither shall the moon cool thee by night"; for that has no warmth in it, and cannot smite with heat, as the sun does: for even, as he observes, its rays focused by a magnifying glass will not communicate the least degree of sensible heat to bodies objected thereunto; yet some say F17 the moon is not only moist, but heats bodies as the sun. And Isaac Vossius F18 observes, that there can be no light, which, separately considered, does not contain some heat at least: and Macrobius F19 speaks of the lunar heat; and Plutarch F20 ascribes heat and inflammation to it, and asserts it to be fire. It is said F21 that some men of good credit, in a voyage to Guinea, strongly affirmed, that, in the night season, they felt a sensible heat to come from the beams of the moon. The Septuagint version is, "the sun shall not burn thee by day, nor the moon by night". And burning may be ascribed to the cold frosty air in a moonlight night, as to the north wind, as in the Apocrypha:

``20 When the cold north wind bloweth, and the water is congealed into ice, it abideth upon every gathering together of water, and clotheth the water as with a breastplate. 21 It devoureth the mountains, and burneth the wilderness, and consumeth the grass as fire.'' (Sirach 43)

see ( Genesis 31:40 ) ; and our English poet F23 expresses a sentiment to this effect; yet not what affects the bodies of men, but plants, trees, &c. and this not owing to the moon, but to the air. However, these clauses are not to be understood literally; for good men may be smitten and hurt by the heat of the one and the cold of the other, as Jacob and Jonah, ( Genesis 31:40 ) ( Jonah 4:8 ) ; but mystically, of persecuting antichristian tyrants, which are sometimes signified by the sun and moon, as both in Rome Pagan and Papal, ( Revelation 6:12 ) ( 16:8 ) ; and of persecution and tribulation itself, ( Matthew 13:6 Matthew 13:21 ) ( Song of Solomon 1:6 ) ; and is sometimes applied to the perfect state of the saints, either in the New Jerusalem, or ultimate glory, when there will be nothing more of this kind, ( Revelation 7:15 Revelation 7:16 ) . And there are some periods in the present state, when those entirely cease; nor are the saints ever really hurt by them, they being always for their good; or, however, not so as to affect their eternal happiness. The Targum is,

``in the day, when the sun rules, the morning spirits shall not smite thee; nor the nocturnal ones in the night, when the moon rules.''

F15 Macrob. Saturnal. l. 1. c. 17.
F16 Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. p. 976, 977.
F17 Suidas in voce (selhnh) ; so Theodoret.
F18 De Motu Marium & Vent. c. 6. Vid. Senecae Nat. Quaest. l. 5. c. 9.
F19 Saturnal. l. 7. c. 16.
F20 De Facie Lunae, in tom. 2. p. 933.
F21 The Second Voyage in Eden's Travels, p. 350. 2.
F23 "----The parching air----Burns frore (frosty) and cold performs the effect of fire". Milton's Paradise Lost, l. 2. v. 594.

Psalms 121:6 In-Context

4 Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5 God's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you -
6 Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
7 God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
8 He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.