Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
Psalm 91 shows us God’s protection from many calamities and disasters. One of these is the “noisome pestilence” described here in verse 3. What is a noisome pestilence? A pestilence is a severe plague that kills many in a short time. The best Biblical example of a pestilence was what happened after King David numbered the people contrary to the Lord’s command. The Lord sent punishment in the form of pestilence. In three days time, 70,000 died.
10. And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11. For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
12. Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
13. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
15. So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer–sheba seventy thousand men.
16. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
2 Samuel 24:10-16. See also 1 Chronicles 21:8-15
So we can see how serious a pestilence can be. How about a noisome pestilence? The Hebrew word (Strongs 1942) translated “noisome” here means much more than the definition of the English word “noisome.” (Noisome simply means annoying.)
This Hebrew word can be translated as follows:
- Perverse things (Job 30:13)
- Wickedness (Psalm 5:9)
- Mischievous (Micah 7:3)
- Calamities (Psalm 57:1)
- Iniquity (Psalm 94:20)
- Naughty (Proverbs 17:4)
So, in Psalm 91:3, we are dealing with a pestilence that can be described as being perverse, wicked, mischievous, naughty, and iniquity. What possibly could this be describing? This pestilence is not natural. It is an act of wickedness. It is a perverted thing. It was produced in iniquity. Could it possibly be a man-made, genetically engineered plague? Is it the result of man attempting to play God? It is clear from these Biblical definitions that it is not natural, nor is it imposed by God Himself. Either it’s production and/or release are acts of sin. It could be a genetically-engineered super-bug that is intentionally released, or perhaps escapes the lab accidentally. It could even be a naturally occurring bug, such as the deadly 1918 flu, that is resurrected and intentionally introduced into the population. I personally think that the likelihood that this is pointing to something that is GMO is high. Regardless, it is either man-made, or intentionally released. Either way, we have an intentional human element to the pestilence described here in Psalm 91:3.