The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. – Psalm 34:7
Meaning of Psalm 34:7
Psalm 34:7 emphasizes the presence of God’s angels and the protection He gives to those who trust Him. The verse, ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ means that when a person lives in honors God and fears Him, they can also find comfort and security in God’s divine protection. In other words, this verse Psalm 34:7, also assures believers that God assigns His angels to guard His children against both physical and spiritual harm. The meaning of the verse also includes that the believers will experience God’s intervention during troubles. Thus allowing the believers to have hope and faith in God.
Interpretations of Psalm 34:7
The verse Psalm 34:7 is one of the assuring verses from the book of Psalms used to encourage the believers. A few interpretations are as follows.
Interpretation #1 God commands angels to protect His children
In the interpretation, the reader believes that God doesn’t protect His children directly. However, as per the verse Psalm 34:7, ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ God commands angels or heavenly beings to protect those who fear Him. Here ‘The Angel of the Lord’ is specially appointed by God to position themselves to protect believers. Here the reader also believes that God’s angels actively defend His people from harm, both physically and spiritually. According to the standard teachings at the church, the verse also emphasizes the condition to have angels as supernatural protection and experience comfort and assurance if they live with reverence for God.
Interpretation #2 Angels are a spiritual guide
In the version, the readers believe that angels are appointed to believers as spiritual guardianship. The verse Psalm 34:7, ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ reassures Christians or any person with Judeo-Christian roots that God has watchful care and guidance over people who fear Him. He or she also understands that ‘The angel of the Lord’ is a representation of the spiritual guardianship provided by God to protect His followers. Here the believers are also aware that they are under God’s sight. Thus, they watch their action and their lifestyle. A Christian feels assured in the promised spiritual guidance, support, and comfort on their faith journey. The verse also highlights the personal relationship between God and His followers with an assurance of His constant presence and care.
Interpretation #3 People are angels and God’s messengers
According to this interpretation of the verse, the readers consider people as God’s messengers. The verse Psalm 34:7, ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ is also known as recognition of the human role who also act as messengers of God and not the heavenly beings. Here, he or she plays an essential role in protecting and assisting their fellow Christians if they are believers and struggling to survive. Hence, the readers think that the angel here is only used as a metaphor to represent the people chosen by God and are meant to deliver His message and aid His people, and also offer help, provision, and guidance.
Interpretation #4 Reminder to build a personal relationship with God
In this interpretation, the reader understands the context as well as the universal application for all Christians. He or she gives priority to personal experience and relationship with God. Hence, Psalm 34:7, ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ means an acknowledgment by a Christian who encounters God and witnesses a miracle in the form of protection and deliverance. Also, here ‘The angel of the Lord’ is considered a personal and spiritual manifestation of divine intervention. It could be a person or a dream visitation. Here, he or she interprets the verse as a belief that each person may not have the same experience but unique guidance, comfort, and deliverance adapted to their specific needs. A Christian also learns the personal nature of the relationship between God and His followers.
Historical background of Psalm 34:7
The Book of Psalms was written over several centuries, as various psalms were later collected over time. However, the Book of Psalms was finally compiled during the period of the Babylonian exile and the restoration of Jerusalem, between 6 B.C and 4B.C. Psalm 34 was written King David and might have been composed during his time as a fugitive while he was fleeing from King Saul. The psalm reflects David’s challenging experiences, but he praises God for His presence and protection in times of trouble. Psalm 34:7, specifically, is part of David’s passionate thanksgiving and devotion towards God as he acknowledges his own trust and confidence in God’s care and intervention.
Literary Devices of Psalm 34:7
The verse Psalm 34:7 is one of the short verses in the Psalms with powerful meanings and interpretations. A few literary devices used in this verse are analyzed below.
Metaphor – The verse is a good example of metaphor as the phrase ‘The Angel of the Lord’ is a metaphor for any person who represents God’s protective presence and intervention. Also, God’s care is compared to an angel, emphasizing His watchful guardianship.
Alliteration – The verse has one consonant sound in repetition with one quick succession. For example, the sound of /th/ in ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’.
Consonance – The verse also has repeated consonant sounds, and few are in quick succession. For example, the sound of /n/, the sound of /t/, the sound of /r/, and the sound of /m/ in ‘The Angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’.
Imagery – The phrase ‘encampeth round about them’ is a perfect example of imagery as it creates a visual image and a sense of security and protection offered by God. Also, it creates a vibrant picture of God surrounding a believer should they choose to believe.