Isn’t is "the terror of night and the arrow that
flies by day?"
It’s a matter of context. Ancient Israelites
had much more to fear from the night than
most modern peoples. [no lighting, no modern vehicles,
no cell-phones, plus animals roaming around.]
God expects us to care for ourselves by availing
ourselves of medical attention when necessity
arises. [St.Luke was a physician!]
There is no dichotomy between medication
available in 2005 and the life of an Israelite,
asking God to protect him from the real, physical
dangers of the night and from possible death
in battle…[the arrow that flies by day.]
For us, a modern version of this prayer might
read: Protect me as I drive on the freeway.
A real physical danger for those of us who
live in the twenty-first century.
Thank you for the explanation. I understand what you’re saying. Yes, there are dangers at night, like for example wild animals, robbers and thieves. But would you not think that in those biblical times, people would not easily venture outside after it gets dark? What would there be to do in pitch darkness; except, maybe, on those occasional nights when the stars and moon are out, but even so, what would they be doing being out at night? Was it common for people to visit each other, or hunt during those hours? I would imagine that people in those times would go to bed soon after darkness fell, to be up early the next day to tend to field and flocks.
I was not quite convinced with your explanation of the expected dangers of the night.
So, I started to look for footnotes in some of the Bibles that I have, however none touched on the “terrors of the night” and “arrows by day,” and so on.
I searched and found my copy of The Jerome Biblical Commentary, which I had forgotten I had
This is what it has to say re v. 5-6 The hostile powers described here are probably demonic in origin (night demons, sun rays, etc.)." As further explanation, the commentary continues: **The LXX and Vg translation of “plague at noon” gave rise to the “noon-day devil” (cf J. de Fraine in Bib 40 (1959) 238-49, and in De Langhe, op. cit., 89-106, esp. 102-4). The four crises indicated for night, morning, evening (“darkness”), and noon balance against the four animals of 13. (asp, viper, lion, and dragon) Such trials will not effect the man who is protected by God.
I say your explanation has truth in it, but on the other hand don’t count out the hidden, unseen evil forces that do lurk in darkness ready to pounce on anyone who has/let their guards down. Who is more defenseless than someone who is asleep?
But it’s great when medication allows people to have a good night sleep, and also that it allows them to ignore the terrors of the night.
I guess there are two explanations to this subject: physiological and spiritual.