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In Job 34: 22, the words `the shadow of death' are used in a more figurative
"There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide
or as in Job 24: 16, 17, the wicked whose natural element is darkness, "In the dark
they dig through houses", look upon light as an enemy, "For the morning is to them even
as the shadow of death".
To the Psalmist, bondage and affliction could be described in terms of the shadow of
"Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron."
"He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and break their bands in
sunder" (Psa. 107: 10 and 14).
In Psa. 44: we have the figure of the shadow of death used together with that of
sheep devoted to destruction:
"Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the
"Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the
slaughter" (Psa. 44: 11, 22).
So, the Psalmist could say:
"Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of
death" (Psa. 44: 19).
To the zealous Israelite, the nations outside the land of promise lived in the shadow of
"Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined"
(Isa. 9: 1, 2).
Jeremiah likens the wilderness experience of Israel to that of passing through,
"A land of drought, and of the shadow of death" (Jer. 2: 6).
It will be seen therefore that when the Psalmist speaks of the valley of the shadow of
death, he refers rather to life's dread experiences, than to death itself.
To be `killed all the day long' may not yield sense to the cold and critical, but to those
whose experience enables them to understand the language of the heart, no explanation is
necessary. Many of those who read these words, have lived in the very shadow of death.
There is comfort for all such, for the Psalmist said:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."