Shade.--An image of protection, and one peculiarly attractive to the Oriental. (See Numbers 14:9, margin; Psalm 91:1; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 32:2.)
Upon thy right hand.--Some commentators combine this expression with the figure of the shadow, supposing the psalmist, in the phrase "right hand," to allude to the south or sunny side. But this is prosaic. No doubt there is here, as so often, a confused combination of metaphors. We have several times met with the figure of the right-hand comrade in war, a protection to the unshielded side (Psalm 16:8; Psalm 109:31, &c).
the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand; he is at the right hand of his people, to hold their right hand; to teach them to go, lead them into communion with himself, and hold them up safe; and to strengthen their right hand, assist them in working, without whom they can do nothing; and to counsel and direct them, and to protect and defend them against all their enemies. So a shadow signifies defence; see Numbers 14:9, Ecclesiastes 7:12; and such great personages are to others; in which sense Virgil (n) uses the word "shadow"; and much more true is this of God himself. And he is like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; or of a spreading tree, which is a protection from heat, and very reviving and refreshing; see Isaiah 32:2. The allusion may be to the pillar of cloud by day, which guided and guarded the Israelites in the wilderness, and was a shadow from the heat, Isaiah 4:5; as Christ is from the heat of a fiery law, the flaming sword of justice, the wrath of God, and the fiery darts of Satan.
(n) "Et magnum reginae nomen obumbrat", Aeneid. l. xi.