Psalms 139

Psalm 139

1

For the music leader. Of David. A song.

1 LORD, you have examined me. You know me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
3 You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
4 There isn't a word on my tongue, LORD, that you don't already know completely.
5 You surround me—front and back. You put your hand on me.
6 That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it's so high above me that I can't fathom it.
7 Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence?
8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there. If I went down to the grave, you would be there too!
9 If I could fly on the wings of dawn, stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—
10 even there your hand would guide me; even there your strong hand would hold me tight!
11 If I said, "The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,"
12 even then the darkness isn't too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you!
13 You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother's womb.
14 I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
15 My bones weren't hidden from you when I was being put together in a secret place, when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my embryo, and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me, before any one of them had yet happened.
17 God, your plans are incomprehensible to me! Their total number is countless!
18 If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand! If I came to the very end—I'd still be with you.
19 If only, God, you would kill the wicked! If only murderers would get away from me—
20 the people who talk about you, but only for wicked schemes; the people who are your enemies, who use your name as if it were of no significance.
21 Don't I hate everyone who hates you? Don't I despise those who attack you?
22 Yes, I hate them—through and through! They've become my enemies too.
23 Examine me, God! Look at my heart! Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
24 Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me, then lead me on the eternal path!

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Psalms 139 Commentary

Chapter 139

God knows all things. (1-6) He is every where present. (7-16) The psalmist's hatred to sin, and desire to be led aright. (17-24)

Verses 1-6 God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. It is more profitable to meditate on Divine truths, applying them to our own cases, and with hearts lifted to God in prayer, than with a curious or disputing frame of mind. That God knows all things, is omniscient; that he is every where, is omnipresent; are truths acknowledged by all, yet they are seldom rightly believed in by mankind. God takes strict notice of every step we take, every right step and every by step. He knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk toward, what company we walk with. When I am withdrawn from all company, thou knowest what I have in my heart. There is not a vain word, not a good word, but thou knowest from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God. We cannot by searching find how God searches us out; nor do we know how we are known. Such thoughts should restrain us from sin.

Verses 7-16 We cannot see God, but he can see us. The psalmist did not desire to go from the Lord. Whither can I go? In the most distant corners of the world, in heaven, or in hell, I cannot go out of thy reach. No veil can hide us from God; not the thickest darkness. No disguise can save any person or action from being seen in the true light by him. Secret haunts of sin are as open before God as the most open villanies. On the other hand, the believer cannot be removed from the supporting, comforting presence of his Almighty Friend. Should the persecutor take his life, his soul will the sooner ascend to heaven. The grave cannot separate his body from the love of his Saviour, who will raise it a glorious body. No outward circumstances can separate him from his Lord. While in the path of duty, he may be happy in any situation, by the exercise of faith, hope, and prayer.

Verses 17-24 God's counsels concerning us and our welfare are deep, such as cannot be known. We cannot think how many mercies we have received from him. It would help to keep us in the fear of the Lord all the day long, if, when we wake in the morning, our first thoughts were of him: and how shall we admire and bless our God for his precious salvation, when we awake in the world of glory! Surely we ought not to use our members and senses, which are so curiously fashioned, as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. But our immortal and rational souls are a still more noble work and gift of God. Yet if it were not for his precious thoughts of love to us, our reason and our living for ever would, through our sins, prove the occasion of our eternal misery. How should we then delight to meditate on God's love to sinners in Jesus Christ, the sum of which exceeds all reckoning! Sin is hated, and sinners lamented, by all who fear the Lord. Yet while we shun them we should pray for them; with God their conversion and salvation are possible. As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. if there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life. It is the good old way. All the saints desire to be kept and led in this way, that they may not miss it, turn out of it, or tire in it.

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Heb Sheol
  • [b]. Correction; Heb lacks for me.
  • [c]. Heb uncertain
  • [d]. Correction
  • [e]. Heb lacks your name.
  • [f]. Correction; cf Tg; LXX, Syr, Vulg painful or wicked or hurtful way

Chapter Summary

Psalms 139 Commentaries