Psalms 139

1 Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
2 You know everything I do; from far away you understand all my thoughts.
3 You see me, whether I am working or resting; you know all my actions.
4 Even before I speak, you already know what I will say.
5 You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power.
6 Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding.
7 Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence?
8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
9 If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west,
10 you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light around me to turn into night,
12 but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart.
15 When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there -
16 you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began.
17 O God, how difficult I find your thoughts; 1 how many of them there are!
18 If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
19 O God, how I wish you would kill the wicked! How I wish violent people would leave me alone!
20 They say wicked things about you; they speak evil things against your name.
21 O Lord, how I hate those who hate you! How I despise those who rebel against you!
22 I hate them with a total hatred; I regard them as my enemies.
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts.
24 Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.

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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.

Cross References 1

  • 1. +2139.17Ben Sira 18.5-7.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. how difficult I find your thoughts; [or] how precious are your thoughts to me.
  • [b]. [Probable text] they speak . . . name; [Hebrew unclear.]
  • [c]. the everlasting way; [or] the ways of my ancestors.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 139 Commentaries