Psalms 139

God's Omnipresence and Omniscience.

1 O LORD, You have 1searched me and known me.
2 You 2know when I sit down and when I rise up; You 3understand my thought from afar.
3 You 4scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You 5know it all.
5 You have 6enclosed me behind and before, And 7laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such 8knowledge is 9too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot * attain to it.
7 10Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 11If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, 12You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will 13lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, "Surely the 14darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,"
12 Even the 15darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. 16Darkness and light are alike to You.
13 For You 17formed my inward parts; You 18wove me in my mother's womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 19Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
15 My 20frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the 21depths of the earth;
16 Your 22eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in 23Your book were all written The 24days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your 25thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would 26outnumber the sand. When 27I awake, I am still with You.
19 O that You would 28slay the wicked, O God; 29Depart from me, therefore, 30men of bloodshed.
20 For they 31speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies 32take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not 33hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not 34loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.
23 35Search me, O God, and know my heart; 36Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any 37hurtful way in me, And 38lead me in the 39everlasting 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 39

  • 1. Psalms 17:3; Psalms 44:21; Jeremiah 12:3
  • 2. 2 Kings 19:27
  • 3. Psalms 94:11; Isaiah 66:18; Matthew 9:4
  • 4. Job 14:16; Job 31:4
  • 5. Hebrews 4:13
  • 6. Psalms 34:7; Psalms 125:2
  • 7. Job 9:33
  • 8. Romans 11:33
  • 9. Job 42:3
  • 10. Jeremiah 23:24
  • 11. Amos 9:2-4
  • 12. Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11
  • 13. Psalms 23:2, 3
  • 14. Job 22:13
  • 15. Job 34:22; Daniel 2:22
  • 16. 1 John 1:5
  • 17. Psalms 119:73; Isaiah 44:24
  • 18. Job 10:11
  • 19. Psalms 40:5
  • 20. Job 10:8-10; Ecclesiastes 11:5
  • 21. Psalms 63:9
  • 22. Job 10:8-10; Ecclesiastes 11:5
  • 23. Psalms 56:8
  • 24. Job 14:5
  • 25. Psalms 40:5; Psalms 92:5
  • 26. Psalms 40:5
  • 27. Psalms 3:5
  • 28. Isaiah 11:4
  • 29. Psalms 6:8; Psalms 119:115
  • 30. Psalms 5:6; Psalms 26:9
  • 31. Jude 15
  • 32. Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11
  • 33. 2 Chronicles 19:2; Psalms 26:5; Psalms 31:6
  • 34. Psalms 119:158
  • 35. Job 31:6; Psalms 26:2
  • 36. Psalms 7:9; Proverbs 17:3; Jeremiah 11:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:4
  • 37. Psalms 146:9; Proverbs 15:9; Proverbs 28:10; Jeremiah 25:5; Jeremiah 36:3
  • 38. Psalms 5:8; Psalms 143:10
  • 39. Psalms 16:11

Footnotes 14

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. This psalm was written by David, when he lay under the reproach and calumnies of men, who laid false things to his charge; things he was not conscious of either in the time of Saul's persecution of him, or when his son Absalom rebelled against him: and herein he appeals to the heart searching and rein trying God for his innocence; and, when settled on his throne, delivered it to the master of music, to make use of it on proper occasions. According to the Syriac title of the psalm, the occasion of it was Shimei, the son of Gera, reproaching and cursing him as a bloody man, 2 Samuel 16:5. Theodoret takes it to be a prophecy of Josiah, and supposes that he is represented as speaking throughout the psalm. Aben Ezra observes, that this is the most glorious and excellent psalm in all the book: a very excellent one it is: but whether the most excellent, it is hard to say. It treats of some of the most glorious of the divine perfections; omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Arama says, the argument of it is God's particular knowledge of men, and his providence over their affairs.

Psalms 139 Commentaries

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