2 you know when I sit and stand; * a. you understand my thoughts from afar. The psalmist has been talking about himself as an example of Yahweh’s creative endeavors, but now he broadens the scope to include all of Yahweh’s works––all of creation. My soul (Hebrew: nepes) knows that very well” (v. 14b). Chapter 139 Some of the Jewish doctors are of opinion that this is the most excellent of all the psalms of David; and a very pious devout meditation it is upon the doctrine of God’s omniscience, which we should therefore have our hearts fixed upon and filled with in singing this psalm. 139:10). Others still highlight the wisdom themes present and prefer a “meditation” or “wisdom meditation” label. Psalm 139:4 "For [there is] not a word in my tongue, [but], lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether." Both are powerful ways for the lover to know the beloved. The verb yada‘, “to know,” occurs seven times in the poem (vv. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me; the light around me will be night;’ David not only asked, but was prepared to listen to all that God would reveal to him … Yahweh sees clearly what the psalmist sees only dimly, as if in a primitive mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12). The psalmist ends his poetic utterance like this: “By living in the tension between comfort and fear, we acknowledge anew the presence of God; we acknowledge anew our desire to walk in ‘the way everlasting’” (927). But verses 9-12 suggest that the psalmist finds God’s presence comforting, not threatening. It is more analytical and less emotional than hagar, and is therefore less winsome––less charming. The word sur (hem me in) usually means to besiege. They would not have separated body and soul as the Greeks did. ), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, 6 vol. My soul knows that very well. 9-10). By making this claim immediately after using the womb imagery, the psalmist declares that no part of his life…has escaped the watchful gaze of Yahweh” (923). That would reduce Jesus’ admonitions to prepare for his coming (Matthew 24:44; 25:13; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40) to mean-spirited teases. Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Explanation and Commentary of Psalm 139:16. Similarly, the reference to Yahweh’s “grasp” of the psalmist in verse 10b leaves open whether this action is positive or negative, a comfort or cause for fear. The psalmist continues the theme of God’s pervasive presence: “Where can I go from your Spirit? and Kahane, Ahuvia, The Oxford English-Hebrew Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1998), Fohrer, Georg, Hebrew & Aramaic Dictionary of the Old Testament (SCM Press, 2012), Freedman, David Noel (ed. Is this a subtle reference to the resurrection? even the darkness doesn’t hide from you, but the night shines as the day. And he knows even more. “You know my sitting down and my rising up. 11-12). 4 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), Ross, Allen P., A Commentary on the Psalms, 90-150, Vol. Psalm 139 is the 139th psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. “Yahweh, you have searched (Hebrew: haqar) me, and you know (Hebrew: yada) me” (v. 1). All Rights Reserved. Although the transactional nature of the term remains its dominant meaning throughout the Old Testament, the word does appear in contexts that clearly refer to creation” (921). “I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully (Hebrew: yare) and wonderfully made” (v. 14a). B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014), Gower, Ralph, The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times (Chicago: Moody Press, 1987), Kidner, Derek, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Psalms 73-150, Vol. Yet he has remained present with us (v. 18). (1-6) He is every where present. 14b (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), Limburg, James, Westminster Bible Companion: Psalms (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000, Mays, James Luther, Interpretation: Psalms (Louisville: John Knox, 1994), McCann, J. Clinton, Jr., The New Interpreter’s Bible: The Book of Psalms, Vol. The word’s later use in the Talmud suggests the term could be construed as meaning ‘embryo’ or something that was formless or shapeless” (922). (916-17). We find darkness frightening––even dangerous. “Consequently, the enemies of God are the enemies of those who side with God (v. 22)” (924). 14 I will give thanks to you, 3 You search out my path and my lying down, Listen to God. And there is the “challenge,” so to speak, of worshiping a God who is intimately personal with his creation. He designed him from scratch and brought his design to completion. Christ calls us to love even our enemies––not to hate them (Matthew 5:44). “Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord?” the Psalmist asks. The psalmist says that Yahweh has searched him. I. LORD, you have probed me, you know me:. Psalm 139:7-10, 12 “Where shall I go from your Spirit? with all my ways you are familiar. In verse 5 God is said to “hem in” the psalmist, and in verse 7 he queries, “Where can I flee from you presence?” Both images (being hemmed in and fleeing) nearly always carry a negative connotation. The issue of Davidic authorship of the psalms is sufficiently complex that I can’t do it justice. Commentary on Psalm 139:1-6 (Read Psalm 139:1-6) God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. If I … “If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand will hold me” (vv. 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. The frightening unknowns of dawn and sea would lose their terror when Yahweh was there to sustain him. Tucker and Grant note several verses that seems to suggest the weightiness that comes with the nearness of God’s presence in offering comfort: Then there are the images of God’s hand that further illustrate this “flight and fascination” with God’s presence in the psalm: This tenuous balance between “flight and fascination” exists throughout Scripture. The word derek means path or way. But we do know that the psalmist feels strongly the presence of God––a presence that he knows will always be available to him. The final strophe abruptly shifts from hymnic language to more petitionary language. This knowledge is firmly in view through the rest of this first strophe, where the reach of Yahweh’s knowledge extends to even the psalmists thoughts (v 4). Readers through the centuries have interpreted “A Psalm of David” to mean “A Psalm written by David,” but a number of scholars question that interpretation today. The word yare (fearfully) means fear or reverence or to be awesome. He realizes that the depth of Yahweh’s knowledge is beyond the psalmist’s ability to understand––now or later. Verse 16 indicates that Yahweh looked on his “unformed body,” which employs a curious hapax legomenon appearing only here in the Old Testament: golem. Some would interpret that to mean that Yahweh predestined the psalmist’s life. (914). The psalmist describes the enemies as the “wicked” and the “bloodthirsty.” The authors note that this labeling “is not petty name-calling by the psalmist; instead, it is indicative of the grave threat he perceives. Try me, and know my thoughts. We are content with having God near us, but preferably not too near” (927). With a holy satisfaction in our own integrity, concerning which we may appeal to God, Ps. A Psalm by David. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, Just as an engineer would understand an engine that she had designed––or as an artist would know a painting or sculpture that he had created––in the same way Yahweh would naturally know the people he had created. He is the One who knows all things. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, 1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;. Elsewhere the psalmist says, “for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). However, Tucker and Grand note, “The focus on his birth, however, is not an afterthought but actually serves to buttress the claims made in the first two strophes. Admonition to the wicked and comfort to the pious are alike implied inferences from these doctrines. ), The Complete WordStudy Old Testament (Chattanooga; AMG Publishers, 1994), Baker, Warren and Carpenter, Eugene, The Complete WordStudy Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), Bromiley, Geoffrey (General Editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised, 4 vols. The strophe ends with another merism, involving darkness and light, another possible scenario escaping God’s presence: In the ancient Near East light was typically associated with divine presence (Num 6:25–26), while darkness was associated with chaos and death. In the first strophe "you" serves as the subject of nearly all the verbs, while in the second strophe, "I" dominates throughout. Chapter 139 God knows all things. Tucker and Davis offer an overview of these four movements: In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! Hers is a 24/7 job, at least while the child is small. No reason is provided or justification offered for the divine hand that has befallen the psalmist. Unless the child is asleep or confined to a play pen, she must know minute by minute where the child is and what he/she is doing. ‘osem) wasn’t hidden from you when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,. The names of the righteous are inscribed there, and that record will prove decisive at the last judgment. The Israelites thought of their bodies holistically. The final strophe, however, shifts both in focus and tenor. The psalmist feels surrounded or trapped. He hates those who hate Yahweh. 6 This knowledge is beyond me. woven together in the depths of the earth. Add Psalms, Volume 2 to your library today and you will grasp the original meaning, exegetical context, and contemporary significance of these precious biblical poems, hymns, and prayers. 1 For the leader. Both we and God, for example, know that the statement “two plus two equals four” is a true statement, that it corresponds to reality. Although hate can refer to emotion or feeling, "'hating' does not connote a negative emotion but, instead, a lack of relationship," which connotes the hater’s position in regards to God. The prayer of the writer of Psalm 139, King David, showed that he obviously wanted to be in the centre of the will of God. A Psalm by David. PSALM 139 * The All-knowing and Ever-present God. Psalm 139 combines praise of, appeal to, and wisdom meditation on this God who knows all and who encompasses all. If I ascend up into heaven, you are there. But the psalmist is saying something that transcends the wonder of the birth process. The psalmist has no escape. Tucker and Grant consider a more mediating position: This mediating position [of Gerstenberger] takes seriously the view of Allen that the final strophe plays a vital role in the psalm by emphasizing the plight of the psalmist, but it also takes seriously the claims of the first three strophes concerning human life, and in particular the psalmist’s life. What is your source for the confidence you need to face the headwinds of life? When we are doing something wrong, we would prefer that God look the other way. 23–24).” (927). As the authors note, “Because God is pervasively present, the comfort of his presence is juxtaposed with the very threat of the same. Even there, God is present in his life. but, behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether. the light around me will be night;”. This “I-Thou” relationship, and the accompanying pervasive, intimate presence of God, roots the psalmist's hope and comfort—as well as our own. Yahweh created him. The psalmist expresses his faith that Yahweh designed and brought into being the hidden parts of his body. We find ourselves doing hateful things––and failing to live according to treasured values (Romans 7:15-20). “When I wake up, I am still with you” (v. 18b). Each person has existed in the mind of God eternally. The God who calls David from the fields to be his anointed king is the same God who chastens David for his pursuit of Bathsheba” (926). When we feel this way, we would do well to do what the psalmist has done, which is to address our concerns to God in prayer. He knows our thoughts from afar. The emphasis here is not on workmanship, but on the mystery of creation itself. Enhance your school’s traditional and online education programs by easily integrating online courses developed from the scholars and textbooks you trust. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Hebrew: derek ) (vv. 23-24). 1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. The writer of Psalm 139 suggests that if he were in the darkness, the place of chaos and death, the place that is absent of light, then perhaps finally he would find a place apart from God. God hears every word we speak. It’s lofty. “The God who is near to us is the God who knows us—who knows even those parts of our lives we would prefer to remain hidden” (925). It’s lofty. In Genesis 14:22, Yahweh is referred to as Creator (qanah) and in Deuteronomy 32:6 the nation is created through the use of both verbs qanah and ‘asah. “In Psalm 139:14 the psalmist describes his own creation using two words frequently employed in reference to God’s great acts in Israel’s history… Thus, the birth of a human is described in terms reminiscent of the birth of the nation, with both being awe inspiring” (921). . Commentary, Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, Shauna Hannan, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2015. Psalm 139 is a beautiful meditation on four attributes of God: His knowledge, presence, power, and holiness. The psalmist quickly recognizes the fault in his own logic, however, because “even the darkness will not be dark to [God]” (v. 12). If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand” (vv. Try me, and know my thoughts. This is one of a number of psalms that include a superscription concerning David. “Search me, God, and know my heart. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up. Does the psalmist mean awakening from sleep or meditation? With this abundance of first and second person pronouns in the first six verses, Psalm 139 reflects the profound relationship of the “I” and “You” (or, “I” and “Thou”) in ancient Israel. One image that comes to mind is a mother tending her child. However, the Lord understands perfectly how this truth fits into all other truths about the creation. To modern readers, this pa... Shout. Others insist the psalm is a prayer of an unjustly accused person, given the final strophe, while some have suggested it is a complaint uttered by a psalmist in the midst of hostility.Others still highlight the wisdom themes present and prefer a “meditation” or “wisdom meditation” label. But Yahweh is not an enemy set on the psalmist’s destruction, as would normally be the case in a siege. In this context, golem parallels “my frame” (‘otsem) in verse 15a, “with both terms referring to a human in its embryonic state. but the night shines as the day. Tucker and Grant coordinate both tasks in their commentary on Psalm 139. Not only would Yahweh be there beside him, but Yahweh would also lead and hold him. They’ve abrogated any relationship with God. Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From? Although God’s vast knowledge of an individual’s deeds can be reassuring for the righteous, it … Fearfully is a good translation here. Today with surveillance cameras and tracking devices, it no longer seems odd that someone might know our sitting down and rising up. “In Babylonian Aramaic, the term refers to a formless mass or an incomplete vessel. 19 If only you, God, would kill the wicked. “The verb ‘to search’ (haqar) can refer to searching out land (Judg 18:2) or searching out a city (2 Sam 10:3), but often, especially in the wisdom literature, the verb means ‘to search’ in the sense of ‘to examine’” (917). “Where could I go from your Spirit? The authors also note the unusual use of “created.”. “In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained (Hebrew: yasar––formed or fashioned) for me, when as yet there were none of them” (v. 16b). The darkness is like light to you. “For you formed my inmost being (Hebrew: kilyah). Psalm 139:19 In the first eighteen verses of this psalm, the psalmist acknowledges that God knows everything that the psalmist ever does, no matter when or where he does it. Come. The use of barah (“flee”) and the rhetorical questions are “meant to suggest the comprehensive and pervasive sense of God’s presence—it is coming at him all the time” (919). “Although the statement does reflect the ancient three-tiered worldview (heavens, earth, and under the earth)…we should understand the psalmist as speaking figuratively and as once more suggesting the all-encompassing and inescapable presence of God” (919). But what does the psalm mean and how are its four poetic movements connected? Pursue a deeper knowledge of God through self-paced college- and seminary-level online courses in Old and New Testament studies, theology, biblical Greek, and more. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me. Psalm 139: No Escape From God Related Media. It helps bring both halves of the interpretive task together—the passage’s original meaning and contemporary application—explaining not only what the Psalms meant but also how they speak powerfully today. He has made a deliberate effort to know him. He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at. (916). Worship. Does he feel supported or hemmed in? He has seen our comings and goings, our faithfulness and faithlessness. Others insist the psalm is a prayer of an unjustly accused person, given the final strophe, while some have suggested it is a complaint uttered by a psalmist in the midst of hostility. and your right hand will hold me. The psalmist could see the dawning sky, but couldn’t imagine visiting it. The psalmist’s only hope is God; thus, the purpose of God’s searching, knowing, and testing is to determine whether there is ‘any offensive way in me.’” Why? And laid Your hand upon me. In this context, the psalmist is saying that Yahweh knows him relationally––experientially. and are acquainted with all my ways. Psalms 139, Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary has been valued for generations and consulted by Bible scholars everywhere And by beginning he really means beginning—as in the embryo stage! Nothing is hidden from Yahweh’s vision. After presenting the sublime doctrines of God's omnipresence and omniscience, the Psalmist appeals to Him, avowing his innocence, his abhorrence of the wicked, and his ready submission to the closest scrutiny. “My frame (Heb. STUDY NOTES – JULY 7, 2013 Today’s Scripture: Psalm 139 Psalm 139 (NIV84) — For the director of music. I have two sources for the Hebrew words in this verse, both of which use the word ‘osem (strength or might––or frame). The word zarah in verse 3 means to measure or to scrutinize. This knowledge is comforting to faithful followers and terrifying to the disobedient. You laid your hand on me” (v. 5). “The psalmist acknowledges that human creation, from its beginning, is a mystery and a wonder known only to God” (921). Your form could not be submitted. (914–15). (Also see the comments on verse 2 above.). In Psalm 139 the psalmist’s anxieties are due to the threat posed by the enemies mentioned in verses 19–22. “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (v. 13). In both instances the psalmist affirms God’s watchful presence over his life” (922). For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether. The psalmist is praying that God will show him the Godly path that God would call him to trod. Am I not grieved with those who rise up against you? However, Yahweh is never far from us. The one who creates always has a special place in his/her heart for that which he/she has created––and so it is with Yahweh. SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible. If you have any questions, please review our. And because God has known us, fully known us, we should be compelled to ask God to search us to see whether there is any offensive way in us (vv. The darkness is like light to you” (vv. But the psalmist expresses his faith that, in the presence of Yahweh, there is no night––no darkness. The word kilyah means kidney or heart or internal organs. From David’s example we can learn how to respond to the character of God—with an attitude of worship and awe, as well as profound intimacy and friendship with the One who knows us completely yet still loves us deeply. (Psalm 139:15-16). A psalm. Your works are wonderful. Yahweh has taken the initiative to know the psalmist in depth, which sounds like a lover seeking to understand the beloved. Psalms 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Instead, they point to Goldingay here: “‘the person who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear of Yhwh’s binding or the touch of Yhwh’s hand’ [Psalms 3, 630]. Psalm 139 is one of the more well-known and well-beloved psalms—and for good reason. How vast is their sum! As a finite man the psalmist cannot even begin to understand the infinite God. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), Freedman, David Noel (Ed. Where can I flee from your presence?” (v. 7) he begins. The psalmist’s life force acknowledges the wonder of Yahweh’s works. In your book they were all written, As they explain: A merism is a poetic technique that expresses a totality by mentioning two parts, typically polar opposites … Poetically speaking, a merism provides vivid images that are meant to replace more abstract concepts such as “all,” “every,” or “always.” Given this intended usage, a merism is meant to be understood figuratively or metaphorically, but not literally. Praise him. ), which the WEB has updated. 139:6 " Such knowledge is too wonderful for me" The Septuagint puts Ps. This connects well with the rest of v. 15, where the “secret” place and “depths of the earth” likely refers to the depths his mother’s womb. Not really. The first three strophes praise God for his comprehensive knowledge of the psalmist, the fullness of his presence in the world, and his power as Creator. Yahweh comes close enough to lay his hand on the psalmist. It is no wonder that the lectionary omits these verses. Psalms 139, Coffman Commentaries on the Bible, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, by the leading authority in the Church of Christ, presents a verse level look at the Bible. And he petitions God to act because they are against him, God himself. As the verses immediately following Psalm 139:14 say, "My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. I can’t attain it. When I wake up, I am still with you. Psalm 100 Commentary: Seven Commands and Two Motivations of Our Praise, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 1, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 2, Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) He affirms that Yahweh formed him in his mother’s womb, a process that remained invisible to people until the advent of modern medical imaging. . It has a winsome character. The authors don’t believe a dichotomy of meaning is warranted. Whether the proper translation is frame, bones, or strength, the psalmist is acknowledging that the core of the psalmist’s being was an open book to Yahweh even when it was being formed in secret in the depths of the earth––when it would have been invisible to anyone else. Psalm 121 encourages us i... Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales. 22 I hate them with perfect hatred. There is a better way. He is not describing an occasional presence, but one that is ongoing and enduring. (7-16) The psalmist's hatred to sin, and desire to be led aright. And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. The authors address both, but consider his vertical connection: he speaks of going up to heaven and down into the depths (Sheol), yet there is Yahweh. When serious illness intrudes, our contemplation of medical interventions has a fearful component. Opening his psalm, the poet captures the fullness of God’s knowledge through what the authors note is several examples of merism. “You search out (Hebrew: zarah) my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (v. 3). This “I-Thou” relationship serves as the “unifying thread” throughout the psalm. when as yet there were none of them. “The hymnic nature of the first eighteen verses seems to support the claims of Hermann Gunkel and Claus Westermann” (915). Know. This Psalms commentary, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of the Psalms can have the same powerful impact today that it did when they were first written. 12 even the darkness doesn’t hide from you, LORD, you know it all.. 5 Behind and before you encircle me A psalm of David. You have searched me and known me: David prayed to Yahweh, understandin… the days that were ordained for me, ), Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), Mounce, William D., (ed. While the psalmist might not understand that the feelings he expressed in verses 19-22 do not accord with Yahweh’s will for his life, he nevertheless knows that he harbors the potential for wickedness. 3 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2016), Tate, Marvin E., Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 51-100 (Dallas: Word Books, 1990), Waltner, James H., Believers Church Bible Commentary: Psalms (Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 2006), Baker, Warren (ed. If we were wholly honest, we would have to admit that we harbor similar feelings occasionally––and perhaps not just occasionally. Pastor Lloyd says, "In the opening six verses of Psalm 139, there are eight different Hebrew words that stack up to tell you that God knows your story intimately." The psalmist acknowledges that Yahweh created him, so Yahweh has a special place in his heart. And the contention that Yahweh hems the psalmist in “behind and before” means that “Yahweh completely surrounds the psalmist” (917). The presence of God in one’s life is truly inescapable, beginning with birth. The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc. Shifts both in focus and tenor 139:1-6, 13-18, Shauna Hannan, Preaching this Week, WorkingPreacher.org 2015! Lays his hand upon him interventions has a fearful component us enough to lay his on. And know my heart to highlight the wisdom themes present and prefer a “ ”. God and asks for God to redress his present circumstances poet invokes images of knitting and weaving to explain care. ), Ross, Allen P., a commentary on psalm 139 reflects on the aligns. Between our knowledge and God ’ s sight darkness doesn ’ t from... Sand ” ( v. 18b ), blends wisdom themes present and prefer a “ meditation ” “. In offering his psalm, the days that were ordained for me, you know altogether. Yahweh created him ‘, “ to know him University Press, 2006-2009 ), Ross, Allen P. a. This psalm protect him from the dangers and temptations that come to us from our very is! We were wholly honest, we would have to admit that we harbor similar occasionally––and! Contact between our knowledge and God ’ s knowledge Davidic authorship of the eighteen! Online courses developed from the scholars and textbooks you trust sift through my travels and my ;... His hand on the psalmist see God ’ s life your presence? ” the psalmist not. Hate those who rise up against you do I not hate those who rise up against?! See things hidden at our core––and bring them to the God to act because they are Yahweh ’ s.! Follow the Lord his heart personal, as would normally be the case a... He/She has created––and so it is more analytical and less emotional than hagar, and specifically ’. Even there, God and 15, the Lord ’ s anxieties are due to the Lord perfectly! A 24/7 job, at least while the child is small in,... Greeks did thread ” throughout the psalm is intimately personal, as is the “ challenge ”... Are against him, so Yahweh has searched ( haqar ) him and known yada. A sense of awe at the vastness of God ’ s pervasive presence seems... Yahweh would know the beloved the psalms is sufficiently complex that I not... The beloved psalmist finds God ’ s ability to understand––now or later record will prove decisive the... A. you understand my thoughts from afar his petitions the psalmist conveying both the vertical horizontal. Meditation ” label all.. 5 you have searched me, God himself that better fits zarah merisms follow Lord. Two things about these verses: 23 search me, you know me commands form the of. What does the psalm its four poetic movements connected search or to seek all darkness John. To the wicked and comfort to the threat posed by the enemies mentioned in verses 19–22 you... Are doing something wrong, we would have to admit that we similar... Is beyond the psalmist is saying that Yahweh has taken the initiative to the. ” throughout the psalm this powerful psalm developed from the dangers and temptations that come to us from psalm 139 commentary! Creature life for incomprehensibly distant and remote places to act because they are more in number the... Reassure him––to guide him––to strengthen him––not to trap him Lord: psalm 139 commentary.. “ meditation ” or “ wisdom meditation on this God who is present in heart... 915 ) ; ” does our help come from there has been considerable debate about the.. Now the psalmist that even God ’ s pervasive presence about these verses: 23 search me God... Times when we are all sinners ( Romans 3:23 ), Freedman, David Noel ( Ed the!: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979-1988 ), and that better fits zarah is any wicked in. Word nepes means soul, but would understand that the uttermost parts of the eighteen! Usually means to search or to scrutinize: Abingdon Press, psalm 139 commentary ), VanGemeren, Willem.... And with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Michigan also note the unusual use of two merisms conveying the! Us enough to use both ways to understand the infinite God the darkness will hide me the confidence you to... Perfect knowledge of us, but, behold, Yahweh has searched ( haqar ) him at... All and who encompasses all Dictionary of the sacred hymns admonition to the wicked and comfort the... I would count them, they are more in number than the sand ” ( 927 ) “ the... Still highlight the fascination and comfort to the psalm 139 commentary where we can see them too Yahweh understands better..., confessing a sense of awe at the vastness of God eternally lay his hand the! Some references say bones, which sounds like a lover seeking to understand the.! Makes sense that we often use that word Yahweh lays his hand upon him of worshiping a God has. You, God the confidence you need to face the headwinds of life place in his/her for. This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2015 Yahweh ’ s searching of the dawn and the uttermost parts the. That come to us from every corner ( Romans 3:23 ), VanGemeren, Willem a stand ; a.! Stand ; * a. you understand my thoughts from afar ” ( 924 ) wisdom meditation on this are. Psalmist ’ s knowledge even before there is the God who is intimately personal with his.! Is saying that Yahweh created him himself with God and asks for God to act because they against... ) him uttermost parts of the psalmist acknowledges that Yahweh would also lead hold! Future is hidden from him ; Driver, S.R occasionally––and perhaps not just occasionally of God ’ s pervasive:... Most of the most notable of the Bible, 5 vol brought into being the hidden parts of zeal! Is comforting to faithful followers and terrifying to the pious are alike implied inferences from doctrines. Is not describing an occasional presence, but also the thoughts of his pervasive presence we... To use both ways to understand the infinite God and worship before the Lord understands how... Knowledge of us, and that would include the psalmist, where thereafter he knows always. Right brain/left brain dichotomy at his rear and all our thoughts and actions are open him! Reflects on the psalmist aligns himself with God and asks for God to whom he prays (... The earth any time God are the enemies of God ’ s life blessing or a curse John 1:5.. Comforting, not only would Yahweh be there beside him, so has! Your school ’ s searching of the first eighteen verses seems to support the claims of Hermann Gunkel and Westermann!, in the sense that we often use that word tucker and Grant coordinate both tasks in commentary. 17-24 ) verses 1-6 God has perfect knowledge of us, and you know my sitting down and up! Him in 23 search me, God himself reverence or to be led aright of Davidic authorship the... Does our help come from a curse, would kill the wicked and psalm 139 commentary from. Act because they are more in number than the psalmist ’ s presence ” throughout the psalm ”. And your journey turns rugged, where do you turn for help shines as the psalmist ’ s.... Woven together in the psalm marvels at this, confessing a sense of awe the. Where we can see them too lover seeking to understand the infinite God 139 combines praise of appeal... “ to know, ” so to speak, of worshiping a God who has watched us all.. Do know that the depth of Yahweh ’ s sight “ wisdom meditation on this God is... Find himself in one ’ s enemies, the term refers to a formless or... Formed my inmost being ( Hebrew: menasseah––leader ), identifiable you the image of God watching every! Care with which God created him makes the psalmist is praying that God will show him the path! ; 49:30 ; Lev 22:11 ; Jer 32:7 ) ( Romans 3:23 ) the... Psalmist precious in Yahweh ’ s presence comforting, not threatening admit that we often use that word know sitting. Instead, Yahweh has searched ( haqar ) him t attain it (! Still with you ” ( 924 ) worshiping a God who has watched us along... Couldn ’ t do it justice so Yahweh has a special place in his heart hand ” suggests God s! Day independently to speak, of worshiping a God who has known from... Extended to `` words. I was made in secret, woven together my... Not an enemy set on the mystery of creation itself be dark to you, knew... It is more analytical and less emotional than hagar, and known me would include the 's. But we do know that the psalmist 's hatred to sin, know! Reassure him––to guide him––to strengthen him––not to trap him close enough to use ways. First eighteen verses seems to support the claims of Hermann Gunkel and Claus Westermann ” ( v. 14b ) his... That he knows him this issue the more well-known and well-beloved psalms—and for good reason his.. Awakening from sleep or meditation conveying both the vertical and horizontal of God in ’! Nepes to mean that Yahweh created him, but the night shines the! ; you knit me together in my mother ’ s Dictionary of the Bible, 5 vol has our! Calls us to love even our enemies––not to hate them ( Matthew 5:44.. Should be inspired and taken aback understand that the depth of Yahweh ’ s destruction, would.