Psalm chapter 139

English Standard Version

1To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. 13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. 19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 20They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. 21Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

1Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2You know when I sit down and when I get up; You understand my thought from far away. 3You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, Lord, You know it all. 5You have encircled me behind and in front, And placed Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot comprehend it. 7Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take up the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will take hold of me. 11 If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,' 12Even darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. 13For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You When I was made in secret, And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth; 16Your eyes have seen my formless substance; And in Your book were written All the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 17How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. 19If only You would put the wicked to death, God; Leave me, you men of bloodshed. 20For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. 21Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies. 23Search me, God, and know my heart; Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; 24And see if there is any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Psalm chapter 139 mean?

Psalm 139 begins by expressing the infinite knowledge of God. This attribute is also referred to as omniscience. This extends to everything a person does, thinks, and says, even before those actions occur. As stated elsewhere in the Bible, God's mind is inexpressibly beyond that of any person (Isaiah 55:8–9). This is both a source of comfort for those who honor God and a dire warning to those who defy Him (Psalm 139:1–6).

David then declares God's omnipresence: His existence and influence in all places and at all times. To describe this, David describes various far-off or remote locations. In any of these, no matter what a person does, they cannot escape God. Those who try to run from God, as Jonah did (Jonah 1:1–4), will find it an impossible task. In David's case, this is reassuring knowledge. He is confident that God will be with him, no matter where he goes or where life leads (Psalm 139:7–12).

Next, the psalm celebrates God's incredible power and creativity: His omnipotence. David specifically focuses on the intricate design of the human body. Even before the moment of conception, God is at work in forming a person. In the womb, each person is already an image-bearer of God, and an example of His masterful creative work (Psalm 139:13–16).

Finally, David explores God's justice. While David trusts God and celebrates His blessings, he is also affected by the sins of those who hate God. David sees God's enemies as his enemies. As such, David prays for God to destroy those who are evil. David neither takes this responsibility on himself, nor asks for it. Rather, he pleads with God to deal with the wicked. At the same time, David recognizes that he is vulnerable to sin, and asks God to search his heart and mind, leading him in the right way (Psalm 39:17–24).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: