What does Psalm 139:10 mean?
ESV: even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
NIV: even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
NASB: Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will take hold of me.
CSB: even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me.
NLT: even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
KJV: Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
NKJV: Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
Verse Commentary:
The prior verse affirmed God would be present, even in the far reaches of the Mediterranean Sea, to guide and protect (Psalm 139:9). Isaiah 58:11 promises God's people, "The LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."

God is with believers today, as well. He offers to guide us and take care of us. Jesus identified Himself as the Good Shepherd. As such, He differs from false shepherds who neither care for nor protect the sheep (John 10:1, 10, 12–13). By contrast, Jesus the Good Shepherd leads His sheep (John 10:3). He goes before them to show the way and to protect them (John 10:4). Later in John 10 Jesus spoke further of His protection of believers. He said in verse 28: "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).
Verse Context:
Psalm 139:7–12 follows a passage focused on God's omniscience. This section of the psalm describes His omnipresence: His ability to be everywhere at once. David mentions some of the places he might go, only to discover that God is there. The knowledge of God's presence comforted David. He knew God would be with him everywhere he went.
Chapter Summary:
In this psalm David marvels at God's amazing characteristics. God knows everything about him: where he goes, all David's thoughts and everything about his conduct. The Lord knows what David will say even before David says it. There is no place David can go that God isn't already present. David marvels at God's creative work in the womb. He is thankful for God's innumerable thoughts for him and for God's presence day and night. Finally, David's thoughts turn to the wicked. He considers them God's enemies and his, and longs for God to slay them. David is disgusted by evil people because they rail against God and take His name in vain. He asks God to search his heart to see if any sin is there, and he asks God to lead him in the way everlasting.
Chapter Context:
This psalm of David lies in the fifth division of Psalms, Psalms 107—150. It discloses information about God's omniscience: He knows everything. It explains His omnipresence: that He is everywhere. It declares His omnipotence: He formed every part of human beings. It also describes His holiness: He judges the wicked and searches the heart. These attributes reflect common themes across both the Old and New Testaments.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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