What does Psalm 139:11 mean?
ESV: If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
NIV: If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,'
NASB: If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,'
CSB: If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night" --
NLT: I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night —
KJV: If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
NKJV: If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;
Verse Commentary:
David understood that the Lord was watching over him. Even the darkness could not conceal him from God's watchful eye.

"Darkness" is often associated with death. Psalm 88:3–5 refers to death as Sheol, the pit, and the grave. The psalmist of that passage, Heman the Ezrahite, writes in verse 6, "You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep." Perhaps what Heman referred to in Psalm 88 is trouble that seems like a death sentence.

As Psalm 121:3–4 points out, God guards His people and will not doze off or fall into a deep sleep. He is always alert to what is happening in the lives of His people. Jesus said our heavenly Father sees even a sparrow's fall to the ground and knows how many hairs are on our head, therefore we have nothing to fear (Matthew 10:28–31).
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.
Accessed 5/20/2024 12:03:54 PM
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