What does Psalm 139:19 mean?
ESV: Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
NIV: If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
NASB: If only You would put the wicked to death, God; Leave me, you men of bloodshed.
CSB: God, if only you would kill the wicked -- you bloodthirsty men, stay away from me --
NLT: O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers!
KJV: Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
NKJV: Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
Verse Commentary:
Scripture does not shy away from the cries of human hearts, even when those desires seem dark or troubled. Here, David longs for God to kill the wicked. He knows that in His justice God will dispense judgment on those who violate His laws. David describes the wicked as "men of blood," and he wanted nothing to do with them. It's noteworthy that David does not declare his intent to kill evil people on God's behalf, or ask God to appoint him to that task. He states his desire, but leaves the matter in God's hands.

Job, too, wanted God to slay the wicked. He wondered why they lived long and prospered (Job 21:7, 13), and prayed, "Let their own eyes see their destruction, and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty" (Job 21:20). Like Job, we may wonder why God doesn't punish the wicked immediately. One reason is that God hates sin but patiently waits for sinners to repent (2 Peter 3:9). He will execute justice in due time, but until then He extends His invitation to accept His mercy and pardon (Isaiah 55:6–7).

The apostle Paul was once a blasphemer and a murderer, but God's love, mercy, and grace reached him and turned Christianity's chief antagonist into its chief advocate (Galatians 1:13–16; 1 Timothy 1:12–16).
Verse Context:
Psalm 139:17–24 emphasizes God's justice. Prior sections of this psalm bore witness to God's omniscience (Psalm 139:1–6), His omnipresence (Psalm 139:7–12), and His omnipotence (Psalm 139:13–16). David rejoices in God's thoughts and nearness, but despises the wicked around him. He longs for God to slay them. He sees God's enemies as his own enemies, but is acutely aware of the possibility that sin dwells in him. Therefore, he asks God to search him and lead him in the way everlasting.
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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