What does Psalm 139:22 mean?
ESV: I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
NIV: I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
NASB: I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.
CSB: I hate them with extreme hatred; I consider them my enemies.
NLT: Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies.
KJV: I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
NKJV: I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.
Verse Commentary:
Speaking of those who despised God and took His name in vain, David said his hatred of them was complete. In this specific instance, that includes both the biblical form of "hate" that contrasts with "preference," as well as a feeling of sickness and disgust at their sin. David viewed God's enemies as his enemies. This did not stop David from understanding that he, himself, was vulnerable to sin like anyone else (Psalm 139:23–24).

Although we ought to love sinners, we must not become numb to their sin. We must not think that God's love is so encompassing that He excuses sin and haphazardly embraces everyone as His child. God is just and must punish sin. Paul reminds us in Romans 5:8 that before we trusted in Christ as our Savior, we were God's enemies (Romans 5:10). In his letter to the Ephesians, he said we once walked in the ways of the world and followed the Devil (Ephesians 2:1–2). At that time, we were "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3). Only by accepting Christ, by grace, through faith, can we change that destiny (John 1:12; 14:6; Acts 4:12).

The apostle James asks, "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4). It is better to be the world's enemy, yet God's friend, than to be the world's friend and God's enemy!
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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