What does Psalm 139:8 mean?
ESV: If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
NIV: If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
NASB: If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
CSB: If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
NLT: If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
KJV: If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
NKJV: If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Verse Commentary:
This psalm poetically explains God's immense power and knowledge. In this case, David focuses on God's omnipresence: one would find God present in heaven and even in Sheol, the realm of the dead.

For believers, the greatest prospect of heaven is entering the presence of the Lord. Paul was unafraid of death. He viewed it as an escort into the presence of Christ. He wrote: "If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better" (Philippians 1:22–23). Proverbs 15:11 states that Sheol is open before the Lord. While death holds no dread for the righteous, the thought of the presence of the Lord in Sheol should grip the wicked with fear.

Amos 9 describes the Lord's judgment on the idol-worshipping wicked. In verse 2 Amos quotes God as saying, "If they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; if they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down" (Amos 9:2).
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 5/27/2024 11:45:07 AM
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