What does Psalm 139:9 mean?
ESV: If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
NIV: If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
NASB: If I take up the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
CSB: If I fly on the wings of the dawn and settle down on the western horizon,
NLT: If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
KJV: If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
NKJV: If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Verse Commentary:
David continues to assert that he cannot escape God's presence—even if he takes "the wings of the morning." This figure of speech is the ancient equivalent to the modern phrase "the speed of light." The Hebrew word translated "morning" in this verse means "daybreak." At daybreak light moves rapidly across the sky from east to west, but even that cannot outrun God's presence.

David comments further that God's presence would be with him even if he made his abode "in the uttermost parts of the sea." The sea is the Mediterranean Sea, and the uttermost parts of it would be the far western region of the Mediterranean, the area where Jonah mistakenly thought he could escape from God's presence. No matter where we live or move we will never live where God is not present. This should be a comforting realization in our highly mobile civilization. God dwells with His people everywhere.
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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