The Psalms

Psalm 139

David praises God for his all-seeing providence, 1-16; and for his infinite mercies, 17, 18. He defies the wicked, 19-22. He prays for sincerity, 23, 24.

1 [To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.]

O LORD, you have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up./
You understand my thought afar off.

You compass my path and my lying down/
and are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue,/
but behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

You have beset me behind and before/
and laid your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me./
It is high. I cannot attain to it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?/
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, you are there./
If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning/
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 Even there your hand shall lead me/
and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,/
even the night shall be light around me,"

12 Even the darkness does not hide from you,/
but the night shines as the day./
The darkness and the light are both alike to you.

13 For you have possessed my inmost being./
You have covered me in my mother's womb.

14 I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made./
Your works are wonderful,/
and that my soul knows well.

15 My substance was not hid from you/
when I was made in secret/
and skillfully formed in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my substance, yet being imperfect./
And in your book all my members were written,/
which in continuance were fashioned,/
when as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious your thoughts are to me, O God!/
How great the sum of them is!

18 If I should count them,/
they are more in number than the sand./
When I awake, I am still with you.

19 Surely you will slay the wicked, O God./
Depart from me therefore, you bloody men.

20 For they speak against you wickedly,/
and your enemies take your name in vain.

21 Do I, O LORD, not hate those who hate you?/
And am I not grieved with those who rise up against you?

22 I hate them with perfect hatred./
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart./
Try me and know my thoughts.

24 See if there is any wicked way in me/
and lead me in the everlasting way.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 139[➚]


John Calvin's Chapter Summary:

In this Psalm David, that he may dismiss the deceptive coverings under which most men take refuge, and divest himself of hypocrisy, insists at large upon the truth that nothing can elude the divine observation— a truth which he illustrates from the original formation of man, since he who fashioned us in our mother's womb, and imparted to every member its particular office and function, cannot possibly be ignorant of our actions. Quickened by this meditation to a due reverential fear of God, he declares himself to have no sympathy with the ungodly and profane, and beseeches God, in the confidence of conscious integrity, not to forsake him in this life.