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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 139

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-24

Psalms 139:0

Structure Psalms 139:0 can be divided into four stanzas of six verses each. Three of these stanzas declare a different aspect of God's character. The last stanza is the psalmist's humbling response to God's unspeakable character.

1. First stanza (Psalms 139:1-6) - God's omniscience. He knows all things.

Psalms 139:2 a - God knows what I do.

Psalms 139:2 b - God knows what I think.

Psalms 139:3 a - God knows where I go.

Psalms 139:4 - God knows what I say.

2. Second stanza (Psalms 139:7-12) - God's omnipresence. He dwells everywhere.

3. Third stanza (Psalms 139:13-18) - God's omnipotence. He is all-powerful.

4. Fourth Stanza (Psalms 139:19-24) - Overwhelmed by this revelation of God, the psalmist cries out for divine justice upon the wicked (19-22) and for pureness of heart (23-24).

Psalms 139:1 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Psalms 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Psalms 139:2 “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising” - Comments - God knows everything that we do from the end of the day to the beginning of a new day. He knows what we dream in our sleep.

Psalms 139:2 “thou understandest my thought afar off” - Comments - God knows all of our thoughts.

Psalms 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Psalms 139:3 “Thou compassest my path and my lying down” - Comments - God knows where we go.

Psalms 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Psalms 139:4 Comments - God knows every word that we say.

Psalms 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Psalms 139:5 Comments - God is always with us.

Psalms 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Psalms 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

Psalms 139:7 Comments - When someone is in God's presence, it can be overwhelming for the flesh. The flesh wants to flee. Adam and Eve tried to flee from the presence of God when they had sinned. As a result of partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man became self-centered and insecure in the presence of the Lord. These feelings make the knowledge and presence of God appear fearful, when in fact, they are the source of peace and security. [125]

[125] Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1999), 129-30.

Genesis 3:8, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

Cain was also driven from the presence of the Lord because of his sin.

Genesis 4:16, “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”

Jonah found that he could not flee from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah 1:3, “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD , and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

Jonah 1:10, “Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them .”

God does not allow uncleanness in His presence.

Leviticus 22:3, “Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence : I am the LORD.”

There is judgment in the presence of the Lord. This is why it is so unbearable for flesh to dwell in God's presence.

1 Chronicles 16:33, “Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth.”

Isaiah 19:1, “The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”

Jeremiah 4:26, “I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.”

Jeremiah 5:22, “Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?”

Scripture References - Note other verses about God's presence on earth:

Psalms 97:5, “The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.”

Psalms 100:2, “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”

Psalms 114:7, “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;”

Psalms 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

Psalms 139:8 Comments - Psalms 139:8 refers to the presence of the Lord from heights to the depths, from heaven to hell.

Psalms 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Psalms 139:9 Comments - Psalms 139:9 refers to the presence of the Lord from the east to the west. The “wings of the morning” would be figurative of the east. John Gill says the wings are the sun rays of the morning light race across the sky. [126] The “uttermost parts” would be figurative of the west, since the Mediterranean Sea is to the west of Palestine.

[126] John Gill, Psalms, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Psalms 136:9.

Psalms 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Psalms 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Psalms 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalms 139:12 Comments - God sees mankind as clearly in the night as in the day.

Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

Psalms 139:13 Word Study on “covered” Strong says the Hebrew word “cover” ( סָכַך ) or ( שָׂכַךְ ) (H5526) is a primitive root word meaning, “to entwined as a screen.” It implies the idea of “to fence in,” or “to cover over,” and figuratively, it means, “to protect.” Strong notes that the other uses of this Hebrew word in the Old Testament translated in the KJV are, “cover, defense, defend, hedge in, join together, set, and shut up.”

Comments - Carl Baugh likens the root meaning of “entwine” to describe the fact that DNA is “woven” in the mother's womb during the fertilization of the egg with the sperm and as a part of the development of the fetus, thus creating a living being. [127]

[127] Carl Baugh, Creation in the 21 st Century (Glen Rose, Texas: Creation Evidence Museum) , on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Psalms 139:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalms 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart” - Comments - God will not lie to us:

Numbers 23:19, “ God is not a man, that he should lie ; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

The heart is the most deceitful of all things:

Jeremiah 17:9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 139". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-139.html. 2013.
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