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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Psalms 139

Introduction

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

Verse 1

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
A. M. 2956. B.C. 1048. (Title.) A Psalm. This Psalm is supposed to have been composed by David when made king of Israel; though some think it was written by him when accused of traitorous designs against Saul. It is a most sublime ode on the wisdom, knowledge, presence, and justice of God: the sentiments are grand, the style highly elevated, and the images various, beautiful, and impressive
thou hast
23; 11:4,5; 17:3; 44:21; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Jeremiah 12:3; 17:9,10; John 21:17; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 2:18,23
Reciprocal: Genesis 3:8 - hid; Genesis 16:13 - Thou; Genesis 18:21 - I will know; Joshua 22:22 - he knoweth; 1 Samuel 20:12 - O Lord; 2 Samuel 7:20 - knowest; 2 Samuel 12:9 - to do evil; 1 Kings 14:5 - the Lord; 2 Kings 6:12 - telleth; 2 Kings 19:27 - 1know; 1 Chronicles 17:18 - thou knowest; 2 Chronicles 32:31 - to try him; Job 10:7 - Thou knowest; Job 10:14 - then; Job 14:16 - thou numberest; Job 22:14 - General; Job 23:10 - he knoweth; Job 31:4 - General; Job 33:27 - I have sinned; Psalm 1:6 - knoweth; Psalm 7:9 - for; Psalm 73:11 - is there; Psalm 73:23 - Nevertheless; Psalm 90:8 - Thou; Psalm 94:9 - hear; Proverbs 5:21 - General; Isaiah 29:15 - seek; Isaiah 48:8 - thine ear; Jeremiah 23:23 - General; Obadiah 1:6 - are the; Matthew 6:4 - seeth; Mark 9:33 - What; Luke 16:15 - God; Luke 19:5 - he looked; John 1:48 - when; John 16:19 - Jesus; Acts 15:8 - which; Acts 17:27 - he be; 1 Corinthians 8:3 - is; 1 Thessalonians 2:4 - but God; 1 John 3:20 - and

Verse 2

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
knowest
56:8; Genesis 16:13; 2 Kings 6:12; 19:27; Proverbs 15:3; Isaiah 37:28; Zechariah 4:10
understandest
94:11; Matthew 9:4; Luke 9:47; John 2:24,25; 1 Corinthians 4:5
afar off
Ezekiel 38:10,11,17
Reciprocal: Exodus 14:3 - Pharaoh; Deuteronomy 31:21 - 1know; 1 Samuel 16:7 - on the heart; 2 Samuel 12:9 - to do evil; 1 Chronicles 28:9 - the Lord; 2 Chronicles 32:31 - to try him; Job 10:7 - Thou knowest; Job 22:14 - General; Job 42:2 - no; Psalm 1:6 - knoweth; Psalm 19:12 - secret; Psalm 31:6 - hated; Psalm 40:9 - thou knowest; Psalm 119:151 - near; Psalm 138:6 - afar off; Psalm 142:3 - then thou; Jeremiah 17:10 - the Lord; Jeremiah 23:25 - heard; Lamentations 3:63 - their sitting; Ezekiel 11:5 - for; Ezekiel 20:32 - that which; Amos 4:13 - and declareth; Matthew 12:25 - Jesus; Mark 2:8 - Why; Luke 5:22 - perceived; Luke 16:15 - God; John 1:48 - when; John 6:64 - For; Acts 15:8 - which; 1 Corinthians 8:3 - is; 2 Corinthians 10:5 - every thought; 1 Thessalonians 2:4 - but God; Hebrews 4:12 - and is

Verse 3

Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
compassest
or, winnowest.
Job 13:26,27; 14:16,17; 31:4; Matthew 3:12
my path
18; 121:3-8; Genesis 28:10-17; 2 Samuel 8:14; 11:2-5,27
and art acquainted
2 Samuel 12:9-12; Proverbs 5:20,21; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Isaiah 29:15; Jeremiah 23:24; John 6:70,71; 13:2,21; Acts 5:3,4
Reciprocal: Genesis 31:12 - I have seen; Psalm 119:168 - for all my; Jeremiah 16:17 - General; Ezekiel 11:5 - for; Daniel 5:23 - and whose

Verse 4

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
there is not
19:14; Job 8:2; 38:2; 42:3,6-8; Zephaniah 1:12; Malachi 3:13-16; Matthew 12:35-37; James 1:26; 3:2-10
thou knowest
50:19-21; Jeremiah 29:23; Hebrews 4:12,13
Reciprocal: Exodus 14:3 - Pharaoh; Job 37:20 - Shall it; Jeremiah 23:25 - heard; Malachi 3:16 - and the; Acts 5:4 - thou hast

Verse 5

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
beset me
Deuteronomy 33:27; Job 23:8,9
and laid
Exodus 24:11; Revelation 1:17

Verse 6

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
knowledge
40:5; 13:1; Job 11:7-9; 26:14; 42:3; Proverbs 30:2-4; Romans 11:33
Reciprocal: Job 11:8 - deeper; Job 37:19 - we; Psalm 71:19 - Thy righteousness; Psalm 119:129 - testimonies; Psalm 131:1 - high for me; Psalm 145:3 - and his greatness is unsearchable; Proverbs 30:18 - too; Ecclesiastes 7:24 - General; Isaiah 40:28 - no searching; Zechariah 4:5 - No; 1 Corinthians 13:9 - General; Ephesians 3:18 - able

Verse 7

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
Jeremiah 23:23,24; Jonah 1:3,10; Acts 5:9
Reciprocal: Exodus 20:18 - they removed; Joshua 10:16 - and hid; 1 Kings 8:27 - the heaven; 2 Chronicles 6:18 - heaven; Jeremiah 43:8 - General; Hosea 7:13 - fled; Amos 9:2 - dig; Matthew 2:19 - an

Verse 8

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
I ascend
Ezekiel 28:12-17; Amos 9:2-4; Obadiah 1:4
in hell
Job 26:6; 34:21,22; Proverbs 15:11; Jonah 2:2
Reciprocal: Exodus 20:18 - they removed; Job 17:13 - I have made; Psalm 16:10 - my; Jeremiah 51:53 - mount; Ezekiel 32:25 - set her

Verse 9

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
If I take
Light has been proved, by many experiments, to travel at the astonishing rate of 194,188 miles in one second of time; and comes from the sun to the earth, a distance of 95,513,794 miles in 8 minutes and nearly 12 seconds! But, could I even fly upon the wings or rays of the morning light, which diffuses itself with such velocity over the globe from east to west, instead of being beyond Thy reach, or by this sudden transition be able to escape Thy notice, Thy arm could still at pleasure prevent or arrest my progress, and I should still be encircled with the immensity of Thy essence. The sentiment in this noble passage is remarkably striking and the description truly sublime.
the wings
18:10; 19:6; Malachi 4:2
dwell
74:16,17; Isaiah 24:14-16
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 22:11 - upon the; Job 11:9 - longer; Job 38:13 - take; Psalm 55:6 - General; Psalm 61:2 - From; Psalm 104:3 - walketh; Amos 9:3 - hid

Verse 10

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
63:8; 73:23; 143:9,10; Isaiah 41:13
Reciprocal: Job 11:9 - longer; Psalm 61:2 - From; Psalm 104:20 - makest; Psalm 119:117 - Hold

Verse 11

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Surely
10:11-13; 94:7; Job 22:12-14; Isaiah 29:15; Jeremiah 23:24
even the night
Job 12:22
Reciprocal: Numbers 32:23 - be sure your sin; 1 Kings 3:20 - midnight; Job 22:14 - General; Job 26:6 - Hell; Job 34:22 - no; Ezekiel 16:36 - and thy; Daniel 2:22 - he knoweth; Hebrews 4:13 - is there

Verse 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.
the darkness
Exodus 14:20; 20:21; Job 26:6; 34:22; Daniel 2:22; Hebrews 4:13
hideth not
Heb. darkeneth not. the darkness, etc. Heb. as is the darkness, so is the light.
Reciprocal: Job 12:22 - discovereth; Job 13:20 - hide myself; Job 22:14 - General; Ezekiel 16:36 - and thy; Matthew 6:4 - seeth

Verse 13

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
For thou
Job 10:9-12
covered me
22:9,10; 71:6; Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:2; 46:3; Jeremiah 1:5
Reciprocal: Job 3:11 - when I came; Psalm 100:3 - it is he; Psalm 139:15 - when I; Isaiah 44:24 - and he; Romans 1:20 - from the; 1 Corinthians 12:17 - General

Verse 14

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
for I am fearfully
Genesis 1:26,27
marvellous
92:4,5; 104:24; 111:2; Job 5:9; Revelation 15:3
right well
Heb. greatly.
Reciprocal: Genesis 2:7 - formed man; Job 10:10 - poured; Job 31:15 - did not one fashion us in the womb; Psalm 98:1 - for he; Psalm 119:73 - Thy hands; Ecclesiastes 11:5 - nor; Mark 7:37 - were; Luke 9:43 - amazed

Verse 15

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
substance
or, strength, or body. when I.
13; Job 10:9-11; Exodus 11:5
in the lowest
63:9; Ephesians 4:9
Reciprocal: Genesis 2:7 - formed man; Psalm 22:9 - that took; Psalm 71:6 - thou art; Ecclesiastes 11:5 - nor; Ephesians 4:16 - fitly; Colossians 2:19 - by

Verse 16

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
in thy book
56:8; Malachi 3:16; Revelation 20:12
all my members
Heb. all of them. which in continuance were fashioned. or, what days they should be fashioned.
Reciprocal: Exodus 32:32 - blot me; Psalm 22:9 - that took; Psalm 71:6 - thou art; Ephesians 4:16 - fitly; Colossians 2:19 - by

Verse 17

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
precious
40:5; Proverbs 8:31; Isaiah 55:8,9; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 3:9,10
how great
31:19; 36:7
Reciprocal: Genesis 24:63 - to meditate; Psalm 63:6 - General; Psalm 68:19 - daily; Psalm 71:15 - I know; Psalm 92:5 - thoughts; Psalm 104:34 - meditation; Psalm 106:2 - utter; Psalm 119:148 - eyes; Psalm 147:5 - his understanding is infinite

Verse 18

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
they are more
40:12
when I awake
3; 3:5; 16:8-11; 17:15; 63:6,7; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:10
Reciprocal: Genesis 24:63 - to meditate; Job 5:9 - without number; Psalm 40:5 - thoughts; Psalm 71:15 - I know; Psalm 73:23 - Nevertheless; Psalm 104:34 - meditation; Psalm 106:2 - utter; Psalm 119:55 - night; Psalm 119:148 - eyes; Psalm 147:5 - his understanding is infinite; Habakkuk 1:9 - they shall gather

Verse 19

Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
Surely
5:6; 9:17; 55:23; 64:7; 94:23; Isaiah 11:4
depart from
6:8; 119:115; Matthew 7:23; 25:41; 2 Corinthians 6:17
Reciprocal: Genesis 4:8 - Cain rose; Genesis 49:6 - come; 2 Chronicles 32:19 - spake; Esther 7:6 - this wicked; Psalm 26:9 - bloody men; Psalm 59:2 - save

Verse 20

For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
for they speak
73:8,9; 74:18,22,23; Job 21:14,15; Isaiah 37:23,28,29; Jude 1:15; Revelation 13:6
thine
2:1-3; Exodus 20:7
Reciprocal: Leviticus 24:16 - blasphemeth; Deuteronomy 5:11 - General; 2 Chronicles 32:19 - spake

Verse 21

Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
Do not I
15:4; 31:6; 2 Chronicles 19:2; Revelation 2:2,6
and am not
119:136,158; Jeremiah 13:17; Mark 3:5; Luke 19:41; Romans 9:1-3
Reciprocal: Leviticus 11:10 - they shall be; Numbers 11:10 - Moses; 1 Kings 11:2 - Solomon; 1 Kings 22:4 - I am as thou; 2 Chronicles 18:3 - I am as thou; Job 10:7 - Thou knowest; Psalm 26:5 - hated; Proverbs 29:27 - General; Ecclesiastes 3:8 - time to love; Amos 5:15 - Hate; Micah 3:2 - love; Matthew 5:43 - and hate; 2 Corinthians 6:14 - for

Verse 22

I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
hate them
101:3-8; Luke 14:26
Reciprocal: Leviticus 11:10 - they shall be; 1 Kings 22:4 - I am as thou; 2 Chronicles 19:2 - Shouldest; Psalm 26:5 - hated; Amos 5:15 - Hate; Micah 3:2 - love; Matthew 5:43 - and hate; 2 Corinthians 6:14 - for; Revelation 2:6 - that

Verse 23

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
Search me
1; 26:2
know
Deuteronomy 8:2,16; Job 31:6; Proverbs 17:3; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:2,3; 1 Peter 1:7
Reciprocal: Exodus 33:5 - 1may; 2 Chronicles 32:31 - to try him; Job 9:21 - yet would; Job 10:2 - show me; Job 13:9 - search; Job 13:23 - make me; Job 34:21 - General; Job 34:32 - which; Psalm 11:5 - trieth; Psalm 19:12 - secret; Psalm 77:6 - and; Proverbs 4:23 - Keep; Proverbs 12:5 - thoughts; Jeremiah 12:3 - knowest; Jeremiah 17:10 - the Lord; Jeremiah 20:12 - that; Lamentations 3:40 - search; Luke 9:47 - perceiving; John 3:21 - he that; 2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine

Verse 24

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
And see
7:3,4; 17:3; Proverbs 28:26; Jeremiah 17:9,10
wicked way
Heb. way of pain, or grief.
Hebrews 12:15,16
and lead
5:8; 25:8,9; 119:1,32; 143:8,10
the way
Matthew 7:14; John 14:6; Colossians 2:6 Reciprocal: 2 Chronicles 32:31 - to try him; Job 9:21 - yet would; Job 10:2 - show me; Job 34:32 - which; Psalm 11:5 - trieth; Psalm 19:12 - secret; Psalm 26:2 - General; Psalm 31:3 - lead; Psalm 77:6 - and; Proverbs 4:23 - Keep; Proverbs 15:24 - way; Lamentations 3:40 - search; John 3:21 - he that; 2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine; Revelation 14:6 - everlasting

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 139". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsk/psalms-139.html.