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139. Psalm 139

O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

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

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

4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16Thine 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.

17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

19Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

20For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

21Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

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

19. If thou shalt slay, etc. It is unnatural to seek, as some have done, to connect this with the preceding verse. Nor does it seem proper to view the words as expressing a wish — “I wish,” or, “Oh! if thou God wouldst slay the wicked.” Neither can I subscribe to the idea of those who think that David congratulates himself upon the wicked being cut off. The sentiment seems to me to be of another kind, that he would apply himself to the consideration of the divine judgments, and advance in godliness and in the fear of his name, so often as vengeance was taken upon the ungodly. There can be no question that God designs to make an example of them, that his elect ones may be taught by their punishment to withdraw themselves from their society. David was of himself well disposed to the fear and worship of God, and yet he needed a certain check, like other saints, as Isaiah says, (Isaiah 26:9,) “when God has sent abroad his judgments, the inhabitants of the earth shall learn righteousness,” that is, to remain in the fear of the Lord. At the same time, I have no doubt that the Psalmist presents himself before God as witness of his integrity; as if he had said, that he came freely and ingenuously to God’s bar, as not being one of the wicked despisers of his name, nor having any connection with them.


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