Psalms 139


This psalm contains some hints of Aramaic coloring and so is assumed to have been composed after the Babylonian exile, well past David’s time.

לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמֹור יְהוָה חֲקַרְתַּנִי וַתֵּדָע׃   139:1

Psal. 139:1   A psalm of David's for the leader:

                        Lord, You have examined me,

                                 and You know me.

אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי מֵרָחֹוק׃   139:2

Psal. 139:2   You know my sitting down and my rising up;

                                 from afar You understand regarding my thoughts.

אָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ וְכָל־דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּנְתָּה׃   139:3

Psal. 139:3   You sift my travels and my lying down,

                                 so all my ways You know intimately.

כִּי אֵין מִלָּה בִּלְשֹׁונִי הֵן יְהוָה יָדַעְתָּ כֻלָּהּ׃   139:4

Psal. 139:4   Surely an utterance is not yet on my tongue

                                 -- behold, Lord, You know it entirely.

אָחֹור וָקֶדֶם צַרְתָּנִי וַתָּשֶׁת עָלַי כַּפֶּכָה׃   139:5

Psal. 139:5   You have secured behind and before me,

                                 and put Your "hand" upon me.

פִּלְאִיָּה) [פְּלִיאָה] דַעַת מִמֶּנִּי נִשְׂגְּבָה לֹא־אוּכַל לָהּ׃   139:6

Psal. 139:6   The knowledge is so incomprehensible to me,

                                 so high, I could never attain to it.

The alleged error before the left parenthesis may be spelled correctly as shown.  And the “correction” in the brackets is also correct.  However, I suspect the first was deemed an error because it spells the name of someone mentioned later in the book of Nehemiah (Neme. 8:7 and 10:11).  This word appears in only three places in the bible.  Here it is an adjective meaning mysterious or incomprehensible.  The other two times it appears in Nehemiah as the name Pelaiah.  As a result of this coincidence (?), I suppose the spelling in the brackets could be considered the preferred spelling in this appearance.

אָנָה אֵלֵךְ מֵרוּחֶךָ וְאָנָה מִפָּנֶיךָ אֶבְרָח׃   139:7

Psal. 139:7   Where could I go from Your spirit,

                                 or where could I run from Your presence?

אִם־אֶסַּק מַיִם שָׁם אָתָּה וְאַצִּיעָה שְּׁאֹול הִנֶּךָּ׃   139:8

Psal. 139:8   Were I to ascend heavenward, there You would be.

                                  Or make a netherworld bed, behold, You!

אֶשָּׂא כַנְפֵי־שָׁחַר אֶשְׁכְּנָה בְּאַחֲרִית יָם׃   139:9

Psal. 139:9   I could lift up the wings of dawn,

                                  dwell at the ends of the sea.

גַּםשָׁ־ם יָדְךָ תַנְחֵנִי וְתֹאחֲזֵנִי יְמִינֶךָ׃   139:10

Psal. 139:10   Even there Your "hand" would guide me,

                                  and Your right "hand" would take hold of me.

וָאֹמַר אַךְ־חֹשֶׁךְ יְשׁוּפֵנִי וְלַיְלָה אֹור בַּעֲדֵנִי׃   139:11

Psal. 139:11   And I might say, “Surely the darkness will fall upon me,"

                                  yet night -- light would be about me.

גַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ לֹא־יַחְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּךָ וְלַיְלָה כַּיֹּום יָאִיר כַּחֲשֵׁיכָה כָּאֹורָה׃   139:12

Psal. 139:12   Even the darkness would not be too dark for You,

                                  and night would be as bright as day;

                          so would darkness be as light.

כִּי־אַתָּה קָנִיתָ כִלְיֹתָי תְּסֻכֵּנִי בְּבֶטֶן אִמִּי׃   139:13

Psal. 139:13   For You fashioned my interior parts;

                                  You brought me together in the womb of my mother.

אֹודְךָ עַל כִּי נֹורָאֹות נִפְלֵיתִי נִפְלָאִים מַעֲשֶׂיךָ וְנַפְשִׁי יֹדַעַת מְאֹד׃   139:14

Psal. 139:14   I must thank You because of it,

                                  for awesomely I am wonderful.

                         Marvelous are Your works,

                                  as my soul knows very well.

לֹא־נִכְחַד עָצְמִי מִמֶּךָּ אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂיתִי בַסֵּתֶר רֻקַּמְתִּי בְּתַחְתִּיֹּות אָרֶץ׃   139:15

Psal. 139:15   My skeleton was not hidden from You,

                                 by which I was made in secret,

                           skillfully wrought in the lower parts of the land.

גָּלְמִי רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וְעַל־סִפְרְךָ כֻּלָּם יִכָּתֵבוּ יָמִים יֻצָּרוּ (וְלֹא) [וְלֹו] אֶחָד בָּהֶם׃   139:16

Psal. 139:16   Your "eyes" saw my unborn self,

                                 and on Your book all of them were written,

                           the days were fashioned when there had not been one of them.

Another non-error in the parentheses!  This designation of the error seems incongruous to me.  The corrected word in the brackets makes little sense in the context.  As spelled in the parentheses, I have translated it as when there had not been (one of them).  With the “correction,” it would have to be translated as when to him was (one of them).

וְלִי מַה־יָּקְרוּ רֵעֶיךָ אֵל מֶה עָצְמוּ רָאשֵׁיהֶם׃   139:17

Psal. 139:17   And how precious to me are Your purposes, God!

                                  How vast are their heights!

אֶסְפְּרֵם מֵחֹול יִרְבּוּן הֱקִיצֹתִי וְעֹודִי עִמָּךְ׃   139:18

Psal. 139:18   Could I count them, they would be more numerous than sand.

                                   I reach the limit, and yet I would be with You.

אִם־תִּקְטֹל אֱלֹוהַּ רָשָׁע וְאַנְשֵׁי דָמִים סוּרוּ מֶנִּי׃   139:19

Psal. 139:19   If You, God, would slay the wicked, ...,

                                  then bloodthirsty men, depart from me --

אֲשֶׁר יֹאמְרֻךָ לִמְזִמָּה נָשֻׂא לַשָּׁוְא עָרֶיךָ׃   139:20

Psal. 139:20   who would speak of You for a purpose.

                                  Take Your enemies for a lie.

הֲלֹוא־מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ יְהוָה אֶשְׂנָא וּבִתְקֹומְמֶיךָ אֶתְקֹוטָט׃   139:21

Psal. 139:21   Would I not hate Your haters, Lord,

                                  and be grieved with those rising up against You?

תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים לְאֹויְבִים הָיוּ לִי׃   139:22

Psal. 139:22   I hate them, a consummate hating,

                                  for enemies they are for me.

חָקְרֵנִי אֵל וְדַע לְבָבִי בְּחָנֵנִי וְדַע שַׂרְעַפָּי׃   139:23

Psal. 139:23   Examine me, God, and know my heart;

                                  test me and know my thoughts.

וּרְאֵה אִם־דֶּרֶךְ־עֹצֶב בִּי וּנְחֵנִי בְּדֶרֶךְ עֹולָם׃   139:24

Psal. 139:24   Then see if any way is idolatrous in me;

                                  then lead me on the everlasting path.


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