1 For the leader. A psalm of David. O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
2 you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.
3 My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all.
5 Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach.
7 Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee?
8 If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there too.
9 If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea,
10 Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light" --
12 Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one.
13 You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew;
15 my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.
17 How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!
18 Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity.
19 If only you would destroy the wicked, O God, and the bloodthirsty would depart from me!
20 Deceitfully they invoke your name; your foes swear faithless oaths.
21 Do I not hate, LORD, those who hate you? Those who rise against you, do I not loathe?
22 With fierce hatred I hate them, enemies I count as my own.
23 Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my concerns.
24 See if my way is crooked, then lead me in the ancient paths.
1 [Psalm 139] A hymnic meditation on God's omnipresence and omniscience. The psalmist is keenly aware of God's all-knowing gaze (Psalm 139:1-6), of God's presence in every part of the universe (Psalm 139:7-12), and of God's control over the psalmist's very self (Psalm 139:13-16). Summing up Psalm 139:1-16, 17-18 express wonder. There is only one place hostile to God's rule--wicked people. The psalmist prays to be removed from their company (Psalm 139:19-24). 2 When I sit and stand: in all my physical movement.
9 Fly with the wings of dawn: go to the extremities of the east. Beyond the sea: uttermost bounds of the west; the sea is the Mediterranean.
11 Night shall be my light: night to me is what day is to others.
15 The depths of the earth: figurative language for the womb, stressing the hidden and mysterious operations that occur there.
24 My way . . . the ancient paths: the manner of living of our ancestors, who were faithful to God's will. Cf Jeremiah 6:16.
New American Bible