New Defender's Study Bible Notes
139:1 known me. Psalm 139 is a remarkable testimony to the attributes of God. It is divided into four stanzas of six verses each. Psalm 139:1-6 describes His omniscience; Psalm 139:7-12 deals with His omnipresence; Psalm 139:13-18 emphasizes His omnipotence; and Psalm 139:19-24 stresses what might be called His omnirighteousness. The first stanza says that God knows everything about each of us; the second says He sees everything around us; the third shows that He does everything for us; and the last notes that He judges everything in us.
139:2 my. This psalm is intensely personal. The first person pronouns (“I,” “me,” etc.) occur forty-eight times in these twenty-four verses, and the second person pronouns (“thou,” “thine,” etc.) occur twenty-eight times.
139:2 my thought. It is striking to realize that God, because of His omnipresence and omniscience, continually knows the thoughts of all His creatures.
139:5 behind and before. Psalm 139:5 notes God’s knowledge of the past, the future and the present.
139:6 cannot attain unto it. Psalm 139:6 stresses the foolishness of men who would try to comprehend the mysteries of God’s omniscience. This surely includes the attempt to understand the mystery of the paradoxical relation between divine sovereignty and human liberty.
139:8 thou art there. Thus God is omnipresent. Since he is always present everywhere, He cannot actually be seen anywhere, except in some special theophany or incarnation. See notes on John 1:18.
139:9 wings of the morning. This phrase speaks of the east; “uttermost parts of the [Mediterranean] sea” speaks of the west. Whether highest heaven or deepest hell (Psalm 139:8), east or west, day or night (Psalm 139:10-11), God is omnipresent.
139:13 covered me. “Covered equals “shielded.” This is a beautiful metaphor for the marvelous provisions for the protection of the embryonic child while growing in the womb.
139:14 wonderfully. The word “wonderfully” stresses the aspect “differently.” That is, each baby is designed to be like all human beings in over-all aspect, but uniquely different from all others in detail.
139:15 My substance. This refers to the basic frame or skeleton. Note also the similar testimony in Ecclesiastes 11:5. The marvels of embryonic growth are still largely unexplained by scientists, but God knows!
139:15 curiously wrought. “Curiously wrought” means “embroidered,” a striking description of the double-helical DNA molecular program, which organizes part by part the beautiful structure of the whole infant.
139:15 lowest parts. For “lowest parts,” read “nether parts,” or “hidden parts.” God made these hidden parts, or elements, of the earth, then formed Adam’s body from this “dust of the earth” (Genesis 2:7). He created within the body of Adam and Eve the marvelous and complex ability to multiply that body, finally to generate from these lowest parts of the earth through the curiously wrought embroidery of DNA all the many billions of their descendants, including David himself.
139:16 unperfect. This “substance yet being unperfect” is one word in the Hebrew, meaning simply “embryo.” God is watching over each embryonic human being from the moment of conception. There is never a time when it is “recapitulating” its imaginary evolutionary ancestry, as the so-called “pro-choice” people seem to think. The baby is “unperfect,” not “imperfect,” until it is ready for delivery, but it is always truly human, with an eternal soul.
139:16 continuance. “In continuance” is the same as “days” in Hebrew. That is, God was overseeing the development of all the days of the life, as well as the substance of the body.
139:16 fashioned. The embryo is being “fashioned” in a way analogous to the way in which God “formed” (same word) the body of Adam from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7).
139:17 thy thoughts. We should desire to think God’s thoughts after Him, as the early scientists (e.g., Kepler, Newton, Maxwell) used to say. He knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2), and we should seek diligently to bring all our thoughts “into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5). We can never exhaust the mind of Christ or the Word of God!
139:22 mine enemies. We should love our personal enemies (Matthew 5:44), but hate with perfect hatred (i.e., Godly hatred) those who have made themselves enemies of God.
139:23 know my thoughts. The psalmist David prayed (and so should we) that God would discover and remove any “wicked way” even in his thought-life.