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Psalm 139 International Standard Version (ISV)

To the Music Director: A Davidic Song

God’s Knowledge and Presence

139 Lord, you have examined me;
    you have known me.
You know when I rest[a]
    and when I am active.[b]
You understand what I am thinking
    when I am distant from you.[c]
You scrutinize my life and my rest;[d]
    you are familiar with all of my ways.
Even before I have formed a word with my tongue,
    you, Lord, know it completely!
You encircle me from back to front,
    placing your hand upon me.
Knowledge like this is too amazing for me.
    It is beyond my reach,
        and I cannot fathom it.

The Magnitude of God

Where can I flee from your spirit?
    Or where will I run from your presence?
If I rise to heaven, there you are!
    If I lay down with the dead,[e] there you are!
If I take wings with the dawn
    and settle down on the western horizon[f]
10 your hand will guide me there, too,
    while your right hand keeps a firm grip on me.
11 If I say, “Darkness will surely conceal me,
    and the light around me will become night,”[g]
12 even darkness isn’t dark to you,
    darkness and light are the same to you.[h]

13 It was you who formed my internal organs,[i]
    fashioning me within my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you,
    because you are fearful and wondrous![j]
Your work is wonderful,
    and I am fully aware of it.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    while I was being crafted in a hidden place,
        knit together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes looked upon my embryo,
    and everything was recorded in your book.
The days scheduled[k] for my formation were inscribed,
    even though not one of them had come yet.[l]

17 How deep[m] are your thoughts, God!
    How great is their number!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would number more than the sand.
        When I awake, I will be with you.

19 God, if only you would execute the wicked,
    so that[n] the men guilty of bloodshed would get away from me,
20 who speak against you with evil motives,
    your enemies who are acting in vain.
21 I hate those who hate you, Lord, do I not?
    I loathe those who rebel against you, do I not ?
22 With consummate hatred I hate them;
    I consider them my enemies.

23 Examine me, God, and know my mind,
    test me, and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive tendency[o] in me,
    and lead me in the eternal way.


  1. Psalm 139:2 Lit. know my sitting
  2. Psalm 139:2 Lit. and my rising
  3. Psalm 139:2 Or thinking from a distance
  4. Psalm 139:3 Or death; Lit. my path and my lying down
  5. Psalm 139:8 Lit. to Sheol; i.e. the realm of the dead
  6. Psalm 139:9 Lit. the end of the sea
  7. Psalm 139:11 So MT LXX; DSS 11QPsa reads And let me say, “Surely darkness conceals and night has girded me about.”
  8. Psalm 139:12 The Heb. lacks to you
  9. Psalm 139:13 Lit. my kidneys
  10. Psalm 139:14 So DSS 11QPsa Syr Hieronymus; MT LXX read because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
  11. Psalm 139:16 The Heb. lacks scheduled
  12. Psalm 139:16 The Heb. lacks had come yet
  13. Psalm 139:17 Or precious
  14. Psalm 139:19 So LXX DSS 11QPsa; MT reads and so that
  15. Psalm 139:24 Lit. way
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

Psalm 139 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.


  1. Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me
New International Version (NIV)

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