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Psalm 139New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 139[a]

The All-knowing and Ever-present God

For the leader. A psalm of David.


Lord, you have probed me, you know me:
    you know when I sit and stand;[b]
    you understand my thoughts from afar.
You sift through my travels and my rest;
    with all my ways you are familiar.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    Lord, you know it all.
Behind and before you encircle me
    and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    far too lofty for me to reach.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    From your presence, where can I flee?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;
    if I lie down in Sheol, there you are.
If I take the wings of dawn[c]
    and dwell beyond the sea,
10 Even there your hand guides me,
    your right hand holds me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me,
    and night shall be my light”[d]
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, because I am wonderfully made;
    wonderful are your works!
    My very self you know.
15 My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
    fashioned in the depths of the earth.[e]
16 Your eyes saw me unformed;
    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 them, they would outnumber the sands;
    when I complete them, still you are with me.
19 When you would destroy the wicked, O God,
    the bloodthirsty depart from me!
20 Your foes who conspire a plot against you
    are exalted in vain.


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 thoughts.
24 See if there is a wicked path in me;
    lead me along an ancient path.[f]


  1. Psalm 139 A hymnic meditation on God’s omnipresence and omniscience. The psalmist is keenly aware of God’s all-knowing gaze (Ps 139:1–6), of God’s presence in every part of the universe (Ps 139:7–12), and of God’s control over the psalmist’s very self (Ps 139:13–16). Summing up Ps 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 (Ps 139:19–24).
  2. 139:2 When I sit and stand: in all my physical movement.
  3. 139:9 Take the wings of dawn: go to the extremities of the east. Beyond the sea: uttermost bounds of the west; the sea is the Mediterranean.
  4. 139:11 Night shall be my light: night to me is what day is to others.
  5. 139:15 The depths of the earth: figurative language for the womb, stressing the hidden and mysterious operations that occur there.
  6. 139:24 Lead me along an ancient path: the manner of living of our ancestors, who were faithful to God’s will, cf. Jer 6:16.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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