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Psalms 139:1-2

Context
Psalm 139 1 

For the music director, a psalm of David.

139:1 O Lord, you examine me 2  and know.

139:2 You know when I sit down and when I get up;

even from far away you understand my motives.

Psalms 139:21-24

Context

139:21 O Lord, do I not hate those who hate you,

and despise those who oppose you? 3 

139:22 I absolutely hate them, 4 

they have become my enemies!

139:23 Examine me, and probe my thoughts! 5 

Test me, and know my concerns! 6 

139:24 See if there is any idolatrous tendency 7  in me,

and lead me in the reliable ancient path! 8 

1 sn Psalm 139. The psalmist acknowledges that God, who created him, is aware of his every action and thought. He invites God to examine his motives, for he is confident they are pure.

2 tn The statement is understood as generalizing – the psalmist describes what God typically does.

3 tc Heb “who raise themselves up against you.” The form וּבִתְקוֹמְמֶיךָ (uvitqomÿmekha) should be emended to וּבְמִתְקוֹמְמֶיךָ (uvÿmitqomÿmekha), a Hitpolel participle (the prefixed mem [מ] of the participle is accidentally omitted in the MT, though a few medieval Hebrew mss have it).

4 tn Heb “[with] completeness of hatred I hate them.”

5 tn Heb “and know my heart.”

6 tn The Hebrew noun שַׂרְעַפַּי (sarapay, “concerns”) is used of “worries” in Ps 94:19.

7 tn Many understand the Hebrew term עֹצֶב (’otsev) as a noun meaning “pain,” and translate the phrase דֶּרֶךְ עֹצֶב (derekhotsev) as “of pain,” but this makes little sense here. (Some interpret it to refer to actions which bring pain to others.) It is preferable to take עֹצֶב as “idol” (see HALOT 865 s.v. I עֹצֶב) and understand “way of an idol” to refer to idolatrous actions or tendency. See L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 253.

8 tn Heb “in the path of antiquity.” This probably refers to the moral path prescribed by the Lord at the beginning of Israel’s history. See Jer 6:16; 18:15, as well as L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 253.



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