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.
139:3 You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; 3
you are aware of everything I do. 4
139:4 Certainly 5 my tongue does not frame a word
without you, O Lord, being thoroughly aware of it. 6
139:5 You squeeze me in from behind and in front;
you place your hand on me.
139:6 Your knowledge is beyond my comprehension;
it is so far beyond me, I am unable to fathom it. 7
139:17 How difficult it is for me to fathom your thoughts about me, O God! 8
How vast is their sum total! 9
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 tn Heb “my traveling and my lying down you measure.” The verb זָרָה (zarah, “to measure”) is probably here a denominative from זָרָת (zarat, “a span; a measure”), though some derive it from זָרָה (zarat, “to winnow; to sift”; see BDB 279-80 s.v. זָרָה).
4 tn Heb “all my ways.”
5 tn Or “for.”
6 tn Heb “look, O
7 tn Heb “too amazing [is this] knowledge for me, it is elevated, I cannot attain to it.”
8 tn Heb “and to me how precious are your thoughts, O God.” The Hebrew verb יָקַר (yaqar) probably has the sense of “difficult [to comprehend]” here (see HALOT 432 s.v. יקר qal.1 and note the use of Aramaic יַקִּר in Dan 2:11). Elsewhere in the immediate context the psalmist expresses his amazement at the extent of God’s knowledge about him (see vv. 1-6, 17b-18).
9 tn Heb “how vast are their heads.” Here the Hebrew word “head” is used of the “sum total” of God’s knowledge of the psalmist.