139:15 my bones were not hidden from you,
when 1 I was made in secret
and sewed together in the depths of the earth. 2
All the days ordained for me
were recorded in your scroll
before one of them came into existence. 4
1 tc The Hebrew term אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “which”) should probably be emended to כֲּאַשֶׁר (ka’asher, “when”). The kaf (כ) may have been lost by haplography (note the kaf at the end of the preceding form).
2 sn The phrase depths of the earth may be metaphorical (euphemistic) or it may reflect a prescientific belief about the origins of the embryo deep beneath the earth’s surface (see H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 96-97). Job 1:21 also closely associates the mother’s womb with the earth.
3 tn Heb “Your eyes saw my shapeless form.” The Hebrew noun גֹּלֶם (golem) occurs only here in the OT. In later Hebrew the word refers to “a lump, a shapeless or lifeless substance,” and to “unfinished matter, a vessel wanting finishing” (Jastrow 222 s.v. גּוֹלֶם). The translation employs the dynamic rendering “when I was inside the womb” to clarify that the speaker was still in his mother’s womb at the time he was “seen” by God.
4 tn Heb “and on your scroll all of them were written, [the] days [which] were formed, and [there was] not one among them.” This “scroll” may be the “scroll of life” mentioned in Ps 69:28 (see the note on the word “living” there).