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Psalms 139:17-18

Context

139:17 How difficult it is for me to fathom your thoughts about me, O God! 1 

How vast is their sum total! 2 

139:18 If I tried to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand.

Even if I finished counting them,

I would still have to contend with you. 3 

1 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).

2 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.

3 tc Heb “I awake and I [am] still with you.” A reference to the psalmist awaking from sleep makes little, if any, sense contextually. For this reason some propose an emendation to הֲקִצּוֹתִי (haqitsoti), a Hiphil perfect form from an otherwise unattested verb קָצַץ (qatsats) understood as a denominative of קֵץ (qets, “end”). See L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 252-53.



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