Psalm 139 Commentary and Bible Study

Psalm 139 Commentary and Bible Study September 23, 2015

Here is a Bible study and commentary on Psalm 139 so that we can better understand what David was telling us in this most amazing psalm.

Psalm 139:1-2 “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.”

God does search the heart and knows us which is similar to what the Word of God does as we read in Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” David’s point is that he knows when we sit down, when we rise up, and discerns every though and intent of our heart and there is nothing that’s hidden from Him.

Psalm 139:4, 6 “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it”

I sometimes finish my wife’s sentences in my mind. I’ve known her long enough to almost know what she’s going to say before she says it but God knows it before it’s even on our tongue or even before it’s a thought. This type of “knowledge is too wonderful for me” too.

Psalm 139:7-10, 12 “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Jonah found out that there is no place far enough to run or hide from the presence of God. Even in the depths of the earth, the bottom most parts of the ocean or on the highest mountain won’t allow us to leave God’s presence for He truly is omnipresent (present everywhere).


Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

The language of these two verses in simply remarkable as it describes God actually knitting David (and us) together in the womb of the mother. He created or formed his (and our) most inward parts that are invisible to the naked eye. He is stitching us together by DNA strand by DNA strand until we have come to maturity; all to David’s utter amazement.

Psalm 139:15-16 “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

David’s frame was hidden in the beginning from human eyes but his frame wasn’t hidden from God. It took some time before David’s mother knew she was pregnant but God knew the day before it even came. He was being formed and shaped in the most secret place there is; in a mother’s womb. Here the language again is very much like someone knitting something together, piece by piece but the intricacy is beyond human ability. Not only has God determined the day of our conception and birth but he knows every single one of them as recorded in His book. Whether David is referring to the book of life or not, I cannot say for certain.

Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

God’s thoughts are very precious to David. The vast sum of them must have been uncountable because he said that “if” he could count them, it’d be like inventorying each grain of sand on a beach.

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

God will honor, hear, and answer this prayer if we ask Him to search our hearts. That is an admirable prayer too because our hearts are so deceitful that we can’t even know it (Jer 17:9) and we need God’s help in this. David honestly and sincerely wanted God to show him if there was “any grievous way in” him and he also asked God to lead him into the everlasting way, which is eternal life. God did lead David that way as Jesus said that clearly David will sit on the throne in the future kingdom to come and will rule under Christ over Israel.


Psalm 139 is a psalm that is clear that abortion is murder. God has already determined the day of our birth and our death and since only God is the Author of Life, only He can take it a life. There is no exception to having an abortion, with the extremely minutest of chances of the mother’s life being in danger. In that case, it is permissible but that is the rarest of chances.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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