Chapter 139

1For the leader. Of David. A psalm. Hashem, You have examined me and know me.

אלַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר יְהֹוָה חֲקַרְתַּנִי וַתֵּדָע׃

2When I sit down or stand up You know it; You discern my thoughts from afar.

באַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי מֵרָחוֹק׃

3You observe my walking and reclining, and are familiar with all my ways.

גאָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ וְכָל־דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּנְתָּה׃

4There is not a word on my tongue but that You, Hashem, know it well.

דכִּי אֵין מִלָּה בִּלְשׁוֹנִי הֵן יְהֹוָה יָדַעְתָּ כֻלָּהּ׃

5You hedge me before and behind; You lay Your hand upon me.

האָחוֹר וָקֶדֶם צַרְתָּנִי וַתָּשֶׁת עָלַי כַּפֶּכָה׃

6It is beyond my knowledge; it is a mystery; I cannot fathom it.

ופלאיה [פְּלִיאָה] דַעַת מִמֶּנִּי נִשְׂגְּבָה לֹא־אוּכַל לָהּ׃

7Where can I escape from Your spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?

זאָנָה אֵלֵךְ מֵרוּחֶךָ וְאָנָה מִפָּנֶיךָ אֶבְרָח׃

8If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I descend to Sheol, You are there too.

חאִם־אֶסַּק שָׁמַיִם שָׁם אָתָּה וְאַצִּיעָה שְּׁאוֹל הִנֶּךָּ׃

9If I take wing with the dawn to come to rest on the western horizon,

טאֶשָּׂא כַנְפֵי־שָׁחַר אֶשְׁכְּנָה בְּאַחֲרִית יָם׃

10even there Your hand will be guiding me, Your right hand will be holding me fast.

יגַּם־שָׁם יָדְךָ תַנְחֵנִי וְתֹאחֲזֵנִי יְמִינֶךָ׃

11If I say, “Surely darkness will conceal me, night will provide me with cover,”

יאוָאֹמַר אַךְ־חֹשֶׁךְ יְשׁוּפֵנִי וְלַיְלָה אוֹר בַּעֲדֵנִי׃

12darkness is not dark for You; night is as light as day; darkness and light are the same.

יבגַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ לֹא־יַחְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּךָ וְלַיְלָה כַּיּוֹם יָאִיר כַּחֲשֵׁיכָה כָּאוֹרָה׃

13It was You who created my conscience; You fashioned me in my mother's womb.

יגכִּי־אַתָּה קָנִיתָ כִלְיֹתָי תְּסֻכֵּנִי בְּבֶטֶן אִמִּי׃

14I praise You, for I am awesomely, wondrously made; Your work is wonderful; I know it very well.

o-d'-KHA AL KEE no-ra-OT nif-LAY-tee nif-la-EEM ma-a-SE-kha v'-naf-SHEE yo-DA-at m'-OD

ידאוֹדְךָ עַל כִּי נוֹרָאוֹת נִפְלֵיתִי נִפְלָאִים מַעֲשֶׂיךָ וְנַפְשִׁי יֹדַעַת מְאֹד׃

 139:14   Your work is wonderful

Ancient ruins at Beit Shean

Many of the Sages and commentators see references in this psalm to the story of Adam and Chava. The early awareness of Hashem, the fashioning of men, the ascending and descending to find God, as well as the notion of the first darkness to befall him, are all reminiscent of this biblical story. Where might this story of the Garden of Eden have taken place? According to Resh Lakish, a Babylonian scholar in the Talmud (Eiruvin 19a), “If the Garden of Eden is in the Land of Israel, then Beit Shean is its gate.” Ancient Beit Shean was located at the intersection of the Jezreel valley and the Jordan Valley. There, the Gilboa mountain waters emerge into lush springs at the foot of the mountains creating an oasis of water, vegetation, and warm climate which served as the impetus for the thriving ancient city of Beit Shean. Perhaps it is this place, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, which inspired the psalmist to write about the advent of man and his nascent relationship with Hashem.

15My frame was not concealed from You when I was shaped in a hidden place, knit together in the recesses of the earth.

טולֹא־נִכְחַד עָצְמִי מִמֶּךָּ אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂיתִי בַסֵּתֶר רֻקַּמְתִּי בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת אָרֶץ׃

16Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; they were all recorded in Your book; in due time they were formed, to the very last one of them.

טזגָּלְמִי רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וְעַל־סִפְרְךָ כֻּלָּם יִכָּתֵבוּ יָמִים יֻצָּרוּ ולא [וְלוֹ] אֶחָד בָּהֶם׃

17How weighty Your thoughts seem to me, O Hashem, how great their number!

יזוְלִי מַה־יָּקְרוּ רֵעֶיךָ אֵל מֶה עָצְמוּ רָאשֵׁיהֶם׃

18I count them—they exceed the grains of sand; I end—but am still with You.

יחאֶסְפְּרֵם מֵחוֹל יִרְבּוּן הֱקִיצֹתִי וְעוֹדִי עִמָּךְ׃

19O Hashem, if You would only slay the wicked— you murderers, away from me!—

יטאִם־תִּקְטֹל אֱלוֹהַּ רָשָׁע וְאַנְשֵׁי דָמִים סוּרוּ מֶנִּי׃

20who invoke You for intrigue, Your enemies who swear by You falsely.

כאֲשֶׁר יֹאמְרֻךָ לִמְזִמָּה נָשֻׂא לַשָּׁוְא עָרֶיךָ׃

21Hashem, You know I hate those who hate You, and loathe Your adversaries.

כאהֲלוֹא־מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֶשְׂנָא וּבִתְקוֹמְמֶיךָ אֶתְקוֹטָט׃

22I feel a perfect hatred toward them; I count them my enemies.

כבתַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים לְאוֹיְבִים הָיוּ לִי׃

23Examine me, O Hashem, and know my mind; probe me and know my thoughts.

כגחָקְרֵנִי אֵל וְדַע לְבָבִי בְּחָנֵנִי וְדַע שַׂרְעַפָּי׃

24See if I have vexatious ways, and guide me in ways everlasting.

כדוּרְאֵה אִם־דֶּרֶךְ־עֹצֶב בִּי וּנְחֵנִי בְּדֶרֶךְ עוֹלָם׃