Psalms 139
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1  For the leader. Of David. A psalm. Hashem, You have examined me and know me.

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר יְהֹוָה חֲקַרְתַּנִי וַתֵּדָע׃

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

ב  אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי מֵרָחוֹק׃

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

ג  אָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ וְכָל־דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּנְתָּה׃

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

ד  כִּי אֵין מִלָּה בִּלְשׁוֹנִי הֵן יְהֹוָה יָדַעְתָּ כֻלָּהּ׃

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

ה  אָחוֹר וָקֶדֶם צַרְתָּנִי וַתָּשֶׁת עָלַי כַּפֶּכָה׃

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

ו  פלאיה [פְּלִיאָה] דַעַת מִמֶּנִּי נִשְׂגְּבָה לֹא־אוּכַל לָהּ׃

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

ז  אָנָה אֵלֵךְ מֵרוּחֶךָ וְאָנָה מִפָּנֶיךָ אֶבְרָח׃

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

ח  אִם־אֶסַּק שָׁמַיִם שָׁם אָתָּה וְאַצִּיעָה שְּׁאוֹל הִנֶּךָּ׃

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

ט  אֶשָּׂא כַנְפֵי־שָׁחַר אֶשְׁכְּנָה בְּאַחֲרִית יָם׃

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

י  גַּם־שָׁם יָדְךָ תַנְחֵנִי וְתֹאחֲזֵנִי יְמִינֶךָ׃

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

יא  וָאֹמַר אַךְ־חֹשֶׁךְ יְשׁוּפֵנִי וְלַיְלָה אוֹר בַּעֲדֵנִי׃

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

יב  גַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ לֹא־יַחְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּךָ וְלַיְלָה כַּיּוֹם יָאִיר כַּחֲשֵׁיכָה כָּאוֹרָה׃

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

יג  כִּי־אַתָּה קָנִיתָ כִלְיֹתָי תְּסֻכֵּנִי בְּבֶטֶן אִמִּי׃

14  I 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

יד  אוֹדְךָ עַל כִּי נוֹרָאוֹת נִפְלֵיתִי נִפְלָאִים מַעֲשֶׂיךָ וְנַפְשִׁי יֹדַעַת מְאֹד׃

 139:14   Your work is wonderful

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.1 comment

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

טו  לֹא־נִכְחַד עָצְמִי מִמֶּךָּ אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂיתִי בַסֵּתֶר רֻקַּמְתִּי בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת אָרֶץ׃

16  Your 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.

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

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

יז  וְלִי מַה־יָּקְרוּ רֵעֶיךָ אֵל מֶה עָצְמוּ רָאשֵׁיהֶם׃

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

יח  אֶסְפְּרֵם מֵחוֹל יִרְבּוּן הֱקִיצֹתִי וְעוֹדִי עִמָּךְ׃

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

יט  אִם־תִּקְטֹל אֱלוֹהַּ רָשָׁע וְאַנְשֵׁי דָמִים סוּרוּ מֶנִּי׃

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

כ  אֲשֶׁר יֹאמְרֻךָ לִמְזִמָּה נָשֻׂא לַשָּׁוְא עָרֶיךָ׃

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

כא  הֲלוֹא־מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֶשְׂנָא וּבִתְקוֹמְמֶיךָ אֶתְקוֹטָט׃

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

כב  תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים לְאוֹיְבִים הָיוּ לִי׃

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

כג  חָקְרֵנִי אֵל וְדַע לְבָבִי בְּחָנֵנִי וְדַע שַׂרְעַפָּי׃

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

כד  וּרְאֵה אִם־דֶּרֶךְ־עֹצֶב בִּי וּנְחֵנִי בְּדֶרֶךְ עוֹלָם׃

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Psalms 138
Psalms 140

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  • חקרתני ותדע..! could not be more honest request… may we all say at all times, meaning that with all heart

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Psalms 139

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