Psalm 139

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See also Mihi autem nimis for settings of v. 17.

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Text and translations

Clementine Vulgate (Psalm 138)

Latin.png Latin text

1  In finem, Psalmus David. Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me;
2  tu cognovisti sessionem meam et resurrectionem meam.
3  Intellexisti cogitationes meas de longe;
  semitam meam et funiculum meum investigasti:
4  et omnes vias meas praevidisti,
  quia non est sermo in lingua mea.
5  Ecce, Domine, tu cognovisti omnia, novissima et antiqua.
  Tu formasti me, et posuisti super me manum tuam.
6  Mirabilis facta est scientia tua ex me; confortata est, et non potero ad eam.
7  Quo ibo a spiritu tuo? et quo a facie tua fugiam?
8  Si ascendero in caelum, tu illic es; si descendero in infernum, ades.
9  Si sumpsero pennas meas diluculo, et habitavero in extremis maris,
10  etenim illuc manus tua deducet me, et tenebit me dextera tua.
11  Et dixi: Forsitan tenebrae conculcabunt me; et nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis.
12  Quia tenebrae non obscurabuntur a te, et nox sicut dies illuminabitur:
sicut tenebrae ejus, ita et lumen ejus.
13  Quia tu possedisti renes meos; suscepisti me de utero matris meae.
14  Confitebor tibi quia terribiliter magnificatus es; mirabilia opera tua,
et anima mea cognoscit nimis.
15  Non est occultatum os meum a te, quod fecisti in occulto; et substantia mea in inferioribus terrae.
16  Imperfectum meum viderunt oculi tui, et in libro tuo omnes scribentur.
  Dies formabuntur, et nemo in eis.
17  Mihi autem nimis honorificati sunt amici tui, Deus; nimis confortatus est principatus eorum.
18  Dinumerabo eos, et super arenam multiplicabuntur. Exsurrexi, et adhuc sum tecum.
19  Si occideris, Deus, peccatores, viri sanguinum, declinate a me:
20  quia dicitis in cogitatione: Accipient in vanitate civitates tuas.
21  Nonne qui oderunt te, Domine, oderam, et super inimicos tuos tabescebam?
22  Perfecto odio oderam illos, et inimici facti sunt mihi.
23  Proba me, Deus, et scito cor meum: interroga me, et cognosce semitas meas.
24  Et vide si via iniquitatis in me est, et deduc me in via aeterna.

Church of England 1662 Book of Common Prayer

English.png English text

1  O Lord, thou hast searched me out and known me:
  thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising,
  thou understandest my thoughts long before.
2  Thou art about my path, and about my bed:
  and spiest out all my ways.
3  For lo, there is not a word in my tongue:
  but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether.
4  Thou hast fashioned me behind and before: and laid thine hand upon me.
5  Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me: I cannot attain unto it.
6  Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit: or whither shall I go then from thy presence?
7  If I climb up into heaven, thou art there: if I go down to hell, thou art there also.
8  If I take the wings of the morning: and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea;
9  Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me.
10  If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me: then shall my night be turned to day.
11  Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day:
the darkness and light to thee are both alike.
12  For my reins are thine: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
13  I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works,
and that my soul knoweth right well.
14  My bones are not hid from thee: though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.
15  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect: and in thy book were all my members written;
16  Which day by day were fashioned: when as yet there was none of them.
17  How dear are thy counsels unto me, O God: O how great is the sum of them!
18  If I tell them, they are more in number than the sand: when I wake up I am present with thee.
19  Wilt thou not slay the wicked, O God: depart from me, ye blood-thirsty men.
20  For they speak unrighteously against thee: and thine enemies take thy Name in vain.
21  Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee: and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22  Yea, I hate them right sore: even as though they were mine enemies.
23  Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart: prove me, and examine my thoughts.
24  Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me: and lead me in the way everlasting.

Metrical 'Old Version' (Thomas Norton)

English.png English text

O Lord, thou hast me tried and known,
My sitting down dost know;
My rising up and thoughts far off
Thou understandst also.

My path, yea, and my bed likewise
Thou art about always,
And by familiar custom art
Acquainted with my ways.

No word is in my tongue, O Lord,
That is not known to thee;
Thou hast beset me round about,
And laid thy hand on me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful,
And past my skill to gain;
It is so high, that I unto
The same cannot attain.

From thy all-seeing spirit then,
Lord, whither shall I go?
Or whither shall I fly away
From thy presence also?

For if to heav'n I do climb up,
Lo, thou art present there;
In hell if I lie down below,
E'en there thou dost appear:

Yea, let me take the morning wings,
And let me go and dwell
E'en in the very utmost parts,
Where flowing seas do swell:

Yet, certainly there also shall
Thy hand me lead and guide,
And thy right hand shall hold me fast,
And make me to abide:

Or if I say, The darkness shall
Shroud me quite from thy sight,
E'en then the night that is most dark
About me shall be light.

The darkness hideth not from thee,
But night doth shine as day;
To thee the darkness and the light
Are both alike alway.

The Second Part
For thou possessed hast my reins,
And thou didst cover me,
Within my mother's womb, when I
Was there inclos'd by thee.

Thee will I praise: made fearfully
And wondrously I am;
Thy works are marvelous, right well
My soul doth know the same.

My bones they are not hid from thee,
Although in secret place
I have been made, and in the earth
Beneath I shaped was.

When I was formless, then thy eye
Saw me, for in thy book
Were all my members written, and
Nought after fashion took.

The thoughts therefore of thee, O God,
How dear are they to me!
And of them all how very great
The endless numbers be!

If I should count them, lo, their sum
More than the sand they be;
And whensoever I awake
I present am with thee.

The wicked and ungodly thou
Most certainly wilt slay:
Therefore now, all ye bloody men,
Depart from me away.

These are the men, O Lord, who speak
Most wickedly of thee,
And take thy name in vain, because
Thy enemies they be.

Hate I not them that hate thee, Lord,
And that in earnest wise?
Am I not grieved with all those
That up against thee rise?

I hate them with a perfect hate,
E'en as my utter foes:
Try me, O God, and know my heart,
My thoughts prove and disclose.

Consider, Lord, if wickedness
In me there any be;
And in thy way, O God my guide,
For ever lead thou me.

Metrical paraphrase by Isaac Watts - First part, Long Meter


1  Lord, thou hast search'd and seen me though;
Thine eye commands with piercing view
My rising and my resting hours,
My heart and flesh with all their pow'rs.

2  My thoughts, before they are my own,
Are to my God distinctly known;
He knows the words I mean to speak,
Ere from my op'ning lips they break.

3  Within thy circling pow'r I stand;
On ev'ry side I find thy hand:
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.

4  Amazing knowledge, vast and great!
What large extent! what lofty height!
My soul with all the pow'rs I boast
Is in the boundless prospect lost.

5  O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where-e'er I rove, where-e'er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

Pause the First
6  Could I so false, so faithless prove,
To quit thy service and thy love,
Where, Lord, could I thy presence shun,
Or from thy dreadful glory run?

7  If up to heav'n I take my flight,
'Tis there thou dwell'st inthron'd in light;
Or dive to hell, there vengeance reigns,
And Satan groans beneath thy chains.

8  If mounted on a morning-ray
I fly beyond the western sea,
Thy swifter hand would first arrive,
And there arrest thy fugitive.

9  Or should I try to shun thy sight
Beneath the spreading veil of night,
One glance of thine, one piercing ray,
Would kindle darkness into day.

10  O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where-e'er I rove, where-e'er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

Pause the Second
11  The veil of night is no disguise,
No screen from thy all-searching eyes;
Thy hand can seize thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.

12  Midnight and noon in this agree,
Great God, they're both alike to thee;
Not death can hide what God will spy,
And hell lies naked to his eye.

13  O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where-e'er I rove, where-e'er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

Metrical paraphrase by Isaac Watts - Second part, Long Meter


1  'Twas from thy hand, my God, I came,
A work of such a curious frame;
In me thy fearful wonders shine,
And each proclaims thy skill divine.

2  Thine eyes did all my limbs survey,
Which yet in dark confusion lay;
Thou saw'st the daily growth they took,
Form'd by the model of thy book.

3  By thee my growing parts were nam'd,
And what thy sov'reign counsels fram'd,
(The breathing lungs, the beating heart)
Was copy'd with unerring art.

4  At last to shew my Maker's name,
God stamp'd his image on my frame,
And in some unknown moment join'd
The finish'd members to the mind.

5  There the young seeds of thought began,
And all the passions of the man:
Great God, our infant-nature pays
Immortal tribute to thy praise.

6  Lord, since in my advancing age
I've acted on life's busy stage,
Thy thoughts of love to me surmount
The pow'r of numbers to recount.

7  I could survey the ocean o'er,
And count each sand that makes the shore,
Before my swiftest thoughts could trace
The num'rous wonders of thy grace.

8  These on my heart are still impress'd,
With these I give my eyes to rest;
And at my waking hour I find
God and his love possess my mind.

Metrical paraphrase by Isaac Watts - Third part, Long Meter


1  My God, what inward grief I feel
When impious men transgress thy will!
I mourn to hear their lips profane,
Take thy tremendous name in vain.

2  Does not my soul detest and hate
The sons of malice and deceit?
Those that oppose thy laws and thee,
I count them enemies to me.

3  Lord, search my soul, try ev'ry thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.

4  Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet when-e'er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.

Metrical paraphrase by Isaac Watts - First part, Common Meter


1  In all my vast concerns with thee
In vain my soul would try
To shun thy presence, Lord, or flee
The notice of thine eye.

2  Thy all-surrounding fight surveys
My rising and my rest,
My public walks, my private ways,
And secrets of my breast.

3  My thoughts lie open to the Lord
Before they're form'd within;
And ere my lips pronounce the word,
He knows the sense I mean.

4  O wondrous knowledge, deep and high!
Where can a creature hide?
Within thy circling arms I lie,
Beset on ev'ry side.

5  So let thy grace surround me still,
And like a bulwark prove,
To guard my soul from ev'ry ill,
Secur'd by sov'reign love.

6  Lord, where shall guilty souls retire,
Forgotten and unknown?
In hell they meet thy dreadful fire,
In heav'n thy glorious throne.

7  Should I suppress my vital breath
To 'scape the wrath divine,
Thy voice would break the bars of death,
And make the grave resign.

8  If wing'd with beams of morning-light
I fly beyond the west,
Thy hand, which must support my flight,
Would soon betray my rest,

9  If o'er my sins I think to draw
The curtains of the night,
Those flaming eyes that guard thy law
Would turn the shades to light.

10  The beams of noon, the midnight hour.
Are both alike to thee:
O may I ne'er provoke that pow'r
From which I cannot flee!

Metrical paraphrase by Isaac Watts - Second part, Common Meter


1  When I with pleasing wonder stand.
And all my frame survey,
Lord, 'tis thy work: I own, thy hand
Thus built my humble clay.

2  Thy hand my heart and reins possest
Where unborn nature grew,
Thy wisdom all my features trac'd,
And all my members drew.

3  Thine eye with nicest care survey'd
The growth of ev'ry part;
Till the whole scheme thy thoughts had laid
Was copy'd by thy art.

4  Heav'n, earth, and sea, and fire, and wind
Shew me thy wondrous skill;
But I review myself and find
Diviner wonders still.

5  Thy awful glories round me shine,
My flesh proclaims thy praise;
Lord, to thy works of nature join
Thy miracles of grace.

Metrical paraphrase by Isaac Watts - Third part, Common Meter


1  Lord, when I count thy mercies o'er,
They strike me with surprise;
Not all the sands that spread the shore
To equal numbers rise.

2  My flesh with fear and wonder stands,
The product of thy skill,
And hourly blessings from thy hands
Thy thoughts of love reveal.

3  These on my heart by night I keep;
How kind, how dear to me!
O may the hour that ends my sleep
Still find my thoughts with thee.

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

English.png English text

1  Lord, thou hast proved me, and known me:
2  thou hast know my sitting down, and my rising up.
3  Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line thou hast searched out.
4  And thou hast foreseen all my ways: for there is no speech in my tongue.
5  Behold, O Lord, thou hast known all things, the last and those of old: thou hast formed me, and hast laid thy hand upon me.
6  Thy knowledge is become wonderful to me: it is high, and I cannot reach to it.
7  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy face?
8  If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I descend into hell, thou art present.
9  If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea:
10  Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me.
11  And I said: Perhaps darkness shall cover me: and night shall be my light in my pleasures.
12  But darkness shall not be dark to thee, and night shall be light as day: the darkness thereof, and the light thereof are alike to thee.
13  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast protected me from my mother's womb.
14  I will praise thee, for thou art fearfully magnified: wonderful are thy works, and my soul knoweth right well.
15  My bone is not hidden from thee, which thou hast made in secret: and my substance in the lower parts of the earth.
16  Thy eyes did see my imperfect being, and in thy book all shall be written: days shall be formed, and no one in them.
17  But to me thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honourable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened.
18  I will number them, and they shall be multiplied above the sand: I rose up and am still with thee.
19  If thou wilt kill the wicked, O God: ye men of blood, depart from me:
20  Because you say in thought: They shall receive thy cities in vain.
21  Have I not hated them, O Lord, that hated thee: and pine away because of thy enemies?
22  I have hated them with a perfect hatred: and they are become enemies to me.
23  Prove me, O God, and know my heart: examine me, and know my paths.
24  And see if there be in me the way of iniquity: and lead me in the eternal way.

Káldi fordítás

Hungarian.png Hungarian text

Az Isten mindentudó.
Végig Dávid zsoltára. Uram! te megvizsgáltál engem, és ismersz engem;
te ismered fektemet és keltemet.
Megérted távolról az én gondolatimat; ösvényemet és nyughelyemet megvizsgáltad.
És minden útamat eleve megláttad; még nincs is a szó nyelvemen,
ime, Uram, te tudsz mindent, a legujabbakat és régieket; te alkottál engem, és rámtevéd a te kezedet.
Csodálatos előttem ezen tudásod; igen magas, és nem érhetem föl azt.
Hova menjek a te lelked elől? és hova fussak színed elől?
Ha fölmegyek az égbe, te ott vagy; ha leszállok a pokolba, jelen vagy.
Ha szárnyaimúl veszem is a hajnalt, és a tenger végső határain lakom:
oda is a te kezed visz engem, és jobbod tart engem.
És ha mondom: Talán a sötétség elföd engemet: az éj napfényre hozza gyönyörűségemet;
mert a sötétség nem homály előtted, az éj, mint a nap, világos, a sötétség úgy, mint a világosság.
Mert hatalmadban vannak veséim; anyám méhétől fogva te oltalmaztál engem.
Hálát adok neked, hogy ily csodálatosan alkottál, bámúlandók a te cselekedeteid, és ezt lelkem igen elismeri.
Nem volt eltitkolva csontom előtted, melyet rejtekben alkottál, és az én valóm a föld ölében.
Még tökéletlen voltam, már láttak szemeid, és a te könyvedben be vannak írva mindenek, a napok meghatározva, bár azokból még egy sincsen.
Nekem pedig igen tiszteletre méltók a te barátid, Isten! uralmok igen erős lett.
Megszámlálnám őket, de számosabbak a fövénynél; fölkeltem, és mégis veled vagyok.
Te megölöd, Isten, a bűnösöket; vérszopó férfiak! távozzatok tőlem.
Mert azt mondjátok gondolatban: Hiába foglalják el a te városaidat.
Ne gyülöljem-e, Uram! kik téged gyülölnek? és ne epekedjem-e a te ellenségeiden?
Teljes gyülölséggel gyülölöm őket, és nekem ellenségeimmé lettek.
Vizsgálj meg engem, Isten! és ismerd meg szívemet; vonj kérdőre engem, és nézzed ösvényeimet;
és lássad, ha a gonoszság útján vagyok-e? és vezess engem az örökkévaló uton.