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Book of Psalms
King James Version
1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
20 For they speak against thee wickedly, 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 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.1
1 David was a king, and the hearts of kings are unsearchable to their subjects (Prov. 25:3), but they are not so to their Sovereign.2 No pretended god knows aught of us; but the true God, Jehovah, understands us, and is most intimately acquainted with our persons, nature, and character. How well it is for us to know the God who knows us!3
2 The psalmist goes into particulars: Thou knowest me and all my motions, my down-sitting to rest, my up-rising to work, with what temper of mind I compose myself when I sit down and stir up myself when I rise up. Thou knowest me when I come home, how I walk before my house, and when I go abroad, on what errands I go.2 Even these inconsiderable and casual things are under thy continual notice. I cannot so much as take a seat, or leave it, without being marked by thee.4 Thou knowest all my imaginations. Thou understandest my thoughts from afar; from the height of heaven thou seest into the depths of the heart, (Ps. 33:14).2
4 There is not a word in my tongue, not a vain word, nor a good word, but thou knowest it altogether, knowest what it meant, from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. There is not a word at my tongue's end, ready to be spoken, yet checked and kept in, but thou knowest it.2
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, so that, go which way I will, I am under thy eye and cannot possibly escape it. Thou hast laid thy hand upon me, and I cannot run away from thee. Wherever we are we are under the eye and hand of God.2
6 Thou hast such a knowledge of me as I have not of myself, nor can have. I cannot take notice of all my own thoughts, nor make such a judgment of myself as thou makest of me. It is such a knowledge as I cannot comprehend, much less describe.2
7 Every part of the creation is under God's intuition and influence. David here acknowledges this also with application and sees himself thus open before God. No flight can remove us out of God's presence. God is a Spirit, and therefore it is folly to think that because we cannot see him he cannot see us. Not that he desired to go away from God; no, he desired nothing more than to be near him; but he only puts the case, "Suppose I should be so foolish as to think of getting out of thy sight, suppose I should think of revolting from my obedience to thee, alas! whither can I go?"2
8 An ascent to heaven, if it were possible, would be unavailing for purposes of escape.3 Should we dig as deep as we can under ground, and think to hide ourselves there, we should be mistaken; God knows that path which the vulture's eye never saw. When we are removed out of the sight of all living, we are yet not out of the sight of the living God; from his eye we cannot hide ourselves in the grave.2
9 If I take the rays of the morning-light and flee upon them to the uttermost parts of the sea, or to the most distant and obscure islands, I should find thee there.2
10 There shall thy hand lead me, as far as I go, and thy right hand hold me, that I can go no further, that I cannot go out of thy reach. God soon arrested Jonah when he fled to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.2
11 If I say, Yet the darkness shall cover me, when nothing else will, alas! I find myself deceived; the curtains of the evening will stand me in no more stead than the wings of the morning; even the night shall be light about me.2 Men are still so foolish as to prefer night and darkness for their evil deeds; but so impossible is it for anything to be hidden from the Lord that they might just as well transgress in broad daylight.3
12 The darkness veils nothing, it is not the medium of concealment in any degree whatever. It hides from men, but not from God.3
13 He that framed the engine knows all the motions of it. God made us, and therefore no doubt he knows us; he saw us when we were in the forming, and can we be hidden from him now that we are formed?2 The word "reins" signifies the kidneys, which by the Hebrews were supposed to be the seat of the desires and longings.3 Thou art Master of my most secret thoughts and intentions, and the innermost recesses of my soul; thou not only knowest, but governest, them. Thou madest me in secret.2 There I lay hidden, covered by thee. Before I could know thee, or aught else, thou hadst a care for me, and didst hide me away as a treasure till thou shouldest see fit to bring me to the light.3
14 We too seldom remember our creation, and all the skill and kindness bestowed upon our frame. Who could dissect a portion of the human frame without marvelling at its delicacy, and trembling at its frailty? The Psalmist had scarcely peered within the veil which hides the nerves, sinews, and blood vessels from common inspection; the science of anatomy was quite unknown to him; and yet he had seen enough to arouse his admiration of the work and his reverence for the Worker.3
15 A great artist will often labour alone in his studio, and not suffer his work to be seen until it is finished; even so did the Lord fashion us where no eye beheld as, and the veil was not lifted till every member was complete. "Embroidered with great skill", is an accurate poetical description of the creation of veins, sinews, muscles, nerves, etc. What tapestry can equal the human fabric? This work is wrought as much in private as if it had been accomplished in the grave, or in the darkness of the abyss. The expressions are poetical, beautifully veiling, though not absolutely concealing, the real meaning.3
16 An architect draws his plans, and makes out his specifications; even so did the great Maker of our frame write down all our members in the book of his purposes. That we have eyes, and ears, and hands, and feet, is all due to the wise and gracious purpose of heaven. The form and shape of our limbs and faculties, and everything about them were appointed of God long before they had any existence.3
17 Here the psalmist acknowledges, with wonder and thankfulness, the care God had taken of him all his days. God, who knew him, thought of him, and his thoughts towards him were thoughts of love, thought of good, and not of evil, Jer. 29:11. God's omniscience, which might justly have watched over us to do us hurt, has been employed for us, and has watched over us to do us good, Jer. 31:28. God's providence has had a vast reach in its dispensations concerning us, and has brought things about for our good quite beyond our contrivance and foresight.2 Thoughts of our pardon, renewal, upholding, supplying, educating, perfecting, and a thousand more kinds perpetually well up in the mind of the Most High. It should fill us with adoring wonder and reverent surprise that the infinite mind of God should turn so many thoughts towards us who are so insignificant and so unworthy!3
18 We cannot conceive the multitude of God's compassions, which are all new every morning. When I awake, every morning, I am still with thee, under thy eye and care, safe and easy under thy protection.2 Thy thoughts of love are so many that my mind never gets away from them, they surround me at all hours. I go to my bed, and God is my last thought; and when I wake I find my mind still hovering about his palace gates; God is ever with me, and I am ever with him.3
19 The psalmist concludes from this doctrine that ruin will certainly be the end of sinners. God knows all the wickedness of the wicked, and therefore he will reckon for it: "Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God! for all their wickedness is open before thee, however it may be artfully disguised and coloured over, to hide it from the eye of the world. However thou suffer them to prosper for a while, surely thou wilt slay them at last."2 Men who delight in cruelty and war are not fit companions for those who walk with God. David chases the men of blood from his court, for he is weary of those of whom God is weary.3
20 The psalmist asks why should he bear their company when their talk sickens him? They vent their treasons and blasphemies as often as they please, doing so without the slightest excuse or provocation; let them therefore be gone, where they may find a more congenial associate than I can be. God gave these men their tongues, and they turn them against their Benefactor, wickedly, from sheer malice, and with great perverseness. To insult Jehovah's glorious name is their amusement. This is a sure mark of the "enemies" of the Lord, that they have the impudence to assail his honour, and treat his glory with irreverence. How can God do other than slay them?3
21 The psalmist was a good hater, for he hated only those who hated good. Of this hatred he is not ashamed, but he sets it forth as a virtue to which he would have the Lord bear testimony. To love all men with benevolence is our duty; but to love any wicked man with complacency would be a crime. To hate a man for his own sake, or for any evil done to us, would be wrong; but to hate a man because he is the foe of all goodness and the enemy of all righteousness, is nothing more nor less than an obligation. The more we love God the more indignant shall we grow with those who refuse him their affection.3
22 The psalmist does not leave it a matter of question. He does not occupy a neutral position. His hatred to bad, vicious, blasphemous men is intense, complete, energetic. He is as whole hearted in his hate of wickedness as in his love of goodness. He makes a personal matter of it. They may have done him no ill, but if they are doing despite to God, to his laws, and to the great principles of truth and righteousness, David proclaims war against them.3
23 David is no accomplice with traitors. He now he appeals to God that he does not harbour a trace of fellowship with them. He will have God himself search him, and search him thoroughly, till every point of his being is known, and read, and understood; for he is sure that even by such an investigation there will be found in him no complicity with wicked men. Exercise any and every test upon me. By fire and by water let me be examined. Read not alone the desires of my heart, but all that is or has been in the chambers of my mind.3
24 See whether there be in my heart, or in my life, any evil habit unknown to myself. If there be such an evil way, take me from it, take it from me. By thy providence, by thy word, by thy grace, and by thy Spirit, lead me into the way of godliness, O Lord.3 The way of godliness is pleasing to God and profitable to us, and will end in everlasting life. 2
References and notes
1. King James Authorized Version
2. Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible - http:// bible. crosswalk .com/Com mentaries
3. Charles H. Spurgeon, "The Treasury of David" - http:// bible. crosswalk .com/\Commentaries
4. Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary - www.godrules .net/ library/ clarke/ clarke.htm
5. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol 3 pg. 925
6. The Tribune - Windows - This Above All - http://www. tribune india.com /2002/ 20020831 /windows/ above.htm
7. John Mark Ministries - http://www. pastornet .net.au/ jmm/abss /abss00 38.htm
8. Our Daily Bread December 15, 1998 Running From God? - http:// www.gospel com.net /rbc/odb/ odb-12-15 -98.shtml
9. Commentary on Psalms - Volume 5 by John Calvin, 1509-1564 - http://www .ccel.org /c/calvin/ comment3/ comm_vol 12/htm/ xxiii.htm