My substance was not hid from Thee, When I was made in secret, Curiously wrought in the lower part of earth.
Psalm 139:15 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
My substance was not hid from thee - עצמי atsmi, my bones or skeleton.
Curiously wrought - רקמתי rukkamti, embroidered, made of needlework. These two words, says Bishop Horsley, describe the two principal parts of which the human body is composed; the bony skeleton, the foundation of the whole; and the external covering of muscular flesh, tendons, veins, arteries, nerves, and skin; a curious web of fibres. On this passage Bishop Lowth has some excellent observations: "In that most perfect hymn, where the immensity of the omnipresent Deity, and the admirable wisdom of the Divine Artificer in framing the human body, are celebrated, the poet uses a remarkable metaphor, drawn from the nicest tapestry work: -
When I was formed in secret;
When I was wrought, as with a needle,
in the lowest parts of the earth.
"He who remarks this, (but the man who consults Versions only will hardly remark it), and at the same time reflects upon the wonderful composition of the human body, the various implication of veins, arteries, fibres, membranes, and the 'inexplicable texture' of the whole frame; will immediately understand the beauty and elegance of this most apt translation. But he will not attain the whole force and dignity, unless he also considers that the most artful embroidery with the needle was dedicated by the Hebrews to the service of the sanctuary; and that the proper and singular use of their work was, by the immediate prescript of the Divine law, applied in a certain part of the high priest's dress, and in the curtains of the tabernacle, Exodus 28:39; Exodus 26:36; Exodus 27:16; and compare Ezekiel 16:10; Ezekiel 13:18. So that the psalmist may well be supposed to have compared the wisdom of the Divine Artificer particularly with that specimen of human art, whose dignity was through religion the highest, and whose elegance (Exodus 35:30-35) was so exquisite, that the sacred writer seems to attribute it to a Divine inspiration."
In the lowest parts of the earth - The womb of the mother, thus expressed by way of delicacy.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
substance. or strength or body
Psalm 139:13 For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother's womb.
Job 10:9-11 Remember, I beseech you, that you have made me as the clay; and will you bring me into dust again...
Exodus 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sits on his throne...
in the lowest
Psalm 63:9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
Ephesians 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Psalm 139:15 Parallel CommentariesBones Depths Earth Formed Frame Hid Hidden Lowest Part Parts Secret Secretly Skillfully Strangely Substance Together Unseen Wasn't Woven WroughtBones Depths Earth Formed Frame Hid Hidden Lowest Part Parts Secret Secretly Skillfully Strangely Substance Together Unseen Wasn't Woven WroughtTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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