Psalm 139:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

New Living Translation
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

English Standard Version
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

New American Standard Bible
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

International Standard Version
Your eyes looked upon my embryo, and everything was recorded in your book. The days scheduled for my formation were inscribed, even though not one of them had come yet.

NET Bible
Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence.

New Heart English Bible
Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And my eyes saw my germination upon your Scriptures; all these things were written; behold, the days were cut short, and there was no person in them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day [of my life] was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance, And in Thy book they were all written-- Even the days that were fashioned, When as yet there was none of them.

New American Standard 1977
Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
            And in Thy book they were all written,
            The days that were ordained for me,
            When as yet there was not one of them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which were then formed, without lacking one of them.

King James 2000 Bible
Your eyes did see my substance, being yet unformed; and in your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

American King James Version
Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

American Standard Version
Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me , When as yet there was none of them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thy eyes did see my imperfect being, and in thy book all shall be written: days shall be formed, and no one in them.

Darby Bible Translation
Thine eyes did see my unformed substance, and in thy book all [my members] were written; [during many] days were they fashioned, when [as yet] there was none of them.

English Revised Version
Thine eyes did see mine unperfect substance, and in thy book were all my members written, which day by day were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Webster's Bible Translation
Thy eyes saw my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

World English Bible
Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Young's Literal Translation
Mine unformed substance Thine eyes saw, And on Thy book all of them are written, The days they were formed -- And not one among them.
Study Bible
You have Searched Me and Know Me
15My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!…
Cross References
Job 10:8
'Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, And would You destroy me?

Job 14:5
"Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.

Psalm 56:8
You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?

Psalm 119:73
Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

Ecclesiastes 11:5
Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Treasury of Scripture

Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

in thy book

Psalm 56:8 You tell my wanderings: put you my tears into your bottle: are they …

Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the …

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books …

all my members. Heb. all of them
which in continuance were fashioned. or, what days they should be fashioned

(16) This difficult verse, rendered word for word, gives--

"My ftus (literally, rolled) saw thine eyes,

And on thy book all of them were written;

Days were formed, and not (or, as the Hebrew margin, to him) one in them."

The reading "substance yet being imperfect" of the Authorised Version follows the LXX. and Vulg., and (Symmachus, "shapeless thing") periphrastically denotes the embryo, which the Hebrew word--literally, rolled, or wrapped, used in 2Kings 2:8, "of a mantle," in Ezekiel 27:24, "bales" (Authorised Version, "clothes;" margin, "foldings")--almost scientifically describes. (Comp. Job 10:8-12; 2 Maccabees 7:22.)

Others take it of the ball of the threads of destiny; but this is not a Hebrew conception. By inserting the word members, the Authorised Version suggests a possible, but not a probable, interpretation. The Hebrew language likes to use a pronoun before the word to which it refers has occurred (see Note, Psalm 68:14); and, in spite of the accents, we must refer all of them to "days" (Authorised Version, "in continuance").

"Thine eyes beheld my embryo,

And in thy book were written

All the days, the days

Which were being formed,

When as yet there were none of them."

But a much more satisfactory sense is obtained by adopting one slight change and following Symmachus in the last line--

"The days which are all reckoned, and not one of them is wanting."

All the ancient versions make that which is written in God's book either the days of life, or men born in the course of these days, each coming into being according to the Divine will.

Verse 16. - Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; or, "my embryo." The Hebrew text has but the single word גלמי, which probably means, "the still unformed embryonic mass" (Hengstenberg). And in thy book all my members were written; literally, all of them; but the pronoun has no antecedent. Professor Cheyne and others suspect the passage to have suffered corruption. But the general meaning can scarcely have been very different from that assigned to the passage in the Authorized Version. Which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Modern critics mostly translate "the days," or "my days," "were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them;" i.e. "my life was planned out by God, and settled, before I began to be." Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect,.... The word (q) for "substance" signifies a bottom of yarn wound up, or any rude or unformed lump; and designs that conglomerated mass of matter separated in the womb, containing all the essentials of the human frame, but not yet distinguished or reduced into any form or order; yet, even when in this state, the eyes of the Lord see it and all its parts distinctly;

and in thy book all my members were written: which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them; in the book of God's eternal mind, and designs, the plan of the human body was drawn, all the parts of it described, and their form, places, and uses fixed, even when as yet not one of them was in actual being; but in due time they are all exactly formed and fashioned according to the model of them in the mind of God; who has as perfect knowledge of them beforehand as if they were written down in a book before him, Or "in thy book are written all of them, what days they should be fashioned"; not only each of the members of the body were put down in this book, but each of the days in which they should be formed and come into order: "when" as yet there was "none of them"; none of those days, before they took place, even before all time; the Targum is,

"in the book of thy memory all my days are written, in the day the world was created, from the beginning that all creatures were created.''

(q) "informe meum", Montanus; "glomus meam", Michaelis. 139:7-16 We cannot see God, but he can see us. The psalmist did not desire to go from the Lord. Whither can I go? In the most distant corners of the world, in heaven, or in hell, I cannot go out of thy reach. No veil can hide us from God; not the thickest darkness. No disguise can save any person or action from being seen in the true light by him. Secret haunts of sin are as open before God as the most open villanies. On the other hand, the believer cannot be removed from the supporting, comforting presence of his Almighty Friend. Should the persecutor take his life, his soul will the sooner ascend to heaven. The grave cannot separate his body from the love of his Saviour, who will raise it a glorious body. No outward circumstances can separate him from his Lord. While in the path of duty, he may be happy in any situation, by the exercise of faith, hope, and prayer.
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