|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
139:1-6 God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. It is more profitable to meditate on Divine truths, applying them to our own cases, and with hearts lifted to God in prayer, than with a curious or disputing frame of mind. That God knows all things, is omniscient; that he is every where, is omnipresent; are truths acknowledged by all, yet they are seldom rightly believed in by mankind. God takes strict notice of every step we take, every right step and every by step. He knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk toward, what company we walk with. When I am withdrawn from all company, thou knowest what I have in my heart. There is not a vain word, not a good word, but thou knowest from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God. We cannot by searching find how God searches us out; nor do we know how we are known. Such thoughts should restrain us from sin.
Verse 2. - Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising. All that I do from one end of the day to the other. Thou understandest my thought afar off; i.e. while it is just forming - long before it is a fully developed thought.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,.... Here the psalmist proceeds to observe the particular circumstances and actions of his life, which were known to God; as his "downsitting", either to take rest, as weary persons do. Schultens (a) explains it of the quiet rest in sleep; this the Lord knew when he betook himself to it, and to whose care he committed himself and family; under whose protection he laid himself down, and on whom he depended for safety, Psalm 4:8. Or, since lying down to sleep is afterwards mentioned, this may respect sitting down at table to eat and drink; when the Lord knows whether men use the creatures aright, or abuse them; whether they receive their food with thankfulness, and eat and drink to the glory of God: or else this downsitting was to read the word of God, and meditate upon it; so the Targum paraphrases it,
"my sitting down to study the law.''
When men do this, the Lord knows whether in reading they understand what they read, or read attentively and with affection; whether it is to their comfort and edification, and for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness; whether their meditation on it is sweet, and is attended with profit and pleasure. "Uprising" may respect either rising from bed, when the Lord knows whether the heart is still with him, Psalm 139:18; what sense is had of the divine protection and sustentation, and what thankfulness there is for the mercies of the night past; and whether the voice of prayer and praise is directed to him in the morning, as it should be, Psalm 3:5; or else rising from the table, when the Lord knows whether a man's table has been his snare, and with what thankfulness he rises from it for the favours he has received. The Targum interprets this of rising up to go to war; which David did, in the name and strength, and by the direction, of the Lord;
thou understandest my thought afar off; God knows not only his own thoughts, but the thoughts of men, which none but themselves know; by this Christ appears to be truly God, the omniscient God, being a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Matthew 9:3, Hebrews 4:12. God knows what thoughts his people have of him, and of his lovingkindness in Christ; what thoughts they have of Christ himself, his person, offices, and grace; what thoughts they have of themselves, their state, and condition: he knows all their vain thoughts, and complains of them, and which also they hate; and all their good thoughts, for they come from him. And he knows them "afar off", or "of old" (b), even before they are; so Aben Ezra interprets it, a long time past, and compares it with Jeremiah 31:3; where the same word is rendered "of old": God knows the thoughts of his people, as well as his own, from all eternity; see Isaiah 25:1; as he knew what they would say and do, so what they would think; he knows thoughts that are past long ago, and forgotten by men, or were unobserved when thought; how else should he bring them into judgment? or though he is afar off in the highest heavens, yet he sees into the hearts of men, and is privy to all their thoughts.
(a) Animadv. Philol. p. 181. (b) "q. d. dum illa longe abest", Piscator; "longe ante quam incidat in animum meum", Gejerus, & Campensis in Ibid.
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