Psalm 139:12
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
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(12) Hideth not.—Better to keep as near as possible to the original maketh not dark. Others render cannot be too dark for thee. The highest development of the psalmist’s thought is of course to be found in St. John’s declaration, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

Shineth.—Or, giveth light.

The darkness . . .—Literally, as darkness, so light.

God is the light which, never seen itself, makes all things visible, and clothes itself in colours.”—RICHTER.

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.Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee - Margin, as in Hebrew, "darkeneth not." Darkness does not make darkness to thee. It makes things dark to us; not to him. So it is in natural darkness; so in moral darkness ness. It seems dark to us; it is not so to him. Things appear dark to us - disappointment, bereavement, trouble, care, losses; but all is light to God. The existence of sin and suffering on the earth seems dark to us; not to him, for he sees the reasons and the end of all.

But the night shineth as the day - One is as bright and clear to him as the other.

The darkness and the light are both alike to thee - Margin, as in Hebrew, "As is the darkness so is the light." To thee there is no difference. All is light.


Ps 139:1-24. After presenting the sublime doctrines of God's omnipresence and omniscience, the Psalmist appeals to Him, avowing his innocence, his abhorrence of the wicked, and his ready submission to the closest scrutiny. Admonition to the wicked and comfort to the pious are alike implied inferences from these doctrines.

Shineth, or enlighteneth, as this word is used, Psalm 19:8 Proverbs 29:13, &c.; discovereth me and all mine actions.

The darkness and the light are both alike to thee: this is repeated so oft to reprove and confute the ridiculous conceits of many ungodly men, who flatter themselves with hopes of secrecy and impunity for those sins which they commit in the dark. See Isaiah 29:15.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee,.... Any thing that is done by men in it; or "darkeneth not from thee" (i), or causeth such darkness as to hinder the sight of any action committed. The Targum is,

"from thy Word;''

see Hebrews 4:12;

but the night shineth as the day; or "enlightens as the day" (k), gives as much light with respect to God as the day does;

the darkness and the light are both alike to thee; as is the one, so is the other: the day gives him no more light than the night, and the night no more darkness than the day; he sees as well, as clearly and distinctly, in the one as in the other. The psalmist expresses the same thing in different words three or four times, as Kimchi observes, to show that so the Lord is, that thus it is with him; he has as clear a discerning of all things done in the darkest night as at bright noon day; see Job 34:21.

(i) "non obscurabit a te", Montanus; "non obtenebrant", Gejerus; so Michaelis. (k) "illustrat", Junius & Tremellius; "illuminabit", Gejerus Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Psalm 139:12The future form אסּק, customary in the Aramaic, may be derived just as well from סלק (סלק), by means of the same mode of assimilation as in יסּב equals יסבּב, as from נסק (נסק), which latter is certainly only insecurely established by Daniel 6:24, להנסקה (cf. להנזקת, Ezra 4:22; הנפּק, Daniel 5:2), since the Nun, as in להנעלה, Daniel 4:3, can also be a compensation for the resolved doubling (vid., Bernstein in the Lexicon Chrestom. Kirschianae, and Levy s.v. נסק). אם with the simple future is followed by cohortatives (vid., on Psalm 73:16) with the equivalent אשּׂא among them: et si stratum facerem (mihi) infernum (accusative of the object as in Isaiah 58:5), etc. In other passages the wings of the sun (Malachi 4:2) and of the wind (Psalm 18:11) are mentioned, here we have the wings of the morning's dawn. Pennae aurorae, Eugubinus observes (1548), est velocissimus aurorae per omnem mundum decursus. It is therefore to be rendered: If I should lift wings (נשׂא כנפים as in Ezekiel 10:16, and frequently) such as the dawn of the morning has, i.e., could I fly with the swiftness with which the dawn of the morning spreads itself over the eastern sky, towards the extreme west and alight there. Heaven and Hades, as being that which is superterrestrial and subterrestrial, and the east and west are set over against one another. אחרית ים is the extreme end of the sea (of the Mediterranean with the "isles of the Gentiles"). In Psalm 139:10 follows the apodosis: nowhere is the hand of God, which governs everything, to be escaped, for dextera Dei ubique est. ואמר (not ואמר, Ezekiel 13:15), "therefore I spake," also has the value of a hypothetical protasis: quodsi dixerim. אך and חשׁך belongs together: merae tenebrae (vid: Psalm 39:6.); but ישׁוּפני is obscure. The signification secured to it of conterere, contundere, in Genesis 3:15; Job 9:17, which is followed by the lxx (Vulgate) καταπατήσει, is inappropriate to darkness. The signification inhiare, which may be deduced as possible from שׁאף, suits relatively better, yet not thoroughly well (why should it not have been יבלעני?). The signification obvelare, however, which one expects to find, and after which the Targum, Symmachus, Jerome, Saadia, and others render it, seems only to be guessed at from the connection, since שׁוּף has not this signification in any other instance, and in favour of it we cannot appeal either to נשׁף - whence נשׁף, which belongs together with נשׁב, נשׁם, and נפשׁ - or to עטף, the root of which is עת (עתה), or to צעף, whence צעיף, which does not signify to cover, veil, but according to Arab. ḍ‛f, to fold, fold together, to double. We must therefore either assign to ישׁוּפני the signification operiat me without being able to prove it, or we must put a verb of this signification in its place, viz., ישׂוּכני (Ewald) or יעוּפני (Bttcher), which latter is the more commendable here, where darkness (חשׁך, synon. עיפה, מעוּף) is the subject: and if I should say, let nothing but darkness cover me, and as night (the predicate placed first, as in Amos 4:13) let the light become about me, i.e., let the light become night that shall surround and cover me (בּעדני, poetic for בּעדי, like תּחתּני in 2 Samuel 22) - the darkness would spread abroad no obscurity (Psalm 105:28) that should extend beyond (מן) Thy piercing eye and remove me from Thee. In the word יאיר, too, the Hiphil signification is not lost: the night would give out light from itself, as if it were the day; for the distinction of day and night has no conditioning influence upon God, who is above and superior to all created things (der Uebercreatrliche), who is light in Himself. The two כ are correlative, as e.g., in 1 Kings 22:4. חשׁיכה (with a superfluous Jod) is an old word, but אורה (cf. Aramaic אורתּא) is a later one.
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