Psalm 139:6
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain to it.
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(6) Such . . .—God’s omniscience is for man at once transcendent, unattainable, impossible. Possibly the article has dropped away, and we should read this knowledge. LXX. and Vulg. have “thy knowledge.”

For the thought comp. Psalm 139:17-18, and Romans 11:33.

Psalm 139:6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, &c. — It is such a knowledge as I cannot comprehend, much less describe. I cannot conceive, or even form any idea in what manner thou dost so perfectly know all things, especially things which have yet no being, and seem to depend on many casualties and uncertainties. Dr. Hammond renders the verse, Such knowledge is admirable, above me: it is high; I cannot deal with it. But the sense of the original of the last clause, לא אוכל לה, seems better expressed in our translation. The mind of the psalmist, when he uttered these words, was evidently impressed “with such a veneration and awe of the infinite Jehovah, the fountain and support of universal life and being; and he found his faculties so swallowed up, and, as it were, lost in meditating on so deep and immense a subject; that man’s reason, in its utmost pride and glory, and with its most boasted improvements and acquisitions of knowledge, seemed now so debased, so weak, so narrow, and, in comparison with infinity, so despicable, that he could proceed no further without expressing his admiration at such a boundless scope of intelligence as he could neither explain nor comprehend:” see Foster’s Discourses, vol. Psalm 1:4 to. p. 76.139:1-6 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 When I am withdrawn from all company, thou knowest what I have in my heart.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.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me - literally, "Wonderful knowledge away from me," or, more than I can comprehend. It is beyond my reach; it surpasses all my powers to comprehend it.

It is high, I cannot attain unto it - It is so exalted that I cannot grasp it; I cannot understand how it can be.


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.

I am so far from equalling thy knowledge, that I cannot apprehend it, in what manner thou dost so perfectly know all things, even such as are most secret, and have yet no being, and seem to depend upon many casualties and uncertainties. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,.... Meaning either the knowledge of himself, such as God had of him, which was vastly superior to what he had of himself; and especially the knowledge of other persons and things, whether visible or invisible, in heaven, earth, or hell; things past, present, and to come; or else the manner in which God knew all this was amazing to him, and quite impenetrable by him; that he did know him, his thoughts, his words and actions, and so those of all others, was easy of belief; but how he should know all this was past his conception, and struck him with the profoundest admiration;

it is high; sublime, out of his reach, beyond his comprehension;

I cannot attain unto it; neither to such knowledge, nor to comprehend what it is in God; and how he should have it, and in what manner he exercises it. Kimchi, Jarchi, and Aben Ezra, connect the words with the following, as if the matter of his wonder and astonishment was the omnipresence of God, or where he should find a place to flee from him.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
6. A concluding exclamation of reverent awe. Such infinite knowledge baffles human thought to comprehend it. Cp. Romans 11:33.

(so) exalted (that) I cannot attain unto it] “The word used implies ‘high so as to be inaccessible’; it is used, for instance, of an impregnable city, Deuteronomy 2:36” (Driver). It is also used of God, Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 2:17; Isaiah 12:4.Verse 6. - Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. The psalmist does not say, "such knowledge," but simply "knowledge," i.e. real true knowledge, such as deserves the name. "The thought of God's omniscience makes him feel as if real knowledge were beyond his reach" (Kay). Out of these experiences-so important for all mankind - of David, who has been exalted by passing through humiliation, there arise from him confident hopes concerning the future. The beginning of this strophe calls Psalm 23:4 to mind. Though his way may lead through the midst of heart - oppressing trouble, Jahve will loose these bands of death and quicken him afresh (חיּה as in Psalm 30:4; Psalm 71:20, and frequently). Though his enemies may rage, Jahve will stretch forth His hand threateningly and tranquillizingly over their wrath, and His right hand will save him. ימינך is the subject according to Psalm 139:10 and other passages, and not (for why should it be supposed to be this?) accus. instrumenti (vid., Psalm 60:7). In Psalm 138:8 יגמר is intended just as in Psalm 57:3 : the word begun He will carry out, ἐπιτελεῖν (Philippians 1:6); and בּעדי (according to its meaning, properly: covering me) is the same as עלי in that passage (cf. Psalm 13:6; Psalm 142:8). The pledge of this completion is Jahve's everlasting mercy, which will not rest until the promise is become perfect truth and reality. Thus, therefore, He will not leave, forsake the works of His hands (vid., Psalm 90:16.), i.e., as Hengstenberg correctly explains, everything that He has hitherto accomplished for David, from his deliverance out of the hands of Saul down to the bestowment of the promise - He will not let one of His works stand still, and least of all one that has been so gloriously begun. הרפּה (whence תּרף) signifies to slacken, to leave slack, i.e., leave uncarried out, to leave to itself, as in Nehemiah 6:3. אל expresses a negation with a measure of inward excitement.
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