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.
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.
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.
Psalm 139:16 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect - This whole verse is very obscure, but the "idea" in this expression clearly is, "Before I had shape or form thou didst see what I was to be." The single word in the original translated "my substance, yet being unperfect," is גלם gôlem. It occurs only in this place, though the verb - גלם gâlam - is found in 2 Kings 2:8, where it is used in reference to the mantle of Elijah: And Elijah took his mantle, and "wrapped it together," etc. That is, he rolled it up, or he folded it. The noun, then, means that which "is" rolled or wrapped together; that which is folded up, and hence, is applicable to anything folded up or undeveloped; and would thus most aptly denote the embryo, or the foetus, where all the members of the body are as yet folded up, or undeveloped; that is, before they have assumed their distinct form and proportions. This is undoubtedly the idea here. Before the embryo had any such form that its future size, shape, or proportions could be marked by the eye of man, it was clearly and distinctly known by God.
And in thy book - Where thou recordest all things. Perhaps the allusion here would be to the book of an architect or draftsman, who, before his work is begun, draws his plan, or sketches it for the direction of the workmen.
All my members were written - The words "my members" are not in the original. The Hebrew is, as in the margin, "all of them." The reference may be, not to the members of his body, but to his "days" (see the margin on the succeeding phrase) - and then the sense would be, all my "days," or all the periods of my life, were delineated in thy book. That is, When my substance - my form - was not yet developed, when yet an embryo, and when nothing could be determined from that by the eye of man as to what I was to be, all the future was known to God, and was written down - just what should be my form and vigor; how long I should live; what I should be; what would be the events of my life.
Which in continuance were fashioned - Margin, "What days they should be fashioned." Literally, "Days should be formed." DeWette renders this, "The days were determined before any one of them was." There is nothing in the Hebrew to correspond with the phrase "in continuance." The simple idea is, The days of my life were determined on, the whole matter was fixed and settled, not by anything seen in the embryo, but "before" there was any form - before there were any means of judging from what I then was to what I would be - all was seen and arranged in the divine mind.
When as yet there was none of them - literally, "And not one among them." Before there was one of them in actual existence. Not one development had yet occurred from which it could be inferred what the rest would be. The entire knowledge on the subject must have been based on Omniscience.
LibrarySeptember the Eighteenth the All-Round Defence
"Thou hast beset me behind." --PSALM cxxxix. 1-12. And that is a defence against the enemies which would attack me in the rear. There is yesterday's sin, and the guilt which is the companion of yesterday's sin. They pursue my soul like fierce hounds, but my gracious Lord will come between my pursuers and me. His mighty grace intervenes, and my security is complete. "Thou hast beset me ... before." And that is a defence against the enemies which would impede my advance and frighten me out of …
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year
God Omnipresent and Omniscient --Ps. cxxxix.
The Love of Christ.
The Kingdom Undivided
'Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, And would You destroy me?
"Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.
You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?
Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
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.
"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."
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