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Psalms 139:16

    Psalms 139:16 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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 (ASV)

    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.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being.

    Webster's Revision

    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.

    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.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    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.

    Clarke's Commentary on Psalms 139:16

    Thine eyes did see my substance - גלמי golmi, my embryo state - my yet indistinct mass, when all was wrapped up together, before it was gradually unfolded into the lineaments of man. "Some think," says Dr. Dodd, "that the allusion to embroidery is still carried on. As the embroiderer has still his work, pattern, or carton, before him, to which he always recurs; so, by a method as exact, revere all my members in continuance fashioned, i.e., from the rude embryo or mass they daily received some degree of figuration; as from the rude skeins of variously coloured silk or worsted, under the artificer's hands, there at length arises an unexpected beauty, and an accurate harmony of colcurs and proportions."

    And in thy book all my members were written - "All those members lay open before God's eyes; they were discerned by him as clearly as if the plan of them had been drawn in a book, even to the least figuration of the body of the child in the womb."

    Barnes' Notes on Psalms 139:16

    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.

    Wesley's Notes on Psalms 139:16

    139:16 Imperfect - When I was first conceived. Book - In thy counsel and providence, by which thou didst contrive and effect this great work, according to that model which thou hadst appointed.