Psalms – Chapter 139

Adam Says

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

This Psalm is traditionally attributed to Adam, in theme if not in the actual words, which are David’s. G-d showed Adam all his future descendants and Adam gifted David, who was fated to die at birth, with 70 years of his own life.

G-d knows all of a person’s thoughts and deeds. Even as we are still formulating our ideas, G-d knows what we have to say. He formed us and He knows us inside and out, good and bad, past and future. We, however, are not privileged to share this insight.

There is no place we can go where G-d is not, from the highest heavens to the lowest depths. Wherever one may go, the “hand of G-d” is always upon him, guiding him. When things seem blackest, G-d causes them to brighten. Even darkness is no obstacle to G-d; to Him, things at night are as clear as day.

G-d formed us in utero and gave us incredibly sophisticated organs; for this we will thank Him. Even in the womb we are not hidden from G-d, as it is there that He causes our bodies to form. Adam was a shapeless lump of clay before G-d crafted him into a person; even then, the fate of all of his descendants was known to G-d. All of history is a single moment to Him.

Adam praises his descendants who will be pious leaders of the people. (The Talmud in Sanhedrin 38b says he made special note of Rabbi Akiva.) If the merits of these, who are precious to G-d, could be counted, they would outnumber the sands of the beach. From the beginning of history to the end, Adam sees the faithful cling to G-d. If only the evil ones would not be permitted to endure!

These evil plotters invoke G-d’s Name as if He approves of their deeds! They take His Name in vain. They cause people to hate G-d and for this the Psalmist (presumably David speaking at this point) hates them. He opposes them at every turn. G-d’s enemies are his enemies, so he confronts them. Since G-d knows our innermost thoughts, He knows this to be true. If G-d were to test him, David would demonstrate his faith. May G-d lead him and his descendants on the proper path.

Download Audio File