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Invitation to Read Psalm 139


In Psalm 139, contrary to what happens in the creation psalms, the psalmist immerses himself in the ocean of the mystery of one’s inner self. He does not emerge from this task till the very end, and then only to send poisoned darts against the enemies. These are God’s enemies, not his.


As far as beauty goes, this psalm is a work of art. On the one hand, we notice the psalmist’s great capacity for introspection, which reaches one’s real depths. On the other hand, his poetic expressions reach lofty heights and inspire the whole structure, from the first to the last verse. Brilliant metaphors are used, with an audacity that leaves us amazed.

Already lost in these deep waters, the psalmist paradoxically makes the center of attention, not himself, but God.


Though the psalmist, in his imagination, makes a spectacular trip from abyss all the way to the heavens (v. 8) and from the “edge of dawn” all the way “beyond the sea” (v. 9). In spite of the fact that there are always two people taking part nonstop in the scenario, the psalmist never centers his attention on himself. The focal point is always the You. This is something amazing. The psalmist sets his sights, not on the highest mountain peak, but on his innermost self. He focuses his contemplative telescope on God. In this way, he acquires the deepest and most original vision imaginable, concerning the mystery the essential of God and man.


From the book “Psalms for life” by Father Ignacio Larrañaga


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