You Created My Inmost Being- Psalm 139:13

As we continue in our examination of this Psalm, we now begin the second part of the Psalm. This Psalm divides neatly into two parts, with the second part building upon the first. The basic theme of the first twelve verses is that God knows us better than we know ourselves, that He is intimately familiar with all of our issues and shortcomings. This could be very disconcerting if not for the theme of the second part of the Psalm, which tells us that God loves us anyway, in spite of our issues and shortcomings. As we begin in verse 13, we must note again that Psalms are written as poetry, and therefore may be examined and understood on more than one level. This will become clear as we look at verse 13. The verse is translated as follows in the NIV: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. This verse operates on two distinct levels here, which may be referred to as either physical and spiritual, or literal and metaphorical. As we examine the first phrase here (“You created my inmost being”), we first note the fact that this verse operates on two levels through fact words can be used in different “senses”. The same word can mean different things when used in different situations. The phrase “created my inmost being” consists of the Hebrew words qanah and kilyah. The word kilyah literally refers to the kidneys, and one of the primary uses of the word qanah is as to “create or bring forth”. So this can be seen, on the physical, literal level, as telling us that God has created us physically, that He has formed our bodies. Those bodies have desires, and this is where the kidneys come into play. As we are aware, when the kidneys are functioning properly, this results in the desire (or urge) to find the restroom, so the kilyah was seen as the seat of one’s desires and urges, as the innermost and most private aspect of a person. This is used here first as a synechdoche, a literary device in which a part of something is used to represent the whole. So we find here, on a more literal level, that God has created our physical bodies. The word qanah, however, has a wider range of meaning than merely to create, for the word is also used to mean to “possess, acquire, redeem or ransom”. So David is telling us here that God has done more than merely create his physical body, but that God has created him with urges and desires, and one of those desires is the desire for God. This is where the sense of qanah as to “redeem” comes into play, for, on the spiritual level, David is telling us here that God has also redeemed David’s desires, that his desire for God has been satisfied through his trust in God described in the first part of the Psalm, and all of his other “urges” can now be properly satisfied because of this. The second phrase in this verse tells us that “You knit me together in my mother’s womb”. Again, we see first that this can be understood on the literal physical level as referring to the fact that God has created David’s physical body. This is seen in the use of the Hebrew words sakak and beten here, which again have ranges of meaning, of which David makes use here also to tell us something on more than one level. Sakak can be used as to “weave together, to hide or shield, or to rouse, excite, stir up”. The word beten can refer to the belly as a part of the body or as the place where the spirit of a person expressed itself and was satisfied. So we find the literal, physical level expressed clearly in the NIV translation here, telling us God has knit us together in our mother’s womb. The spiritual level here can be seen in the other uses of the Hebrew words. As we recall the spiritual understanding of the first phrase, that God has created us with desires, foremost of which is the desire for Him, we then can see the spiritual understanding of the second phrase, that God has “roused, excited, stirred up” David’s desire for Him, which is what David related to us in the first part of this Psalm, that David’s journey to the end of himself brought him to the place where he realized that his spiritual search had ended, that he had found the one who satisfied his desires, to the place where his spirit could truly express itself and be satisfied, and he relates all of this in the hope that all who would one day read this would also come to the place where they would say that God has “created my inmost being” and has “knit me together in my mother’s womb”, brought me to the place in which I realized that all my desires can only truly be satisfied in Him, to the place in which my spirit could truly express itself and be satisfied.

No Comments Biblical Psychology  //  Nature of Man  //  Old Testament

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