In Psalm 139 - Does God use His Book (סִפְרְךָ) to document 'our design' or 'our time' on Earth?

Tehillim (Psalms) 139:16 [MT] : "Your eyes saw my unformed body, and on Your Book they were all written; days have been formed and one of them is His." (גָּלְמִ֚י | רָ֘א֚וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ וְעַל־סִפְרְךָ֘ כֻּלָּ֪ם יִכָּ֫תֵ֥בוּ יָמִ֥ים יֻצָּ֑רוּ וְל֖וֹ (כתיב וְלֹ֖א) אֶחָ֣ד בָּהֶֽם)

Psalm 139:16 [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."

Psalm 139:16 [NIV] : "Your eyes saw my unformed body; (all the days ordained for me) were written in Your Book before one of them came to be."

1 Answer 1


The Hebrew word סֵ֫פֶר (book) appears 186 times. Almost all the times, it literally means book. E.g., 1 Kings 22:39

As for the other events of Ahab's reign, including all he did, the palace he built and adorned with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

The usage in Psalm 139:16 can be interpreted literally as well as symbolically. Symbolically, it represents God's perfect foreknowledge.

If we interpret it literally. We need to be careful not to think that God requires some kind of external memory to record our daily events. That's not the purpose of the psalmist in

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

The psalmist professes that God wrote his diary even before he was born. This is psalmist's attempt to illustrate the concept of God's omniscience. If we interpret the word book literally, it is for our benefit of understanding God's omniscience. It is not for God's benefit.


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