The God Of Understanding

Lorin Stein praises Psalm 139:

Psalm 139 gets my vote for being the most beautiful of the psalms in the King James version. The other day I happened to read it in French and it left me cold—it conjured up surveillance—whereas the high-low diction of the King James translators sings and is intimate, because you would only sing this way to a God you loved: "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me." It’s like an advertisement for the English language.

An old boss of mine used to claim that the most seductive words are not "I love you," but "I understand you." Surely a deep need is expressed by the line, "Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off."