After Nathan confronts David about seducing Bathsheba, David asks God to create in him a clean heart. This is one of the eight penitential Psalms.
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
VERSE 1. Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
Have mercy on me. This is one of the eight “penitential” psalms:
Psalm 6. Having been reproved by the chastening rod, David petitions God for deliverance.
Psalm 32. For a year, David refused to admit he had seduced Bathsheba and killed her husband Uriah. Finally he repents. Now he shares his joy of being forgiven.
Psalm 38. David sinned. It damaged his relationship with the LORD, his own health, and his relationship with his friends. Finally, he confesses his guilt.
Psalm 51. After Nathan confronts David about seducing Bathsheba, David asks God to create in him a clean heart.
Psalm 102. The author felt he was being ignored by the LORD. However, when the time is right, the LORD God will arise and show mercy.
Psalm 130. The author has experienced the loving kindness and forgiveness of the LORD. He hopes in the LORD. He prays by longing.
Psalm 143. David is in a desperate situation. Yet he trusts the LORD and prays for deliverance from those who oppressed him. He meditates on the works of the LORD.
blot out. David wants his sin erased.
VERSE 2. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity. Cleanse me from my sin.
wash me. The Hebrew word is kkavas. David sees sin as dirt to be washed away.
Cleanse me. For participation in the temple, one needed to be ceremonially cleansed.
VERSE 3. For I know my transgressions. My sin is constantly before me.
VERSE 4. Against you, and you only, I have sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight; that you may be proved right when you speak, and justified when you judge.
Against you, and you only, I have sinned. Actually, David sinned against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. It was not against God alone.
VERSE 5. Behold, I was born in iniquity. In sin my mother conceived me.
I was born in iniquity. At no time in his life was David without sin.
VERSE 6. Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts. You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
VERSE 7. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
VERSE 8. Let me hear joy and gladness, That the bones which you have broken may rejoice.
VERSE 9. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all of my iniquities.
your holy Spirit. We think this is the first time the “Holy Spirit” has been mentioned in the Bible.
VERSE 13. Then I will teach transgressors your ways. Sinners shall be converted to you.
Then I will. This is a classic promise of sinners. If God does thus-and-such, then the sinner will fulfill a promise. But not before. It is to barter with God. If David were motivated solely by love for God, he would fulfill his promise no matter if God answered or not.
VERSE 14. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation. My tongue shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
My tongue shall sing. David is still bartering with God. If God forgives him, then David will praise God. But not until.
VERSE 16. For you don’t delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it. You have no pleasure in burnt offering.
VERSE 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
VERSE 18. Do well in your good pleasure to Zion. Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Do well … to Zion. The idea of Zion prospering and God having pleasure because of that is a beautiful promise!
VERSE 19. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, in burnt offerings and in whole burnt offerings. Then they will offer bulls on your altar.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.