What does Psalm 51 mean?

PSALM 51 (interpretation & commentary)


heading

To sing. This handover to the singing master of the sanctuary shows that the psalm should not only be used for private edification, but should also be sung in public worship. As much as this incomparable penitential prayer is above all suitable to serve the repentant soul struggling with God in a lonely chamber as the most suitable expression of their prayers and vows, shaped by the holy spirit, it is just as suitable as a community prayer of a gathering of the spiritually poor. A psalm of David. It is a strange thing, but a fact nonetheless, that there are interpreters who deny that David is the author of this Psalm. But their objections seem unfounded to us; Even the last two verses, for the sake of which the Psalm is to be placed in the time of the Babylonian captivity, do not seem to us, properly understood, to provide any valid reason for this assumption. The psalm has a Davidic character from beginning to end. It would be easier to imitate a Milton, Shakepeare or Goethe than this royal singer. David's style, for all its diversity, is quite peculiar; it can be recognized as clearly as the brush of a Raphael or Rubens. When the prophet Nathan came to him when he had come to Bath-Seba. The king wrote the psalm when the prophet God sent to him had awakened his sleeping conscience and opened his eyes to the greatness of his sin. David had forgotten to sing psalm as he indulged in the flesh; but he took up the harp again as soon as his spiritual person was awakened anew. When his heart poured into the song again, sighs and tears had to serve him above all to accompany him. We do not want to and must not excuse David's great sin; but it will be good to remember how a whole series of extraordinary peculiarities came together in this case. David was a man of strong inclinations and emotions; he was a warrior and, what must be remembered above all, an oriental prince of absolute power. It would not have occurred to any king of his day to have grave conscience about such acts as David had committed. So around David were not those barriers of custom and social order which, where they are broken, make the offense all the more hideous. Note, however, that neither in this psalm nor anywhere else does the king seek to excuse his iniquities with the slightest hint. So we do not bring up the facts just mentioned to gloss over David's sin, which was rather despicable in the highest degree, but to warn others so that they consider that they would get into debt far more heavily than the stray Israelite king, if they allowed themselves to be carried away to outwardly similar offenses. Most importantly, as we remember David's sin, we should also remember his repentance and the long chain of visitations that made the story of his later life so sad.

Classification. In vv. 3-14 the penitent psalmist confesses his sin and begs for forgiveness. In the last seven verses, vv. 15-21, he speaks in advance of the thanks he will bring to God and of the manner in which he is determined to show them.


interpretation

3.God, have mercy on me for your goodness
and blot out my sins according to your great mercy.
4.Wash me from my wrongdoing
and cleanse me from my sin.
5.'Cause I know my wrongdoing
and my sin is always before me.
6.I have sinned against you alone
and done badly in front of you,
that you may be right in your words
and stay pure when you are judged.
7.See, I was born in a sinful being,
and my mother conceived me in sins.
8.Behold, you enjoy the truth that lies hidden;
you let me know the secret wisdom.
9.Purify me with hyssop so that I may become clean;
wash me so that I turn white as snow.
10.Let me hear joy and bliss,
that the bones that you have smashed will rejoice.
11.Hide your face from my sins
and redeem all my wrongdoings.
12.Create in me, God, a pure heart
and give me a new certain spirit.
13.Do not cast me off your face
and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.
14.Comfort me again with your help
and equip me with a joyful spirit.


3.God have mercy on me. David turns on immediately God's gracebefore he even mentions his sin. The first thing that comes out of his mouth is (according to the word order of the basic text) the request: Have mercy on me! Oh how good this look at God's mercy does the burning, red-weeping eyes! The forgiveness of sins can only ever be an act of the free grace be; therefore the awakened sinner rightly takes refuge in this quality of God. According to your kindness. Act, Lord, according to your very nature. Be gracious to me, not according to human beings, but according to God's way. And blot out my sins according to your great mercy. Let the whole flood of your compassionate love pour over me; let your forgiveness grow as great as your unfathomable mercy puts it in your heart. In my case you reveal your whole human and sinful love, not only in its essence, but also in its overflowing abundance. From the beginning of the human race the demonstrations of your kindness have been innumerable, and your favor is immeasurable; so let me now be the object of your infinite mercy. Make my case an example of what you want to do to all sinners. My transgressions, my iniquities are written down in your book and testify against me; but, Lord, delete you this font out. Take your pen and draw a line through the whole list of sins. Repay you my transgressions, whether they now seem to be ineradicably carved in stone. It may take you a lot of trouble to get rid of the deeply engraved writings; but you have abundant grace, so I beg you, erase the memory of my sins forever.

4.Wash me well It is not enough that the debt be paid off; the worshiper feels deeply that he himself is defiled by the iniquity and would like to cleaned be. He asks God himself to wash him, since nobody but himself can do this successfully. The ablution must thoroughly be, it must penetrate completely; therefore a single wash is not enough, it has to be done again and again. So he calls out: wash me well (literally: do it a lot). The filth that taints me is in itself ineradicable, and I, a sinner, have lain in it for so long that the blood-red color of my iniquities has become deeply indented. But, Lord, wash me; wash, wash, until the last stain has disappeared and no trace of my contamination can be found anymore. The hypocrite is content to have his clothes washed; but whoever cries out to God in dire need asks: Wash me. Indifferent souls are satisfied with a ceremonial ablution (cf. 2 Samuel 11.4); But if the conscience has really woken up, he desires a real cleansing, and that of the most thorough kind. And cleanse me from my sin. Here sin is thought of as a leprosy that defiles the whole being. Note the little word my: my Wrongdoing, my Sin. What a sad property! For the psalmist it is as if nothing were so much his own as his sin; so deep has it penetrated into his innermost being. It is also noteworthy that in this verse he sets the singular: my sin. The one offense against Bath-Seba has revealed to him the depths of his ruin. This evil deed is but a single stone that has crumbled from the mountain of his sin. He longs ardently to get rid of all the filth that is in him; for his sinfulness, which he once paid little attention to, has now become a specter that haunts him day and night. - Wouldn't it be enough just to ask for cleansing from sin? Why does David raise the same issue in new words? Because the deep knowledge of his ruin and his great fear of soul urge him to do so. It is as if we heard him say: "Lord, cleanse me of my sin in whichever way you will. If the washing does not work, use another means. If water is not enough, try lye, or with Fire, or any other way, just make me pure, don't let the slightest guilt cling to my soul. " Let us notice: it is not the punishment, but the sinwhich urges him to plead so ceaselessly. For many who, like David, have murder on their conscience, the gallows causes more unrest than the bloody deed that leads them to it. The thief likes robbery, although he eschews penitentiary. Not so David: he dreads sin itself. As much as the consequences of his crimes hurt him, they are not what makes him cry so loud to God, but the wickedness of his actions shakes him most. If we treat our sin seriously, God will deal kindly with us. If we hate what God hates, God will soon clear it up, for our joy and peace.

5.Because I recognize my wrongdoing. My misdeeds (Basic text plural) are so large and numerous that i self (Basic text) I have to acknowledge them, and I willingly confess them with deep awareness of my guilt. With this David does not want to show his worthiness to be forgiven, but rather to show how much he is in need of grace, since nothing else than God's almighty mercy can help him out of such a need of sin. Since I myself feel guilty and confess, Lord, all calling against the verdict of righteousness is cut off from me; therefore I have to throw myself completely at your grace. O Lord, do not turn me away, do not push me away from you. You yourself made me willing to confess my wrongdoing. Then crown this work of grace with full, free forgiveness! And my sin is always before me. My sin - he is now looking back at it as a whole - never gets out of my mind; it keeps pressing heavily on my mind. I bring it to you because it is always before me; Lord, get rid of them, out of your eyes and mine! He who has been thoroughly awakened from the slumber of sin not only feels occasional and temporary pain at sin; his remorse penetrates to the core, his heartache is insatiable. And that is not so much a sign of God's wrath as it is a sure harbinger of overflowing grace.

6.I have sinned against you alone. The poison of sin lies in its opposition to God. The awareness of having wronged his fellow men did not weaken David's guilty feelings towards God, but rather heightened it. All of his manifold iniquities came together in one point; it culminated in disobedience and rebellion against God. That made all of his sins so utterly sinful. The injustice we do to our neighbor is sin primarily because it is breaking God's holy law. The heart of the penitent prayer was so filled with the feeling of how shamefully he had transgressed against God, that all that he had to confess in guilt against people was as it were swallowed up by the one, all-embracing confession of his sin against the Lord, that he puts down with a broken heart. And done badly in front of you.1 To practice treason in the middle of the king's palace and in front of the king's eyes, that is to say, to bring cheek to extremes. David felt that he had committed his sin in all its filthiness while Jehovah himself watched. Only a child of God turns to the eye of God; but where there is grace in the heart a glaring light falls on every evil deed when we remember that the God in whom we failed was present when we carried out the transgression. May you be right in your speech (in your judicial verdict) and stay pure in your judgment (in the execution of the judgment). (Basic text) David could not raise any objection to divine justice if it wanted to proceed immediately to pass judgment on him and punish him for his crimes. Since he himself pleaded guilty and the judge was an eyewitness to the whole process, the violation has been proven beyond all doubt, not a word is to be said about it. It is indisputable that the act happened, and beyond all question that it is damnable; therefore, it is crystal clear which path justice must take.

7.See, I was born in a sinful being. He is shocked to discover his innate sinfulness, and he goes on to expound on the latter. In doing so, he has no intention of shifting the guilt from himself; rather he wants to deepen and complete the confession of his sinfulness. It is as if he said: I have not sinned just this once, but am a sinner in my innermost being. From birth my inclinations lack the right equilibrium; I am naturally inclined to do forbidden things. I do not suffer from an accidental, temporary illness, but from a constitutional evil that is inherent in my whole body and mind from birth, which must make my whole person extremely repugnant to you. And my mother received me in sins. David goes back to the very beginning of his existence, not, as some believe, to brand his mother, but to expose the deep heart-root of his sin. Only by twisting the clear mind can one deny that this scripture teaches original sin and the natural corruption of man. Those who criticize this doctrine really need to be instructed by the Holy Spirit in the very first basic doctrines of our faith. The mother of David was the LORD's handmaid (Ps. 86:16); he was the son of an honest father, born into lawful marriage, and himself a man according to the heart of God; and yet he was just as naturally sinful as any son of Adam, and it only required the favorable opportunity for this sad fact to be revealed to everyone. We were all born freak, and when we were conceived our natures received sin. Oh, poor mankind! Let those who feel like singing their praises; - Happier is one who has learned to deeply complain about their lost condition.

8.Please refer. This is one thing that deserves special attention. God not only desires outward virtue, but inner purity, and the penitent prayer's knowledge of sins has been deepened precisely because he has recognized this truth with astonishment, and at the same time how far he is from complying with the divine demand. This second Please refer is very appropriately contrasted with the first (in v. 7); how great is the gap between the two! You have a lust for hidden truth (Inside2 Deep truth and sincerity, genuine piety, total loyalty, that's what God desires. He is not interested in pious appearances; he looks at what im Hidden of the human heart is. The Holy One of Israel has always valued people according to their innermost being and not according to their outward behavior. To him, the inside is as evident as the outside, and he judges correctly that the value or disqualification of an action lies in the motives of the agent. So do it to me in secret (of my heart) Wisdom proclaim. (Basic Text) David, he realized, was now being introduced by God's Spirit to truths which he had not previously recognized, and he heartily desired to receive such wisdom fully. The sinful tendency of our heart to know the secret of its corrupted state and the way in which it can be purified, these "secret wisdom" (Luther) we must all attain. And it's a great grace to be able to believe that the gentleman you us announce wool. Nobody but him can instruct us in our innermost being; but if he instructs us, we have rich profits. The Holy Spirit can write God's law in our hearts, and that is the main sum of life wisdom. He can put the fear of the Lord in our hearts, and that is the beginning of wisdom. He can transfigure Christ for us, and that is itself the essential wisdom. Such poor, foolish and corrupt hearts as we have are yet to be corrected so that truth and wisdom may reign in us.

9.Purify me with hyssop so that I may become pure. Sprinkle the blood of atonement on me. Give me the real that the legal ceremonies depict.Nothing but blood can erase my blood stains, only the most thorough sanctification really does purely do. Let the full Atonement that shadowed the Mosaic sacrifices eradicate my sin. What no Levitical priest can do, O Lord, you do in me; because nobody needs it more than me. We can also translate: that's how I get in; then the psalmist's faith is gloriously revealed in these words. Corrupted through and through, there is such power in divine grace that my sin will disappear before it. Like the leper on whom the priest has performed the cleansing ordinances, I will again be admitted to the assembly of your people and enjoy the privileges of the true Israel anew, while at the same time I will be pleasing in your eyes. Wash me. The repetition shows how much it was important to the prayer that he not only receive a symbolic, but a real, spiritual purification, which eradicates the iniquity of his inner being. Let both forgiveness and sanctification complete their work on me. Help me from all evil that my sin has created and nourished in me. That I am snow white, or according to the even bolder expression of the basic text: whiter than snowwill. We can also use these words as an explanation of faith: so I'll be whiter than snow. Nobody but you can make me white; but you can do it so perfectly in your grace that the purest that nature knows is surpassed. The snow is soon blackened by dust and smoke, it melts and disappears; but you can give me a purity that stays there. The snow below the surface is as white as above; you can work the same inner purity in me, you can make me so pure that human language has to use a hyperbole (an exaggeration) to denote such flawlessness. Lord, do this! I know you can and I think you want to do it.
There is hardly a verse in all of the scriptures that breathes such faith as this one. When we consider what kind of sin David was and how deeply he was convinced of the wickedness of his deed, we are amazed at the glorious belief in the omnipotent grace of God that is expressed in these words. When we add that David looked so deeply into the innate corruption of his whole being, it is a true miracle of faith that he can look forward to the hope of complete purification of his innermost being as well. And yet, on the basis of the completed Revelation, we may add: This faith does not go a hair's breadth beyond what the divine Word guarantees us and what the atonement that has flowed encourages us to do. Oh that one or the other of the readers, who groans under the burden of their sins, take heart just now to honor the LORD by trusting so confidently in the sacrifice made on Golgotha ​​and the infinite grace revealed there!

10.Let me hear joy and bliss. Only now does David remember his grief in prayer. It was the horror of his sin, and not the sad and desolate mood it had evoked in him, that first drove him to plead. But he knows that with the assurance of forgiveness too Joy and bliss will move back into his heart. He seeks comfort at the right time and from the right source. No other voice could bring his dead happiness back to life than that which raises the dead. He is right when he does not have a dim glimmer of joy from divine forgiveness, but rather, as it were twofold Joy, a full, shaken and shaken and overflowing measure of bliss awaited. Yes, it should not only be joy and bliss to have, rather Listen: their jubilee song should ring in his ears. There is a joy that one feels but does not hear; she is mute because she struggles with fear. But the joy of forgiveness has a jubilant sound that drowns out the voice of sin. Our ears cannot hear sweeter music than when God promises peace to the soul. That the bones that you have broken will be happy. He felt so miserable, as if all his bones had been shattered by the Almighty himself. The wounds under which he groaned went to the marrow of the bones; all his strength had been broken into a thousand pieces, his masculinity given way to a pathologically overwrought sensibility. But if the same God who had crushed him wanted to heal him, every wound had to be an occasion for new praise and every bones, now so riddled with pain, had to be filled with joy just as much. The picture is bold, and the faith expressed in it bold. David asks for great things: for joy and bliss for a guilty heart, for heavenly music for broken bones! A nonsensical request - just not in front of God's throne! Nowhere is it more nonsensical than right now, if the God-man Jesus had not carried our sins himself up on the wood in his body (1. Petr. 2.24). The repentant sinner does not need to ask that he be accepted as a day laborer with the father (cf. Lk. 15:19, 21), and does not have to send himself into eternal mourning with the contentment of despair; he is allowed to happiness ask and should receive them. Because if the father is happy and the friends and neighbors are happy and in good spirits to music and dance, because the prodigal son has been found again, what kind of necessity could then still exist for the person who has returned home to be unhappy and miserable?

11.Hide your face from my sins. Don't look at them; hide your judge's eye from them. They crowd your way; but refuse to see them, Lord, lest thy anger be kindled and consume me. And erase all my wrongdoings. He repeats the request made at the beginning (v. 3b); but he reinforces it by adding the little word all adds. Who is in deep distress has no leisure to look for variety in the language; the grief is monotonous and has to be content with monotonous speech. David could not hide his face from his sin, no matter how ashamed it was about her, and no attempt to divert his thoughts from her could have erased her from his memory; but he asks the Lord to do what he could not do himself, namely to put away his sin. If God does not hide his face from our sins, he must forever hide it from us, and if he does not erase our iniquities, he must erase our names from his book of life.

12.Create. How, has sin wrought such a work of destruction in us that the Creator have to come back on the scene? What light does this word throw on the calamity that sin causes in man! Create in me. The vessel, the body, is there; But inside I feel desolate and empty. So come then and again reveal your creative power by creating a new creature in my old self, disturbed by sin. At the beginning of the world you created a man; Lord, create a new person in me! A pure heart. In the ninth verse, David asked for purification; now he desires a heart that corresponds to this purity. But he does not say: "Make my old heart pure"; he is too deeply convinced of the hopeless ruin of his nature for that. He would like to see the old man buried as a dead corpse and replaced by a new creature. No one but God can create a new heart, just as no one but him can create a new world. The work of salvation is a wonderful display of supreme power. That what in happens to us is as much as what happens For has happened to us, a work that only omnipotence can accomplish. The first and most essential thing is that our hearts' inclinations be corrected if all is not to fail. The heart is the rudder of the soul, and as long as the Lord does not have this in hand, we will sail a wrong course that leads to destruction. O you gracious God, who once created me, create me anew, in my deepest innermost being. And renew a firm mind3inside of me (Basic text) Once I was firmly established in God's grace and walked in the ways of the Lord without wavering; will you give me such certainty and constancy again. Once your law was firmly written in my heart, but this writing of the Spirit has been blurred by sin so that it can only be read indistinctly; so you rewrite it, my gracious Creator. Do the evil of me as I asked you to do; But also replace it with good, otherwise seven other spirits, worse than the first, would like to come to my cleansed and adorned, but empty heart, from which the unclean spirit has emanated, and stay there. (Lk. 11:24 ff.) - The two requests of this verse complement each other: Create in me what is not yet there; renewwhat is there, but in a dead weak, sick state.

13.Do not cast me off your face. Don't throw me away as worthless; do not banish me from you like Cain. Let me have a place among those who enjoy your grace, whether I might even watch the door in your house. I deserve to be shut out of your courts forever; and yet, O Lord, in your kindness you will grant me the privilege that is dear to me as life. And don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Do not deprive me of his consolation and advice, his assistance and his enlivening power; otherwise I'm passed out like a dead man. Do not turn away from me as you turned away from Saul, so that you no longer respond to him through light and justice, nor through prophets, nor through dreams (1 Samuel 28:15). It is your spirit that makes me wise; do not leave me to my foolishness. He is my strength; o do not surrender myself to my own weakness. Don't drive me away from you and don't you leave me. You hold on to the bond that binds me to you; the connection with you is my only hope of rescue. It will certainly be a wonderful thing when such a pure spirit deigns to dwell in such an unworthy heart as mine; but is not all your work of grace, O Lord, a miracle from beginning to end? Therefore do this also, O LORD, for the sake of your mercy.

14.Give me back the joy of your salvation. (Basic text4 In the experience of the Salvation confessed and was deeply convinced that salvation God be; he also had them joy felt, which wells up from the healing experience. But he had lost this precious commodity and therefore eagerly demanded that it be given to him again. Only God can give such joy back. But he can. We can ask him and he will do it for his glory and our eternal gain. This joy does not come first, but follows forgiveness and purification; in such an order it is harmless and beneficial, in every other presumption or imagination. And with a joyful one (consent) Spirit equip me. We are naturally unwilling and disgruntled with anything good; and yet it belongs to the essence of good that it willing be done, not out of compulsion or fear, but from the inmost urge of the heart. Therefore asks David that the LORD gave him the Spirit of willingness may equip. The Spirit of the Lord does not make us slaves; rather, it frees us from the bondage of the lower instincts of our nature and from all compulsory law. Holiness is freedom; the Holy Spirit gives us true nobility to walk the earth as kings and priests. The verb used here literally means to support: Support me with a spirit of willingness. That may mean (according to Genesis 27:37 Heb.) As much as: equip me with it; but we can still hold onto the idea of ​​the basic meaning. David was well aware of his weakness; after all, when God left him to his own devices for a moment, he had done such a difficult case. That is why he begs to be kept on his feet by a higher power. We are safe in the roughest and most dangerous ways when God's Spirit sustains us; without this guide and sustainer, we stumble and fall on a level track. The requests for joy and around Maintenance fits well together. It is over with all joy if our feet are not prevented from sliding; and on the other hand, joy is a sustaining force and a powerful support for holiness. We owe both of these to the same free, holy and royal spirit of the Lord.


15.I want to teach the transgressors your ways
that sinners will turn to you.
16.Save me from the blood debts, God who are my God and Savior,
that my tongue may praise your righteousness.
17.Lord open my lips
that my mouth proclaim your glory.
18.Because you don't feel like sacrificing, otherwise I probably wanted to give it to you;
and you do not like burnt offerings.
19.The sacrifices that please God are a frightened spirit;
God, you will not despise a frightened and bruised heart.
20.Do good in Zion according to your grace;
build the walls of Jerusalem.
21.Then you will like the victims of justice
the burnt offerings and whole offerings;
then bullocks will be offered on your altar.


15.I want to teach the transgressors your ways. David is determined, if God has grace, to become a teacher of others; and there is no doubt that no one can instruct others as well as someone who has himself been taught by God. Improved poachers are the best gamekeepers. The first requirement of a preacher of the gospel is that he know himself saved by grace; this certificate of pardon is more necessary to win over human souls than any university degree. If the preacher has the forgiveness of his sins, the content of his speech will be good, for he has received the instruction of the Holy Spirit; and his way of speaking will be convincing and winning, because he speaks with compassion, as one who has himself felt what he is talking about. It is also worth remembering what kind of listener the psalmist wants: he wants Violator or Renegadesto teach how he himself was one. May others look down on such people with contempt he can't do that. Love draws him to those who, like him, must experience the sorrow and heartache it brings to forsake the Lord. If he is unworthy to edify the saints, he would like to bow down to sinners in the dust and to testify to them in a humble simplicity of God's love. The grace that God one Proves sinner throws a light on his disposition against all Transgressors so that our own experience gives us God ways, d. i. understanding his general behavior helps. Perhaps by this expression David means the ways which God has ordained for man, i.e. the commandments of the Lord. He himself broke them, and one of his deepest pains was surely that, because of his influential bad example, the respect for God's holy ordinances had suffered badly among many; the more he had to burn with zeal to use all his influence from now on to impress God's law on the hearts of the people. That the sinners (lit .: and sinners should themselves) convert to you. My deep fall will help others straighten up. You will bless my testimony that many who like me have strayed on the wrong path will return to you. There is no doubt that this particular Psalm, along with the others from the same time, as especially Ps. 32, as well as this whole experience of David through the centuries up to our days, has become primarily in God's hands a means of converting sinners . In this way, in a wonderful way, evil has been turned into good.

16.Save me from the blood debt. He was guilty of the death of Uriah the Hittite, this loyal servant, and now confesses this fact. If his adultery was a death-worthy crime, the murder had laid double guilt on his head. If you are serious about your penance, don't make any digressions, but make a frank confession. He does not look for fine expressions to present his sin in the best possible light, but calls the thing by its right name and pours out his heart thoroughly. What other procedure is sensible, since we are dealing with the omniscient? God, you God of my salvation. (Literally) David has never dared come so close in this psalm. His faith grows stronger during prayer. In this verse he confesses his sin more clearly than before, and yet he turns to God more confidently and confidently: at the same time growing up and down is probably compatible with one another. No one but the king can pardon a criminal sentenced to death; that is why the belief rejoices that God in royal power is the beginner and finisher of our salvation. May my tongue boast of your righteousness or cheering prizes. We'd rather expect him to be god grace vow to praise; but the justice In many passages of Scripture, God encompasses the grace of God. Compare in particular 1 John 1.9. The LORD had given David a promise of forgiveness through Nathan (2 Samuel 12:13). If he stood by his word, it proved to be his justice and loyalty. So David already experienced in himself at least a foretaste of that wonderful demonstration of divine justice in the justification of the sinner, which afterwards was revealed in its all-embracing meaning in the New Testament. Note that David had vowed to preach in the previous verse, but is now speaking of it, about the righteousness of God to cheer to want. That is not surprising; the righteousness of divine grace is its greatest miracle. We can never do too much in gratitude to the Lord, to whom we owe more than anything. He who is much forgiven loves a lot. Nobody can be happier to cheer as a great sinner who has been forgiven. Our sin cries out to heaven; so our thanks should also echo out loud. If we are saved human beings, we will no longer sing our own glory, but the theme of our hymns will be "the Lord our righteousness" (Jer. 23: 6).

17.Lord, open my lips. He has learned to be afraid of himself, so that he is afraid to speak until the Lord himself opens his lips, which have become silent with shame. He surrenders his whole being to the divine hat. How wonderfully the LORD can open our lips, and what divinely exalted things we simple-minded droplets can utter when God's Spirit puts the words in our mouths! This request from a penitent is a delicious prayer for any gospel preacher. Lord, I also bring them before your throne for me and my brothers. But it may serve anyone well who can only stutterly pray in shame about their sin. Wherever this sigh is fully heard, the mute tongue begins to shout (Isa. 35: 6). That my mouth proclaim your glory. When God opens one's mouth to a person, it is certain that the Lord's praise will be heard. Depending on which gatekeeper is at the door, it also depends on what goes out of the mouth. When vanity, anger, falsehood, or evil lust unlock the gate, the most vile wickedness comes out in heaps; but when the Holy Spirit opens the gate, bliss, mercy, peace and all virtues come forth in a lovely dance, like the daughters of Israel who went to meet David when he returned from battle with the head of the Philistine (1 Samuel 18, 6).

18.Because you don't feel like a sacrifice (slaughter). This is what the previous psalm is about. David was so enlightened that he looked far beyond the figurative usages and ordinances of the law. His faithful eye clung to the powerful Atonement with delight.5Otherwise I wanted to give it to you. He would have gladly made tens of thousands of sacrifices if that would have atoned for his iniquities. Yes, every achievement that the LORD would have asked of him, he would have willingly accomplished. We are ready to give everything if only we will be cleansed of our guilt; and if we have received the forgiveness of sins out of free grace, free of charge and without money, our joyful gratitude is completely ready for every sacrifice. And you don't like burnt offerings. David knew that no burnt offering could take away his sin. The ardent desire of his soul for an effective atonement made him look from the shadowy model to the true counter-image, from the external rite to the internal working of grace.

19.The sacrifices that fall to God are a terrified one (lit .: broken) Ghost. All the sacrifices in one are made by the man who has nothing to bring but his broken heart, which only trusts in God's grace. When the heart mourns for sin, it pleases the Lord better than when the bullock bleeds under the butcher's knife. The expressions: broken mind, broken heart, indicate deep, almost killing pain in the innermost seat of life. So delicious is a spirit that is truly bowed down before God, crushed by the awareness of how unworthy of the grace received, that it is not only a Sacrifice but the epitome all Thanksgiving offering (note the majority of the text) is; he is preferably the Sacrifice pleasing to God. A scared (lit .: broken) and bruised heart you, God, will not despise. The scent of the spikenard only emanates when the vessel is broken; so just a broken heart is god a sweet smell. People despise those who have become contemptible in their own eyes; but the Lord does not see how a man sees. He despises what people hold up high and values ​​what they despise. God has never spurned or rejected a contrite sinner, nor will he do it, as long as God is love and Jesus can say: He accepts sinners. He does not desire bullocks and goats, but he desires broken hearts; Yes, a such is worth more to him than all the manifold sacrifices of the ancient Israeli sanctuary.

20.Do good in Zion according to your grace. Let, as it is your pleasure, blessings pour out over your holy mountain and the city that you have chosen. Zion was David's favorite place; there he had hoped to be able to build a temple and, when this heartfelt desire was refused, at least put up a tent for the holy ark. His heart is so attached to this consecrated place that as soon as he has relieved his conscience before God, he has to insert a word for it. He feels it deeply how unworthy he is after his severe fall to still somehow prepare the execution of this plan to honor God by building a temple; but he begs that God should nevertheless let the place where he is enthroned over the cherubim of the ark be glorious, confirm the worship there and bless the people who worship him there. Build the walls of Jerusalem. It was also a dear work for David to surround the holy city with walls and ramparts, and it is a heartfelt concern to him that it should be completely completed, as it was afterwards under Solomon (1 Kings 3: 1). We are of the opinion, however, that David had something deeper in mind with these words and that he prayed for the prosperity of God's kingdom affair and God's people. He had done much harm through his sin and, as it were, tore down Zion's walls; He therefore beseeches the Lord to make amends with grace for the damage he has done, and to strengthen his church. God can make His Church prosper, and He will and will if we pray for it. Where he doesn't build, we work for free; therefore let us pray fervently and incessantly to him. It would be a sure sign that grace does not reign in us if we did not have a warm feeling for the weal or woe of the Lord's church.

21.Then you will please the sacrifices of righteousness, the burnt offerings and whole sacrifices; then bullocks will be offered on your altar. In the holy days that David longs for, the saints will offer the best offerings in abundance, and you, God, will deign to accept them. Graceed souls expect to see their requests for the revitalization of God's church fulfilled, and are certain that the Lord will then be highly glorified. Although we now no longer have to bring animal sacrifices, we as priests of God consecrate our worship and the promised gifts as the right sacrifices of thanksgiving which are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ (1. Pet. 2,5). We do not bring the LORD anything, our doves and lovebirds, but dedicate to him the best of what we have, ours Bullocks. We are glad that in this present time of salvation we are already the Victim of justice can bring, of which the psalmist speaks here, d. H. such sacrifices, which not only outwardly correspond to the prescriptions of the law, but are above all an outflow of right disposition. But we still await the coming days of the consummation of salvation, in which the church of the Lord will offer gifts on God's altar with unspeakable joy that will far exceed everything we offer to God in these miserable times. Lord, let the days come soon!


Explanations and key words

To Ps. 50; 51; Of the 2 Asaphitic Psalms, which are also together as a separate group in the Psalter (73-83), one, the 50th, is separated and preceded the second larger group of Psalms of David (the Elohimic) 51 ff., Apparently because of this the internal relationship of the 50th (asaphic) with the 51st (Davidic) psalm. Both "devalue the real animal sacrifice against the personal spiritual one" (Delitzsch). This order is an example of the fact that in addition to the similarity in salient external features, which will have determined the arrangement of many psalms, the internal relationship was also sometimes decisive for the arrangement of the psalter. - James Millard
  To the headline. When he had come to Bath-Seba. That was the egg that the devil had put in the nest so that many of them would be laid with it. John Trapp † 1669.
  To the whole psalm. (From the preface to the second English volume of the Treasury of David, which comprises Ps. 27-52.) This volume contains several of the most outstanding and delicious songs of Zion. With some of them, when I started to interpret them, I was taken over by holy awe, so that I cried out with Jacob: "How holy is this place! It is nothing other than God's house". This was a special feature of the fifty-first the case. I postponed writing the explanation week after week as I felt more and more ineptitude. I often sat down to go to work and got up again without writing a line. The psalm is a bush that burns with fire and yet is not consumed, and it seemed to me as if a voice was calling out to me from it: "Do not come near, take off your shoes from your feet." The psalm is so human, its supplications and sighs are entirely those of someone born of a woman, and yet it bears such a strong imprint of divine inspiration that it is as if Heavenly Father himself put every word into the mouth of his child. Such a psalm may be wetted with spikes, may be absorbed completely and then poured out again as a very personal prayer before the LORD; but interpret it - where is someone who would have tried that and not whether the failure should blush? C. H. Spurgeon 1870.
David's repentance was very thorough. God worked it in his soul. There was tremendous crushing in his soul. His sadness lingered for a while. He did not drive them away through distracting business, through merrymaking, and through self-made consolation. He knew that his case was pending in the supreme judgment of God and would not be satisfied until he was inwardly convinced that an absolution had happened to him as a result. He also obtained it and could happily thank God Ps. 103 for it. The grace obtained also strengthened his bones and restored his health. His repentance was so thorough that afterwards he had a lifetime of loathing from adultery, manslaughter, and all willful sins, and was protected against new sin. A deeper insight into the corruption of human nature and the true nature of justification and sanctification accompanied his repentance, and that insight enabled him to teach others, and so was a pound that gained much. No man's repentance is described in such detail in the scriptures; no man before David is reported to have valued sin and the forgiveness of sins as highly as he did. His fall has many followers; alas, that his penance would also have many! prelate Magnus Fr. Roos 1773.
The psalm has been a guide to many sinners who brought them back to God. Athanasius († 373) recommended in a letter to several Christians to pray him when they woke up at night. Luther says of this penitential psalm that it was sung and prayed more often in church than anyone in the psalter. It is noteworthy that this psalm is the first in which the spirit is called the holy spirit. William Swan Plumer 1867.
How often has Psalm 51 with its request for forgiveness, for a pure heart and a new, certain spirit been spoken and sung in the most terrible and moving hours and situations! Wrote in Florence prison Savonarola (1479) an interpretation of it, accusing and comforting oneself with it! Ecolompad dying (1531) spoke the whole psalm from beginning to end; Jane Gray still on the scaffold. To his king, Henry IV., wrote his loyal stable master, Agrippa d'AubigneTo prepare him for his return to the Protestant Church, a very solemn meditation on the Psalm, which the King received kindly and prayed several times with a repentant mind. Luther consoled a poor student who, when asked what he wanted to bring to God when he was dying, replied: "A fearful and bruised heart!" Huss sang the psalm at Constance at the stake (1415); so does the poor one Pierre Miletuswhen he was hung in chains over the fire on Place Maubert under Franz II; and how many of the French desert preachers of the eighteenth century climbed the steps of the gallows to the singing of this psalm! A. von Salis 1902.
This psalm is arguably the most poignant of all; in any case, he is one of those who I can apply most directly to myself. It is evidently the outpouring of a soul suffering grievously from the guilt of a recent major transgression. My God, give me grace too, to recognize the abomination of my manifold misdeeds, old and new, and do not remember the sins of my youth. What a rich treasure trove is this psalm for prayer, content and expression! Wash and cleanse me, Lord, and let my sin and my sinful nature be before me always. Let me see my wrongdoing primarily as a sin against you, so that my pain may be divine sadness. Let me see how evil my innate corruption is, cleanse me thoroughly, and plant truth in my hidden inner being, so that my conversion may be a real turning away from sin and turning to the Savior. Recreate me, God. Do not withdraw your spirit from me. Grant me that I may rejoice in your salvation. Save me, God, from the blood debts I accumulated by annoying your little ones. And open my lips so that I can speak of the wonders of grace that you have done on my soul. May I offer true spiritual sacrifices. And oh, do not let shame come upon your congregation through any wrong done by me, but purify and edify it, so that its external worship services, clean of all malice and hypocrisy, can please you. Thomas Chalmers † 1847.
The psalm certainly also has a prophetic meaning for the people of Israel. In the last days the children of Israel will rethink their ways, and bitter repentance and self-loathing will result. Blood guilt far more terrible than that which David had on his conscience must be taken from them. But when they are cleansed from the iniquity of their sin, then they will become the teachers of the Gentiles. Arthur Pridham 1869.


V. 3.God have mercy on me. I am shy and ashamed to say my name, because my previous familiarity with you makes it all the more terrible for me now, after my severe case, that I know you recognize me again. That is why I do not say: Lord, remember David, nor do I call myself, as I did in happier hours, your servant or the son of your maid. I don't want to suggest anything that might remind you of my previous relationships with you and thus only put my shamefulness in a more glaring light. Therefore do not ask, Lord, who I am, but forgive me as a sinner who confesses his iniquity, condemns himself and begs for mercy. I dare not say: "my God "because that would be presumption. I have lost you through my sin, have alienated myself from you by following the enemy; that is why I am impure that I must not come near you, but can only stand from afar and cry out with contrite heart: God have mercy on me sinners, bishop A. P. Forbes 1857.
  God have mercy on me. He does not say: See my sack, my fast, my sacrifice. According to your kindness, not: to my satisfaction. And pay off etc. These are all words of a thorough repentance that exist large makes and much the grace of God, in that it makes them great and much their sin. For, as the apostle says (Rom. 5:20), where sin is great, grace is great too.Therefore grace does not please those who are proud; for their sins do not taste bad to them yet. Martin Luther † 1546.
  Have mercy on me: not only according to the affect, but also including the effect, since one shows oneself gracious in action and in the work. The grace should be the norm and guideline of the process; just as she became famous in the world. Johann David Frisch 1719.
  Blot out my sins according to your great mercy. The awakened sinner is appalled at the size and quantity of his sins; but he need not despair, because is with God size Mercy, one Abundance of mercy. Whether our sins are more than the hair from our heads (Ps. 40:13), the divine abundance of grace surpasses the host of stars in heaven. God is infinite, so is His grace immeasurable. Yes, his grace is so high above our sin as he himself is above us poor sinners. So that the psalmist refers to the size Called to divine mercy, he shows the depth of his knowledge of sin. As long as we go under the deception of Satan, our sins seem small and few; but when we stand in God's light, the previously insignificant sins become gigantic and their number becomes legion. Archibald Symson 1638.
  Repay means eradicating something completely so that there is no trace of it left and one no longer thinks about it. Cf. Exodus 17:14 (Amalek); 32,32 f. (Someone from the book of life); Isa. 43.25; 44:22 (sins). Charles de Coetlogon 1775.
  My sins. If the conscience is healthy, it always speaks this way: my sins. Don't blame those who tempted you. Everyone has to bear his burden (Gal. 6,5): you to have your Fault; but yours Sin is yours, yours alone, a terrible possession, which you cannot share with anyone, clinging to you alone among all the spirits of the universe. Ms. W. Robertson † 1853.


V. 3.4. Three expressions for sin: Trespasses, iniquity, sin. Sin is 1) ($ apIe%: breaking away from God, breach of faith, indignation; 2) NO (f: perversion, wrong action, iniquity; 3) t) + Ifxa: deviation from that which is pleasing to God. Adam Clarke † 1832.


V. 4.Of my iniquity, my sin. Note: from the fault, not from the punishment he desires to get rid of. That the sword should not leave his house for ever, that the sin, which had been committed secretly, should be punished in front of all Israel and in the bright sun, that the child so dear to the parents' heart had to die for the sake of the father's sin must - David does not speak of any of these in this psalm, but only speaks of his sin as an iniquity against God and (even if not so explicitly) of the fact that he has defiled God's sanctuary with his uncleanness. bishop Ambrose of Milan † 397.
  Purify me from my sin. Sin is a filthy thing; dirty to talk about, dirty to hear about, dirty above all to do. Archibald Symson 1638.


V. 5.My sin. That is our natural possession. We did not bring any of the goods of this earth with us, we came into the world hungry and naked; but we have brought our sin with us, as David later confesses. Samuel Page 1646.
  Is always in front of me. The pain of sin is longer and lasting than the pain of chastisement. This comes and goes like a spring tide; that is to be compared to a constantly flowing brook. The grief over sin is in the soul of a child of God in the morning, in the evening, by day, by night, in healthy and sick days, in joy and sorrow, at home and outside, always. This grief begins with our awakening, lasts through life, and only stops when we enter the land of sin. Thomas Fuller † 1661.
The murdered Uriah, the violated Bath-Seba, the tainted crown, the angry people, the wounded conscience, the curse of the law and other suites (consequences) of sins were always in his mind. They hovered before his eyes ceaselessly as so many frightening furies; they treated him as so much an executioner and tormentor with their threats that he could never rest before them. Johann David Frisch 1719.
  My sin is always before - to the people: shame for David; before the pious: sorrow for them; before the enemy: joy for them. But if something gives hope for true repentance and improvement, it is this, if the sinner can say: My sin is always before me. There he gets to know all his misery. Samuel Page 1646.


V. 6.I have sinned in you alone. All sin is sin against God because against his will. God draws them to himself, makes the debt one with him to be paid, so that we are with him for everything alone have to do with him alone Are sinners. This need not be said so explicitly if it was not a question of sin which at first did not seem to have been committed directly to God; with which the loud one, also from Bäthgen repeated speech becomes obsolete, this sentence cannot be combined with David's adultery and murder. It goes without saying that the poet does not want to diminish his guilt here, but on the contrary testify to its heavy weight. Lic.Hans Keßler 1899.
This verse has been interpreted in many ways by many, and it has always been believed to be the heaviest in this entire psalm. Although I now let everyone's opinion be good, I do hope that we do not want to lack the right, certain understanding. But every reader must bear in mind that David speaks here in all saints and believers, not only in his person or alone as an adulterer. Although I admit that this sin gave him the cause, that he came to knowledge of himself and of all human corruption, that he thought to himself: "See, I, who was such a holy king, who with great earnestness I kept the law, increased the worship service and kept it seriously, am now so overwhelmed and attacked by the wickedness and poison of sin, which are innate in all human nature, that I let the innocent pious man, Uriam, murdered and him through the Adultery taken his wife. Is not that a bright, clear indication that the nature of man is more violently poisoned and corrupted by sin, for I could have remembered all my life? Yesterday I was chaste, today an adulterer; yesterday purely without blood guilt but now I owe the innocent blood. " In such a way it may have happened that David, from such a sin of adultery and manslaughter, came to the knowledge of the whole sinful nature and thus concluded that neither the tree nor the fruits of human nature are good, but that everything is corrupted by sin is that there is nothing good left in all of nature. Martin Luther 1532.
  I have sinned Me, me, adsum qui feci (Virgil): I, I did; I, whom you fetched from the suckling sheep, to whom you gave the scepter for the shepherd's staff, in place of the sheep your own people Israel, and on whose head you have set a golden crown. I, to whom not long ago you gave full kingship over all the people; I, whom you conquered Jerusalem of the Jebusites; I, who have won peace for the people, who have established worship and courts in Jerusalem that you may be honored; I, who would have loved to build you a house; I, to whom you have entrusted regiment and judgment, to use the good, and the evil as punishment; I, to whom you have given the responsible task as a prophet to guide souls with your word, to support them with salutary advice, to lure with your promises and to terrify your threats; I, who should have been an example of holiness and righteousness to all Israel both as king and prophet - I have sinned so terribly against you! Nathan spoke to David as a righteous accuser: "You are the man", and now David replies with a heartfelt confession: "Yes, I am the man". Samuel Page 1646.
Experience teaches that there are many people who do not hesitate to confess themselves to be sinners in general and yet are hardly guilty of any particular sin. If you point them out to the ten commandments, they will know how to apply each of them in such a way that they are free from transgression. Anyone who hears them speak in this way in relation to the individual will also not be able to believe their general confession of sin; for as soon as one accuses them of sin against the various commandments, they declare themselves not guilty. As long as a person is without feeling and knowledge of his individual sins, there can be no hope that he will get by. Blessed is the one whose heart is pierced with pain at the sinfulness of one of his deeds. If he feels true repentance because of this one, it will lead him to a thorough understanding of his whole lost condition. One sin brought David to his knees, broke his heart, melted his core, and made him plead for all-encompassing forgiveness, purification, and renewal. Samuel Hieron † 1617.
  May you be right in your saying etc. Sin, although contrary to God's will, must nevertheless serve his glorification (cf. Rom. 3, 4 f.)