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Psalm 51:1-13 - David's song admitting his sins, begging for forgiveness

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

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1 Have mercy on me elohim, according to your loving-kindness; *

in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness *

and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, *

and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you only have I sinned *

and done what is evil in your sight.

5 [4] And so you are justified when you speak *

and upright in your judgment.

6 [5] Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *

a sinner from my mother's womb.

7 [6] For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *

and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

8 [7] Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *

wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

9 [8] Make me hear of joy and gladness, *

that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10 [9] Hide your face from my sins *

and blot out all my iniquities.

11 [10] Create in me a clean heart elohim, *

and renew a right spirit within me.

12 [11] Cast me not away from your presence *

and take not your holy Spirit from me.

13 [12] Give me the joy of your saving help again *

and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.


This is the Track 1 psalm that accompanies the 2 Samuel 11-12 reading about David’s sins and Nathan giving him Yahweh’s judgment against him. This song of lament was written by David specifically because of that event with Nathan, making it the perfect accompaniment. The pair of readings will precede a reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where he wrote, “We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.” All will accompany the Gospel selection from John, where Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Verse one of this Psalm actually includes what the NRSV has separated and presented as the heading for this song. They identify Psalm 51 as “A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” This is written into verse one, but omitted from that presented as verse one.

The Episcopal Church, in all it’s almighty David-being-equal self has changed the numbering of this song, although the words of the NRSV are maintained. Verse 4, according to the NRSV, is four lines, like verse one but the other verses all only have two lines. The Episcopal Church has looked down upon this as a glaring mistake, waved its holy wand and <poof & presto> they have added a nonexistent verse that happily [in their eyes] throws more confusion onto the Christian faithful, which they have no intention of ever addressing, much less explaining. You will note that I have amended the verse numbers to what they really are.

Also in my corrections above are two uses of “elohim” [there is a third in the verses not included in this reading] that have been erroneously translated as “O God.” The Hebrew word “elohim” is the plural form of “el,” clearly translating as “gods,” of which none of the translators recognize. They all take a word clearly written in the plural number and transform it into being a capitalized “God.” The name of the “God” David, Nathan, Bathsheba, and Uriah the Hittite worshipped was “Yahweh.” The use of “elohim” is important to see as the “elohim” are the angels and saints who are two as one with Yahweh, as His messengers to the world. David had been one of the “elohim,” but now his fall has endangered that state of being.

It should be realized that David was not just some talented songwriter. The lyrics of the Psalms were divinely inspired. This should be seen as an example of his soul still be married to Yahweh, after Yahweh poured out His Spirit upon David’s soul [after Samuel poured physical oil from a horn on his head]. That spiritual event would remain with David’s soul forever. David was allowed to fail in order to condemn the line of kings that would rule the land they coveted more than Yahweh. Thus, it was as an “elohim” that David wrote this song of lament, after Nathan had told him Yahweh’s judgment upon his human house, which had been disgraced.

It should also be understood that Yahweh does not inspire His elohim to write Scripture for simply telling historical facts and figures. Everything David did and was punished for is a reflection of everything sinful done ever since and to this day [and well beyond]. The reader of Scripture needs to see how Scripture is a finely tailored fit for the reader’s past, present, or future. Scripture is thus written for the benefit of warning others that what has happened once will happen again; no one is immune to the trappings of sin.

In the part of verse one that follows the introduction that has been omitted, three Hebrew words start, which are: “ḥān·nê·nî ’ĕ·lō·hîm kə·ḥas·de·ḵā”. These words make a statement in the first segment of words, saying “show favor upon me elohim according to your loving kindness.” This needs to be read as David requesting Yahweh show favor to his status as an elohim [a wife whose soul has forever merged with Yahweh’s Spirit], with that state of being said to be because of Yahweh’s “loving kindness.” The aspect of “love” is read into this translation because that elohim relationship was due to a marriage based on love and subjection.

That statement containing elohim is then followed by two more segments of words, which say, “according to multitude of your mercies” and “blot out my transgressions.” This says that not only has Yahweh created many elohim out of “kindness,” but He also has created states of forgiveness very many times, as all human souls face lives knowing sin before they become sincerely repentant and submit their souls to Yahweh for judgment. All who have married their souls with Yahweh’s Spirit, having become His elohim, have had all of their “transgressions blotted out” and erased. Verse one is David’s plea for forgiveness, which comes from admitting his sins, as made clear to him by Nathan about his dealings concerning Bathsheba.

Verse two then furthers this state of having sins blotted out, where the comparison is being “washed clean.” The NRSV translates this as, “Wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.” So many Christians hear about baptism by the Spirit [the anointing Yahweh personally poured out unto David’s soul] and then load up on trucks and drive down to the nearest Christian church and stand in line for a baptism by water. David is not expecting holy water to be poured over his head, because he had no concept of water doing anything more than washing filth off one’s body. This means verse two is David asking for a second helping of Yahweh’s divine Spirit to be the cleansing agent that restores his transgressed soul to elohim status.

In verse three, David confesses his sins. This is a required element of repentance. To remove a problem, one first has to admit one has a problem. David did that by stating [NRSV], “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” In that, to say “I know my transgressions,” the Hebrew word for “know” [“yada”] is more than a brain remembering how events of the past went down. Because David was an elohim and his soul was married to Yahweh, his “knowledge” came from the Mind of God [as a “Christ” or “Messiah” or “Anointed one”], so David totally “knew” his “transgressions,” because his soul had become immersed in his sinful acts. His actions became ever-present to his being, haunting his soul, as if the soul of Uriah had become his constant reminder surrounding him.

The first half of verse four states [NRSV], “Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” This says David had the legal right to do everything he did, as a king. Because Yahweh had instructed Samuel to set the framework for what having a human king meant for the Israelite people, David had broken none of those parameters. He had the free reign to rule as corruptly as would any other human king, like those who ruled over other nations. The marriage of David’s soul to Yahweh raised him to a level of responsibility that meant David’s soul was where Yahweh was the only King. As long as David lived righteously, as a good wife to Yahweh, then Yahweh ruled as King of Israel, with David along for the ride. However, when David began to act as that king, he cheated on his commitment to Yahweh; so, everything a human king ever does with unchecked power is “evil” in the eyes of Yahweh.

The second half of verse four [which the Episcopal Church calls verse five], says [NRSV], “And so you are justified when you speak and upright in your judgment.” This is David admitting he did everything he has been blamed by Yahweh for having done, saying Yahweh spoke justly in his judgment that David’s house will face ruin. Nathan told David that Yahweh had promised: “I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house” and “I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” That said David’s kingship would collapse publicly, as punishment for his sins. David agrees that spoken through Nathan was “justified” and “upright.”

It is this verse four that is what separates the souls of sinful Christians from the soul of sinful David. The lesson to be taught here is accept one’s punishment in the physical world, no matter how hard and bad it may be. David admitted he sinned and asked for Yahweh to wash clean his soul; and, if that meant destroying his kingship and everything surrounding him in the physical world, then let that be. It is far better to suffer for ten years until death and then have one’s soul released to eternal life, all debts of sins paid in full, than it is to beg God to forgive one’s sins and then beg to not lose everything one has sinned a lifetime amassing. Christians beg Yahweh for all kinds of luxuries in the material realm, when none have ever considered their soul’s need to marry Yahweh and become an elohim. In that way, they all play King of Self, subjecting God to being their lackey who needs to be forgiving, with perks.

In verse five, David wrote a truth that all human beings must realize. He sang [NRSV], “Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.” This fairly accurate translation is still in need of tweaking, because there is absolutely nothing anyone knows about David’s mother being the bearer of sinners into the world. A literal translation of the Hebrew makes this verse state: “behold in iniquity I was brought forth , and in sin , conceived me my mother.” This becomes the elohim of David singing, because when the Spirit poured out upon David’s soul, it surrounded him with the presence of the Father. That is different from “my mother,” where the masculinity of Yahweh and the femininity of the material world is what is being stated here, not maternal birth.

The “mother” that must be seen is the ‘goddess’ known as “Earth.” The world is the realm of the feminine essence, with “Mother Earth” also being one of Yahweh’s elohim. The feminine essence, being the opposite of the masculine Spiritual essence, makes the material realm ripe for offers that turn souls away from Yahweh and towards “mother” earth. This is the meaning of David saying, he looked [“behold!] and was lured into the world of “iniquity,” so he “was brought forth” into the feminine essence, away from the masculine. Once away from Yahweh, David “sinned.” Rather than being a product of union in the masculine – a soul merged with divine Spirit [an elohim] – David became “conceived” of “my mother,” not the Father. While the general statement of this verse says ALL HUMAN BEINGS are born of sin, being neuter souls implanted into feminine essence bodies of flesh, that becomes a crutch – an excuse for sins – which is easily overcome through divine marriage of a soul to Yahweh. It is, however, easier to not marry Yahweh than it is to make that commitment.

Verse six then sings [NRSV], “For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly.” In this, there is balance or symmetry that reflects on the “Behold in inequity” of verse five, now with “Behold truth” David was able to see, in a state of being that was the opposite of sins. Rather than reading “you look for truth deep within me, “”truth” is the Spirit that leads all elohim. The element “deep within me” comes from “ḇaṭ·ṭu·ḥō·wṯ,” which means “inward parts.” The “inward parts” of a human being is the “soul,” which can also be stated as one’s “heart.” That then leads to the literal stating, “and in the hidden wisdom you will make me to know.” This says Yahweh does no look for truth within, as much as David made it clear that truth is wisdom, which comes through the unseen element of one’s soul, through marriage to Yahweh.

Verse seven then sings [NRSV], “Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.” In this, the NRSV has eliminated the presence of “hyssops,” which is an aromatic fragrance that adds a pleasing scent to that which is washed. This then leads to “wash me than the snow I shall be whiter than.” What David sang here says the stench of his sins needed to be purged with strong aromatic smells that mask the odors of sin that surrounded David. There was also a blackness of filth that surrounded his soul’s glow, which he wanted scoured until gleaming white. The symbolism is a soul married to Yahweh is fragrant and clean, not foul and dirty.

Verse eight then sings [NRSV], “Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice.” In the first part of this verse, the converse says David could not sense the sounds of happiness that came from those who surrounded him, because not only were they lamenting his plight, but so too was his own wails of sorrow drowning out everything else. When David wrote, “may rejoice the bones you have broken,” this is more than a plea for his body to stop aching, as much as “bones” [from “‘ă·ṣā·mō·wṯ”] is more a statement about “self,” or his “soul” no longer feeling the presence of Yahweh. David feels his “substance” has become “broken” away from Yahweh; and he longs to “rejoice” the mending of that break.

Verse nine then sings [NRSV], “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.” Whenever the Hebrew word “paneh” is written, the meaning of “face” must be seen as relative to the first Commandment, where one married to Yahweh promises to always wear only the “face of Yahweh before Him.” Thus, what David is saying here is he “hid the face of Yahweh” by wearing the “face” of self, which then led him to “sins.” Again, David’s soul makes a plea for the sins of the flesh to be removed from the soul, restoring the eternal union of an elohim.

Verse ten then returns to that concept of an elohim, as David sang [NRSV], “Create in me a clean heart elohim, and renew a right spirit within me.” Here, the literal translation says, “a heart clean create in me elohim , and a spirit steadfast , renew inward parts”. In that, the word translated as “heart” [“leb”] also means, “inner man, mind and will.” As “inner man,” this balances the use of “qereb” at the end, or “inward parts.” They are both the same, as a soul. Thus, David was pleading to be made “clean of soul,” where “ruach” is the “steadfast spirit” of Yahweh married to David’s soul, which will “renew” his “soul” by the return of Yahweh’s presence.

Verse eleven then sings [NRSV], “Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy Spirit from me.” This repeats the word “ruach” [both uses as “wə·rū·aḥ” – “and spirit, breath, wind”], where the plea specifically asks Yahweh “not to cast away” David’s soul from the presence of Yahweh. One must see this as a cheating wife begging her Husband [who refuses to grant or demand a divorce] not to keep her around, while having nothing to do with her as punishment. The translation of “holy spirit” is misleading, as the Spirit of Yahweh can be nothing other than Yahweh, the epitome of holiness. The “spirit” is the same as in verse ten, which is more than a “soul” [a “breath of life” into a body of flesh], because the “Spirit” is the marriage of Yahweh to a soul. Thus, the condition of “sacredness” or “holiness” is that the “spirit” projects upon the “soul” of the wife. David is pleading that his status as an elohim not prevent him from continuing to do Yahweh’s work on earth.

Verse twelve then sings [NRSV], “Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.” Here, the idea of doing Yahweh’s work is confirmed, as David pleaded, ‘restore to me the joy of your salvation,” where the true “joy” came from David leading all the Israelites to be saved. Again repeating the word “wə·rū·aḥ” [“and spirit”] for the third verse in a row, David is asking Yahweh to be generous to those who depend on David [as their king] to benefit from a leader that was divinely married to Yahweh and the conduit of His Spirit for the people.

It is important to realize this song of prayer for cleansing continues for seven more verses, none of which will ever be read aloud in an Episcopal church. The point made by these verses is David was led by the love of Yahweh to sincerely repent his wrongdoings in song, asking not for a return to the way things were, but to allow him to salvage some good in the remainder of his time on earth. One must realize that Yahweh led David to write this song for the many others after David who would also know the failure of their souls to wear the face of Yahweh and become His elohim through divine marriage.

As an accompanying song of lament that is clearly the choice to sing along with the sad story of Nathan’s words told to David, about Yahweh’s judgment against David, the lesson to be gained on the tenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should be already well underway, is to see the warning placed upon one’s soul. David was righteous as a spiritual wife to Yahweh for over fifty years of his life, having been anointed when just a boy shepherd. David was allowed to turn away from Yahweh and fail miserably, in order to forever set a curse upon the lineage that would be the rulers of nations that claim assistance from Yahweh. This song of repent and lament has to be seen as one’s own, should one ever lie about being “in His name” or murder the pure and innocent, where Uriah is a projection of Jesus. It is very easy to let oneself fall into this web of deception and think punishment is unjust.

David was rewarded with eternal life, just as was Adam and Eve after breaking the laws; but the remainder of David’s life was anything but peaceful. There are so many ways that one’s physical body can become the punishment for past sins, where the test is to allow that sad state of existence, always praying to Yahweh for strength to stay the course of pain and suffering, so one can be released to eternal peace. So many false shepherds in Christianity today pander to the moans and groans of the few who cry the loudest, never giving any comfort to the ones who silently withstand pain and suffering, knowing the truth that this world is no longer worth sacrificing eternal peace for a moment of restitution. All priests who pander to social media and politics should resign their positions and begin a lifetime of self-flagellation, while begging Yahweh to forgive their selfish blindness.

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