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Psalm 51

For the music leader. A psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him just after he had been with Bathsheba.

51 Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love!
    Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!
Wash me completely clean of my guilt;
    purify me from my sin!
Because I know my wrongdoings,
    my sin is always right in front of me.
I’ve sinned against you—you alone.
    I’ve committed evil in your sight.
That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict,
    completely correct when you issue your judgment.
Yes, I was born in guilt, in sin,
    from the moment my mother conceived me.
And yes, you want truth in the most hidden places;
    you teach me wisdom in the most secret space.[a]

Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean;
    wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and celebration again;
    let the bones you crushed rejoice once more.
Hide your face from my sins;
    wipe away all my guilty deeds!
10 Create a clean heart for me, God;
    put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!
11 Please don’t throw me out of your presence;
    please don’t take your holy spirit away from me.
12 Return the joy of your salvation to me
    and sustain me with a willing spirit.

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Footnotes

  1. Psalm 51:6 Heb uncertain

Instructions for the incense altar

30 Make an acacia-wood altar for burning incense. The altar should be square, eighteen inches long and eighteen inches wide. It should be three feet high. Its horns should be permanently attached. Cover the altar with pure gold, including its top, all its sides, and its horns. You should also make a gold molding all around it. Make two gold rings and attach them under the molding on two opposite sides of the altar. They will house the poles used to carry the altar. Make acacia-wood poles and cover them with gold. Place the incense altar in front of the veil that hangs before the chest containing the covenant, in front of the cover that is on top of the covenant document where I will meet with you. Aaron will burn sweet-smelling incense on the incense altar every morning when he takes care of the lamps. And again when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he will burn incense. It should be a regular incense offering in the Lord’s presence in every generation. Don’t offer the wrong incense on the altar or an entirely burned offering or a grain offering. Don’t pour a drink offering on it. 10 Once a year Aaron should perform a ritual of reconciliation on its horns with the blood of the purification offering for reconciliation. Once a year in every generation he should perform a ritual of reconciliation at the altar. It is most holy to the Lord.

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14 Also, let’s hold on to the confession since we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, who is Jesus, God’s Son; 15 because we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses but instead one who was tempted in every way that we are, except without sin.

16 Finally, let’s draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help.

Introduction to a deeper teaching

Every high priest is taken from the people and put in charge of things that relate to God for their sake, in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. The high priest is able to deal gently with the ignorant and those who are misled since he himself is prone to weakness. Because of his weakness, he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for the people. No one takes this honor for themselves but takes it only when they are called by God, just like Aaron.

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