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Psalm 51

Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon

To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy,
    blot out my transgressions.(A)
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.(B)

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.(C)
Against you, you alone, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
    and blameless when you pass judgment.(D)
Indeed, I was born guilty,
    a sinner when my mother conceived me.(E)

You desire truth in the inward being;[a]
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.(F)
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.(G)
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.(H)
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.(I)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.(J)
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
    and do not take your holy spirit from me.(K)
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and sustain in me a willing[c] spirit.(L)

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.(M)
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.(N)

15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.(O)
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
    if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.(P)
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God[d] is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.(Q)

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem;(R)
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.(S)


  1. 51.6 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. 51.10 Or steadfast
  3. 51.12 Or generous
  4. 51.17 Or My sacrifice, O God,