To the director: A song of David written when Nathan the prophet came to him after David’s sin with Bathsheba.
51 God, be merciful to me
because of your faithful love.
Because of your great compassion,
erase all the wrongs I have done.
2 Scrub away my guilt.
Wash me clean from my sin.
3 I know I have done wrong.
I remember that sin all the time.
4 I did what you said is wrong.
You are the one I have sinned against.
I say this so that people will know
that I am wrong and you are right.
What you decided is fair.
5 I was born to do wrong,
a sinner before I left my mother’s womb.
6 You want me to be completely loyal,
so put true wisdom deep inside of me.
7 Remove my sin and make me pure.[a]
Wash me until I am whiter than snow!
8 Let me hear sounds of joy and happiness again.
Let the bones you crushed be happy again.
9 Don’t look at my sins.
Erase them all.
10 God, create a pure heart in me,
and make my spirit strong again.
11 Don’t push me away
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Your help made me so happy.
Give me that joy again.
Make my spirit strong and ready to obey you.
13 I will teach the guilty how you want them to live,
and the sinners will come back to you.
14 God, spare me from the punishment of death.[b]
My God, you are the one who saves me!
Let me sing about all the good things you do for me!
15 My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing your praises!
16 You don’t really want sacrifices,
or I would give them to you.
17 The sacrifice that God wants is a humble spirit.
God, you will not turn away someone who comes with a humble heart and is willing to obey you.[c]
18 God, please be good to Zion.
Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you can enjoy the kind of sacrifices you want.[d]
You will receive whole burnt offerings,
and people will again offer bulls on your altar.
To the director: A maskil of David written when Doeg the Edomite went to Saul and told him, “David is in Ahimelech’s house.”
52 Great warrior, why are you bragging about the evil you did?
You are a disgrace to God.
2 You are nothing but a hired killer,[e]
making plans to hurt people and making up lies!
3 You love evil more than goodness.
You love lies more than truth. Selah
6 Good people will see this
and learn to fear and respect God.
They will laugh at you and say,
7 “Look what happened to the warrior who did not depend on God.
That fool thought his wealth and lies would protect him.”
8 But I am like a green olive tree growing in God’s Temple.
I will trust God’s faithful love forever and ever.
9 God, I praise you forever for what you have done.
I will speak your name[h] before your followers because it is so good!
- Psalm 51:7 Remove … pure Literally, “Cleanse me with hyssop.” See “hyssop” in the Word List.
- Psalm 51:14 spare … death Or “don’t consider me guilty of murder.”
- Psalm 51:17 someone … obey you Literally, “a broken and crushed heart.”
- Psalm 51:19 the kind … you want Or “the offering of righteousness.”
- Psalm 52:2 hired killer Literally, “sharpened razor.”
- Psalm 52:5 home This means the body. This is a poetic way of saying, “God will end your life here on earth.”
- Psalm 52:5 like someone … roots Literally, “He will root you up from the land of the living.” This also means “He will kill you and your descendants.”
- Psalm 52:9 speak your name Or “I will trust your name.”