Psalm 51

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      7       Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

      wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

            8       Let me hear joy and gladness;

      let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

            9       Hide your face from my sins,

      and blot out all my iniquities.

            10       Create in me a clean heart, O God,

      and renew a right spirit within me.

            11       Cast me not away from your presence,

      and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

            12       Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

      and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:7-12 ESV

This is David’s well-known psalm of repentance after Nathan confronted him with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12).

In verse 10 the word create (bara) is the same word used in Genesis 1 where God created (bara) the heavens and the earth. “Strictly used, this word describes what only God can do; to create ex nihilo, out of nothing” (Boice, Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary, 2005, p. 432). David is commanding God to create a new heart in him. “Derek Kidner writes, ‘With the word create he asks for nothing less than a miracle.’ He desires what only God can provide” (Boice, p. 432).

Robert Altar translates the first half of verse 11 as “Do not fling me from Your presence” stating “this Hebrew verb has a connotation of violent action for which the conventional translation of it as “cast” is too tame” (Altar The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary vol 3, 2019, p. 134). Fling/cast is a hiphil in Hebrew which is a verb of causation. David is asking God not to cause him to be violently or forcefully flung/cast away from His presence.

I cannot help but to think that David had King Saul in mind when he says in the next half of verse 11, “and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” I want to be clear, David is not worried about losing his salvation; however, he is worried about losing God’s Presence, anointing and fellowship like King Saul did in 1 Samuel 16. James Boice states, “Today most commentators recognize that David is not talking about eternal security or the fear of losing his salvation at all. He is only acknowledging that he is unable to live a holy life without God. Therefore, he needs the help and power of the Holy Spirit every single moment if he is to be able to overcome temptation and follow after godliness” (p. 434).

In verse 12 David commands God to restore (hiphil, imperative) to him the joy of His salvation. David knew that his fellowship with God had been broken and needed God to cleanse and restore him. David, again, did not lose his eternal salvation, but he did lose the joy of it. What’s true of David is the same with us, there is NO joy when we are living in sin. There is no peace when our relationship with God is broken.

“Many think that the way to joy or a good time is by sinning. They think that godliness is dull. Actually the opposite is the case. Sin brings sorrow. Righteousness brings rejoicing. Allowed to continue, sin will remove every good thing from our lives—joy, health, wealth, and at last even life itself. Only righteousness will restore them” (Boice, p. 434).

“The fact that the psalmist prays for so many things [in vv. 7–12] indicates how many things he knew he had lost when he plunged into sin” (Leupold, Exposition of the Psalms, 1969, pp. 405-406).

Father God, thank You that Your saved and redeemed people never need to fear losing their salvation. Thank You for the gift of salvation by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Trinity, for those who have lost the joy of their salvation due to sin or looking at current events, I ask that You will lift their minds, hearts and hands to You. Lord God, thank You that when we confess our sins to You that You will forgive us. Lord God, forgive us for the times when we put the things of this world before You. Lord God, restore to Your Body the joy of Your salvation, whether we are gathering together in person or online. Lord God, in these ever changing, challenging and tumultuous times, I ask that we will desire to dwell in Your Presence, growing in Your character and serving You with passion, authenticity and boldness until You call us home. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

41 thoughts on “Psalm 51”

    1. Thank you, David. Also, thank you for your prayers for Paula and her family. She went to be with Jesus this morning at 5:45am. I will write a post but since I just found out I thought I would share with you since you have been kind in asking. Lots of love, air hugs and blessings to you, David. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent instructive post Mandy, this is one of the golden chapters of scripture. We can never get too much of such gems, you have certainly added to the library of good commentary here.
    I see Paula mentioned, is this the friend you requested prayers for recently? I had forgotten their names but still prayed knowing our Father knew who I was praying for.

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    1. Hi, Alan! Thank you for reading and even more so for reading the comments! Yes, this is my friend who I blogged about. It’s surreal. You know it’s coming but it’s still hard. I hurt for Mike, Katie (9) and Chris (7) they’re so young. Thank you, Alan, for your prayers! I know the Lord hears your heartfelt prayers! Love in Christ to you and your wife!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Craig! I thought of you while I was writing this. At first I started typing on the Holy Spirit and then I decided to just stick with the text. I appreciate the Holy Spirit’s working in the OT and appreciate and enjoy even more the Holy Spirit’s indwelling through the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. I am looking forward to your next post! Praying for your calf to heal, brother!

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      1. Thanks for the prayers!

        I confess that trying to look at the original languages in the Psalms is sometimes a lesson in patience. I already knew that the LXX numbering usually doesn’t align with the MT, so in my software I have the Biblia Hebraica tab-tied to the LXX (Rahlfs, currently) so that the two scroll together. Yet, I STILL couldn’t find this initially! In the MT, 51:9 correlates to the English 51:7. The corresponding LXX is 50:9.

        As regards the Holy Spirit, I note the LXX (50:13) uses the Greek article before both pneuma and hagios, whereas the MT (51:13) does not use the article (aleph) before either. Whatever we are to make of that…

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      2. Hey, Craig! Trust me I know the numbering is a pain!!! I can’t speak at all to the LXX but for the MT the numbering will be two verses ahead of our English translations as the subscript of David is v1 and Nathan and Bathsheba is v2. It is still humbling to me to think that the subscripts are inspired!!

        Technically, “the Holy Spirit” is not specifically mentioned in the Hebrew in v. 13. It is inferred by English Bible translators. To this point, the IVPBBCOT states, “While God’s spirit occurs many times in the text, only in Isaiah 63:10-14 is the expression “holy spirit” used synonymously with Yahweh’s presence.

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      3. And yet the first ten Psalms directly correlate MT = LXX = English! And some of the others are not as far ‘off’ as others. And there is no Psalm 151 in the MT–only in the LXX.

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      4. Ha! If I knew about Ps 151 and the LXX, I totally forgot about it!

        I know that you read A LOT but if you ever want a “good” (challenging/difficult) read on Hebrew Poetry “The Idea of Biblical Poetry:Parallelism and Its History” by Dr James Kugel is amazing. My Hebrew professor had us read this book. Dr. Kugel is Jewish; however, there is much that we can learn from him! I still refer to this book. While I am getting better at understand that “b is more so than a” there is still SO much yet to learn in regards to the parallelism in Wisdom Lit and the Prophets!!

        Also, if or when you have time, I would love to hear your thoughts on my post “Malachi or Chronicles?!”


  2. “… growing in Your character…”. Excellent expression, Mandy. Many moons ago there was a beautiful duo song we played on-air by Brown Bannister & Amy Grant, “Create In Me A Clean Heart”. Everytime I read the passage, I hear that song in my noggin. Terrific layout of the passage, Mandy. Hugs & God’s grip – Alan

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  3. This is a favorite Psalm of mine. “Fling” is definitely a more apt word there. It implies the gravity of the situation and the depth of his fears. I can well empathize David’s agony at the brokenness of His relationship to God at this point, having had my own times of crying out for a clean heart. What a comfort to know such brokenness can be repaired in His capable hands! Thanks for this. I love what you were able to draw out of this great scripture. Blessings. And prayers of comfort and peace to Paula’s family and friends in this season of grief. ❤

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    1. Thank you for all that you have said, Marisa! If you were ever interested in connecting outside of WordPress just send me a message on my contact page (I didn’t see a page on your site). The Lord has allowed me to Zoom and Skype with some people on here and it has been a MASSIVE blessing! Thank you again for your time, pretty lady! How’s the youth min?! Love, hugs and blessings!!!

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  4. Sigh. Unfortunately, I have ancient cowboy technology. Zoom and Skype are pretty adamant about not working here for the most part. It’s really just as well…I can write a blue streak but I really fumble “in person” (I think I could potentially work through that part with you, though. You are such a dear lady. 😊) But, seeing as I have those aging tech issues as well, I will pass on my email at least if you are opening to chatting that way? Youth group is great, by the way. We had a new girl last night and she seems open to coming back! We also got to do a socially distanced sing-along outside the nursing home here. That was awesome and sorely needed! Thanks for asking! Hugs and love to you too! ❤

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    1. Thank you for sharing your email! I am TOTALLY open to that! I really appreciate you and your blog and I LOVE your authenticity, humility and heart for Jesus!!! I am glad youth group is going well! That is WONDERFUL!! Community truly is good for the soul!!

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      1. Awesome! You’re welcome! Thanks for your kind words! I am glad if I can encourage people to seek Christ. And amen! Indeed it is! 😊

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  5. Mandy, thank you for the Psalm, commentary, and prayer! What joy we have in our salvation in Jesus Christ! Praise God for His forgiveness when we do stray. I see from the comments that your good friend, Paula, went home to the Lord. I pray the Lord gives you comfort.

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      1. We are doing well, thank you! The leaves are beginning to fall and that will keep me busy into December. Worked on them today.
        RE: Padres
        I stayed up until 12:30 am watching game 1 and I was hurting yesterday. Shut game 2 off at 10 pm last night. Game 3 is actually tonight but I can’t watch any of it because it’s on MLB Channel. My poor Padres aren’t quite up to the Dodger$ level. How are you and Nathan doing?

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      2. Hey, Tom! There’s a time in my life when I would have said confidently, “There’s always next year!” However, 2020 is teaching me how quickly life can change so I will say with confidence, “Lord willing there will be baseball next year!” Anyway, Nathan and I are doing alright. We are going to take a day/road trip to Raystown Lake tomorrow and do some hiking and fishing. It will be good for Nathan and I to go somewhere different for the day. I hope that makes sense!

        Speaking of leaves, I have been praying for you with that!We have had a few really windy days so the willow leaves are falling and blowing everywhere! I don’t like when the leaves fall before they change color! I will be honest, I do think the color of the leaves is a consequence of the literal Fall of Man (Gen 3). I absolutely believe (not dogmatic belief, strong emphasis!) winter/drastic change in seasons was caused again by the Fall. I despise ice. I am terrified of ice, no joke. And every icy nasty bitter cold day I am reminded that sin affected all of creation, not just humans! Also, I don’t know where I saved your email, would I be able to have it again?! Praise God, my interior home renovations and furniture delivery will soon be complete and I can finally organize! I will cry tears of joy when I am able to finally put things away!

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      3. I understand it is a difficult time for you with the “homecoming” of your good friend. Lord bless you with His solace that only He can give.

        This morning, as we were walking through the neighborhood, Corinne and I discussed what a year 2020 has been, both for us personally and for the world. We have all been shown to a greater degree that our hope is not in this temporal world.

        Thank you for your prayers re: my upcoming leaf campaign! I will be publishing my annual leaf campaign post very soon and there’s a few thoughts included about how Fall and Winter symbolize spiritual death. The email addy is
        I’m happy for you that your home renovations and furniture delivery will soon be completed. I definitely don’t like disorganization, either, although Corinne is extremely organized and thinks I’m mildly sloppy.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow I’m a day behind with blogging since my long range pastoral visitation on Wednesday but this is awesome you blogged about Psalm 51! Going to have to read it!


  7. Well prayed and very relevant discussion, Mandy! Also, thank you for reminding us of GOD’s wonderful assurance on the status of our salvation, as seen in a remorseful person’s psalm. This is a good tandem with Romans 8:29-37 (available hundreds of years in the future from David’s time). Relevant because I also received a comment on salvation and had checked it when I’m about to snore. Thank you and GOD bless.

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      1. lol I feel all my posts rarely goes to plan in some ways…or at least never posted at the time I want to post it since I need to write it out better, need to do more research or simply need the time to write it. Or sometimes I find something that I didn’t know and it changes everything! In what ways it didn’t go originally planned for you sister?

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      1. My favorite class for undergrad was constitutional law taught but this prof that was in the school of American political development that I really found helpful to think of how society and institutions changed from Fuedal to modern liberal and of course now there’s a shift beyond that. I’ve taken a few of this professors class and my favorite was constitutional law since we read court cases and saw how judiciary reasoning changed. I personally think some of her insight (name is Karen Orrin) is helpful for me to think about Critical Race theory critically, since APD studies the history of institutions and institutional changes and CRT makes claims of institutions and their history. In seminary my favorite for Ecclesiastes for my ThM and I think my language skill grew a lot. For MDIv it was an elective on NT Use of the OT. Feel free to share me more your favorite classes in undergrad and graduate level!


  8. I enjoyed reading this. I recently memorized Samuel 12:13 where David directly admits his sin to Nathan. David doesn’t escape the consequences, but he does own up to what he’s done. He doesn’t make excuses. He just directly faces his sin and asks for forgiveness. Psalm 51 is an excellent example of what true contrition looks like and how to own up to what you’ve done.

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