E100-42: Psalm 51:1 – 51:19: Have mercy on me

E100-42: Psalm 51:1 – 51:19: Have mercy on me

The biblical text tells us how to read this psalm. Whether or not we agree with those who see the words “build the walls of Jerusalem” at the end as a reference to the need to (re)build after the destruction of 586, and so (perhaps along with other reasons) see the psalm as actually written later, we are told to read the psalm against the story of David’s sin and Nathan’s visit

NB: the headings like <To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.> are often printed as if they had less authority than the big bold headings Bible publishers add – but they are part of the Bible and the publishers headings are NOT!

So that’s how I’ll read it. In doing so I’ll comment on details of wording, as well as on how this psalm fits into the big picture of the Bible.

1 Comment

  1. I’ve not heard the bit about sins against each other can be forgiven and forgotten but sins against God remain as a way of understanding this passage. I have always been troubled by the question of “what about the sin against Uriah and Bathsheba?” It seemed to me that the normal answer given to this somehow diminished the sin against other humans as less important or even insignificant. Your insight here restores the significance of sinning against one another as well as the depth of our action when we sin against God. But most important is the aspect of forgiveness… only in God can we find full forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness even though we can find it among ourselves and relationships can be restored an inner cleansing is still needed. Only God can do that! Thx

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