Psalm 51

To the choir director. A Psalm of David.

When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had come to Bathsheba

Initial plea--

Be gracious to me, God, according to your loyalty;

According to the multitude of your motherly mercies wipe out my rebellions. (1)

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity;

From my sin purify me. (2)

Confession of sin--

For I myself acknowledge my rebellions;

My sins are always before me. (3)

Against you, you alone I have sinned,

And done that which is wicked in your view,

So that you are acting faithfully (righteously) when you speak [a word of rebuke],

You are innocent when you judge. (4)

Yes, ever since birth I have committed iniquity,

I have been in a state of sin every since my mother conceived me. (5)

Yes, you desire the truth about my inmost being,

And you have given me insight about my secret thoughts. (6)


De-sin me with hyssop and I shall be pure;

Wash me and I shall be cleaner than clean. (7)

Let me hear (Satisfy me with) joy and rejoicing;

Let the bones which you have crushed exult. (8)

Hide your face from my sin;

Wipe away all my iniquities. (9)

A pure heart create in me, God;

A steady spirit renew inside me. (10)

Do not bar me from your presence;

Do not take your holy spirit from me. (11)

Bring back to me joy in your deliverance;

Support me with a spirit that is ready and willing. (12)


I promise to teach rebels your "ways";

Sinners will then return to you in repentance. (13)

Deliver me from the violent consequences of my way of life, O God, my Deliverer-God,

And then my tongue will give a ringing cheer for your fidelity (righteousness) toward me. (14)

Lord, if you will part my lips,

My mouth will recite your praiseworthy action. (15)

Abrogation of sacrifice--

But you do not take pleasure in communion sacrifices,

And if I were to offer a whole burnt offering,

You would not accept it. (16)

The sacrifices acceptable to God are a broken spirit;

A broken and crushed heart, God, you will not disdain. (17)

Intercession for Jerusalem--

Do good in your good pleasure to Zion;

Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. (18)

Then you will take pleasure in proper (righteous) communion sacrifices,

in burnt offerings, and whole offerings;

Then they will offer up young bulls upon your altar. (19)


2000 Ralph W. Klein

Feel free to use the translation of this Psalm in Christian worship.


Resources for Psalm 51