The Psalms of David in Metre

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Psalm 51

This psalm was penned by David, when reproved by Nathan for his adultery with Bathsheba, and for his murder of Uriah, 2 Sam. 12. We have in it, (1.) David’s candid and truly sorrowful acknowledgments of his sin, particularly his adultery and murder, as highly dishonouring to God; and of his original sin, as the source thereof, ver. 1-5, 17. (2.) His earnest supplications for pardon of his offences, and for heart-purifying, and renewing grace; for renewed influences of the Holy Ghost; for peace of conscience, and comfortable fellowship with God, for himself, ver. 1-2, 6-15; and for reformation of, and prosperity to the church, which had been hurt by his sin, ver. 18-19. (3.) His sincere purposes of heart, to improve God’s favour to himself, in promoting the instruction of others, and in giving them an honourable pattern of an exact celebration of God’s public worship, ver. 13-16, 19.

While I sing this penitential psalm, let my heart be filled with clear but evangelic views of my aggravated, my unnumbered transgressions; and with deep sorrow and remorse for them. Let me pour forth supplications, strong cries and tears to him who is able to forgive all mine iniquities, and to deliver me from every corruption. Let me wash myself in Jesus’ blood, as the fountain opened to men for sin and for uncleanness.

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David,
when Nathan the prophet came unto him,
after he had gone into Bathsheba

1 After thy loving-kindness, Lord,
have mercy upon me:
For thy compassions great, blot out
all mine iniquity.

2 Me cleanse from sin, and throughly wash
from mine iniquity:
3 For my transgressions I confess;
my sin I ever see.

4 ‘Gainst thee, thee only, have I sinned,
in thy sight done this ill;
That when thou speak’st thou may’st be just,
and clear in judging still.

5 Behold, I in iniquity
was formed the womb within;
My mother also me conceived
in guiltiness and sin.

6 Behold, thou in the inward parts
with truth delighted art;
And wisdom thou shalt make me know
within the hidden part.

7 Do thou with hyssop sprinkle me,
I shall be clean-sed so;
Yea, wash thou me, and then I shall
be whiter than the snow.

8 Of gladness and of joyfulness
make me to hear the voice;
That so these very bones which thou
hast broken may rejoice.

9 All mine iniquities blot out,
thy face hide from my sin.
10 Create a clean heart, Lord, renew
a right sp’rit me within.

11 Cast me not from thy sight, nor take
thy Holy Sp’rit away.
12 Restore me thy salvation’s joy;
with thy free Sp’rit me stay.

13 Then will I teach thy ways unto
those that transgressors be;
And those that sinners are shall then
be turned unto thee.

14 O God, of my salvation God,
me from blood-guiltiness
Set free; then shall my tongue aloud
sing of thy righteousness.

15 My clos-èd lips, O Lord, by thee
let them be opened;
Then shall thy praises by my mouth
abroad be publishèd.

16 For thou desir’st not sacrifice,
else would I give it thee;
Nor wilt thou with burnt-offering
at all delighted be.

17 A broken spirit is to God
a pleasing sacrifice:
A broken and a contrite heart,
Lord, thou wilt not despise.

18 Show kindness, and do good, O Lord,
to Zion, thine own hill:
The walls of thy Jerusalem
build up of thy good will.

19 Then righteous off ‘rings shall thee please,
and off ‘rings burnt, which they
With whole burnt-off ‘rings, and with calves,
shall on thine altar lay.