David wrote this psalm for the music leader.
It was when the prophet Nathan came to him, after David had sex with Bathsheba.
Please forgive me, Lord
51:1David wrote this psalm after he had done something very bad. Then God's prophet Nathan came to David and he warned David. In the end, David was very sorry for the bad things that he had done. He asked God to forgive him. See 2 Samuel 11-12.
1 Please forgive me, God,
because of your faithful love.
Because you are so kind,
please clean away my sins.
2 I have done bad things,
so wash me to make me clean again.
51:2David knows that sin makes him guilty in front of God. It is like he is dirty, so he wants God to wash away the bad things. Then he will be clean.
3 I know that I have not obeyed you.
I cannot forget that I am guilty.
4 It is you that I have done bad things against,
51:4The most important thing is that David did not obey God's laws. He did do bad things that also hurt other people, like Uriah. But David realizes that, more than anything else, it is God that he has turned against.
I have done things that are evil,
as you know.
And so you are fair when you speak against me.
You are right when you say that I am guilty.
5 Yes, even from the day I was born
I have done bad things.
I have always been guilty of sin.
6 But you want me to be completely good and honest.
You want to teach me to be wise
in the way that I live.
7 Splash water over me with a hyssop plant,
and I will be really clean.
Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
51:7Whiter than snow means ‘very pure and clean.’
8 Please forgive me so that I can be happy.
Then my whole body will feel well again.
9 Hide your face from my sins.
Clean away all the bad things that I have done.
51:9Hide your face means ‘look away from me’.
10 God, please make my heart new and clean.
And make my spirit strong and true,
deep inside me.
11 Do not send me away from you.
Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me.
12 Give me joy again,
because you have made me safe.
Make me strong and ready to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways
to people who have turned against you.
Then sinners will turn back
and they will obey you.
14 God, I am guilty of murder.
Please forgive me!
You are the one who saves me.
When you rescue me,
I will sing aloud about your righteousness.
15 My Lord, help me to speak,
and then I will praise you.
16 I would be happy to offer sacrifices to you,
but that is not what you really want.
You do not want a burnt offering from me.
17 You want me to be humble and sorry.
That is the sacrifice that you want.
When people are humble
and they turn away from their sins,
you will not refuse them.
18 God, please be kind and help Zion.
Make the walls of Jerusalem strong again.
19 Then you will accept our proper sacrifices.
Our burnt offerings and sacrifices of whole animals
will make you happy.
Once again, people will offer bulls to you,
on your altar.
51:19When people were humble and they were sorry for their sins, then God would accept their sacrifices.