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Psalms 51:7 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Wilt thou cleanse me from sin with hyssop, That I may be pure? Wilt thou wash me, That I may be whiter, than snow?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Thou cleansest me with hyssop and I am clean, Washest me, and than snow I am whiter.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Purge me with hyssope, and I shalbe cleane: wash me, and I shall be whiter then snow.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be purified: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Purge 2398
{2398} Prime
A primitive root; properly to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin; by inference to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
me with hyssop, 231
{0231} Prime
Probably of foreign derivation; hyssop.
and I shall be clean: 2891
{2891} Prime
A primitive root; properly to be bright; that is, (by implication) to be pure (physically sound, clear, unadulterated; Levitically uncontaminated; morally innocent or holy).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
wash 3526
{3526} Prime
A primitive root; to trample; hence to wash (properly by stamping with the feet), whether literally (including the fulling process) or figuratively.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
me, and I shall be whiter 3835
{3835} Prime
A primitive root; to be (or become) white; also (as denominative from H3843) to make bricks.
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
than snow. 7950
{7950} Prime
From H7949; snow (probably from its whiteness).
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 51:7-12

_ _ A series of prayers for forgiveness and purifying.

_ _ Purge ... hyssop — The use of this plant in the ritual (Exodus 12:22; Numbers 19:6, Numbers 19:18) suggests the idea of atonement as prominent here; “purge” refers to vicarious satisfaction (Numbers 19:17-20).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 51:7-13

_ _ I. See here what David prays for. Many excellent petitions he here puts up, to which if we do but add, “for Christ's sake,” they are as evangelical as any other.

_ _ 1. He prays that God would cleanse him from his sins and the defilement he had contracted by them (Psalms 51:7): “Purge me with hyssop; that is, pardon my sins, and let me know that they are pardoned, that I may be restored to those privileges which by sin I have forfeited and lost.” The expression here alludes to a ceremonial distinction, that of cleansing the leper, or those that were unclean by the touch of a body by sprinkling water, or blood, or both upon them with a bunch of hyssop, by which they were, at length, discharged from the restraints they were laid under by their pollution. “Lord, let me be as well assured of my restoration to thy favour, and to the privilege of communion with thee, as they were thereby assured of their re-admission to their former privileges.” But it is founded upon gospel-grace: Purge me with hyssop, that is, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. It is the blood of Christ (which is therefore called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24), that purges the conscience from dead works, from that guilt of sin and dread of God which shut us out of communion with him, as the touch of a dead body, under the law, shut a man out from the courts of God's house. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Hebrews 10:2. If we be washed in this fountain opened, we shall be whiter than snow, not only acquitted but accepted; so those are that are justified. Isaiah 1:18, Though your sins have been as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.

_ _ 2. He prays that, his sins being pardoned, he might have the comfort of that pardon. He asks not to be comforted till first he is cleansed; but if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, “Make me to hear joy and gladness (Psalms 51:8), that is, let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, thy speaking, so that the bones which thou hast broken by convictions and threatenings may rejoice, may not only be set again, and eased from the pain, but may be sensibly comforted, and, as the prophet speaks, may flourish as a herb.” Note, (1.) The pain of a heart truly broken for sin may well be compared to that of a broken bone; and it is the same Spirit who as a Spirit of bondage smites and wounds and as a Spirit of adoption heals and binds up. (2.) The comfort and joy that arise from a sealed pardon to a penitent sinner are as refreshing as perfect ease from the most exquisite pain. (3.) It is God's work, not only to speak this joy and gladness, but to make us hear it and take the comfort of it. He earnestly desires that God would lift up the light of his countenance upon him, and so put gladness into his heart, that he would not only be reconciled to him, but, which is a further act of grace, let him know that he was so.

_ _ 3. He prays for a complete and effectual pardon. This is that which he is most earnest for as the foundation of his comfort (Psalms 51:9): “Hide thy face from my sins, that is, be not provoked by them to deal with me as I deserve; they are ever before me, let them be cast behind thy back. Blot out all my iniquities out of the book of thy account; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun,” Isaiah 44:22.

_ _ 4. He prays for sanctifying grace; and this every true penitent is as earnest for as for pardon and peace, Psalms 51:10. He does not pray, “Lord, preserve me my reputation,” as Saul, I have sinned, yet honour me before this people. No; his great concern is to get his corrupt nature changed: the sin he had been guilty of was, (1.) An evidence of its impurity, and therefore he prays, Create in me a clean heart, O God! He now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it, but sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs of God (whose prerogative it is to create) that he would create in him a clean heart. He only that made the heart can new-make it; and to his power nothing is impossible. He created the world by the word of his power as the God of nature, and it is by the word of his power as the God of grace that we are clean (John 15:3), that we are sanctified, John 17:17. (2.) It was the cause of its disorder, and undid much of the good work that had been wrought in him; and therefore he prays, “Lord, renew a right spirit within me; repair the decays of spiritual strength which this sin has been the cause of, and set me to rights again.” Renew a constant spirit within me, so some. He had, in this matter, discovered much inconstancy and inconsistency with himself, and therefore he prays, “Lord, fix me for the time to come, that I may never in like manner depart from thee.”

_ _ 5. He prays for the continuance of God's good-will towards him and the progress of his good work in him, Psalms 51:11. (1.) That he might never be shut out from God's favour: “Cast me not away from thy presence, as one whom thou abhorrest and canst not endure to look upon.” He prays that he might not be thrown out of God's protection, but that wherever he went, he might have the divine presence with him, might be under the guidance of his wisdom and in the custody of his power, and that he might not be forbidden communion with God: “Let me not be banished thy courts, but always have liberty of access to thee by prayer.” He does not deprecate the temporal judgments which God by Nathan had threatened to bring upon him. “God's will be done; but, Lord, rebuke me no in thy wrath. If the sword come into my house never to depart from it, yet let me have a God to go to in my distresses, and all shall be well.” (2.) That he might never be deprived of God's grace: Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Spirit and provoked him to with draw, and that because he also was flesh God might justly have said that his Spirit should no more strive with him nor work upon him, Genesis 6:3. This he dreads more than any thing. We are undone if God take his Holy Spirit from us. Saul was a sad instance of this. How exceedingly sinful, how exceedingly miserable, was he, when the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him! David knew it, and therefore begs thus earnestly: “Lord, whatever thou take from me, my children, my crown, my life, yet take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (see 2 Samuel 7:15), “but continue thy Holy Spirit with me, to perfect the work of my repentance, to prevent my relapse into sin, and to enable me to discharge my duty both as a prince and as a psalmist.”

_ _ 6. He prays for the restoration of divine comforts and the perpetual communications of divine grace, Psalms 51:12. David finds two ill effects of his sin: — (1.) It had made him sad, and therefore he prays, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. A child of God knows no true nor solid joy but the joy of God's salvation, joy in God his Saviour and in the hope of eternal life. By wilful sin we forfeit this joy and deprive ourselves of it; our evidences cannot but be clouded and our hopes shaken. When we give ourselves so much cause to doubt of our interest in the salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? But, when we truly repent, we may pray and hope that God will restore to us those joys. Those that sow in penitential tears shall reap in the joys of God's salvation when the times of refreshing shall come. (2.) It had made him weak, and therefore he prays, “Uphold me with the free Spirit: I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair; Lord, sustain me; my own spirit” (though the spirit of a man will go far towards the sustaining of his infirmity) “is not sufficient; if I be left to myself, I shall certainly sink; therefore uphold me with thy Spirit, let him counterwork the evil spirit that would cast me down from my excellency. Thy Spirit is a free spirit, a free gent himself, working freely” (and that makes those free whom he works upon, for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty) — “thy ingenuous princely Spirit.” He was conscious to himself of having acted, in the matter of Uriah, very disingenuously and unlike a prince; his behaviour was base and paltry: “Lord,” says he, “let thy Spirit inspire my soul with noble and generous principles, that I may always act as becomes me.” A free spirit will be a firm and fixed spirit, and will uphold us. The more cheerful we are in our duty the more constant we shall be to it.

_ _ II. See what David here promises, Psalms 51:13. Observe,

_ _ 1. What good work he promises to do: I will teach transgressors thy ways. David had been himself a transgressor, and therefore could speak experimentally to transgressors, and resolves, having himself found mercy with God in the way of repentance, to teach others God's ways, that is, (1.) Our way to God by repentance; he would teach others that had sinned to take the same course that he had taken, to humble themselves, to confess their sins, and seek God's face; and, (2.) God's way towards us in pardoning mercy; how ready he is to receive those that return to him. He taught the former by his own example, for the direction of sinners in repenting; he taught the latter by his own experience, for their encouragement. By this psalm he is, and will be to the world's end, teaching transgressors, telling them what God had done for his soul. Note, Penitents should be preachers. Solomon was so, and blessed Paul.

_ _ 2. What good effect he promises himself from his doing this: “Sinners shall be converted unto thee, and shall neither persist in their wanderings from thee, nor despair of finding mercy in their returns to thee.” The great thing to be aimed at in teaching transgressors is their conversion to God; that is a happy point gained, and happy are those that are instrumental to contribute towards it, James 5:20.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 51:7

Hyssop — As lepers, are by thy appointment purified by the use of hyssop and other things, so do thou cleanse me a leprous and polluted creature, by thy grace, and by that blood of Christ, which is signified by those ceremonial usages.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

[[no comment]]

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Leviticus 14:4-7 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive [and] clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: ... And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
Leviticus 14:49-52 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: ... And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
Numbers 19:18-20 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip [it] in the water, and sprinkle [it] upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: ... But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he [is] unclean.
Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,


Hebrews 9:13-14 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: ... How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,


Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Ephesians 5:26-27 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, ... That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Revelation 7:13-14 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? ... And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
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Lv 14:4, 49. Nu 19:18. Is 1:18. Ep 5:26. He 9:13, 19. 1Jn 1:7. Rv 1:5; 7:13.

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