Vs. 1-9 make David’s prayer for forgiveness;
Vs. 10-17 give David’s promise to “do better;”
Vs. 18-19 remember the need for Jerusalem’s completion.
There seems little doubt but that this Psalm is from David’s agony after the Prophet Nathan has revealed David’s adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-12:25). God said, “’I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will’” (Acts 13:22), which did not mean David never sinned, but that he was willing to repent!
Verses 1-9: In David’s appeal for God’s mercy, he accepted responsibility for his own sin: “my transgressions,” “my iniquity,” “my sin,” “my transgressions,” “my sin.” None should expect, or ask for, God’s mercy who will blame conditions, friends, spouse, family, or God(?!) for their sins. All sin starts by separating the sinner from God: “Against You, You only, have I sinned.” David’s adultery, deception, lies, and murder were all against God’s Law first. Verse 5 cannot teach “total depravity,” or “original sin” for no baby is guilty of sin! Jesus Christ said those in the “kingdom of heaven” must be converted and “become as little children” (Matthew 18:3). If children are “depraved” or “born to sin,” why would He want citizens in His kingdom to become like them? David was speaking of his parents who sinned, not himself as the baby. In Verse 6 God demands “truth” and “wisdom” which sinners aren’t learning. Verses 7-9 list what it would take for David to be ceremonially cleansed: “hyssop,” “wash,” “hear joy,” healed bones, God to turn away from David’s sins, and “blot out” all iniquities!
Verses 10-17: David’s renewal would include a: “clean heart,” “steadfast spirit,” not be “cast away,” not “take Your Holy Spirit” away, restored “joy” of salvation, upheld again. Then David could “teach transgressors” and convert sinners to God. Once delivered, David could freely “sing aloud” and praise God. Verses 16-17 explain that, even under Moses’ Law of animal sacrifices, God desired more than just the sacrifices, He wanted worshipers to develop a “broken spirit,” and “broken and contrite heart” (Hosea 6:6).
Verses 18-19: Jerusalem would become the center of Jewish worship once the temple was built, but David was not permitted by God to build it (1 Kings 8:17-20). So David bought the land and gathered the materials for the building that his son, Solomon would build (1 Chronicles 29:1-9; 1 Kings 8). David asks God to “Build” not “re-build” Jerusalem’s walls, thus this was not written in the time of Ezra-Nehemiah’s restoration of Jerusalem.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.