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Psalm 51:1

ESV To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
NIV For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
NASB Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithfulness; According to the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings.
CSB Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.
NLT Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
KJV Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

What does Psalm 51:1 mean?

In many of David's psalms he addresses God as "my God," but his sin had removed him from close fellowship with God, so in this verse he prays, "O God." David knew God well enough to know Him as gracious, loving, and merciful. And so, he cries out to God to show unfailing love and abundant mercy by blotting out his transgressions. Transgressions indicate a revolt against God. By violating God's commandments against adultery and murder, David had rebelled against God, and he knew only God's grace, love, and abundant mercy could erase his sin.

In Old Testament times, when crimes and debts were forgiven or paid, they were blotted out—erased—from the book in which they were written. When God forgives sin, He similarly blots it out. The apostle Peter urged a crowd that had gathered in Solomon's Portico to repent "that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). Micah 7:19 assures us that our pardoning God casts all our sins into the depths of the sea.
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