What does Psalm 103:12 mean?
ESV: as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
NIV: as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
NASB: As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us.
CSB: As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
NLT: He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
KJV: As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
NKJV: As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Verse Commentary:
In love and mercy, the Lord has removed His people's sins from them. He doesn't simply move our sins onto our doorstep or a mile away; God moves them as far from us as the east is from the west.

This is an especially profound analogy. North meets south at the South Pole, and south meets north at the North Pole. East and west never meet—there is neither an east pole nor a west pole. A person who follows a straight path north will eventually begin moving south. But no matter how far one travels east, they will always be moving east. North and south are definable points, but east and west are indefinitely far from each other. To say that God separates our sins "as far as the east is from the west" speaks of the absolute, irrevocable measure by which God forgives us.

On Israel's annual Day of Atonement the high priest killed a bull as a sin offering for himself and his household. He also sacrificed a goat for the people of Israel. A second goat became the scapegoat. The high priest laid his hands on this animals' head and confessed all Israel's iniquities, transgressions, and sins. Then he sent the scapegoat into the wilderness, where it symbolically carried the nation's sins over the horizon, never to return. Thus, the people's sins were removed far from them (Leviticus 16).

If we were to search for the sins the Lord has removed from us, we would never find them, because Jesus, the Lamb of God, has taken them far away (John 1:29) from those who come to Him in faith (John 3:16–18). When we turn away from that gift, we resign ourselves to bear punishment for sins ourselves (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
Verse Context:
Psalm 103:6–19 reflects on the Lord's benefits to Israel. Deuteronomy 6:1–15 contains the Lord's promise to bless the people of Israel if they would obey him. Psalm 105 and 106 are companion psalms that stress the Lord's goodness to Israel.
Chapter Summary:
Psalm 103 praises God for what He has done. This includes celebration of His personal influence, as well as the way God has blessed the nation of Israel. David encourages praises from himself, from the people in general, and even from the angels and hosts of heaven.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 103 is one of four psalms which complete the fourth division of the book of Psalms (Psalms 90—106). These four psalms ascribe praise to the Lord. Psalm 103 was written by David and expresses his gratitude to the Lord for all His benefits. First Thessalonians 5:18 conveys the same theme of thanksgiving by exhorting believers to ''give thanks in all circumstances.''
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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