What does Psalm 19:12 mean?
ESV: Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
NIV: But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
NASB: Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
CSB: Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
NLT: How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
KJV: Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
NKJV: Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.
Verse Commentary:
A close relationship with God was critically important to David. Therefore, he asks the Lord in this verse to declare him innocent of hidden faults. "Hidden faults" are sins committed in ignorance or without knowledge. The Old Testament law provided forgiveness for sins committed in ignorance. Still, Leviticus 5:17 makes it clear that whoever commits a sin unknowingly is nevertheless guilty of that sin. Numbers 15:22–29 speaks about unintentional sins and explains the procedure for forgiveness. The sacrifice of a bull was involved along with a grain offering, a drink offering, and the offering of a male goat.

Believers today, like Old Testament believers, are not expected to instantly and perfectly recognize every sin they commit. Some sins are committed unknowingly, such as accidentally saying something that hurts or insults another person. First John 1:9 assures us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteous." We do not offer a sacrifice for hidden sins because Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to remove all our guilt.
Verse Context:
Psalm 19:7–14 introduces the law of the Lord—meaning Scripture—as God's perfect revelation of Himself and His will. The prior passage identified nature as a revelation of God. Psalm 119, as well, extols God's Word as His perfect revelation and cites the blessings which come to those who love and obey it.
Chapter Summary:
David refers to the details of creation as evidence for God's power and design. The appearance and function of nature are evidence of God's majesty. The second half of this psalm also celebrates God's revelation, but in the form of His Word. The law, precepts, and commandments of God are hailed for their perfection and benefit.
Chapter Context:
This psalm of David celebrates two separate revelations which God has given human beings. He has revealed Himself in nature and in Scripture. Psalm 8 is a companion psalm because it, too, refers to nature as revealing God's majesty. Romans 1:18–25 also points out that God revealed himself through nature, but the passage indicates that disobedient people rejected this revelation.
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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