What does Psalm 32:5 mean?
ESV: I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
NIV: Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.' And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
NASB: I acknowledged my sin to You, And I did not hide my guilt; I said, 'I will confess my wrongdoings to the Lord'; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
CSB: Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
NLT: Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
KJV: I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
NKJV: I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Verse Commentary:
The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David to expose his sins and bring about confession and forgiveness (2 Samuel 12). David responded by confessing his sin, and subsequently the Lord forgave him (2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 51:1). Here, David correctly identifies his sins as "transgressions." This is a term which literally means to "cross lines" and is related to concepts such as "trespassing." He had purposely breached boundaries the Lord had set regarding sins such as adultery and murder (Exodus 20:13–14).

It is important to note that David confessed his transgressions to God—whether he admitted them to other people was not a concern (1 John 1:8–10). God alone can forgive sin. When Jesus healed a paralyzed man, He also forgave the man's sins. The scribes and Pharisees strongly objected to the pronounced forgiveness. They asked, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Luke 5:21). Of course, Jesus was God incarnate with the power not only to heal the paralyzed man but also to forgive him. Anyone who seeks forgiveness must call on the one who can forgive sin (John 3:36).
Verse Context:
Psalm 32:5–7 comes after David noted the blessing of being forgiven of sin (Psalm 51:1). That forgiveness—in response to confession and repentance before God—alleviated the pain associated with stubborn disobedience. Now David relates what the Lord did when he confessed his sin. He also encourages godly people to pray so they can receive the benefit of calling on the Lord.
Chapter Summary:
This psalm follows a progression of David's own experience: from the pressure of resisting confession, to the relief of being forgiven, to a renewed appreciation of God's graciousness for His people. David notes that being forgiven of sin is a great blessing, and those who resist repentance are delaying that restoration. He reflects on his own experience with stubbornness and encourages all people to seek God in sincerity.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 32 follows David's confession of the sins of adultery and murder. Psalm 51 records his initial response when confronted by the prophet Nathan. The background of David's sin, Nathan's rebuke, and the aftermath are found in 2 Samuel 11—12. For some undisclosed time, David refused to acknowledge his sin, but when he finally confessed it, the Lord graciously forgave him.
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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