What does Psalm 51:6 mean?
ESV: Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
NIV: Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
NASB: Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in secret You will make wisdom known to me.
CSB: Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within.
NLT: But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.
KJV: Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
NKJV: Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Verse Commentary:
David acknowledges in this verse that God takes pleasure in truth in a person's heart and soul, but David's heart and soul were defiled by sin. He had deceived himself by thinking he could get away with his sins. He covered them up, but God exposed them, and now David longed for truth and wisdom.

The Bible warns, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). Achan lived during Israel's conquest of Canaan, but like David, he sinned against God and then tried to cover it up. God had commanded His people to keep themselves from everything in Jericho that was devoted to destruction and to commit all the silver and gold, and every bronze and iron vessel, to the Lord's treasury (Joshua 6:17–19). However, Achan sinned by taking a beautiful cloak, 200 shekels of silver, a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels and burying them in his tent (Joshua 7:20–21). His coverup did not succeed. When his sin was exposed, he was stoned to death (Joshua 7:25). The Lord values truth but abhors deceit (Proverbs 6:16–19).
Verse Context:
Psalm 51:1–7 is David's plea for mercy and cleansing. He admits he has sinned against God. His approach to confession is to take God's attitude toward sin. He sees his sins as transgressions, iniquity, evil, and the result of his lifelong offensive nature. First John 1:9–10 corresponds to this passage by teaching believers to confess their sins—to agree with God's stance about those sins—with the promise of God's forgiveness and cleansing.
Chapter Summary:
This psalm opens with David's plea to God to show him mercy. He asks God to blot out his transgressions, wash his iniquities, and cleanse him from sin. He admits his sinning was against God. He also confesses his human sin nature. David asks God to make him as white as snow by purging him with hyssop. He longs for joy to return to him, but knows he was suffering because God had turned away from him. He pleads with God for a clean heart and a right spirit. He does not want God to cast him aside and remove His Holy Spirit. David longs for a renewal of the joy of his salvation. If cleansing from sin occurred and joy returned to him, David would teach transgressors God's ways, and sinners would be converted. He promises near the end of the psalm to declare God's praise if God would forgive him. He knew it would be futile to offer a sacrifice to God, because God delights in a broken and contrite heart and not in sacrifices offered with an unrepentant heart. David closes the psalm with a prayer for God to bless Jerusalem.
Chapter Context:
Second Samuel 11—12 provides the sad background for Psalm 51. Instead of being out on the battlefield and leading his troops, David was walking on the roof of his palace. A woman named Bathsheba was taking a bath on a neighboring roof. David lusted for her and had her brought to the palace, where he committed adultery with her. Learning later that she was pregnant, David summoned Uriah, her soldier-husband and one of David's mighty men, to come home from the battlefield. He expected Uriah to have relations with Bathsheba so it would appear that Uriah was the baby's father. But Uriah did not touch Bathsheba, so David launched an alternate plan. He arranged for Uriah to be put on the frontline of battle and be killed. The plan worked, but the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin. Overcome with guilt, David poured out his heart to the Lord in confession. Psalm 51 records his confession, and Psalm 32 reports the forgiveness he received from the Lord. Even though he was forgiven, David's sins still carried life-ruining consequences.
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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