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Psalms 51:12-15

Context

51:12 Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance!

Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! 1 

51:13 Then I will teach 2  rebels your merciful ways, 3 

and sinners will turn 4  to you.

51:14 Rescue me from the guilt of murder, 5  O God, the God who delivers me!

Then my tongue will shout for joy because of your deliverance. 6 

51:15 O Lord, give me the words! 7 

Then my mouth will praise you. 8 

1 tn Heb “and [with] a willing spirit sustain me.” The psalmist asks that God make him the kind of person who willingly obeys the divine commandments. The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.

2 tn The cohortative expresses the psalmist’s resolve. This may be a vow or promise. If forgiven, the psalmist will “repay” the Lord by declaring God’s mercy and motivating other sinners to repent.

3 tn Heb “your ways.” The word “merciful” is added for clarification. God’s “ways” are sometimes his commands, but in this context, where the teaching of God’s ways motivates repentance (see the next line), it is more likely that God’s merciful and compassionate way of dealing with sinners is in view. Thanksgiving songs praising God for his deliverance typically focus on these divine attributes (see Pss 34, 41, 116, 138).

4 tn Or “return,” i.e., in repentance.

5 tn Heb “from bloodshed.” “Bloodshed” here stands by metonymy for the guilt which it produces.

6 tn Heb “my tongue will shout for joy your deliverance.” Another option is to take the prefixed verbal form as a jussive, “may my tongue shout for joy.” However, the pattern in vv. 12-15 appears to be prayer/request (see vv. 12, 14a, 15a) followed by promise/vow (see vv. 13, 14b, 15b).

7 tn Heb “open my lips.” The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.

8 tn Heb “and my mouth will declare your praise.”



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