51:6 Look, 1 you desire 2 integrity in the inner man; 3
you want me to possess wisdom. 4
51:7 Sprinkle me 5 with water 6 and I will be pure; 7
wash me 8 and I will be whiter than snow. 9
51:10 Create for me a pure heart, O God! 10
Renew a resolute spirit within me! 11
1 sn The juxtaposition of two occurrences of “look” in vv. 5-6 draws attention to the sharp contrast between the sinful reality of the psalmist’s condition and the lofty ideal God has for him.
2 tn The perfect is used in a generalizing sense here.
3 tn Heb “in the covered [places],” i.e., in the inner man.
4 tn Heb “in the secret [place] wisdom you cause me to know.” The Hiphil verbal form is causative, while the imperfect is used in a modal sense to indicate God’s desire (note the parallel verb “desire”).
sn You want me to possess wisdom. Here “wisdom” does not mean “intelligence” or “learning,” but refers to moral insight and skill.
5 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.
6 tn Heb “cleanse me with hyssop.” “Hyssop” was a small plant (see 1 Kgs 4:33) used to apply water (or blood) in purification rites (see Exod 12:22; Lev 14:4-6, 49-52; Num 19:6-18. The psalmist uses the language and imagery of such rites to describe spiritual cleansing through forgiveness.
7 tn After the preceding imperfect, the imperfect with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates result.
8 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.
9 sn I will be whiter than snow. Whiteness here symbolizes the moral purity resulting from forgiveness (see Isa 1:18).
10 sn The heart is viewed here as the seat of the psalmist’s motives and moral character.
11 tn Heb “and a reliable spirit renew in my inner being.”