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Str. I. has a syn. tetrastich and a hexastich composed of three syn. couplets. -3-4. Be gracious to me), show favour, usually in the bestowal of redemption from enemies, evils, and sins, a characteristic term of 2; with the two syn. nouns: kindness, the loving disposition to do acts of kindness (4), and compassion (25"), the affectionate sympathy, especially of parent to a child, cf. 10313. — Yahweh], here and throughout the group, Ps. 51–72, for which E substituted Elohim. - My transgressions], sins, conceived as rebellion, transgression of the Law, or will of God, with the two chief syns., iniquity, sin as a distortion or perversion of right, and sin as a failure from the norm or aim of life. These three terms for sin are antithetical to the three terms for the divine kindness, and have three mediating terms for its exercise in cleansing the nation.
nation. The transgressions stain the people, blackening their reputation and character, therefore blot out, wipe out, obliterate them, so that they no longer can be seen, cf. 109". The iniquity soils them as a filthy garment, therefore wash me, cleanse all this filth away, so that I may be clean; do it so thoroughly that not the least trace may remain, cf. v.o.
The sins produce religious pollution, unfitting for the worship of God; therefore purify me, apply the appointed means of purification, that I may enjoy communion again, cf. v.!. The poet doubtless had in mind Is. 1 16-18, thinking of sin in its subjective effects on the person, rather than of its objective effects upon the places of divine presence. It is therefore the ritual of purification that he has in mind, rather than the ritual of sacrifice. He feels that the nation needs something more than the ritual ; they need the personal favour of Yahweh Himself; His interposition as the administrator of this national cleansing. – 5. I am knowing], present, active, personal, experimental knowledge of sin, as thus staining, soiling, polluting, the nation. — before me continually). I cannot escape from seeing it and contemplating it in all its odiousness, cf. Is. 592-6. Against Thee), emphatic in position, to indicate that the sin was especially against Yahweh, intensified by, Thee only). The national sin was against their God, “not against the Babylonians," as Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, cited by Bä. with approval; or indeed against the Persians, or the minor nations who so cruelly used them, opposing every effort of Israel to reëstablish himself in Jerusalem. - in Thine eyes], before the face of God, in His very presence, and so high-handed, without excuse, which exposed to just retribution, relief from which could come only from His kindness.
That Thou mightest be just || be clear], final clauses, not dependent on the act of sin as if the commission of sin was in order to justify God in dealing with it; but on the confession of sin against God only. This public confession made it evident that God's dealings with His people during their long exile and in the long-continued afflictions of the people, in their efforts to restore the national life and worship in Jerusalem, were in accordance with His law, and so just. — Thy words], referring to the Ten Words of the primitive Law by which the nation is judged here, as in 5016-20, so G, H, J, Rom. 3*, and not “when Thou speakest," H, EV'., which gives a form a..., assimilated by copyist's error to - when Thou judgest] that is, according to these Words; as H, J, AV., RV., 504, which is to be preferred to G, H, Rom. 34, PBV., “when Thou art judged," as if the poet thought of a higher judgment seat before which God Himself could be tried, a conceit which, however suited to Greek and modern ideas, was not suited to the religion of the Old Testament.
Str. II. is an antistr., beginning with confession in a tetrastich of two syn. couplets, and concluding with a hexastich of petition of three syn. couplets. – 7. Behold], calling emphatic attention to the antithesis between Yahweh's requirements and the actual historic condition of His people, the latter coming first. -1 was brought forth], not referring to the iniquity of the parent, or to an iniquitous condition of the infant when brought forth; implying the doctrine of original sin, transmitted from Adam and Eve in accordance with Traducianism, or imputed to the child as created as part of a sinful race, according to Creationism. I myself hold to the speculative dogma of Traducianism ; but I must say that neither of these doctrines has any support whatever in the OT. The poet here alludes to the historic origin of the nation in their patriarchal ancestors, as in Is. 439. Their first father committed sin, and all his posterity since his day have followed him in transgression. — did my mother conceive me). This is certainly not the mother of David, as if she were especially a sinner at the time of her conception, or as if sin were attached to the unborn fætus
which she conceived; but the mother here is Mother Israel, in accordance with the conception of Is.?, especially Is. 542-8. 8. in faithfulness], fidelity to Yahweh and His words || the confidence of wisdom, the confidence in Yahweh which true wisdom imparts. This, by the misunderstanding of an early copyist, has been interpreted as a word, elsewhere only Jb. 3836, and variously explained by H and Vrss. as referring to the reins or inward parts of the man. It was defined by the addition of a late Hebrew word meaning “closed," or secret place of the breast, making the line too long, and compelling an explanation of the line, as referring to the future and so as out of parallelism with its mate in the couplet. In fact, both lines set forth the divine requirements, over against the sin of the past history of the nation in the father Jacob and the mother Zion; and so the verbs are presents. — Thou dost delight], that is, the confidence is acceptable as satisfying the divine requirements, giving gratification and delight to Yahweh. Thou makest me know], by the teaching of the Words of the Law, carrying on the idea of v.&cThese words impart true wisdom, and so confidence in Yahweh the great Teacher. – 9. Cleanse me from sin), a term of the ritual Ez. P. — with hyssop], a bunch of small branches of the caper plant, used in the ritual, to gather up the water or blood, and scatter it upon the person or thing to be cleansed. This is a renewal and intensification of v.* — and I shall be pure], in the religious sense, as thus cleansed in accordance with the ritual ; which is intensified in I shall be whiter than snow. The poet is evidently, in the use of the terms of Is. 118, thinking of the sins of the nation as scarlet and crimson in their colour, of bloodguiltiness; for they had committed a high-handed, deathdeserving sin, cf. v.16. – 10. joy and gladness], phr. of Is. 2213 513.11, which they at the same time hear and also utter. Even the bones exult in sympathy with the exhilaration of the soul. This was expressed by voice, and probably also by dancing, though the bones had been crushed by Yahweh Himself in the afflictions He brought upon the nation. The bones are personified as those of an individual, severally suffering. The bones ache with the anxiety of the soul, cf. 2215 32. - 11. Hide Thy face from my sins], do not look upon them, overlook them (10"), take no account of them, cf. 32°; another conception of Yahweh's gracious attitude
3510 toward sin. This is in some respects the reverse of the conception of the syn. line, which is a simple renewal of v.3', although the word for sin varies.
Str. III. has a hexastich of three syn. couplets of petition, followed by two syn. couplets, the latter the climax of the Str. 12. Transform || renew). These verbs do not imply creation out of nothing, which indeed the Hebrew $72 never means (v. BDB.); or creation of a new heart out of other material in place of the old heart, views which depend on a misunderstanding of the terms in Vrss.; but the transformation of the former heart, or mind, of the nation into a heart of an entirely different character, the making of the spirit, or disposition of the nation, over new into an entirely different spirit. According to the previous context they had been stained, soiled, and polluted; they were to be made pure and steadfast, the former in accord with v.', the latter in accord with the faithfulness and confidence of v.*. — for me), as J, not in me," of 6, VJ, and most Vrss., which is an inexactness of translation, not implying a different text. 13. Cast me not away from Thy presence], banish from the sacred places of worship in Jerusalem, cf. 423. — Thy holy Spirit take not away]. The divine Spirit was holy, as it was the presence of the holy God, requiring His people to be holy, not in the sense of ethical perfection, but in the sense of consecration, a keeping apart from all that was impure or defiling, in accordance with the conception of holiness in H and Ez. The phr. is used elsewhere only Is. 6310. 11, where the divine Spirit is identified with the theophanic angel of the Presence who led Israel up out of Egypt into the Holy Land. The people had then grieved Him. The poet conceives that the same Holy Spirit now dwells in Israel of the Restoration, just as Hg. 25 Zc. 48 conceives of the divine Spirit as standing in their midst and about to fulfil all divine promises. The poet fears lest owing to the guilt of the people the Holy Spirit may depart from their midst, leaving them desolate — 14. Restore the joy of Thy salvation], the joy that salvation will produce, cf. v.10. — And with the princely Spirit uphold me], so G, H, J, in accord with previous verse, thinking of the divine Spirit, with the attribute noble, princely, on account of its being the leader and guide of the nation, the princely representative of the King Yahweh Himself; cf. PBV., AV., “Thy free Spirit.” This best suits the verb, always used of God's sustaining His people (36). RV. and most moderns think of the spirit of man or the nation, the steadfast spirit of v.1? becoming the free, voluntary spirit, or disposition to serve God, especially in songs of praise. – 15. I will teach transgressors Thy ways). This line doubtless refers to the transgressors in Israel, who might still remain after the nation itself had been purified as a whole. The nation, cordially accepting the divine words and ways, will become a great teaching body. This is in the spirit of the times of Nehemiah, cf. 32. — And sinners will return], in repentance from sin, unto their God Yahweh, cf. Is. 4224. – 16. Deliver me from bloodshed], in accordance with usage (cf. 16'), the shedding of blood in death, the affliction of the nation by banishment from Yahweh and withdrawal of the Holy Spirit, reaching its climax in death, so Ols., Hi., Bä. ; but EVS. and most moderns think of “ bloodguiltiness” in accord with v.', a meaning possible to the Hebrew word, but not sustained by usage. — Yahweh], the original divine name for “Elohim,” which was intensified by an ancient glossator by adding “God of my salvation,” making the line just these two words too long.
Str. IV. has a hexastich of three syn. couplets and a tetrastich of two syn. couplets.- 17. My lips || my mouth], the organs of speech, thus far used in confession of sin and humble pleading for purification, anxious now to declare the praise in public worship of Yahweh, if only He will enable them so to do by granting their prayers, cf. v.10. 14. 16, and thus open their lips to this glad service. - 18. For Thou delightest not || takest no pleasure], syn. terms for acceptance of the ritual worship as expressed in the peace-offering, characteristic of festivals, and whole burnt-offering, characteristic of the ordered worship at all sacred times. Such sacrifices were easily made, and habitually offered, even while the nation was most stained with sin, cf. Is. I 12-20 Ps. 507-15. — 19-21. The sacrifices that really were acceptable to Yahweh and which He did not despise, as He did the merely external sacrifices, were “sacrifices of God" =" sacrifices of righteousness," v.a. These qualifications of the sacrifices were both explanatory glosses, in accordance with Dt. 33" Ps. 4° They are not to be regarded as in antithesis to the ritual sacrifices, as if the sacrifices of God,