A Prayer for Cleansing
51 1 To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba. Be gracious unto me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness; according to the abundance of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me fully from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is continually before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in thy sight; that thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, in iniquity was I brought forth, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou wilt have truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden [part] thou wilt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear gladness and joy; [that] the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not the spirit of thy holiness from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and let a willing spirit sustain me. 13 I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall return unto thee.
14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou have sacrifices of righteousness, burnt-offering, and whole burnt-offering; then shall they offer up bullocks upon thine altar.
The Futility of Boastful Wickedness
52 1 To the chief Musician: an instruction. Of David; when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David came to the house of Ahimelech. Why boastest thou thyself in evil, thou mighty man? The loving-kindness of God [abideth] continually. 2 Thy tongue deviseth mischievous things, like a sharp razor, practising deceit. 3 Thou hast loved evil rather than good, lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. 4 Thou hast loved all devouring words, O deceitful tongue! 5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever; he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of [thy] tent, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him, [saying,] 7 Behold the man that made not God his strength, but put confidence in the abundance of his riches, [and] strengthened himself in his avarice. 8 But as for me, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I will confide in the loving-kindness of God for ever and ever. 9 I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done [it]; and I will wait on thy name, before thy godly ones, for it is good.
The Folly and Wickedness of Men
53 1 To the chief Musician. On Mahalath: an instruction. Of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God! They have corrupted themselves, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from the heavens upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back, they are together become corrupt: there is none that doeth good, not even one. 4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, eating up my people [as] they eat bread? they call not upon God. 5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was; for God scattereth the bones of him that encampeth against thee. Thou hast put [them] to shame, for God hath despised them. 6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God turneth again the captivity of his people, Jacob shall be glad, Israel shall rejoice.
The Righteous Judgment of God
2 1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, every one who judgest, for in that in which thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth upon those who do such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, who judgest those that do such things, and practisest them [thyself], that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance? 5 but, according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up to thyself wrath, in [the] day of wrath and revelation of [the] righteous judgment of God, 6 who shall render to each according to his works: 7 to them who, in patient continuance of good works, seek for glory and honour and incorruptibility, life eternal. 8 But to those that are contentious, and are disobedient to the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [there shall be] wrath and indignation, 9 tribulation and distress, on every soul of man that works evil, both of Jew first, and of Greek; 10 but glory and honour and peace to every one that works good, both to Jew first and to Greek: 11 for there is no acceptance of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall perish also without law; and as many as have sinned under law shall be judged by law, 13 (for not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when [those of the] nations, which have no law, practise by nature the things of the law, these, having no law, are a law to themselves; 15 who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts accusing or else excusing themselves between themselves;) 16 in [the] day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my glad tidings, by Jesus Christ.
The Jews and the Law
17 But if thou art named a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast in God, 18 and knowest the will, and discerningly approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 and hast confidence that thou thyself art a leader of the blind, a light of those who [are] in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and of truth in the law: 21 thou then that teachest another, dost thou not teach thyself? thou that preachest not to steal, dost thou steal? 22 thou that sayest [man should] not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 thou who boastest in law, dost thou by transgression of the law dishonour God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed on your account among the nations, according as it is written. 25 For circumcision indeed profits if thou keep [the] law; but if thou be a law-transgressor, thy circumcision is become uncircumcision. 26 If therefore the uncircumcision keep the requirements of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision, 27 and uncircumcision by nature, fulfilling the law, judge thee, who, with letter and circumcision, [art] a law-transgressor? 28 For he is not a Jew who [is] one outwardly, neither that circumcision which is outward in flesh; 29 but he [is] a Jew [who is so] inwardly; and circumcision, of the heart, in spirit, not in letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.