Psalm 51:14
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
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(14) Bloodguiltiness . . .—Literally, as in the margin, bloods. So in LXX. and in Vulg., but thus hardly making it clear whether the word implies the guilt of blood already shed or anticipated violence. The latter would rather have taken the form of Psalm 59:2, “from men of blood.” Probably we should read “from death,” as in Psalm 56:13.

Psalm 51:14-15. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness — Hebrew, מדמים, middamim, from bloods, because he had been the cause of the death, not only of Uriah, but of others of the Lord’s people with him, 2 Samuel 11:17. My tongue shall sing of thy righteousness, of thy faithfulness in making good thy promises; or, rather, of thy clemency and goodness, as the word righteousness often signifies. Open thou my lips — Which are shut with shame, and grief, and horror. Restore unto me the opportunity, ability, and liberty which I formerly had of speaking to thee in prayer and praise, and to my fellow-creatures, by way of instruction, reproof, or exhortation, with freedom and boldness. And my mouth shall show forth thy praise — In thy mercy and thy faithfulness remember thy gracious promises, and accomplish them, notwithstanding my unworthiness, and, as I shall be furnished with new motives and occasions for gratitude and thankfulness, my mouth shall everywhere declare thy goodness, to thy perpetual praise and glory.51:7-15 Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Heb 12:24. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Heb 10:2. He asks not to be comforted, till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is contrasted with the yoke of bondage? Ga 5:1. It is the Spirit of adoption spoken to the heart. Those to whom God is the God of salvation, he will deliver from guilt; for the salvation he is the God of, is salvation from sin. We may therefore plead with him, Lord, thou art the God of my salvation, therefore deliver me from the dominion of sin. And when the lips are opened, what should they speak but the praises of God for his forgiving mercy?Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God - Margin, as in Hebrew, "bloods." So it is rendered by the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate. Luther renders it "blood-guilt." DeWette, "from blood." Compare Isaiah 4:4. The "plural" form - "bloods" - is used probably to mark "intensity," or to denote "great" guilt. The allusion is to the guilt of shedding blood, or taking life (compare Genesis 9:5-6), and the reference is undoubtedly to his guilt in causing Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, to be slain. 2 Samuel 11:14-17. It was this which weighed upon his conscience, and filled him with alarm. The guilt of this he prayed might be taken away, that he might have peace. The "fact" of the shedding of that blood could never be changed; the real "criminality" of that fact would always remain the same; the "crime" itself could never be declared to be innocence; his own personal "ill desert" for having caused the shedding of that blood would always remain; but the sin might be pardoned, and his soul could thus find peace.

The penalty might be remitted, and, though guilty, he might be assured of the divine favor. He could not, indeed, repair the evil to Uriah - for "he" had gone beyond the power of David for good or for evil - but he could do much to express his sense of the wrong; he could do much to save others from a similar course; he could do much to benefit society by keeping others from the like guilt. He could not, indeed, recall Uriah from the grave, and repair the evil which he had done to "him," but he might save others from such a crime, and thus preserve many a useful life from the effects of unrestrained guilty passions. We cannot, indeed, by penitence recall those whom we have murdered; we cannot restore purity to those whom we have seduced; we cannot restore faith to the young man whom we may have made a sceptic; but we may do much to restrain others from sin, and much to benefit the world even when we have been guilty of wrongs that cannot be repaired.

Thou God of my salvation - On whom I am dependent for salvation; who art alone the source of salvation to me.

And my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness - Compare the notes at Psalm 35:28.

14. Deliver—or, "Free me" (Ps 39:8) from the guilt of murder (2Sa 12:9, 10; Ps 5:6).

righteousness—as in Ps 7:17; 31:1.

From blood-guiltiness, Heb. from bloods, because he had been the cause of the death, not only of Uriah, but of others of the Lord’s people with him, 2 Samuel 11:17.

Thy righteousness; either,

1. Thy faithfulness in making good thy promises; or rather,

2. Thy clemency and goodness, as that word is frequently used. Deliver me from blood guiltiness,.... Or "from bloods" (q); meaning not the corruption of nature; see Ezekiel 16:6; though to be rid of that, and to be free from the guilt and condemnation of it, is very desirable, Romans 7:24; but either from capital punishment in his family, the effusion of blood and slaughter in it, threatened him on account of his sin, 2 Samuel 12:10. So the Targum is,

"deliver me from the judgment of slaying or killing;''

or rather from the guilt of the blood of Uriah, and other servants of his, he had been the occasion of shedding, and was chargeable with, being accessary thereunto, 2 Samuel 11:15; which lay heavy upon his conscience, pressed him on every side, as if he was in prison, and brought upon him a spirit of bondage to fear; and therefore he prays to be delivered from it, by the application of pardoning grace, which would be like proclaiming liberty to the captive;

O God, thou God of my salvation; who has contrived it for his people, chosen them to it, secured it for them in covenant, and provided his Son to be the author of it, and sends his Spirit to apply it. The psalmist knew, that being God he could pardon his sin, remove his guilt, and free him from obligation to punishment, which none else could; and being the "God of his salvation", and his covenant God, he had reason to hope and believe he would;

and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness; goodness, grace, and mercy, in forgiving sin; for "righteousness" sometimes designs clemency, goodness, and mercy; see Psalm 31:1; and faithfulness in making good the divine promise to forgive such who are sensible of sin, and repent of it, acknowledge it, and ask for mercy; or the righteousness of Christ, well known to David, Romans 4:6; which justifies from all sin, removes the guilt of it, and fills the soul with joy and gladness, Isaiah 61:10.

(q) "de sanguinibus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Vatablus, Musculus; so Ainsworth.

Deliver me from {m} bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

(m) From the murder of Uriah and the others who were slain with him, 2Sa 11:17.

14. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness] From the power and the punishment of my sin. Cp. Psalm 39:8; Psalm 40:12. No doubt ‘bloodguiltiness’ may include all ‘mortal sin,’ for which death was the punishment (see Ezekiel 18:13; Psalm 9:12, note); and the word is applicable enough to the nation which is repeatedly charged with the crime of murder (Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 4:4; Jeremiah 19:4; Ezekiel 7:23; 2 Kings 24:3-4; &c.); but it is distinctly appropriate to David’s crimes of adultery and murder. Cp. 2 Samuel 12:5; 2 Samuel 12:13.

thy righteousness] God’s righteousness, i.e. His faithfulness to His character and covenant, is exhibited in the pardon of the penitent not less than in the judgement of the impenitent. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Contrast Romans 2:4 ff.Verse 14. - Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God. In David's mouth this prayer is readily intelligible. In that of Babylonian exiles, the victims of oppression and wrong, it would be most extraordinary. Thou God of my salvation (comp. Psalm 18:46; Psalm 25:5; Psalm 27:9: 88:1, etc.). And my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. In further acknowledgment of God's goodness, and as, in some sort, a return for it, David will employ himself in singing the praises of God (see his many psalms of praise) and will especially exalt God's righteousness. "Jehovah," as Professor Cheyne observes, "is equally righteous when he sends and when he removes chastisements." The possession of all possessions, however, most needed by him, the foundation of all other possessions, is the assurance of the forgiveness of his sins. The second futures in Psalm 51:9 are consequents of the first, which are used as optatives. Psalm 51:9 recalls to mind the sprinkling of the leper, and of one unclean by reason of his contact with a dead body, by means of the bunch of hyssop (Leviticus 14, Numbers 19), the βοτάνη καθαρτική (Bhr, Symbol. ii. 503); and Psalm 51:9 recalls the washings which, according to priestly directions, the unclean person in all cases of uncleanness had to undergo. Purification and washing which the Law enjoins, are regarded in connection with the idea implied in them, and with a setting aside of their symbolic and carnal outward side, inasmuch as the performance of both acts, which in other cases takes place through priestly mediation, is here supplicated directly from God Himself. Manifestly בּאזוב (not כבאזוב) is intended to be understood in a spiritual sense. It is a spiritual medium of purification without the medium itself being stated. The New Testament believer confesses, with Petrarch in the second of his seven penitential Psalms: omnes sordes meas una gutta, vel tenuis, sacri sanguinis absterget. But there is here no mention made of atonement by blood; for the antitype of the atoning blood was still hidden from David. The operation of justifying grace on a man stained by the blood-red guilt of sin could not, however, be more forcibly denoted than by the expression that it makes him whiter than snow (cf. the dependent passage Isaiah 1:18). And history scarcely records a grander instance of the change of blood-red sin into dazzling whiteness than this, that out of the subsequent marriage of David and Bathsheba sprang Solomon, the most richly blessed of all kings. At the present time David's very bones are still shaken, and as it were crushed, with the sense of sin. דּכּית is an attributive clause like יפעל in Psalm 7:16. Into what rejoicing will this smitten condition be changed, when he only realizes within his soul the comforting and joyous assuring utterance of the God who is once more gracious to him! For this he yearns, viz., that God would hide His face from the sin which He is now visiting upon him, so that it may as it were be no longer present to Him; that He would blot out all his iniquities, so that they may no longer testify against him. Here the first part of the Psalm closes; the close recurs to the language of the opening (Psalm 51:3).
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