Tehillim / Psalms 51, Part 2, The Sacrifice of Righteousness and the Torah

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 51:1-19, David opens the Psalm saying א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: A psalm of David. David asks the Lord to forgive his sin saying ב בְּבוֹא-אֵלָיו נָתָן הַנָּבִיא כַּאֲשֶׁר-בָּא אֶל-בַּת-שָׁבַע: ג חָנֵּנִי אֱלֹהִים כְּחַסְדֶּךָ כְּרֹב רַחֲמֶיךָ מְחֵה פְשָׁעָי: 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. (NASB) He confesses his sins before the Lord, a thing that is characteristic of those who belong to the Lord (51:2-4). As part of his confession, he says that he was brought forth in iniquity and in sin he was conceived (51:5, ו לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ | חָטָאתִי וְהָרַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִֹיתִי לְמַעַן-תִּצְדַּק בְּדָבְרֶךָ תִּזְכֶּה בְשָׁפְטֶךָ: ) What does it mean to be conceived in sin and why would he need to recognize this about his conception? How does this compare to the Lord desiring truth be found in the inner most being? (51:6) How does the Lord make us to know wisdom? David asks to be purified drawing a parallel to the cleansing ritual detailed in the Torah (51:7). David says יא הַסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ מֵחֲטָאָי וְכָל-עֲוֹנֹתַי מְחֵה: יב לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא-לִי אֱלֹהִים וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי: 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. (NASB) He asks the Lord to 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. (NASB) After the Lord has done all of these things, he will teach transgressors God’s ways. Being taught the way of God causes a sinner to be converted. What is the meaning of conversion in this sense? (51:13) David asks the Lord to open his lips so that he can declare his praises (51:15) how is the Lord involved in this process? When we give God praise, is He causing us to do so? Following all of these things David states, יז אֲדֹנָי שְֹפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ: 51:16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. (NASB) Here he says the Lord does not desire sacrifice. Isn’t sacrifice required for forgiveness of sins? What is the role of the sacrifice in the day and the life of Israel and the Tabernacle? Is David saying the sacrifice is not efficacious for sins? David concludes saying כ הֵיטִיבָה בִרְצוֹנְךָ אֶת-צִיּוֹן תִּבְנֶה חוֹמוֹת יְרוּשָׁלָם: כא אָז תַּחְפֹּץ זִבְחֵי-צֶדֶק עוֹלָה וְכָלִיל אָז יַעֲלוּ עַל-מִזְבַּחֲךָ פָרִים: 51:18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 51:19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar. (NASB) Here David says the Lord will delight in the sacrifices, in burnt offerings, and in whole burnt offerings. What is it that causes the Lord to be delighted as compared to previously?

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק נא

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ב בְּבוֹא-אֵלָיו נָתָן הַנָּבִיא כַּאֲשֶׁר-בָּא אֶל-בַּת-שָׁבַע: ג חָנֵּנִי אֱלֹהִים כְּחַסְדֶּךָ כְּרֹב רַחֲמֶיךָ מְחֵה פְשָׁעָי: ד הֶרֶבה [הֶרֶב] כַּבְּסֵנִי מֵעֲוֹנִי וּמֵחַטָּאתִי טַהֲרֵנִי: ה כִּי-פְשָׁעַי אֲנִי אֵדָע וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד:

סםר טוביה פרק נא

א לשבחא תושבחתא לדוד׃ ב כד אתא לותיה נתן נבייא כד שמיש עם בת שבע׃ ג חוס עלי יהוה אלהא היך טיבותך היך סגיעות רחמייך שבוק מרודי׃ ד סוגעא תחוורינני מן עוייתי ומן חובי תדכי יתי׃ ה ארום מרודי אנא קדמי גליין וחובי לקיבלי תדירא׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 51

51:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ ἐν τῷ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς αὐτὸν Ναθαν τὸν προφήτην ἡνίκα εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς Βηρσαβεε ἐλέησόν με ὁ θεός κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός σου καὶ κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν σου ἐξάλειψον τὸ ἀνόμημά μου 51:2 ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνομίας μου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου καθάρισόν με 51:3 ὅτι τὴν ἀνομίαν μου ἐγὼ γινώσκω καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία μου ἐνώπιόν μού ἐστιν διὰ παντός

ו לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ | חָטָאתִי וְהָרַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִֹיתִי לְמַעַן-תִּצְדַּק בְּדָבְרֶךָ תִּזְכֶּה בְשָׁפְטֶךָ: ז הֵן-בְּעָווֹן חוֹלָלְתִּי וּבְחֵטְא יֶחֱמַתְנִי אִמִּי: ח הֵן-אֱמֶת חָפַצְתָּ בַטֻּחוֹת וּבְסָתֻם חָכְמָה תוֹדִיעֵנִי: ט תְּחַטְּאֵנִי בְאֵזוֹב וְאֶטְהָר תְּכַבְּסֵנִי וּמִשֶּׁלֶג אַלְבִּין: י תַּשְׁמִיעֵנִי שָֹשֹוֹן וְשִֹמְחָה תָּגֵלְנָה עֲצָמוֹת דִּכִּיתָ: יא הַסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ מֵחֲטָאָי וְכָל-עֲוֹנֹתַי מְחֵה: יב לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא-לִי אֱלֹהִים וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי: יג אַל-תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְרוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ אַל-תִּקַּח מִמֶּנִּי: יד הָשִׁיבָה לִּי שְֹשֹוֹן יִשְׁעֶךָ וְרוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי: טו אֲלַמְּדָה פשְׁעִים דְּרָכֶיךָ וְחַטָּאִים אֵלֶיךָ יָשׁוּבוּ: טז הַצִּילֵנִי מִדָּמִים | אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵי תְּשׁוּעָתִי תְּרַנֵּן לְשׁוֹנִי צִדְקָתֶךָ: יז אֲדֹנָי שְֹפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ: יח כִּי | לֹא-תַחְפֹּץ זֶבַח וְאֶתֵּנָה עוֹלָה לֹא תִרְצֶה: יט זִבְחֵי אֱלֹהִים רוּחַ נִשְׁבָּרָה לֵב-נִשְׁבָּר וְנִדְכֶּה אֱלֹהִים לֹא תִבְזֶה: כ הֵיטִיבָה בִרְצוֹנְךָ אֶת-צִיּוֹן תִּבְנֶה חוֹמוֹת יְרוּשָׁלָם: כא אָז תַּחְפֹּץ זִבְחֵי-צֶדֶק עוֹלָה וְכָלִיל אָז יַעֲלוּ עַל-מִזְבַּחֲךָ פָרִים:

ו קדמך בלחודך לבלחודך חבית ודביש קדמך עבדית מן בגלל דתזכי יתי במללותך תברור יתי כד תדין תידון׃ ז הא בעוייא איתילידית ובחובא עברית מני אמי׃ {ת׳׳א} הא בעוויין סבר אבא למברא יתי ובחוב יצרא בישא יתחמינני אומי׃ ח הא קושטא רעיתא בכוליין ובמטמור לבא חוכמתא תהודענני׃ ט תדי עלי היך כהנא דמדי באזובא על מסאבא מוי אדיותא מן קטם תורתא ואדכי תסחינני תחוורינני ומן תלגא אתחור׃ י תבשרינני תשמעינני חדווא ואודיצותא תבוען תושבחתא איבריא גרמיא דשיפייתא׃ יא סליק אפיך מן חוביי וכל וכולהון עויתי מחי׃ יב לב בריר ברי לי אלהא ורוח מכוון בדחלתך חדית בגווי בגושמי׃ יג לא תטלוק יתי מן קדמך ורוח נבואת קודשך לא תסלק מיני׃ יד אתיב לי לותי אוריתך למידוץ בפורקנך ורוח נבואה נדבותא תסמכינני׃ טו אאליף למרודיא אורחתך וחייביא קדמך יתובון׃ טז פצי יתי מדין קטול יהוה אלהי פורקני תיבוע לישני צדקתך׃ יז יהוה סיפוותי פתח באוריתא ופומי יתני תושבחתך׃יח ארום לא תצבי נכסת קודשא ואתן עלתא לא תתרעי׃ יט נכסת וקודשא דאלהא נפשא מיתברא לב תביר ושפי אלהא לא תבסור׃ כ אוטיב ברעותך ית ציון תשכלל שורי ירושלם׃ כא בכן תצבי דיבחין דצדקתא ״נכסת קודשין דזכוותא עלתא וגמיר דמתסקא הבכן יסקון כהניא על מדבחך תורין׃

51:4 σοὶ μόνῳ ἥμαρτον καὶ τὸ πονηρὸν ἐνώπιόν σου ἐποίησα ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε 51:5 ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήμφθην καὶ ἐν ἁμαρτίαις ἐκίσσησέν με ἡ μήτηρ μου 51:6 ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀλήθειαν ἠγάπησας τὰ ἄδηλα καὶ τὰ κρύφια τῆς σοφίας σου ἐδήλωσάς μοι 51:7 ῥαντιεῖς με ὑσσώπῳ καὶ καθαρισθήσομαι πλυνεῖς με καὶ ὑπὲρ χιόνα λευκανθήσομαι 51:8 ἀκουτιεῖς με ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην ἀγαλλιάσονται ὀστᾶ τεταπεινωμένα 51:9 ἀπόστρεψον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν μου καὶ πάσας τὰς ἀνομίας μου ἐξάλειψον 51:10 καρδίαν καθαρὰν κτίσον ἐν ἐμοί ὁ θεός καὶ πνεῦμα εὐθὲς ἐγκαίνισον ἐν τοῖς ἐγκάτοις μου 51:11 μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς με ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου σου καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιόν σου μὴ ἀντανέλῃς ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ 51:12 ἀπόδος μοι τὴν ἀγαλλίασιν τοῦ σωτηρίου σου καὶ πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ στήρισόν με 51:13 διδάξω ἀνόμους τὰς ὁδούς σου καὶ ἀσεβεῖς ἐπὶ σὲ ἐπιστρέψουσιν 51:14 ῥῦσαί με ἐξ αἱμάτων ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεὸς τῆς σωτηρίας μου ἀγαλλιάσεται ἡ γλῶσσά μου τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου 51:15 κύριε τὰ χείλη μου ἀνοίξεις καὶ τὸ στόμα μου ἀναγγελεῖ τὴν αἴνεσίν σου 51:16 ὅτι εἰ ἠθέλησας θυσίαν ἔδωκα ἄν ὁλοκαυτώματα οὐκ εὐδοκήσεις 51:17 θυσία τῷ θεῷ πνεῦμα συντετριμμένον καρδίαν συντετριμμένην καὶ τεταπεινωμένην ὁ θεὸς οὐκ ἐξουθενώσει 51:18 ἀγάθυνον κύριε ἐν τῇ εὐδοκίᾳ σου τὴν Σιων καὶ οἰκοδομηθήτω τὰ τείχη Ιερουσαλημ 51:19 τότε εὐδοκήσεις θυσίαν δικαιοσύνης ἀναφορὰν καὶ ὁλοκαυτώματα τότε ἀνοίσουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριόν σου μόσχους

Tehillim / Psalms 51

For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. 51:16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 51:18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 51:19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 51

51:1 For praise; a hymn of David. 51:2 When Nathan the prophet came to him when he had lain with Bathsheba. 51:3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to your kindness; according to the abundance of your mercies, forgive my rebellion. 51:4 Cleanse me thoroughly from my iniquity, and make me clean from my sin. 51:5 For my rebellions are manifest before me, and my sin is in front of me always. 51:6 Before you, you alone, I have sinned, and that which is evil in your presence I have done; so that you may make me righteous when you speak, you will clear me when you give judgment. 51:7 Behold, in iniquity was I born, and in sin my mother was pregnant with me. Another Targum: Behold, in iniquities my father thought to create me; and in the sin of the evil impulse my mother conceived me. 51:8 Behold, you desire truth in the inner being; and in the hidden place of the heart you will make wisdom known. 51:9 You will sprinkle me like a priest who sprinkles with hyssop waters of purification made from the ashes of the heifer on the unclean, and I will be clean; you will wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 51:10 You will proclaim to me joy and jubilation; the limbs that you have purified will rejoice with a hymn. 51:11 Remove your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 51:12 A pure heart create for me, O God; and renew within me a spirit inclined to revere you. 51:13 Do not cast me from your presence; and do not remove from me your holy spirit of prophecy. 51:14 Return your Torah to me, to exult in your redemption; and may the spirit of prophecy support me. 51:15 I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to your presence. 51:16 Deliver me from the sentence of death, O Lord, God of my salvation; my tongue will rejoice in your generosity. 51:17 O Lord, open my lips with Torah, and my mouth will recount your praise. 51:18 For you will not desire the holy sacrifice; when I give a burnt offering, you are not pleased. 51:19 The holy sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a heart broken and purged, O God, you will not spurn. 51:20 Show favor in your good will to Zion; you will complete the walls of Jerusalem. 51:21 Then you will desire the sacrifices of righteousness, burnt offering and holocaust; then the priests will sacrifice bulls on your altar. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 51

For the end, a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, when he had gone to Bersabee. 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of thy compassions blot out my transgression. 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 51:3 For I am conscious of mine iniquity; and my sin is continually before me. 51:4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee: that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 51:5 For, behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me. 51:6 For, behold, thou lovest truth: thou hast manifested to me the secret and hidden things of thy wisdom. 51:7 Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be purified: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 51:8 Thou shalt cause me to hear gladness and joy: the afflicted bones shall rejoice. 51:9 Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts. 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and remove not thy holy Spirit from me. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation: establish me with thy directing Spirit. 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and ungodly men shall turn to thee. 51:14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation: and my tongue shall joyfully declare thy righteousness. 51:15 O Lord, thou shalt open my lips; and my mouth shall declare thy praise. 51:16 For if thou desiredst sacrifice, I would have given it: thou wilt not take pleasure in whole-burnt-offerings. 51:17 Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise. 51:18 Do good, O Lord, to Sion in thy good pleasure; and let the walls of Jerusalem be built. 51:19 Then shalt thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, offering, and whole-burnt-sacrifices: then shall they offer calves upon thine altar. (LXX)

This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 51:1-19, David opens the Psalm saying א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: A psalm of David. For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. The Book of Psalms (תְּהִלִּים, “Tehillim” means “Praises”), is commonly referred to as Psalms or “the Psalms,” and is the first book of the Ketuvim (“Writings”), and is the third section of the Hebrew Bible. The Aramaic Translation titles this as “Toviyah” (טוביה) meaning “Happy, good.” The Septuagint (Greek Translation) titles the Psalm as ψαλμοί “psalmoi,” meaning “instrumental music” and, by extension this may be read to say, “the words accompanying the music.” There are 150 psalms in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and many of the psalms are linked to the name of King David according to the Masoretic Text. Modern Bible scholars however do not believe in the authorship of David in the psalms and attribute the psalms to the Ugartic texts and to the people of the land of Canaan. Studying the Apostolic Writings, the writers of the NT did however attribute to David the authorship of the psalms. For example, in Tehillim / Acts 4:25 the author of acts attributes Tehillim / Psalm 2 to David. Hebrews 4:7 states that Tehillim / Psalm 95 is by David. 1 Chronicles 16:7-36 contains parts of Tehillim / Psalms 96, 105 and 106, and these passages we read is stated that the psalms are written by David. In addition to this, Acts 2:25-28 referencing Tehillim / Psalm 16 and Acts 2:34-35 referencing Tehillim / Psalm 110 are also both written by David. Why modern Bible scholars choose to reject the writings of the Masoretic Text which explicitly states the psalms are written by David is unknown. This illustrates the importance of recognizing commentators are equally susceptible error in their theology, just like anyone else and even myself. Always read commentaries using a critical eye.

David begins by asking the Lord to forgive his sin saying ב בְּבוֹא-אֵלָיו נָתָן הַנָּבִיא כַּאֲשֶׁר-בָּא אֶל-בַּת-שָׁבַע: ג חָנֵּנִי אֱלֹהִים כְּחַסְדֶּךָ כְּרֹב רַחֲמֶיךָ מְחֵה פְשָׁעָי: When Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. (NASB) Based upon the opening two verses from the Masoretic Text, the psalm is attributed to David and is being linked to the time when Nathan the prophet came to David following his sin (transgression) with Bat-sheva (בַּת-שָׁבַע, Bathsheba). Now most English speaking people look at the name Bathsheba and think on how she was bathing, the origin of the name “bath,” were David looked upon her and sinned. The construction of the English name “Bath-Sheba” is the result of the transliteration of two Hebrew words into English. The name Bat-Sheva means “daughter seven” where שבע when used as a noun means “seven,” and as an adjective can mean “satisfied, satiated, full,” and as a verb can have the meaning to swear, take an oath (להישבע). Bat-Sheva simply means that she was the seventh daughter that was born. Her name could also refer to her Father’s joy of being satisfied and full in the birth of a baby girl, or in the fulfillment of the covenant that he “swore” to God or recognizing the covenant that God has sworn to His people, etc. Without further information on Bat-Sheva’s father it is hard to say, but regardless of this we understand from a Hebraic perspective, the naming convention of the Hebrew boys and girls revolved around one’s life and relationship with God. This is why Israel was called the people of the book.

In Tehillim / Psalms 51:1 (51:3) we get the idea that David’s soul is suffering under the weight of his guilt after having lusted for another man’s wife, being intimate with her, impregnating her, and then to cover up his sin, killing Uriah, Bat-Sheva’s husband (Read 2 Samuel 11). Here in Tehillim / Psalms 51:1 (51:3) , the word khesed חֶסֶד is most often translated as “steadfast love” or “lovingkindness” in the English translations. According to the Scriptures, the word khesed (חֶסֶד) draws in the connection to God’s covenant with His people. Brown, Driver, and Briggs lexicon define khesed as “favor, grace, charity, kindness, benevolence, graciousness, mercy, prayerful, benignity.” Another way to think about khesed (חֶסֶד), within the context of the covenant, is that this is God’s “Covenant Love” which He has for His people. It is by this covenant love (and grace) the Lord decided to enter into even after the people’s sin of idolatry in Parashat Ki Tisa. What is indicated in the word khesed חֶסֶד is God’s faithfulness in His Covenant with His people according to the promises He made to Abraham in Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit / Genesis 12-17). According to Parashat Lech Lecha, the Lord promised Abraham that His covenant will be an everlasting covenant for Abraham’s offspring (descendent’s, seed, etc). Therefore, it was because of the Lord’s covenant with Abraham that He extended His grace (חֶסֶד) to the people at Sinai and made them His people. Similarly, it is by His grace (חֶסֶד) that the people of Nineveh (a gentile population) were forgiven, when they showed repentance the Lord turned from His wrath. It is with this Torah perspective that David is seeking the Lord to turn from His wrath due to his sin with Bat-Sheva. As we study the Scriptures, we learn that throughout Israel’s history the Lord extended his grace (חֶסֶד) because of the covenant that He entered into at Sinai. The emphasis on the character of God in Shemot / Exodus 34 verses 6-7 reveal God’s mercy and grace (חֶסֶד khesed) towards His chosen people. As a result of these things, the Lord proceeds to give the Torah to the people and establish His covenant with them exactly as He had promised 400 years prior to Abraham.

The Aramaic Targum states, א לשבחא תושבחתא לדוד׃ ב כד אתא לותיה נתן נבייא כד שמיש עם בת שבע׃ ג חוס עלי יהוה אלהא היך טיבותך היך סגיעות רחמייך שבוק מרודי׃ 51:1 For praise; a hymn of David. 51:2 When Nathan the prophet came to him when he had lain with Bathsheba. 51:3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to your kindness; according to the abundance of your mercies, forgive my rebellion. (EMC) The Septuagint translation states, 51:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ ἐν τῷ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς αὐτὸν Ναθαν τὸν προφήτην ἡνίκα εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς Βηρσαβεε ἐλέησόν με ὁ θεός κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός σου καὶ κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν σου ἐξάλειψον τὸ ἀνόμημά μου For the end, a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, when he had gone to Bersabee. 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of thy compassions blot out my transgression. (LXX) The rabbis translate David’s words with a similar understanding from a Torah perspective, the Lord is merciful, He is forgiving, and He will show kindness to David though there are consequences for his sinful actions. The Septuagint agrees with the MT and the Targum, the Lord will show great mercy (μέγα ἔλεός σου) because of the multitude of his compassions He will blot out David’s transgressions. From a Torah perspective, the Lord is abounding in mercy and compassion. What a wonderful God we serve who is so merciful to us.

David continues by asking the Lord to cleanse him from his sins and he describes his sins in a variety of ways. What can we learn by the way he describes his sins in Tehillim / Psalms 51?

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 51:2-4

51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.

ד הֶרֶבה [הֶרֶב] כַּבְּסֵנִי מֵעֲוֹנִי וּמֵחַטָּאתִי טַהֲרֵנִי: ה כִּי-פְשָׁעַי אֲנִי אֵדָע וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד: ו לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ | חָטָאתִי וְהָרַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִֹיתִי לְמַעַן-תִּצְדַּק בְּדָבְרֶךָ תִּזְכֶּה בְשָׁפְטֶךָ:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 51:4-6

51:4 Cleanse me thoroughly from my iniquity, and make me clean from my sin. 51:5 For my rebellions are manifest before me, and my sin is in front of me always. 51:6 Before you, you alone, I have sinned, and that which is evil in your presence I have done; so that you may make me righteous when you speak, you will clear me when you give judgment.

ד סוגעא תחוורינני מן עוייתי ומן חובי תדכי יתי׃ ה ארום מרודי אנא קדמי גליין וחובי לקיבלי תדירא׃ ו קדמך בלחודך לבלחודך חבית ודביש קדמך עבדית מן בגלל דתזכי יתי במללותך תברור יתי כד תדין תידון׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 51:2-4

51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 51:3 For I am conscious of mine iniquity; and my sin is continually before me. 51:4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee: that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

51:2 ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνομίας μου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου καθάρισόν με 51:3 ὅτι τὴν ἀνομίαν μου ἐγὼ γινώσκω καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία μου ἐνώπιόν μού ἐστιν διὰ παντός 51:4 σοὶ μόνῳ ἥμαρτον καὶ τὸ πονηρὸν ἐνώπιόν σου ἐποίησα ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε

In Tehillim / Psalms 51:1-4, David uses three words to describe his sin before God. He uses the word פְשָׁעָי meaning “crime, sin, offense, felony, transgression,” מֵעֲוֹנִי from the root עוון meaning “sin, crime, offence, evil,” and the word וּמֵחַטָּאתִי from the root חטא meaning “sin, fault, offence, sinfulness, ungodliness, crime.” Similarly, in David’s confession of his sin, he also uses three words asking for forgiveness, כְּחַסְדֶּךָ from the root word חסד meaning “grace, mercy,” רַחֲמֶיךָ from the root word רחם meaning “to have mercy, compassion,” כַּבְּסֵנִי from the root word כבס meaning “to wash.” Notice how the rabbis describe David’s words in the Septuagint, they say ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνομίας μου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου καθάρισόν με “Abundantly wash me from my lawlessness and from my sin cleanse me.” Here the rabbis translate David’s words ד הֶרֶבה [הֶרֶב] כַּבְּסֵנִי מֵעֲוֹנִי וּמֵחַטָּאתִי טַהֲרֵנִי:51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin,” “my sin” (וּמֵחַטָּאתִי) as “anomias” (ἀνομίας μου) in Greek meaning “lawlessness,” which describes an utter disregard for God’s Torah (His written and living Word). In the Hebrew text David asks that the Lord would cleanse him saying “tehareni” (טַהֲרֵנִי) which is describing cleansing in the sense of ritual purity. The Septuagint translates into Greek “katharison me” (καθάρισόν με), this word is used as a reference to “cleansing” with regard to ritual purity, but is translated here as “wash” in English. This word “katharison” (καθάρισόν με) is used 32 times in the Apostolic Writings (NT). These statistics along with their occurrences are available at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper (click on “all search options”). The point is within the Apostolic Writings we find many references to ritual cleansing where the English translation translates simply as washing by water. Something is lost by not engaging in the original languages. From a Torah perspective, we know this is a reference to the Mikvah and to the other methods of becoming ritually pure which enables one to then be a part of the community of believers, to worship and to serve God in His Temple in Jerusalem. The cleansing of Yeshua, His blood, His Word, and His Spirit that dwells within each of us, these things are all drawn out from a Torah perspective. This is the context in which Yeshua the Messiah enables us to commune with God, He hears our prayers because Yeshua has made us holy and righteous. And because He has made us holy and righteous, we are to live holy and righteous lives and we do so according to the Torah. The Aramaic Targum translates David’s words as ד סוגעא תחוורינני מן עוייתי ומן חובי תדכי יתי׃ 51:4 Cleanse me thoroughly from my iniquity, and make me clean from my sin. (EMC) The rabbis translate using the same word for sin “oveyti” (עוייתי) and call this sin “khovi” (חובי) “debt, obligation, guilt.” Here again David is asking to be cleansed (תדכי) to be purified “to cleanse, to purify ritually,” for the Lord to purge his sin from him. He is asking to be purged of his anomias (lawlessness). Have you ever asked the Lord to purge you of your anomias (lawlessness)? Are you willing to admit that you have a little anomias and are guilty and need Yeshua the Messiah to be justified before our Father in heaven? Admitting sin and repentance (turning from sin) are the first steps towards receiving forgiveness.

On the topic of sin, the Torah lists for us those sins that separate us from God. Mishley / Proverbs 21:2-3 tells us כָּל-דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁ יָשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו וְתֹכֵן לִבּוֹת יְהֹוָה 21:2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. (NASB) Mishley / Proverbs 21:3 explains to us that the Lord God weighs our hearts saying “To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.” Concerning sin in our lives, God sees our hearts and knows everything about us, nothing is hidden from Him. David realizes this while writing his Psalm in Tehillim / Psalms 51.

Mishley / Proverbs 21:1-5

21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. 21:2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. 21:3 To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. (NASB)

א פַּלְגֵי-מַיִם לֶב-מֶלֶךְ בְּיַד-יְהֹוָה עַל-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר יַחְפֹּץ יַטֶּנּוּ: ב כָּל-דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁ יָשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו וְתֹכֵן לִבּוֹת יְהֹוָה: ג עֲשֹֹה צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט נִבְחָר לַיהֹוָה מִזָּבַח: ד רוּם עֵינַיִם וּרְחַב-לֵב נִר רְשָׁעִים חַטָּאת: ה מַחְשְׁבוֹת חָרוּץ אַךְ-לְמוֹתָר וְכָל-אָץ אַךְ-לְמַחְסוֹר:

Based upon David’s use of these three words to describe his sin, פְשָׁעָי appears to be a reference to his external guilt in sin, whereas מֵעֲוֹנִי and וּמֵחַטָּאתִי are referring to the internal spiritual guilt. David recognized that in his heart he did not exercise justice (מִשְׁפָּט) and righteousness (צְדָקָה) before God and before others. He committed murder. The greatness of this external and internal uncleanness excluded David from worshiping in God’s presence. Only a complete eradication of his sin will restore him into fellowship with God and to be able to stand in His presence. As a result, David seeks the internal cleansing that is accomplished only by the grace and mercy of God as understood according to the psalm on the use of the words כְּחַסְדֶּךָ and רַחֲמֶיךָ and then to be cleansed externally by the purifying waters indicated by the phrase “to wash” (כַּבְּסֵנִי) me from my sins. This is emphasized in David’s statement in Tehillim / Psalms 51:4 in the Hebrew Bible, (verse 51:2 in the English Bible) הֶרֶבה [הֶרֶב] כַּבְּסֵנִי מֵעֲוֹנִי וּמֵחַטָּאתִי טַהֲרֵנִי by the word טַהֲרֵנִי meaning “cleanse me” in the sense of ritual purity. David realizes that sinning with Bat-Sheva and against Uriah is synonymous with sinning against God. He then confirms the Lord’s righteous judgment against sin and God’s desire for righteousness in His people (לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ | חָטָאתִי וְהָרַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִֹיתִי לְמַעַן-תִּצְדַּק בְּדָבְרֶךָ תִּזְכֶּה בְשָׁפְטֶךָ) according to Tehillim / Psalms 51:6.

David continues saying ז הֵן-בְּעָווֹן חוֹלָלְתִּי וּבְחֵטְא יֶחֱמַתְנִי אִמִּי: 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states ז הא בעוייא איתילידית ובחובא עברית מני אמי׃ {ת׳׳א} הא בעוויין סבר אבא למברא יתי ובחוב יצרא בישא יתחמינני אומי׃ 51:7 Behold, in iniquity was I born, and in sin my mother was pregnant with me. Another Targum: Behold, in iniquities my father thought to create me; and in the sin of the evil impulse my mother conceived me. (EMC) Here David says that he was conceived in sin. What does it mean to be conceived in sin and why would he need to recognize this about his conception? The point David may be making is to illustrate how mankind or human nature is conceived, (1) people are born with a propensity to sin; and (2) being born with the propensity to sin does not excuse us in sin, but rather tends to aggravate and deepen our guilt. The Septuagint translates this verse to say, ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήμφθην καὶ ἐν ἁμαρτίαις ἐκίσσησέν με ἡ μήτηρ μου 51:5 “For behold in lawless deeds I was conceived in sins craved strange food for me my mother.” Note here again we find the word anomias (lawlessness) in parallel to being conceived. Is he saying conception is a form of lawlessness? Procreation, conception was the first command given by God when He said “be fruitful and multiply.” What are these strange foods? The strange foods appears to be something other than the nutrition of a mothers milk. So the rabbinic understanding of David’s words (the Targum) are that as a child he craved something that was not nourishing, this may be paralleled to causing a form of improper development due to malnutrition. Because he does not develop correctly, physically, his body does not function properly and this may affect the way he walks. The concepts that are generated here in the idea that he craved strange foods brings us back to a Torah perspective, with regard to sin, walking in a strange way, craving sinful things, the parents lusting for one another during sex, etc. According to king Solomon’s words in his proverbs, wisdom is described as mixing drink and preparing food. Food has the ability to nourish the body, and the parallel that is given here is that wisdom nourishes the soul and makes us strong spiritually. Likewise, the Torah nourishes the soul and makes us strong spiritually. The food of the Torah is the Word of God being integrated into our lives and becoming a way of life, living, and walking according to God’s ways. This is what Yeshua meant when he spoke about keeping His word in our hearts (John 14:23) saying, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (NASB) The Lord makes known his wisdom in His Word (the Bible, Scripture), and the power of the Holy Spirit is to write that Word upon our hearts.

David continues saying, ט תְּחַטְּאֵנִי בְאֵזוֹב וְאֶטְהָר תְּכַבְּסֵנִי וּמִשֶּׁלֶג אַלְבִּין: י תַּשְׁמִיעֵנִי שָֹשֹוֹן וְשִֹמְחָה תָּגֵלְנָה עֲצָמוֹת דִּכִּיתָ: יא הַסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ מֵחֲטָאָי וְכָל-עֲוֹנֹתַי מְחֵה: יב לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא-לִי אֱלֹהִים וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי: יג אַל-תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְרוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ אַל-תִּקַּח מִמֶּנִּי: יד הָשִׁיבָה לִּי שְֹשֹוֹן יִשְׁעֶךָ וְרוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי: 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. (NASB) There are a lot of important concepts that David is making here in his psalm. In each verse we can see how David is emphasizing something the Lord is involved in doing. David expresses the importance of being cleansed in 51:9 saying תְּחַטְּאֵנִי בְאֵזוֹב וְאֶטְהָר תְּכַבְּסֵנִי וּמִשֶּׁלֶג אַלְבִּין “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (NASB) He asks that Hyssop (בְאֵזוֹב) be used in the cleansing process. What is the significance of the request for cleansing by hyssop? According to the Torah, hyssop is an aromatic herb from the mint family that was used to sprinkle the blood on the door posts at Pesach (Passover) according to Shemot / Exodus 12:22, therefore hyssop draws in the Torah perspective of Pesach and blood protection from the angel of death. We also read about hyssop in Vayikra / Leviticus 14:4-6, 14:49-52 and its use for sprinkling the waters of purification upon one who is unclean. The person who is unclean then becomes clean following a seven day waiting period after the sprinkling ritual. The use of the word Hyssop draws in the Torah concepts of uncleanness, both spiritually and physically, protection from death, and protection by innocent blood. (Note: Yeshua laid down his life on Pesach, so that we who believe in Him (Yeshua) would not perish but have everlasting life.) David is applying the concept of cleansing to the internal cleansing from sin in the phrase תְּחַטְּאֵנִי בְאֵזוֹב וְאֶטְהָר which translates literally as “my sins in hyssop and I will be clean.” Remember earlier we discussed the different words used to describe the different aspects of sin in David’s life. He is asking the Lord to cleans him both inwardly and outwardly. David desires not only that his sins be forgiven him but that his heart would be made pure in Tehillim / Psalms 51:12-13, יב לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא-לִי אֱלֹהִים וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי: יג אַל-תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְרוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ אַל-תִּקַּח מִמֶּנִּי: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (NASB) (English bible 51:10-11). David asks the Lord to create (בְּרָא) in him a “lev tahor” (לֵב טָהוֹר), “a ritually clean/pure heart,” and to restore to him the joy of God’s salvation and to sustain a willing spirit within (הָשִׁיבָה לִּי שְֹשֹוֹן יִשְׁעֶךָ וְרוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי). David says literally, “return to me” (הָשִׁיבָה לִּי) which provides for us the idea of “returning” to David, this word provides us with a repentant attitude, the turning from sin, returning to the Way of the Lord, etc. Isn’t it interesting how all of these requests suggest that the Lord is the one who is doing these things on David’s behalf, even helping him to have a sustained spirit within (וְרוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי) or to “uphold” his spirit within which may indicate the Lord’s role in keeping David’s spirit willing to be obedient and not sin. This should be our prayer today that the Lord would help us to live obedient lives.

The Aramaic Targum states, ט תדי עלי היך כהנא דמדי באזובא על מסאבא מוי אדיותא מן קטם תורתא ואדכי תסחינני תחוורינני ומן תלגא אתחור׃ י תבשרינני תשמעינני חדווא ואודיצותא תבוען תושבחתא איבריא גרמיא דשיפייתא׃ יא סליק אפיך מן חוביי וכל וכולהון עויתי מחי׃ יב לב בריר ברי לי אלהא ורוח מכוון בדחלתך חדית בגווי בגושמי׃ יג לא תטלוק יתי מן קדמך ורוח נבואת קודשך לא תסלק מיני׃ יד אתיב לי לותי אוריתך למידוץ בפורקנך ורוח נבואה נדבותא תסמכינני׃ 51:9 You will sprinkle me like a priest who sprinkles with hyssop waters of purification made from the ashes of the heifer on the unclean, and I will be clean; you will wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 51:10 You will proclaim to me joy and jubilation; the limbs that you have purified will rejoice with a hymn. 51:11 Remove your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 51:12 A pure heart create for me, O God; and renew within me a spirit inclined to revere you. 51:13 Do not cast me from your presence; and do not remove from me your holy spirit of prophecy. 51:14 Return your Torah to me, to exult in your redemption; and may the spirit of prophecy support me. (EMC) Here the Targum translation states explicitly that David is referring to the waters of purification from the ashes of the red heifer. Notice how the cleansing process brings great joy, and by cleansing the Lord removes and blots out David’s iniquity. The rabbis translate David’s words to have him requesting the Lord not to remove the spirit of prophecy and to return God’s Torah (instruction) to him. He also asks that God’s Spirit of prophecy would support him or lift him up. Is it surprising to see how David and the rabbis understand God’s work in our lives and how consistent this is with our understanding today?

The Septuagint translation says the following:

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 51

51:7 Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be purified: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 51:8 Thou shalt cause me to hear gladness and joy: the afflicted bones shall rejoice. 51:9 Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts. 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and remove not thy holy Spirit from me. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation: establish me with thy directing Spirit. (LXX)

51:7 ῥαντιεῖς με ὑσσώπῳ καὶ καθαρισθήσομαι πλυνεῖς με καὶ ὑπὲρ χιόνα λευκανθήσομαι 51:8 ἀκουτιεῖς με ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην ἀγαλλιάσονται ὀστᾶ τεταπεινωμένα 51:9 ἀπόστρεψον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν μου καὶ πάσας τὰς ἀνομίας μου ἐξάλειψον 51:10 καρδίαν καθαρὰν κτίσον ἐν ἐμοί ὁ θεός καὶ πνεῦμα εὐθὲς ἐγκαίνισον ἐν τοῖς ἐγκάτοις μου 51:11 μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς με ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου σου καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιόν σου μὴ ἀντανέλῃς ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ 51:12 ἀπόδος μοι τὴν ἀγαλλίασιν τοῦ σωτηρίου σου καὶ πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ στήρισόν με

The rabbis translate David’s words into Greek to say that he is requesting the Lord to establish him with God’s directing Spirit. In all of these things we are being shown how the Lord is involved in the cleansing, guiding, sustaining, and saving process. In addition to this, in the ritual of the sprinkling of the waters of purification is a direct connection to the cleansing of the leper according to Vayikra / Leviticus 14. This reminds us of Yeshua healing lepers according to Matthew 8:2-3, Mark 1:40-42, and Luke 17:11-19. In Luke 17:11-19, Yeshua was on his way to Jerusalem (Ἰερουσαλὴμ) and passing between Samaria (Σαμαρείας) and Galilee (Γαλιλαίας) he met 10 lepers. The Lepers raised their voices saying 13καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες, Ἰησοῦ ἐπιστάτα, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς 17:13 … “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Yeshua told the lepers to go and show themselves to the Cohanim (Priests) and as they went they were healed, cleansed of the disease as they made their way to show themselves to the Cohen.

Luke 17:11-19

11Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ αὐτὸς διήρχετο διὰ μέσον Σαμαρείας καὶ Γαλιλαίας. 12καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην ἀπήντησαν [αὐτῷ] δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες, οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν, 13καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες, Ἰησοῦ ἐπιστάτα, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. 14καὶ ἰδὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Πορευθέντες ἐπιδείξατε ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ὑπάγειν αὐτοὺς ἐκαθαρίσθησαν. 15εἷς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν, ἰδὼν ὅτι ἰάθη, ὑπέστρεψεν μετὰ φωνῆς μεγάλης δοξάζων τὸν θεόν, 16καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ: καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρίτης. 17ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Οὐχὶ οἱ δέκα ἐκαθαρίσθησαν; οἱ δὲ ἐννέα ποῦ; 18οὐχ εὑρέθησαν ὑποστρέψαντες δοῦναι δόξαν τῷ θεῷ εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος; 19καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ἀναστὰς πορεύου: ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε.

The Scripture translates literally to say, “Continuing on the journey, to show themselves to a Cohen (ἱερεῦσιν) it came into existence (ἐγένετο) their cleansing.” (Πορευθέντες ἐπιδείξατε ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ὑπάγειν αὐτοὺς ἐκαθαρίσθησαν.) The Greek stem καθαρίζω for the word ἐκαθαρίσθησαν is a verb meaning “to make clean, cleanse, to cleanse a leper by curing, to free from defilement of sin and from faults, to purify from wickedness, to free from the guilt of sin, to consecrate or pronounce clean in a Levitical sense.” As these 10 Lepers acted upon their faith, the Lord God healed them of their disease of Tzaraat. Based upon the text it appears the men (i) believed Yeshua was able to heal them and (ii) they needed to act upon their faith even though the Tzaraat remained upon their bodies physically. The work of believing and then physically doing what the Lord instructs us to do are connected. In other words, we are shown how important it is to step out in faith first trusting in the Lord and then ordering out steps based upon the faith that we have. By performing the act of going to the Cohen to show their bodies they were healed. Did their healing come by their own hands or by their works, or by the power of God? They moved by faith to show their bodies to the priests and offer the sacrifices required according to the Torah, even though there remained the sign of Tzaraat. By their faith they glorified the name of the Lord and were obedient to His word and God healed them. Studying the Ketuvei Shelachim, healing was always done so to glorify the Lord God Almighty.

The ritual cleansing process then required the rigorous procedure of inspection and blood atonement as described in the Torah. According to the Scriptures in Vayikra / Leviticus 14:2-3 ב זֹאת תִּהְיֶה תּוֹרַת הַמְּצֹרָע בְּיוֹם טָהֳרָתוֹ וְהוּבָא אֶל-הַכֹּהֵן: ג וְיָצָא הַכֹּהֵן אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְרָאָה הַכֹּהֵן וְהִנֵּה נִרְפָּא נֶגַע-הַצָּרַעַת מִן-הַצָּרוּעַ: ד וְצִוָּה הַכֹּהֵן וְלָקַח לַמִּטַּהֵר שְׁתֵּי-צִפֳּרִים חַיּוֹת טְהֹרוֹת וְעֵץ אֶרֶז וּשְׁנִי תוֹלַעַת וְאֵזֹב: 14:2 ‘This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest, 14:3 and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp. Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper (NASB). The person with Tzaraat is to meet the Cohen (Priest) half way. Yeshua sent the lepers to show their bodies to the Cohen because the first step of acting in faith is crucial for a believer. As it says in Hosea 14:2, קְחוּ עִמָּכֶם דְּבָרִים וְשׁוּבוּ אֶל־יְהוָה אִמְרוּ אֵלָיו כָּל־תִּשָּׂא עָוֹן וְקַח־טֹוב וּֽנְשַׁלְּמָה פָרִים שְׂפָתֵֽינוּ׃ 14:2 Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips. (NASB) It is only when we sincerely return to the Lord and act upon our faith that He will take care of our problem of impurity, uncleanness, and sin. According to the Scriptures only the Cohen could diagnose Tzaraat. The reason being, Tzaraat was a spiritual malady that required spiritual discernment to both diagnose and treat. When someone was found to have Tzaraat, they were forced to leave society and undergo a period of mourning and Teshuvah (repentance). Before the leper is reintegrated into the community of believers, he must undergo inspection by the high priest, kept aside for seven days and then reexamined, and then the person is cleansed and purified through the ashes of the Red Heifer. The details are listed in Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 14. Let’s examine some of the details for the cleansing of the person stricken with Tzaraat who was healed of the Lord in Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 14.

The Hebrew Scriptures say, Vayikra / Leviticus 14:2 ‘This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest, 14:3 and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp. Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper, 14:4 then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed. 14:5 ‘The priest shall also give orders to slay the one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water. (NASB) According to these scriptures, as we mentioned earlier, the Cohen (Priest) meets the person half way outside of the camp (מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה). Since the person with Tzaraat was not allowed inside of the city, they needed help to bring word to the Cohen to come out. Might the Cohen have been outside of the city (מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה) looking for those who were in need of being healed of the Lord? The Messiah is looking for those who are lost. Our Father in Heaven is searching for the person who is lost. Could there be a connection to the parable of the Prodigal Son as Yeshua described in Luke 15:11-32? Could one of the functions of the Cohen be to go outside the city to search and look for those who are healed of the Lord? Studying this portion of scripture, it is interesting that the Cohen gives the order to slay one of the birds over Mayim Khayim (מַיִם חַיִּים) “Living Waters.” In Parashat Khukat (Bamidbar / Numbers 19:1-22:1) the Lord speaks to Moshe about the “red heifer” ב זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָֹה לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר | אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה אֲשֶׁר אֵין-בָּהּ מוּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹל: 19:2 ‘This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed. (NASB) Eleazar the Priest will take the heifer outside of the camp, slaughter the animal, and sprinkle the blood towards the front of the Ohel Moed (אֹהֶל-מוֹעֵד, Tent of Meeting) seven times. The entire heifer is burned to ashes, its hide, flesh, blood, and refuse, everything (19:5). Cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet material are also cast into the midst of the burning heifer. The Cohen then washes himself and his cloths; he is unclean until evening and may then enter the camp. A clean man then is to gather up the ashes of the heifer. The ashes of the heifer with water are used for removal of impurity; it is for the purification from uncleanness (19:8-9). The mitzvot on touching the dead is given; if a man touches the dead he will become unclean. If he finds himself in the room with a dead person, he is unclean; if a man touches a dead man who was slain in the field he is unclean. In fact, if a person who has become unclean by a dead body touches anyone, the person he touches becomes unclean too (19:22). These Scriptures show how uncleanliness behaves as a transmittable defilement. It is interesting here that the only thing that can overcome becoming unclean by death is death itself, the ashes of the red heifer. Does the purification by ashes of the red heifer provide for us a future messianic expectation of the work of the Messiah? Upon coming in contact with or being in the presence of a dead person it is required to be cleansed using the waters of impurity. If a person was not sprinkled with the waters of impurity he would remain unclean and his uncleanness would remain on him (19:13).

In the Psalm, within the hyssop, sprinkling of the waters of purification, and David’s words, we see how faith is working together here in the sense that we do not understand how death can make one clean since the Torah declares that death has the power to make one both unclean and clean before God. It may be that we are given a picture of how death atones, and the person must wait seven days for cleansing, and he will be allowed to again have a part in the Temple ritual. Faith comes with obedience to God, that obedience the fruit of our faith, walking, living, and bringing glory to God by the love, grace, mercy, justice, and righteousness we have towards one another.

Tehillim / Psalms 51:10 states, “create in me a clean heart in the sense of ritual purity, and a right/correct new spirit inside of me.” These Torah concepts helps to lead us to true heartfelt repentance before God with the longing to returning to God’s ways, away from wickedness and into fellowship with the Lord with an awareness of our need to be forgiven. David recognized that in sin, his relationship with God was estranged and asks the Lord to not cast him away from His presence and do not take away His Holy Spirit (אַל-תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְרוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ אַל-תִּקַּח מִמֶּנִּי). According to Tehillim / Psalms 51:12-13, sin causes separation from the Lord which is another way to say that as we sin we are acting in opposition to the leading of God’s Spirit. In the final verses David recognizes that the Lord is looking for repentance, justice (מִשְׁפָּט) and righteousness (צְדָקָה) over sacrifice in his statements in Tehillim / Psalms 51:18-19 (English Bible 51:16-17) יח כִּי | לֹא-תַחְפֹּץ זֶבַח וְאֶתֵּנָה עוֹלָה לֹא תִרְצֶה: יט זִבְחֵי אֱלֹהִים רוּחַ נִשְׁבָּרָה לֵב-נִשְׁבָּר וְנִדְכֶּה אֱלֹהִים לֹא תִבְזֶה: meaning “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.” The sacrifices the Lord God is looking for is a broken spirit, and a broken and a contrite heart. It is interesting to note that in Tehillim / Psalms 51:15 David says, טו אֲלַמְּדָה פשְׁעִים דְּרָכֶיךָ וְחַטָּאִים אֵלֶיךָ יָשׁוּבוּ: “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted/turn to You” just before verse 51:18-19 saying that the Lord does not delight in sacrifices but in a broken spirit. The Psalm is verifying God’s way that our relationship with the Lord begins with getting our heart being right. The heart is made right by the confession of our sins, turning from our sins, and then faith in the absolution from our sins according to the Torah (faith in the sacrifice). Note what Yeshua said in Matthew 5:23-26 23ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ, 24ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, καὶ τότε ἐλθὼν πρόσφερε τὸ δῶρόν σου. 25ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου ταχὺ ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, μήποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ, καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ, καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ: 26ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.” (NASB) Yeshua’s words indicate that if we bear iniquity in our hearts (having something against your brother) that we must make right with our brother first which leads to justice (מִשְׁפָּט) and righteousness (צְדָקָה) before God. Only then would atonement be accepted at the altar.

The Aramaic Targum states the following:

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 51:14-21

51:14 Return your Torah to me, to exult in your redemption; and may the spirit of prophecy support me. 51:15 I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to your presence. 51:16 Deliver me from the sentence of death, O Lord, God of my salvation; my tongue will rejoice in your generosity. 51:17 O Lord, open my lips with Torah, and my mouth will recount your praise. 51:18 For you will not desire the holy sacrifice; when I give a burnt offering, you are not pleased. 51:19 The holy sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a heart broken and purged, O God, you will not spurn. 51:20 Show favor in your good will to Zion; you will complete the walls of Jerusalem. 51:21 Then you will desire the sacrifices of righteousness, burnt offering and holocaust; then the priests will sacrifice bulls on your altar. (EMC)

יד אתיב לי לותי אוריתך למידוץ בפורקנך ורוח נבואה נדבותא תסמכינני׃ טו אאליף למרודיא אורחתך וחייביא קדמך יתובון׃ טז פצי יתי מדין קטול יהוה אלהי פורקני תיבוע לישני צדקתך׃ יז יהוה סיפוותי פתח באוריתא ופומי יתני תושבחתך׃יח ארום לא תצבי נכסת קודשא ואתן עלתא לא תתרעי׃ יט נכסת וקודשא דאלהא נפשא מיתברא לב תביר ושפי אלהא לא תבסור׃ כ אוטיב ברעותך ית ציון תשכלל שורי ירושלם׃ כא בכן תצבי דיבחין דצדקתא ״נכסת קודשין דזכוותא עלתא וגמיר דמתסקא הבכן יסקון כהניא על מדבחך תורין׃

The rabbis have David asking the Lord to return His Torah to him for the purpose of exulting in His redemption and that the spirit of prophecy would sustain him. The idea behind this request is being taught the way of God causes a sinner to be converted. What is the meaning of conversion in this sense? (טו אֲלַמְּדָה פשְׁעִים דְּרָכֶיךָ וְחַטָּאִים אֵלֶיךָ יָשׁוּבוּ: 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. NASB) Note that conversion is the English rendition of the word “Yashuvu” (יָשׁוּבוּ) meaning to return to the Lord. This is David’s way of saying one returns to God’s His ways, to the ways of the Torah which is rooted in love, grace, mercy, justice, and righteousness that we have towards one another. David is speaking of ordering one’s life according to the Torah. Have you ever ordered your life according to the Torah? Do you have a standard for living before God? David asks the Lord to open his lips so that he can declare his praises (51:15). This is interesting because it illustrates that the Lord is involved in placing in our hearts a reason to praise His name. When we praise the name of the Lord, He is involved in causing us to do so. The Aramaic Targum has David asking the Lord to open his lips with the Torah so that His mouth can give Him praise. The reason being is that contained within the Torah is the expectation of what the Lord is going to do in our lives because of what He has done in the past. This means that Scripture gives us reason to believe and reason to praise God’s name even before He has done anything on our behalf.

Following the request to help him give praise to the Lord, David states, יז אֲדֹנָי שְֹפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ: 51:16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. (NASB) Here he says the Lord does not desire sacrifice. The point is that the sacrifice is brought by reason of obedience to God’s word and by faith. This is not a work that was required for a man to earn his own salvation. This is the context of David’s conclusion that the Lord desires a broken spirit and a broken heart, a clean heart. Only such a heart will result in obedience to the Lord and His word. The role of the sacrifice in the day and the life of Israel and the Tabernacle was for the purpose of obedience to God’s word and to seek the Lord for forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is a matter of the Lord canceling a debt by reason of His mercy and grace. The Torah command to bring a sacrifice illustrates how we are ordering our lives to be obedient to God’s word, we are seeking Him for Salvation because ultimately forgiveness is in his hands. All of these things provide for us an expectation that the Lord is the One who is involved in bringing Salvation and forgiveness. David is not saying that the sacrifice is not efficacious for sins. It is the sacrifice that the Lord brings that is efficacious. The Torah is describing what the Lord had planned to do and later did do in Yeshua His Messiah.

David concludes saying כ הֵיטִיבָה בִרְצוֹנְךָ אֶת-צִיּוֹן תִּבְנֶה חוֹמוֹת יְרוּשָׁלָם: כא אָז תַּחְפֹּץ זִבְחֵי-צֶדֶק עוֹלָה וְכָלִיל אָז יַעֲלוּ עַל-מִזְבַּחֲךָ פָרִים: 51:18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 51:19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar. (NASB) Here David says the Lord will delight in the sacrifices, in burnt offerings, and in whole burnt offerings. The Aramaic Targum states 51:21 Then you will desire the sacrifices of righteousness… The Sacrifice of righteousness is seeking the Lord, trusting in Him and His Messiah with a pure heart and with the right intentions, to draw near to the Lord. The thing that causes the Lord to be delighted in is the one who desires to live righteously because the Lord has made him righteous in the Messiah. Obedience to the Torah is something that flows out of a heart that longs for and loves the Lord God our Father in heaven and His Messiah Yeshua. The Torah is not a list of rules that are horrible and a burden that none can bear. Too often are we taught that sort of nonsense. When we examine the facts a little closer, studying the Torah we learn that the Lord God is instructing us to love one another, to have compassion, to live with justice and righteousness, and to serve God with a joyful heart. These are the sacrifices of righteousness that the Lord is looking for in our lives. This is what Yeshua meant when he spoke about keeping His word in our hearts (John 14:23) saying, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (NASB) The Lord makes known His love and His wisdom in His Word (the Bible, Scripture), and Yeshua sends the Holy Spirit to empower us by writing His Word upon our hearts, His eternal Torah (Isaiah 40:8). Halleluia! Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 51 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, and 3. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 51, Part 1, 2, and 3.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 51, Part 1, 2, and 3

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For the leader. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to BatSheva (Tehillim / Psalms 51:1-2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “These words are to be considered in the light of the verse Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Mishley / Proverbs 18:21), that is, a man’s tongue can bring him to dwell in the world to come.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss how the opening words of the Psalm relate to the power of the tongue.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the parable by relating the power of the tongue to being brought into the world to come, and to light and darkness.
  • The Concluding phrase says “David composed this Psalm To Him who lets Himself be won over, a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to BatSheva.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness (Tehillim / Psalms 51:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says With whom may David be compared?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comparing David to a man with a wound who seeks healing with money in hand.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the parable by drawing a comparison to the man who seeks the Lord God Almighty to heal with payment in their hand and how this is related to a man who desires to have his iniquity forgiven.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Just so, every man who tries to get his iniquity out of his sight, him the Holy One blessed be He, punishes, but every man who is afraid of it, him the Holy One blessed be He, forgives. Hence it is said, I know your transgressions, and my sin is ever before me (Tehillim / Psalms 51:5).”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For You, You only, have I sinned, that You may be justified when You speak (Tehillim / Psalms 51:6).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says To whom may David be likened?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss another parable of likening David to a man who needs healing because he has broken a limb.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the parable discussing the role of repentance in forgiveness from God.
  • The Concluding phrase says “And God gave as a witness not only me, David, but all Israel, since it is said You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen (Isaiah 43:10).”

Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For the leader. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to BatSheva (Tehillim / Psalms 51:1-2).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash states “These words are to be considered in the light of the verse Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Mishley / Proverbs 18:21), that is, a man’s tongue can bring him to dwell in the world to come.” The rabbis relate the prophet Nathan coming to David regarding his sin with BatSheva to the power of the tongue. They quote from Mishley / Proverbs 18:21 כא מָוֶת וְחַיִּים בְּיַד-לָשׁוֹן וְאֹהֲבֶיהָ יֹאכַל פִּרְיָהּ: 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. (NASB) Notice the second half of the verse that states “those who love it will eat its fruit.” People who love to talk will receive back what they say. The weight of this statement is that by a man’s tongue, the thing a man says has the power to bring him into the Olam Habah (לחיי העולם הבא, the World to Come). Midrash Tehillim states “to live (life) the world to come.” Obviously, based upon the rabbinic commentary, a lot is at stake in what we say today. In societies that are literate, tongues (לשונו) include written materials, what is printed, painted signs or billboards, rhetoric, etc. In ancient Israel words could be written upon parchment or carved in stone, wood, or metal. The concept of life and death can be paralleled to life that is found in the Torah, the written word of God, and the tongue that speaks life is the tongue that speaks the words of the Torah. This follows on from the previous midrash, Midrash Tehillim 50 which compares the intention to do good in the statements about Solomon who made provision of food, and to his wives preparing food in the hope that Solomon would dine with them, and the Lord asking for a sacrifice.

And Solomon’s provisions for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and three score measures of meal, and a hundred sheep, for he had dominion over all the region (1 Kings 5:2-4). Rabbi Judah said, Solomon had a thousand wives, and all of them prepared banquets, every wife, every day, for each hoped that Solomon would dine with her. Solomon had besides deer and gazelles and roebucks. Now will you fetch up a burnt offering for Me who has dominion over so much more than Solomon? Hence, I do not reprove you for your sacrifices (Tehillim / Psalms 50:8), since they are all already Mine. (Midrash Tehillim 50, Part 2)

The concept that is being put forward here is that the tongue reveals one’s intentions. Like in the Sacrifices being described in the midrash, a sacrifice is not expiatory by a work’s based theology, in other words, the Lord will not reprove the people for their sacrifices (Tehillim / Psalms 50:8), and the reason being He has dominion over all of the animals, but not only that, the righteousness that is salvatory is the kind that trusts in the work of the Lord. Midrash Tehillim 50, Part 2 concludes saying, “But for what do I reprove you? For that you give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit (Tehillim / Psalms 50:19).” This teaching that intention is more important than actions seems to follow from the Targum translation we had discussed previously (last week), that we are called to subdue the evil impulse (Tehillim / Psalms 50:14-15). Remember that the rabbis translate David’s words to “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving” as equal in weight to subduing the evil impulse. They are equating our righteous deeds to the sacrifice of thanksgiving. This is consistent with Paul’s analysis in which he states to put your body to death (Galatians 5:24) to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.” (see also Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:5) Paul also says in 2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are a sweet fragrance to God in The Messiah among those who have life and among those who perish. (ABPE) Thus, the act of offering a sacrifice of praise is to live our lives as a pleasant aroma before God. We live our lives in the Messiah in this world, in the midst of the righteous and the unrighteous nations that surround us. The idea that one’s “intention” supersedes one’s actions appears to be based upon the rabbinic substitution of the sacrifice of thanksgiving, the absent Temple, and subduing the evil impulse. The midrash states that the reason God does not “reprove you for your sacrifices” is because the sacrifices are already His. This translation brings in the concept that one does good deeds in the hopes that the Lord Himself will draw near unto us, He will commune with us, the righteous act will somehow cause us to draw near to the Lord. The rabbinic understanding of righteous deeds based upon this midrash is that righteous deeds will cause us to draw near to the Lord, whereas sin will cause us to be separated. This is a theologically sound assumption based upon the Apostolic Writings (see the epistles of Peter and John). The only issue is how our righteous deeds may be equated with the sacrifice of thanksgiving? According to the midrash, this is dependent upon the Lord having dominion, or as the midrash states “they are already mine” (Midrash Tehillim 50, Part 2). The point is, does the Lord have dominion over your life? We are told in the Apostolic Writings that we are to give ourselves, or lives over to Yeshua the Messiah so that He has dominion over our lives. By believing upon Yeshua, His death, His resurrection, and asking Him to send His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, we are giving the Lord dominion over our lives. According to the Apostolic Writings, we MUST give dominion of our lives over to the Lord, and we must submit our lives to Yeshua in order to be Saved. Intention alone is not enough since Yeshua said “by their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:16). Our intention is what follows through to action. This is why King Solomon said in Mishley / Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (NIV) Within the heart is the intension to serve God. If we pollute our hearts with all kinds of sin, we will destroy the desire and the intention to serve God. The Lord knows our hearts, and as the midrash states, if the intention is not right, the deed will not be regarded as righteous.

The midrash says, “For what brought David into the world to come? The tongue in his mouth which said, I have sinned, as is said, And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord (2 Samuel 12:13). David was in darkness, and the Holy One blessed be He, kindled light for him, as David said, You have kindled my lamp (Tehillim / Psalms 18:29).” The idea is that David, through confession of his sin and repentance, was forgiven by God and received into the World to Come. He did not hesitate to confess when confronted with his iniquity. The tongue produces fruit that has eternal implications, because it reveals what is in our hearts. Yeshua said that “the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matthew 12:35). In David’s case, just as the rabbis recognize, David committed a great amount of sin but his heart was quick to confess and recognize his sin. Because of this the midrash states that the Lord kindled a light for him, meaning that he has a place in the World to Come and that God’s truth still resides in his heart.

The tongue is used throughout Scripture in both literal and metaphorical ways, especially in Tehillim / Psalms, Mishley / Proverbs, and the book of James to name a few places. James said that the tongue is a “small part of the body” (James 3:5), though the tongue is small it boasts of great things, sets things on fire, and is full if iniquity, defiles the entire body, and directs the course of life like fire does in consuming chaff and James parallels the tongue to the fire of hell. He says that every beast has been tamed, but the tongue is a restless evil full of deadly poison (James 3:5-8). Solomon said in Mishely / Proverbs 18:21 the tongue “has the power of life and death.” These descriptions appear to suggest that the tongue effects the spiritual, physical, and emotional aspects of our lives, the tongue has the power of “life and death,” to make peace or to bring destruction.

The midrash continues saying,

Again, the verse In the darkness shine a light because of upright deeds (Tehillim / Psalms 112:4) means that David said to the Holy One Blessed be He, I beg You, look back upon the uprightness of the son of Israel, indeed the Holy One blessed be He, said to Solomon, If you will walk in My ways as your father David did walk (1 Kings 3:14), and do not look back upon that hour when I stumbled before You. So too, David said Hid Your face from my sin (Tehillim / Psalms 51:11). (Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 1)

Here the rabbis speak of David seeking for the Lord to look back upon the days when he walked upright before Him and not on the days when he stumbled in sin with BatSheva and Uriah. This is consistent with Isaiah 59:2 which states “but your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.” Is the idea of God hiding his face, or turning from sinners only an Old Testament thing and this has changed in the New Testament? Does the Lord answer the prayers of sinners? (Be careful with the definition of “sinners.”) Under what circumstances would He answer the prayer of the unrighteous? The Apostles and disciples of Yeshua agree with this assessment of the holiness of God. According to Romans 3:23 and 5:21, Paul said “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and “…as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Scriptures reveal to us that God hides His face from sin, meaning that He turns away from unrighteousness. The apostle John affirms this interpretation when He wrote “Now we know that God hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and does His will, him He hears” (John 9:31). What does it mean to do God’s will? We also read in the Apostolic Writings that the Lord God does not have fellowship with sinners based upon what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “For what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness?” John also explains in his epistle, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him (God), and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). These rabbinic concepts from the midrash are found within the Apostolic Writings, we only have to recognize them to see how all of Scripture is consistent from the beginning unto the end (Genesis to Revelation) and how the Apostolic Writings is a product of the rabbinic thought process. Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 1 concludes saying, “As soon as Nathan said to David, the Lord has put away your sin (2 Samuel 12:13), David composed this Psalm To Him who lets Himself be won over, a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him.” The midrash concludes saying the Lord allows Himself to be won over. This illustrates the Torah principles of Love, compassion, justice, and righteousness, and who God is. He is loving ,merciful, long suffering, and kind and by this it appears that the Lord allows Himself to be won over for mercy’s sake. Because of these things, His commandments are viewed and understood historically from this perspective and the Torah actually has a positive influence upon our lives, to be loving, kind, merciful, and long suffering towards others.

Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness (Tehillim / Psalms 51:3).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash says “With whom may David be compared?” The midrash continues saying the following,

With a man who had a wound on his hand and came to a physician. The physician said, You cannot have treatment. The wound is large, but the money in your hand is little. The man said, I beg you, take all the money that I have here, and as for the rest, let it come from you. Have mercy upon me, have compassion upon me. So too, David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness. You are compassionate and According to the multitude of Your compassions blot out my transgressions. You have already shown me much mercy. David also said, May passing great Your mercies, O You that saves them that take refuge in You (Tehillim / Psalms 17:7). Healing comes from You. Because the wound is large, lay on a large poultice for me, as is said, Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity (Tehillim / Psalms 51:4). (Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 2)

ובא אצל הרופא ואמר הרופא אין אתה יכול להתרפאות, המכה היא גדולה, והדמים בידך מעט, אמר ליה בבקשה ממך קח לך כל מה שיש לי בזה, והשאר משלך, עשה עמי חסד ורחם עלי, וכן אמר דוד לפני הקב״ה חנני אלהים כחסדך, רחמן אתה וכרוב רחמיך מחה פשעי, הרבה חסד עשית עמדי, וכן הוא אומר הפלה חסדיך מושיע חוסים (תהלים יז ז), ממך הרפואה לפי שהמכה גדולה תן לי אספלנית גדולה, כדכתיב הרב כבסני מעוני

The rabbinic commentary on the Lord being merciful according to His lovingkindness and the parallel to David, the rabbis open by describing David as being compared to one who has a wound in his hand and seeks a physician for healing. The idea is that the wound is large yet the financial compensation for the physician is small. The point is that the wound is sin, and our sins are great before God and any attempt to bring compensation (or payment) for our sins is small in comparison and is insufficient to pay for our sins. This draws us back to David’s words when he states in Tehillim / Psalms 51:16 saying, יז אֲדֹנָי שְֹפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ: 51:16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. (NASB) David says the Lord does not desire sacrifice. The point is the sacrifices are brought by reason of obedience to God’s word and by faith. There is no works based theology found within the Torah. The rabbis understand this in the midrash and draw upon the illustration of one with a wounded hand carrying an insufficient amount of money to pay the physician. The forgiveness of sins is not a work that was required for a man to earn his own salvation. This is the context of David’s conclusion that the Lord desires a broken spirit and a broken heart and clean heart. Only such a heart will result in obedience to the Lord and His word. This is the kind of prayer we should have seeking the Lord in the name of the Messiah Yeshua, to create within us a clean heart and a broken spirit so that we will live obedient lives before Him. These concepts are brought out in the midrash as the rabbis continue their discourse on the mercy of God.

Mentioned earlier in the study, in Tehillim / Psalms 51:1-4, David uses three words to describe his sin before God. He uses the word פְשָׁעָי meaning “crime, sin, offense, felony, transgression,” מֵעֲוֹנִי from the root עוון meaning “sin, crime, offence, evil,” and the word וּמֵחַטָּאתִי from the root חטא meaning “sin, fault, offence, sinfulness, ungodliness, crime.” Similarly, in David’s confession of his sin, he also uses three words asking for forgiveness, כְּחַסְדֶּךָ from the root word חסד meaning “grace, mercy,” רַחֲמֶיךָ from the root word רחם meaning “to have mercy, compassion,” כַּבְּסֵנִי from the root word כבס meaning “to wash.” In a similar manner, we find the rabbis also utilized these words to describe the mercy (רחמן) of God, the grace (חסד, translated as “lovingkindness”) of God, and the washing away of his sins (כבסני מעוני). The midrash continues saying,

Hence, you learn that every man who commits a transgression is as unclean as though he touched a dead body and must be purified with hyssop. So too, David said, Purge me with hyssop, and I will be clean (Tehillim / Psalms 51:9). (Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 2)

This is a very important rabbinic concept that when a man commits a transgression, he is regarded as unclean as though he had touched a dead body and must be purified with hyssop. The rabbis are drawing upon David’s use of the Hebrew language to describe his present state and request for purification by God. The concept of committing a transgression being equated to touching a dead body is very similar to what the Apostle James wrote in his epistle (James 2) when he said “For the one who obeys the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” If someone obeys all of God’s Torah except one command, precept, or statute, that person is guilty before God. The point is that we not to choose out parts of God’s word that suit our needs, or desires for a given time or place. In James 2:10 we read, 10ὅστις γὰρ ὅλον τὸν νόμον τηρήσῃ, πταίσῃ δὲ ἐν ἑνί, γέγονεν πάντων ἔνοχος. 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. (NASB) Notice the word τηρήσῃ is defined as “1) to attend to carefully, take care of 1a) to guard 1b) metaph. to keep, one in the state in which he is 1c) to observe 1d) to reserve: to undergo something.” Its use here is with the force or weight that corresponds to the Hebrew word שוׁמר when used in reference to the Torah, or a statute, with the idea of guarding something against violation of the command. Here James is saying that stumbling in one point causes us to be guilty before God and this is how the Torah directs us to seek the Lord and His Messiah. We are in dire need of a savior. According to Romans 10:3-4, Paul is addressing the issue of the people not subjecting themselves to the righteousness of God. They thought they were righteous enough. Paul says τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς εἰς δικαιοσύνην (telos gar nomou christos eis dikaiosunen) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.” The word “télos” is a neuter noun and translates to mean “the end-goal, purpose” in the sense of “reaching the end (aim).” The Torah is the aim, the end-goal that directs us to understand Yeshua the Messiah is our righteousness. The point is we are unable to reach the goal on our own (we fall short). We are expected to live both holy and righteous lives. For example, the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin validating (establishing) the requirements of the Law in our lives. We then seek the Lord by the power of His Holy Spirit to empower us to produce the fruits of righteousness and faith, the very meaning of faith and works (see James 2:24). Another example, Jacob was touched by God and he walked differently the rest of his life, even his name was changed to reflect the change that took place as a result of his encounter with God. Have you been touched by God in such a way that your entire life has been changed? Do you walk differently today in Christ? As believers, we are to strive for righteousness and holiness in our lives and seeking the Lord, in Yeshua the Messiah, by the power of the Holy Spirit to help us to live in obedience to His Word. We are not told to “declare your righteousness in Christ and go on living as usual.” The Lord calls us to a greater standard, like Peter wrote in his epistle in 1 Peter 1:16 saying, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (NASB) The Torah is not something to run from, it helps us to understand who the Messiah truly is and most importantly that we are in need of a Savior! Here in the midrash we find a rabbinic understanding on transgression and touching a dead body and being unclean that appears to be consistent with the Apostles understanding on the same topic.

The midrash continues saying the following,

Did David actually fall into uncleanness? No, but into an iniquity whereby his soul was wounded unto death. Thus also in another Psalm, he said, My heart is wounded unto death. Thus also in another Psalm, he said, My heart is wounded unto death within me (Tehillim / Psalms 109:22). Hence you learn that every man who knows that he has sinned, and prays because of his sin, and is in fear because of it, and holds converse about it with the Holy One blessed be He, him the Holy one blessed be He, forgives. But of every man who sins and then tramples the sin under foot so as to get it out of his sight, of him the Holy One blessed be He, demands requital. And the verse Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil? Because the iniquity of my heels compasses me about (Tehillim / Psalms 49:6) refers to those who would with their heels trample their iniquity out of sight. But as the parable tells us, the scorpion who fells the camel merely by stinging him in the heel says, as you live, I will come up to the crown of your head.

The discussion continues asking the question whether David actually did fall into uncleanness? They quote from the Psalms to bring this into perspective saying “Thus also in another Psalm, he said, My heart is wounded unto death. Thus also in another Psalm, he said, My heart is wounded unto death within me (Tehillim / Psalms 109:22).” Based on these references, they make a very significant conclusion regarding sin and forgiveness. They conclude saying that if a man recognizes his sin before the Holy One blessed be He and prays concerning his sin, and is fearful, the Lord will forgive him his sin. Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 2 concludes saying, “Just so, every man who tries to get his iniquity out of his sight, him the Holy One blessed be He, punishes, but every man who is afraid of it, him the Holy One blessed be He, forgives. Hence it is said, I know your transgressions, and my sin is ever before me (Tehillim / Psalms 51:5).” So the Lord forgives the one who confesses his sin before God and fears the Lord because of his sin. On the other hand, the man who sins and then tramples the sin under foot so as to get it out of his sight, and then demands requital, the Lord will not forgive and he punishes. This sounds a lot like what the Apostle John wrote in his epistle.

1 John 1:8-10

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (NASB)

The phrase “the man who tramples his sin under foot,” is suggestive of the man who is taking his sin and stamping it out (or into the ground) so that it is not visible (i.e. he is hiding away his iniquity). This is worded in this particular way in order to interpret Tehillim / Psalms 49:6 which says “Because the iniquity of my heels compasses me about.” The Masoretic Text states, ו לָמָּה אִירָא בִּימֵי רָע עֲוֹן עֲקֵבַי יְסוּבֵּנִי: 49:5 Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me (NASB) referencing the iniquity of his foes, but the Aramaic Targum states, ו מטול מה אדחל ביום אסעריות בישא אלהן דחובת סורחני בסופי יחזרינני׃ 49:6 Why should I fear on the day of the visitation of evil, except that the guilt of my sin at my end will encompass me? (EMC) The Targum translation has David referencing his own sin rather than the sin of his enemies. The point is that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves. The rabbinic description of John’s words (1 John 1:8-10) is “if a man hides away his iniquity to say he is without sin” John also says, if we confess our sins, or as the midrash states, “every man who knows that he has sinned, and prays because of his sin, and is in fear because of it, and holds converse about it with the Holy One blessed be He, him the Holy one blessed be He, forgives.” This is identical to John’s words saying, 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NASB) Notice the connection here to the psalm and to the rabbinic interpretation on this psalm, confession of sin, the Lord God being faithful to forgive and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Here we find John espousing a very rabbinic understanding of confession, forgiveness, and cleansing which only the Lord is able to do on our behalf.

Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For You, You only, have I sinned, that You may be justified when You speak (Tehillim / Psalms 51:6).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash asks the question, “To whom may David be likened?” The rabbis go on to discuss a parable of likening David to a man who needs healing to expand upon the discussion on the role of repentance in the forgiveness from God.

מדרש תהלים פרק נא סימן ג

ג לך לבדך חטאתי [וגו׳] למען תצדק בדברך. למה היה דוד דומה, למי שנשבר, ובא לו אצל רופא, והיה הרופא מתמיה ואומר לו כמה גדולה מכתך, צר לי עליך מאד, אמר לו אותו הנשבר אתה צר לך עלי, לא בשבילך נשברתי, אלא השכר שלך, כך אמר דוד להקב״ה לך לבדך חטאתי, כשתהא אומר לפושעים, למה לא עשיתם תשובה, אם תקבלני כל הפושעים משלימין לך, ומסתכלין בי הכל, ואני העד העיד שאתה מקבל את השבים, וכן הקב״ה אומר הן עד לאומים נתתיו (ישעיה נה ד), ולא אני בלבד, אלא כל ישראל, שנאמר אתם עדי נאם ה׳ ועבדי אשר בחרתי (בו) (שם ישעיהו מג י).

Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 3

3. For You, You only, have I sinned, that You may be justified when You speak (Tehillim / Psalms 51:6). To whom may David be likened? To a man who broke a limb, and came to a physician. The physician marveled and said, How great is your break! I am much distressed on your account. The man with the broken limb said, Are you distressed on my account? Was not my limb broken for your sake, since the fee is to be yours? Just so David said to the Holy One blessed be He, For You, You only have I sinned, Should You receive me, then if You say to transgressors Wherefore have you not repented? All transgressors will submit to You, for all of them will behold me, and I will surely bear witness that You receive the penitent. Hence the Holy One blessed be He, said, Behold I have given him for a witness to the peoples (Isaiah 55:4). And God gave as a witness not only me, David, but all Israel, since it is said You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen (Isaiah 43:10).

In Midrash Tehillim 51, Part three, the rabbis are discussing Tehillim / Psalms 51:6 were the midrash shortens the verse to “For You, You only, have I sinned, that You may be justified when You speak.” According to the Masoretic text, the Aramaic Targum, and the Septuagint we read the following:

Masoretic Text: ו לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ | חָטָאתִי וְהָרַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִֹיתִי לְמַעַן-תִּצְדַּק בְּדָבְרֶךָ תִּזְכֶּה בְשָׁפְטֶךָ: 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. (NASB)

Aramaic Targum: ו קדמך בלחודך לבלחודך חבית ודביש קדמך עבדית מן בגלל דתזכי יתי במללותך תברור יתי כד תדין תידון׃ 51:6 Before you, you alone, I have sinned, and that which is evil in your presence I have done; so that you may make me righteous when you speak, you will clear me when you give judgment. (EMC)

Septuagint: 51:4 σοὶ μόνῳ ἥμαρτον καὶ τὸ πονηρὸν ἐνώπιόν σου ἐποίησα ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε 51:4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee: that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (LXX)

Reading these verses from the MT, Targum, and LXX is important in order to get a feeling for what the rabbis are focusing upon in their midrash. The question is why do the rabbis ask to liken David unto someone else based on this verse from Tehillim / Psalms 51:6? In this verse, David is speaking to the Lord and making a confession of his sin and declaring that the Lord is justified in His judgment. The MT, Targum, and LXX all agree but it is interesting that David does not say that he has sinned against either BatSheva or Uriah but against God alone. The rabbis expound upon this verse in the following way:

To whom may David be likened? To a man who broke a limb, and came to a physician. The physician marveled and said, How great is your break! I am much distressed on your account. The man with the broken limb said, Are you distressed on my account? Was not my limb broken for your sake, since the fee is to be yours? Just so David said to the Holy One blessed be He, For You, You only have I sinned, Should You receive me, then if You say to transgressors Wherefore have you not repented? (Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 3)

The parable the rabbis use is that of a man who broke his limb and came to a physician to be mended. The response of the physician is illustrated in his marveling over the extent of the man’s broken limb. The physician is distressed because of the extent of the damage and the man asks the physician why is his distress since his broken limb is for his sake and that the fee is the physician’s. If the broken limb may be equated to sin, how is sin done on behalf of God if we can equate the physician to the Lord? The broken limb is obviously a reference to David’s sin, the fee appears to be “repentance.” Note the sequence of events here, according to David’s faith in the Lord, he believes He is a forgiving God based upon the Torah, he confessed his sin before the Lord, he repents and turns his life in a new direction (obedient-faith).

Faith Repentance Obedient-faith

We read this same sequence of events in the Apostolic Writings with regard to John the Baptist and the teaches of Yeshua, the disciples, and Paul. According to the Scriptures, he (John) was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins (Mark 1:4). Baptism is an act of repentance. Repentance is necessary for forgiveness of sins. From this perspective, it is obvious how the Roman Catholic Church come to the conclusions of baptism being a sacrament. The Apostle Paul substantiates this when he said John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance in Acts 19:4. The mikvah, the ritual bath, baptism, is an act of obedient-faith.” The idea that is being put forward here in the midrash and the Apostolic Writings is that repentance is necessary for forgiveness. The rabbinic understanding is that repentance is sufficient for the payment of David’s sins. The point that is not mentioned is that it was by David’s obedience-through-faith” in which he obeyed the Torah command to bring an offering before the Lord at the Tabernacle. Midrash Tehillim 51, Part 3 concludes saying, “All transgressors will submit to You, for all of them will behold me, and I will surely bear witness that You receive the penitent. Hence the Holy One blessed be He, said, Behold I have given him for a witness to the peoples (Isaiah 55:4). And God gave as a witness not only me, David, but all Israel, since it is said You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen (Isaiah 43:10).” The act of submitting to the Lord is “obedient-faith.” This is the idea that James has when he said “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). If we say that we have faith, if we are repentant before the Lord for our sins, our lives will reflect that faith, show evidence for that faith, bear the fruits of that faith. Does your life follow through like this? Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 51-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!