David’s repentance is given to us in the 51st Psalm. In fact, this Psalm is the greatest prayer of repentance that’s ever been prayed.

  • It is a prayer of repentance regarding the sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah.
  • As well, this prayer symbolizes Israel in the murder of her Messiah and then her ultimate restoration, which will take place at the Second Coming.
  • It also is the intercessory prayer of Christ on behalf of all His people, so when we read this prayer, we are reading something totally unlike anything else in the Bible. Considering that this is the intercession of The Lord on our behalf and for all time, it places it in a category all its own.

The Timeframe

As to exactly when David prayed this prayer, we aren’t told. However, by the fact that The Holy Spirit said to David through Nathan the Prophet, “…The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Samuel 12:13), tells us that the possibility at least exists that David had already prayed this prayer when Nathan the Prophet came to him. In other words, he had already repented of the deed. Nevertheless, The Lord would now tell him what he would suffer because of this terrible sin. While forgiveness definitely restores fellowship, which is all important, it does not negate the penalty. In other words, sin sets in motion the series of events, which The Lord could stop, and He most definitely does stop some of them, but seldom does He stop all. The truth is, David will pay dearly for what he did. Now, let us study the magnitude of this 51st Psalm, which is the prayer of repentance of David.


“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions (this is a Psalm of David, written when Nathan the Prophet came unto him after the sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah [2 Samuel 12]; this Psalm was given by The Holy Spirit to David, when, his heart broken and contrite because of his sin against God, he pleaded for pardon through the atoning blood of the Lamb of God, foreshadowed in Exodus 12; thus, he was not only fittingly provided with the vehicle of expression in repentance and faith, but he was also used as a channel of prophetic communication.

“David in his sin, repentance and restoration is a forepicture of Israel, for as David forsook the law and was guilty of adultery and murder,so Israel despised the covenant, turned aside to adultery[spiritual adultery], and murdered the Messiah; thus, the scope and structure of this Psalm goes far beyond David; it predicts the future confession and forgiveness of Israel in the day of Messiah’s Second Coming, when looking upon Him who they pierced, they shall mourn and weep [Zechariah 12-13]; as well, this is even more perfectly a vivid portrayal of the intercessory work of Christ on behalf of His people;  even though David prayed this prayer, the Son of David would make David’s sin [as well as our own] His own and pray through him that which must be said; this means that this is the truest prayer of repentance ever prayed because it symbolizes the intercessory work of the Son of David).”

Cleanse Me

“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin (man’s problem is sin and manmust admit that; the only remedy for sin is ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified’ to which David, in essence, appealed [Hebrews 10:12]; the blood of Jesus Christ alone cleanses from all sin [1 John 1:7]).”


“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me (the acknowledgement of verses 3-4 is the condition of divine forgiveness, all sin, in essence, is committed against God; therefore, God demands that the transgressions be acknowledged by placing the blame where it rightfully belongs – on the perpetrator; Almighty God cannot and, in fact, will not forgive sin that is not acknowledged and for which no responsibility is taken).”

Sin Against God

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest (while David’s sins were against Bathsheba, her husband, Uriah, and all of Israel, still, the ultimate direction of sin, perfected by satan, is always against God; all sin is a departure from God’s ways to man’s ways; David is saying that God is always ‘justified’ in any action He takes; His ‘judgement’ is always perfect).”

Original Sin

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (unequivocally, this verse proclaims the fact of original sin; this passage states that all are born in sin as a result of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, when Adam, as the federal head of the human race, failed, this means that all of humanity failed; it means that all who would be born would, in effect, be born lost; as a result of this, the Second Man, the Last Adam, The Lord Jesus Christ had to come into this world, in effect, God becoming man, to undo what the original Adam did; the Lord would have to keep the law of God perfectly, which He did, all as our substitute and then pay the penalty of the terrible sin debt owed by all of mankind, for all had broken the law, which Jesus did by giving Himself on the Cross of Calvary [John 3:16]; to escape the judgment of original sin, man must be ‘born again,’ which is carried out by the believing sinner expressing faith in Christ and what Christ did at The Cross [John 3:3; Ephesians 2:8-9]).”


“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom (man can only deal with the externals and even that, not very well; God alone can deal with the ‘inward parts’ of man, which is the source of sin, which speaks of the heart; in other words, the heart has to be changed, which The Lord alone can do [Matthew 5:8]).”

Wash Me

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (the petition, ‘Purge me with hyssop,’ expresses a figure of speech, ‘Purge me with the blood, which on that night in Egypt was sprinkled on the doorposts with a branch of hyssop’ [Exodus 12:13, 22] portrays David’s dependence on ‘The Blood of the Lamb’; David had no recourse in the law even as no one has recourse in the law; the law can only condemn; all recourse is found exclusively in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross of which the slain Lamb and the blood on the doorpost in Egypt were symbols [Exodus 12:13]).”

Joy and Gladness

“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice (forgiveness for the past never exhausts the fullness of pardon; there is provision for the future; the expression, ‘bones which thou hast broken,’ presents a figure of speech meaning that one cannot proceed until things have been made right with God; it is as though a man’s leg is broken, and he cannot walk; unforgiven sin immobilizes the soul the same as a broken bone immobilizes the body).”

Blot Out All Iniquities

“Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities (unforgiven sin stares in the face of God; this can only be stopped when the sins are put away, which can only be done by proper confession and repentance, with the Blood of Jesus being applied by faith; when this is done, the ‘iniquities’ are ‘blotted out’ as though they had never existed; this is ‘Justification by Faith’ [Romans 5:1]).”

A Right Spirit

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (David’s heart was unclean; sin makes the heart unclean; the word ‘create’ is interesting, it means the old heart is infected by sin, is diseased, and cannot be salvaged; God must, spiritually speaking, ‘create a clean heart’ [Ezekiel 18:31]; also, it is impossible for any individual to have a ‘right spirit’ if there is unconfessed sin).”

The Holy Spirit

“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me (if sin is unconfessed and rebellion persists, God will ultimately ‘cast away’ the individual ‘from His presence’; He will also ‘take The Holy Spirit’ from the person; this refutes the doctrine of unconditional eternal security).”


“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit (part of the business of The Holy Spirit is ‘restoration,’ but only if the individual meets God’s conditions as David did and as we must do; with unconfessed sin, all ‘joy’ is lost; with sin confessed, cleansed, and put away, the ‘joy of…salvation’ returns; a clean heart, a willing spirit, and a steadfast will are then given by The Holy Spirit).”

The Ways of The Lord
"Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee (before repentance, David was in no condition to proclaim God's truth to 'transgressors' because he was a transgressor himself; 
upon true repentance, David was now ready to teach and to preach, and The Holy Spirit attested to that)." 


"Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness (this refers to the terrible sin of having Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, killed [2 Samuel 11:14-21]; only the consciously pardoned sinner can 'sing aloud' of God's righteousness; unpardoned men can speak of his mercy, but their thoughts about it are unholy thoughts)."


"O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise (proper praise to The Lord cannot go forth as long as there is unconfessed sin; this is the reason for such little praise in most churches, and far too often, the praise which actually is offered is hollow; true praise can only come from a true heart!)."

"For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering (no penance, sacraments, or costly gifts of churches or men regarding the expiation of past sins are desired or accepted by God, only faith and trust in Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross can be accepted by The Lord; unfortunately, the world tries to create a new god while the church tries to create another sacrifice; there is only one sacrifice for sin [Hebrews 10:12])."

The Sacrifices of God

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (true repentance will always include a 'broken spirit' and a 'broken and a contrite heart'; such alone will Christ accept; and what Christ has done at The Cross, God will accept nothing less)."


"Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem (verses 18-19 are not, as some think, a meaningless addition to the Psalm by some later writer; they both belong to the structure and prophetic scope of the Psalm; David's sin, confession, and restoration illustrate this future chapter in Israel's history; with their idolatry (spiritual idolatry) and murder forgiven, they will go forth as messengers of the Gospel to win other nations to wholehearted faith and service in and for Christ; upon Israel's repentance, The Lord will, once again, 'build thou the walls of Jerusalem')."

The Sacrifices of Righteousness

"Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar (the sacrificial program under the old system was lawful because it pointed to the coming Redeemer; since Christ and The Cross, they are no longer necessary and for all the obvious reasons; why the symbol when substance is available? during the millennial reign, the sacrificial system will be restored but only as a memorial of what Christ has done at The Cross [Ezekiel 40-48])."

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, you heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!
Dying once, He all does save, Alleluia!
Where is your  victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours The Cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

David Chapter 10 David's Repentance