To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba
“Have mercy on me!
According to your steadfast love,
According to your abundant mercy,
Blot out my transgressions!
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity!
Cleanse me from my sin!”
Psalm 51 is the great penitential psalm when David was confronted by the prophet Nathan for his sexual encounter with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12. Eventually, David and Bathsheba were punished with the death of their first born. David wanted God’s mercy because of God’s steadfast love. This psalm is like Psalm 6 as a lament that is addressed to God directly. David wanted his transgressions blotted out. He wanted his iniquities washed away. He wanted to be cleansed from his sin. He wanted everything back to normal.