Psalms 51:7

7 Purge me 1with hyssop, and I shall be clean; 2wash me, and I shall be 3whiter than snow.

Psalms 51:7 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 51:7

Purge me with hyssop
Or "thou shalt purge me with hyssop" {f}; or "expiate me"; which was used in sprinkling the blood of the paschal lamb on the door posts of the Israelites in Egypt, that the destroying angel might pass over them, ( Exodus 12:22 Exodus 12:23 ) ; and in the cleansing of the leper, ( Leviticus 14:4-7 ) ; and in the purification of one that was unclean by the touch of a dead body ( Numbers 19:6 Numbers 19:18 ) ; which the Targum on the text has respect to; and this petition of the psalmist shows that he saw himself a guilty creature, and in danger of the destroying angel, and a filthy creature like the leper, and deserving to be excluded from the society of the saints, and the house of God; and that he had respect not hereby to ceremonial sprinklings and purifications, for them he would have applied to a priest; but to the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, typified thereby; and therefore he applies to God to purge his conscience with it; and, as Suidas F7 from Theodoret observes, hyssop did not procure remission of sins, but has a mystical signification, and refers to what was meant by the sprinkling of the blood of the passover; and then he says,

and I shall be clean;
thoroughly clean; for the blood sprinkled on the heart by the spirit clears it from an evil conscience, purges the conscience from dead works, and cleanses from all sin;

wash me;
or "thou shall wash me" F8; alluding to the washing at the cleansing of a leper, and the purification of an unclean person, ( Leviticus 14:8 ) ( Numbers 19:19 ) ; but had in view the fountain of Christ's blood, in which believers are washed from all their sins, ( Zechariah 13:1 ) ( Revelation 1:5 ) ;

and I shall be whiter than snow;
who was black with original corruption, and actual transgressions; but the blood of Christ makes not only the conversation garments white that are washed in it; but even crimson and scarlet sins as white as wool, as white as snow, and the persons of the saints without spot or blemish, ( Revelation 7:14 ) ( Isaiah 1:18 ) ( Ephesians 5:25-27 ) ; "whiter than the snow" is a phrase used by Homer F9, and others, to describe what is exceeding white.


F6 (ynajxt) "purificabis me", Pagninus, Montanus; "exiabis me", Vatablus, Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus.
F7 In voce (usswpov) .
F8 (ynobkt) "lavabis me", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Musculus, Cocceius.
F9 Iliad. 10. v. 437. So Martial. l. 7. Epigr. 27. Ovid. Amor. l. 3. Eleg. 6.

Psalms 51:7 In-Context

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4; Numbers 19:18; Hebrews 9:19
  • 2. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 3. Isaiah 1:18
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