Psalm 51:5

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
- Psalm 51:5 (KJV)

I will give 2 reasons why this common proof text for original sin does not prove original sin at all.

Reason 1: The subject of this sentence is David’s mother, not David himself.

A comparison is often made: “By beatings, did my mother raise me.”
Q: Who is the person carrying out the beatings?
A: The mother

Conclusion: If speaking of guilt here, the mother would be guilty, NOT the innocent baby. This is simply a matter of correctly analysing the sentence, as they teach children in elementary school.

Another possible reason is that we are dealing with a Psalm here. They were originally put on music, therefore the word “adultery” might not have fit the measure/melody of the original song and therefore king David used the word “sin” instead. However the case, I believe that king David used the word “sin” here, to indicate that his mother probably had committed adultery.

The late Leonard Ravenhill put it very clear:


Source: my youtube channel. Click on the video for the original source.

Jesse Morrell put it slightly different:


Source: my youtube channel. Click on the video for the original source.

I see this part of the Psalm as a cry in despair. David, the son of an adulteress, is crying out: “God! My mother was an adulteress, and now I have also committed adultery. I am fully responsible for having imitated her (Psalm 51:4) and I don’t know how to get rid of this guilt! Therefore, I beg You, give me wisdom (Psalm 51:6), purge me with hyssop, wash me (Psalm 51:7) and blot out all mine iniquities (Psalm 51:9). “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

  

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