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Meditations on Psalm LI
The "blotting out" of transgression (verse 1).
pp. 38, 39
David's first great thought is the removal of his guilt and cleansing from its stain. He
said "My sin is ever before me" (Psa. 51: 3). "Hide Thy face from my sins" (Psa. 51: 9), he
cried, and to this end, his first request is:
"Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me
from my sin" (Psa. 51: 1, 2).
There is a twofold view of sin here. David sees a record, written against him in the
book of God; he prays that this record may be blotted out. David saw moreover that sin
is a defilement and that he stood in need of cleansing.
"Blot out . . . . . wash me . . . . . cleanse me."
Let us give our attention to the way which these words "Blot out" are used.
To blot out from a book.
"Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy
book which Thou has written" (Exod. 32: 32).
It is this form of the verb machah, that David, who knew and loved the law of Moses,
used in Psa. 51: 1:
"Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book" (Exod. 32: 33).
David knew this dread statement. Yet such was his trust in the mercy and loving
kindness of his God, that, even though he was about to confess:
"I have sinned against Thee",
and knew that if he received his deserts he would be `blotted out' of the book which God
had written, yet with magnificent faith he prays rather `Blot out my transgressions, wash
me' and not as Moses, who, for different reasons, said `Blot me out of Thy book'.
David moreover knew what the Lord had spoken concerning Amalek, and Agag, who
is associated with the downfall of Saul, was probably a descendant of Amalek. He would
therefore be cognizant of the threat recorded in Deuteronomy:
"Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Deut. 25: 19).