Monday, May 7, 2012


This is from a perspective on Ps. 51:5 by William P. Murray, Jr.  (with permission).
Are men born sinners?  A commonly abused 'proof' text is Psalm 51:5.  Although I cannot claim the following as a result of my own scholarship or research, the information is a culmination from many sources over the years, and, I feel, the best explanation of this particular text that I have come across.

Psalm 51:5 - "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (KJV).  This is a Hebrew poetic parallelism, with the second line of the verse saying the same thing as the first line in a slightly different way.  The first verb, of which David is the subject, is in the Pulal tense (as is "made" in # Job 15:7 ), which is an idiom used to refer to creation or origins, and is the 'passive' form of Polel ("formed": # Ps 90:2 Pro 26:10). TWOT, #623, 1:270.   The subject of this verse is NOT the state or constitution of David's nature as a sinner at, or before, his birth. The subject is, as the verse clearly states, the `circumstances' of his conception- the sexual union which produced him was an act of sin, and addresses the unrighteousness of his mother's act, not anything (such as a sin nature) inherent within himself. (The NIV's version of this verse is an INTERPRETATION, not a translation: "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.")

David had two half-sisters (Zeruiah, Abigail).....:1 CHR 2:13-16 - (v.13)  “And Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third, (v. 14)  Nethaneel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, (v.15)  Ozem the sixth, David the seventh:  (v. 16)  Whose sisters were Zeruiah, and Abigail.  And the sons of Zeruiah; Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three.  (v. 17)  And Abigail bare Amasa: and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmeelite.”....and the father of David's half-sisters was not Jesse, but Nahash:  2 Sam 17:25  -  “And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab: which Amasa was a man's son, whose name was Ithra an Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab's mother.”

Nahash, the father of Zeruiah and Abigal, David's half-sisters, was an Ammonite king:  1 Sam 11:1 - “Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee.”  1 Sam 12:12  - “And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king.”  David's father was Jesse, not Nahash. Zeruiah and Abigal were David's half-sisters through his mother's previous marriage to Nahash. This would also help explain why Nahash showed kindness to David, perhaps out of respect for David's Mother, Nahash’s former wife and the mother of two of Nahash's children.


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