Psalm 51:5
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

King James Bible
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold, in iniquity was I brought forth, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

World English Bible
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin my mother conceived me.

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, in iniquity I have been brought forth, And in sin doth my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:5 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity - The object of this important verse is to express the deep sense which David had of his depravity. That sense was derived from the fact that this was not a sudden thought, or a mere outward act, or an offence committed under the influence of strong temptation, but that it was the result of an entire corruption of his nature - of a deep depravity of heart, running back to the very commencement of his being. The idea is, that he could not have committed this offence unless he had been thoroughly corrupt, and always corrupt. The sin was as heinous and aggravated "as if" in his very conception and birth there had been nothing but depravity. He looked at his, sin, and he looked back to his own origin, and he inferred that the one demonstrated that in the other there was no good thing, no tendency to goodness, no germ of goodness, but that there was evil, and only evil; as when one looks at a tree, and sees that it bears sour or poisonous fruit, he infers that it is in the very nature of the tree, and that there is nothing else in the tree, from its origin, but a tendency to produce just such fruit.

Of course, the idea here is not to cast reflections on the character of his mother, or to refer to her feelings in regard to his conception and birth, but the design is to express his deep sense of his own depravity; a depravity so deep as to demonstrate that it must have had its origin in the very beginning of his existence. The word rendered "I was shapen" - חוללתי chôlaletiy - is from a word - חול chûl - which means properly, "to turn around, to twist, to whirl;" and then it comes to mean "to twist oneself with pain, to writhe;" and then it is used especially with reference to the pains of childbirth. Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 23:4; Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 66:7-8; Micah 4:10. That is the meaning here. The idea is simply that he was "born" in iniquity; or that he was a sinner when he was born; or that his sin could be traced back to his very birth - as one might say that he was born with a love of music, or with a love of nature, or with a sanguine, a phlegmatic, or a melancholy temperament.

There is not in the Hebrew word any idea corresponding to the word ""shapen,"" as if he had been "formed" or "moulded" in that manner by divine power; but the entire meaning of the word is exhausted by saying that his sin could be traced back to his "very birth;" that it was so deep and aggravated, that it could be accounted for - or that he could express his sense of it - in no other way, than by saying that he was "born a sinner." How that occurred, or how it was connected with the first apostasy in Adam, or how the fact that he was thus born could be vindicated, is not intimated, nor is it alluded to. There is no statement that the sin of another was "imputed" to him; or that he was "responsible" for the sin of Adam; or that he was guilty "on account of" Adam's sin, for on these points the psalmist makes no assertion. It is worthy of remark, further, that the psalmist did not endeavor to "excuse" his guilt on the ground that he was ""born"" in iniquity; nor did he allude to that fact with any purpose of "exculpating" himself. The fact that he was thus born only deepened his sense of his own guilt, or showed the enormity of the offence which was the regular result or outbreak of that carly depravity. The points, therefore, which are established by this expression of the psalmist, so far as the language is designed to illustrate how human nature is conceived, are

(1) that people are born with a propensity to sin; and

(2) that this fact does not excuse us in sin, but rather tends to aggravate and deepen our guilt.

The language goes no further than this in regard to the question of original sin or native depravity. The Septuagint agrees with this interpretation - ἰδού γὰρ ἐν ανομίαις συνελήφθην idou gar en anomias sunelēfthēn. So the Vulgate: in iniquitatibus conceptus sum.

And in sin did my mother conceive me - Margin, as in Hebrew, "warm me." This language simply traces his sin back to the time when he began to exist. The previous expression traced it to "his birth;" this expression goes back to the very beginning of "life;" when there were the first indications of life. The idea is, "as soon as I began to exist I was a sinner; or, I had then a propensity to sin - a propensity, the sad proof and result of which is that enormous act of guilt which I have committed."

Psalm 51:5 Parallel Commentaries

Library
January the Twenty-Seventh the Confession of Sin
"I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me." --PSALM li. 1-12. Sin that is unconfessed shuts out the energies of grace. Confession makes the soul receptive of the bountiful waters of life. We open the door to God as soon as we name our sin. Guilt that is penitently confessed is already in the "consuming fire" of God's love. When I "acknowledge my sin" I begin to enter into the knowledge of "pardon, joy, and peace." But if I hide my sin I also hide myself from "the unsearchable
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Praying Saints of the Old Testaments (Continued)
Bishop Lambeth and Wainwright had a great M. E. Mission in Osaka, Japan. One day the order came from high up that no more meetings would be allowed in the city by Protestants. Lambeth and Wainwright did all they could but the high officials were obstinate and unrelenting. They then retired to the room of prayer. Supper time came and the Japanese girl came to summon them to their meal, but she fell under the power of prayer. Mrs. Lambeth came to find what the matter was and fell under the same power.
Edward M. Bounds—Prayer and Praying Men

God the Holy Spirit the Love which Dwells in the Heart.
"It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments." --Psalm cxxxiii. 2. The fact that love can radiate within man does not insure him the possession of true and real Love, unless, according to His eternal counsel, God is pleased to enter into personal fellowship with him. So long as man knows Him only from afar and not near, God is a stranger to him. He may admire His Love, have a faint sense of it, be pleasantly
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Original Sin
Q-16: DID ALL MANKIND FALL IN ADAM'S FIRST TRANSGRESSION? A: The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him, by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. 'By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,' &c. Rom 5:12. Adam being a representative person, while he stood, we stood; when he fell, we fell, We sinned in Adam; so it is in the text, In whom all have sinned.' Adam was the head
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Cross References
Ephesians 2:3
Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Genesis 8:21
The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

2 Samuel 11:27
When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.

Job 14:4
"Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!

Job 15:14
"What is man, that he should be pure, Or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

Psalm 58:3
The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.

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