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Psalms 51:3

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For I acknowledge my transgressions - I know, I feel, I confess that I have sinned.

My sin is ever before me - A true, deep, and unsophisticated mark of a genuine penitent. Wherever he turns his face, he sees his sin, and through it the eye of an angry God.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For I acknowledge my transgressions - literally, I know, or make known. That is, he knew that he was a sinner, and he did not seek to cloak or conceal that fact. He came with the knowledge of it himself; he was willing to make acknowledgment of it before God. There was no attempt to conceal it; to excuse it. Compare the notes at Psalm 32:5. The word ““for”” does not imply that he referred to his willingness to confess his sins as an act of merit, but it indicates a state of mind which was necessary to forgiveness, and without which he could not hope for pardon.

And my sin is ever before me - That is, It is now constantly before my mind. It had not been so until Nathan brought it vividly to his recollection (2 Samuel 12:1 ff); but after that it was continually in his view. He could not turn his mind from it. The memory of his guilt followed him; it pressed upon him; it haunted him. It was no wonder that this was so. The only ground of wonder in the case is that it did not occur “before” Nathan made that solemn appeal to him, or that he could have been for a moment insensible to the greatness of his crime. The whole transaction, however, shows that people “may” be guilty of enormous sins, and have for a long time no sense of their criminality; but that “when” the consciousness of guilt is made to come home to the soul, nothing will calm it down. Everything reminds the soul of it; and nothing will drive away its recollection. In such a state the sinner has no refuge - no hope of permanent peace - but in the mercy of God.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. Whither should backsliding children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal them? he drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins, will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to God's infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins; but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by wilful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption. This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child, that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate. He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. Thou desirest truth in the inward part; to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavour to do their duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 188.2

Supposing David should, after being reproved by Nathan, have repeated the same offense, would the Lord then have had compassion upon him? But he repented bitterly; he declared his transgression was ever before him. Hear his humiliating confession, and listen to his despairing cries. TSB 188.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 242.3

It is never safe for us to feel that we are possessed of virtues, and that we may congratulate ourselves on our excellences of character and our present state of purity and piety. David often triumphed in God, and yet he dwelt much upon his own unworthiness and sinfulness. His conscience was not asleep or dead. “My sin,” he cries, “is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).... As he saw the depths of deceit in his heart he was deeply disgusted with himself, and prayed that God would keep him back by His power from the presumptuous sins, and cleanse him from secret faults. TMK 242.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 165

In that hour of darkest trial, David sang: Ed 165.1

“I cried unto the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me out of His holy hill.
Ed 165.2

“I laid me down and slept;
I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people,
That have set themselves against me around about.”
Ed 165.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 724-5

God intended the history of David's fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson that God designed to teach. From generation to generation thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter's power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have felt that God alone could keep them by His power through faith. Knowing that in Him was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan's ground. PP 724.1

Even before the divine sentence was pronounced against David he had begun to reap the fruit of transgression. His conscience was not at rest. The agony of spirit which he then endured is brought to view in the thirty-second psalm. He says: PP 724.2

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old
Through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:
My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer.”
PP 724.3

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