The Fathers on Psalm 51

This post is part of an ongoing series offering translations of various early Church father’s commentaries on the Psalms.

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;

in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.

Thoroughly wash away my guilt;

and from my sin cleanse me.

For I know my transgressions;

my sin is always before me.

Against you, you alone have I sinned;

I have done what is evil in your eyes

So that you are just in your word,

and without reproach in your judgment.

Behold, I was born in guilt,

in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, you desire true sincerity;

and secretly you teach me wisdom.

Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

You will let me hear gladness and joy;

the bones you have crushed will rejoice.

Turn away your face from my sins;

blot out all my iniquities.

A clean heart create for me, God;

renew within me a steadfast spirit.

Do not drive me from before your face,

nor take from me your holy spirit.

Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;

uphold me with a willing spirit.

I will teach the wicked your ways,

that sinners may return to you.

Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God,

and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice.

Lord, you will open my lips;

and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it;

a burnt offering you would not accept.

My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;

a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.

Treat Zion kindly according to your good will;

build up the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just,

burnt offering and whole offerings;

then they will offer up young bulls on your altar.

Athanasius: “You sinned and feeling guilty, you repent and ask to be shown mercy. You have words of confession and conversion in Psalm 51.”[1]

Diodore of Tarsus: Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love. The Israelites give the appearance of being very much improved by the misfortunes: while making a petition for great mercy, they confess to be requesting it for a serious failing. Now, nothing wins the Lord to mercy like confession of sin, and especially when the power of sin is admitted to an unusual degree. Hence they proceed, In your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Just as in the case of the mercy his request was for a great amount, so also in the case of compassion and loving-kindness. What follows makes this even clearer: Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. Here again he asked for a double dose of purification in the words from my sin cleanse me to bring out at all points the gravity of sin…. He then mentions also the reason why he is worthy of loving kindness, continuing, For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. If I did not acknowledge my sin or daily keep it before me so that in some fashion compunction for it and repentance is prompted more readily, I would still not be worthy to receive loving-kindness. If, however, I torture myself with acknowledgement of the wrong and the sight of the deed, let it be enough, Lord, for me to pay the penalty by myself, without your imposing it on your behalf. He next adduces another reasonable cause. What is it that he proceeds to mention? Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes: Lord, you have attest to the fact that I committed no wrong against the Babylonians, who are now wronging me, sinning only against you, the Lord. So it would be right for me to be freed from their ill-treatment, and to be the beneficiary of your approval and loving-kindness. He did well to combine the two reasonable claims to be accorded loving-kindness—firstly, that he acknowledged his sin, and secondly, that he did the Babylonians no wrong, instead sinning against God but in no way wronging the Babylonians…. Hence he goes on: So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. For your part, Lord, if you judge in my favor, you prevail over me, having conferred many benefits and received no gratitude from us. The Babylonians, on the other hand, have no grounds for upbraiding us or citing to us any reasonable excuses for wronging us. Now, note should be taken also of the idiom of Scripture in the clause: So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. The people did not sin against God so that God might be proven righteous in giving judgment; rather, since the people were ungrateful, as the object of their ingratitude he consequently had good reason to level a charge against the ingrates. So the conjunction so that occurs here not to express purpose (even if highlighting it); instead, it explains the actual consequence, namely, that after the people sinned, God was shown to be righteous in giving judgment against them. So much for the movement of thought…. He proceeds accordingly, Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. He employed remarkable thinking. First he said, I am worthy of receiving loving-kindness since I acknowledged my faults. Second he said, I did no wrong to the Babylonians, sinning only against you, and it is you that has the right to require a heavy penalty of me for my ingratitude. In addition to this, he continues, Behold, I was born in guilt, as if saying to God, So you wish to call me to account not only for my sins but also for my forefather’s: they did not prove grateful to you, and neither did I—rather, I inherited in some fashion the ancestor’s ingratitude, and from them I draw the habit of sinning against you. But you overlooked all these faults on our forefathers’ part, in fidelity to yourself and recalling your characteristic loving-kindness. What is the proof of this? Behold, you desire true sincerity; and secretly you teach me wisdom. You desire true sincerity was well put. Instead of fixing your eye on ancestors’ failings, he is saying, you were faithful to your own consistency and goodness. When the ancestors sinned to the extent even of sculpting and adoring a calf in place of God, you gave laws, vouchsafed to arrange for priesthood, and introduced a godly was of life characterized also by righteousness. These things refer to all the requirements of the law hidden by secret things in formerly being uncertain and hidden from human beings, but rather made clear through the gift of the law, as even the prophet Baruch says, “Blessed are we, Israel, because what is pleasing to God is known to us,”[2] just as before this time human beings had difficulties even with actually knowing what is pleasing to God….. Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Having said, You gave us divine laws an arrangements for priesthood, he says something more significant: Grant us also some purification by the law. Remember Blessed Moses, who also made arrangements in keeping with God’s instructions. Taking the blood of calves and hyssop, he sprinkled the people and the tent and everything else by way of purifying them and making them worthy of God’s holiness. He means to express, then, the extraordinary degree of God’s loving-kindness. Not only did you grant laws despite the ancestors’ sin, but you also purified those incapable of being purified themselves. Therefore, in keeping with your purpose Lord, in this case as well do not fix your eye on our faults, but on your loving-kindness from the beginning, and extend it likewise to us also. It is you who are God in the case of similar sinners. Hence he proceeds, You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice. So now in our case grant joy and gladness, satisfied with our crushing and the humbling of our strength, and take pity (You will let me hear meaning, You will bring to our notice the working of your loving-kindness, and You will bring to our notice, meaning, You will provide). In other words, as we now have knowledge of what has come to our notice, so also he said that what has been provided has come to our notice. But how will this be? If you overlook our sins. Hence he goes on, Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. If you were to provide this in your grace, you would be faithful to yourself in regard to those similarly in need of loving-kindness. A clean heart create for me, God. Create, meaning, recreate. They are asking not for a new heart for themselves, but for their own heart to be renewed (by heart referring to their thinking). Therefore, he means to say, Amend our thinking, Lord. Renew within me a steadfast spirit, by a steadfast spirit meaning a sound free will. Impart one to us what is no longer at fault, for if you were to amend our thinking, you would consequently correct also our free will. So tell us openly what you require. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. So do not make me stay too long in Babylon, but bring me back to Jerusalem. As it is, in fact, I seem to be outside your presence, not standing in the temple and offering the accustomed sacrifices. Bring me back to my own place, therefore, and once more grant me the former grace (the meaning of your holy spirit). Restore to me the gladness of your salvation. Restore to me the former things by which I was saved. Uphold me with a willing spirit: cause me to rule the neighboring and other nations as I reigned over them in the time of David and Solomon (willing spirit meaning, Make me leader and ruler of the neighboring peoples again). And what will be the result of this? If you are appointed ruler and leader of the neighbors and the nations, what will you do? He goes on, I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you. I shall therefore convince them also to hold fast to godliness and ignore the idols. Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God. Free me, then, Lord, from these bloodthirsty men (the meaning of from violent bloodshed). My tongue will sing joyfully of your justice. Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise. He says the same thing in the three clauses: Allow me, Lord, to commend and sing your praises by mouth and lip, to proclaim all your gifts to me, and to do so with gladness. He next proceeds to mention in turn reasonable grounds for doing so. For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. If beyond these requests you had accepted sacrifice and wished to receive a sacrifice in another place—even in captivity—I would have performed it. But since the law forbids it, it is not possible for us to offer sacrifices outside Jerusalem—in fact, you are not pleased with such burnt offerings—what are we to offer you in place of sacrifice? He goes on, My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn. In place of sacrifices we offer you an attitude (the meaning of spirit) that is humbled and a heart that has suffered. Do not ignore them, Lord, but accept them as sacrifices. And what do you ask be done for you? Treat Zion kindly according to your good will. Be pleased, Lord, to give evidence of your goodness even in the case of Zion. The result being? Build up the walls of Jerusalem, so that once more the walls may recover their former aspect. Then, in praying for the city, he mentions the reason why he prays for it. Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just, burnt offering and whole offerings; then they will offer up young bulls on your altar. I do not idly pray for the city, but in order that it become a place for us to be ready to practice religion and discharge the laws. Burnt offerings and whole offerings: to offer you what the law commands. Then they will offer up young bulls on your altar: so that there may also be a habitual opportunity for us to offer up on the temple altars young bulls for sin and salvation.[3]

Pseudo-Athanasius: Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. He sings this psalm taking refuge in the great mercy of God and asking that he be washed in it and purified from his crime and lawlessness. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. He confesses also his evil doing in adultery and murder. Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. And as the first cause of this, he posits the sin of Adam’s transgression, by which we are all surrounded. And we acquire original grace when we are buried and rise with Christ through the bath of baptism: Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. We are washed white like snow through purifying hyssop, which is the grace of the Spirit. Thence we receive the pledge of the resurrection from the dead, You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice, in which our humbled bones which faded in death will rejoice again. A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. He entreats God to render his heart pure and without spot through repentance—the spring of thoughts which first suffered in sin—to Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit, and to renew and confirm in him the straight learning Spirit. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you, so that when the lawless learn your paths by me, they may turn to you in a contrite spirit and humble spirit. For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept, because not by sacrifices through blood—My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn…. Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just, burnt offering and whole offerings; then they will offer up young bulls on your altar—but by those of righteousness and spiritual ones do you renew your church Zion and strengthen the saints, who are the walls of the church.[4]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 91.

[2] Baruch 4:4

[3] TLG 6. Ἐλέησόν με, ὁ θεός, κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός σου. Σφόδρα φαίνονται ὠφεληθέντες ἀπὸ τῶν συμφορῶν οἱ Ἰσραηλῖται. Οἱ γὰρ μέγα ζητοῦντες ἔλεος ὁμολογοῦσιν ὑπὲρ μεγάλου πλημμελήματος τοῦτο αἰτεῖν. Οὐδὲν δὲ οὕτως εἰς ἔλεος ἐπισπᾶται τὸν δεσπότην ὡς ὁμολογία πλημμελήματος, καὶ μάλιστα ὅταν μετὰ ὑπερβολῆς ἡ τοῦ πλημμελήματος ὁμολογῆται δύναμις. Διὰ τοῦτο ἐπιφέρουσιν· Καὶ κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν σου ἐξάλειψον τὸ ἀνόμημά μου. Ὡς ἐπὶ τοῦ ἐλέου τὸ μέγα ᾔτησε, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τὸ πλῆθος ἐξεζήτησεν, ὡς οὐ δυναμένου τοῦ πλημμελήματος ἐξαλειφθῆναι ὄντος μεγάλου, μὴ τυχόντος ἀναλόγων οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ φιλανθρωπίας. Ἔτι καὶ τὸ ἑξῆς σαφέστερον αὐτὸ ποιεῖ. Ἐπάγει γάρ· Ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνομίας μου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου καθάρισόν με. Πάλιν ἐνταῦθα τὸν πλεονασμὸν ᾔτησε τῆς καθάρσεως εἰπών· «Ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με» διὰ τὸ δεῖξαι πανταχοῦ τὸ πλημμέλημα μέγα. Εἶτα καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν λέγει δι’ ἣν ἄξιός ἐστι φιλανθρωπίας. Ἐπάγει γάρ· Ὅτι τὴν ἀνομίαν μου ἐγὼ γινώσκω καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία μου ἐνώπιόν μού ἐστι διαπαντός. Εἰ μὲν γὰρ μὴ ἐπέγνων μου, φησί, τὸ πλημμέλημα μηδὲ κατὰ πρόσωπόν μου καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν ἦγον τοῦτο ὥστε τρόπον τινὰ ἐκ τούτου εἰς πλείονα ἄγεσθαι κατάνυξιν καὶ μετάνοιαν, οὔπω ἤμην ἄξιος τυχεῖν φιλανθρωπίας. Εἰ δὲ αὐτὸς ἐμαυτὸν βασανίζω τῇ ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κακοῦ καὶ τῇ ὄψει τοῦ γεγονότος, ἀρκέσθητι, φησί, δέσποτα, τῷ ἐμὲ παρ’ ἐμαυτοῦ δίκας λαμβάνειν, αὐτὸς δὲ μὴ ἐπιθῇς τὰ παρὰ σαυτοῦ. Εἶτα καὶ ἄλλην τινὰ εὔλογον αἰτίαν λέγει. Ποίαν ταύτην ἐπιφέρει· Σοὶ μόνῳ ἥμαρτον καὶ τὸ πονηρὸν ἐνώπιόν σου ἐποίησα. Καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο, φησίν, ἀπόβλεψον, δέσποτα, ὅτι εἰς τοὺς Βαβυλωνίους, τοὺς νῦν ἀδικοῦντάς με οὐδὲν ἠδίκησα, εἰς δὲ σὲ τὸν δεσπότην μόνον ἐπλημμέλησα. Δίκαιος οὖν ἂν εἴην τῆς τούτων μὲν ἀπαλλαγῆναι κακοποιΐας, ὑπὸ δὲ τὴν σὴν εἶναι δοκιμασίαν καὶ φιλανθρωπίαν. Καλῶς τὰς δύο ἐπισυνῆψεν αἰτίας εὐλόγους πρὸς τὸ φιλανθρωπίας ἀξιωθῆναι, μίαν μὲν ὅτι ἐπέγνω τὸ πλημμέλημα, δευτέραν δὲ ὅτι οὐδὲν ἠδίκησε Βαβυλωνίους, ἀλλ’ ὅτι εἰς μὲν τὸν θεὸν ἥμαρτεν, εἰς δὲ τοὺς Βαβυλωνίους οὐδὲν ἠδίκησεν. Ὅθεν ἐπιφέρει· Ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε. Σὺ μὲν γάρ, φησί, δέσποτα, ἐὰν κρίνῃς μοι, νικᾷς με· πολλὰ γὰρ εὐεργετήσας εὐγνωμοσύνης οὐκ ἔτυχες τῆς παρ’ ἡμῶν· Βαβυλώνιοι δὲ οὐκ ἔχουσιν οὐδεμίαν χώραν ἐγκαλεῖν ἡμῖν, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ λέγειν πρὸς ἡμᾶς εὔλογα ὡς ἀδικοῦντες ἡμᾶς. Ἐπισημαντέον δὲ καὶ τῷ ἰδιώματι τῆς γραφῆς ὅτι εἶπεν· «Ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε». Οὐδὲ γὰρ διὰ τοῦτο ὁ λαὸς ἥμαρτε τῷ θεῷ ἵνα ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαι δίκαιος ἀναφανῇ, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ ἠγνωμόνησεν ὁ λαός, ἀναγκαίως ἀγνωμονηθεὶς δίκαια εἶχεν ἐγκαλεῖν πρὸς τοὺς ἀγνωμονοῦντας. Τὸ οὖν «Ὅπως» οὐ κεῖται ἐνταῦθα ἐπὶ αἰτίας—εἰ καὶ ἐμφαίνει τοῦτο—ἀλλ’ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀκολουθίαν ἐξηγεῖται ὅτι, τοῦ λαοῦ ἁμαρτήσαντος, ὁ θεὸς δίκαιος ἀναφανεῖται κρινόμενος πρὸς αὐτούς. Ἀλλ’ ἀρκτέον τῆς ἀκολουθίας· ἐπιφέρει οὖν· Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήφθην, καὶ ἐν ἁμαρτίαις ἐκίσσησέ με μήτηρ μου. Θαυμαστοῖς κέχρηται τοῖς λογισμοῖς. Εἶπε πρῶτον ὅτι ἄξιός εἰμι τυχεῖν φιλανθρωπίας ἐπειδὴ ἐπέγνων μου τὸ πλημμέλημα, δεύτερον ὅτι οὐδὲν ἠδίκησα Βαβυλωνίους, ἀλλ’ ὅτι εἰς σὲ μόνον ἥμαρτον καὶ ὅτι αὐτὸς ἔχεις δίκαια πολλὰ πρὸς ἐμὲ τοῦ δίκας εἰσπράξασθαί με τῆς ἀγνωμοσύνης· πρὸς τούτοις ἐπιφέρει· «Ἰδοὺ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήφθην» ὡσανεὶ ἔλεγε πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ὅτι, εἰ οὖν δίκας με βούλει ἀπαιτῆσαι ὧν ἐπλημμέλησα εἰς σέ, ὥρα σοι μὴ μόνον τὰς ἐμὰς εἰσπράττεσθαι ἁμαρτίας ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰς τῶν προγόνων. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι εὐγνώμονες ὤφθησαν περὶ σέ, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ αὐτὸς ἐγώ, ἀλλὰ τρόπον τινὰ τὴν τῶν πατέρων ἀγνωμοσύνην ἐκληρονόμησα καὶ ἐξ ἐκείνων τὸ ἁμαρτάνειν εἰς σὲ ἐπισύρομαι. Ἀλλὰ παρεῖδες, φησί, ταῦτα πάντα τὰ πλημμελήματα ἐπὶ τῶν προγόνων, σαυτὸν μιμησάμενος καὶ τῆς οἰκείας ἀναμνησθεὶς φιλανθρωπίας. Τίς τούτου ἡ ἀπόδειξις; Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀλήθειαν ἠγάπησας, τὰ ἄδηλα καὶ τὰ κρύφια τῆς σοφίας σου ἐδήλωσάς μοι. Καλῶς «ἀλήθειαν ἠγάπησας». Οὐκ εἶδες, φησίν, εἰς τὰ τῶν προγόνων πλημμελήματα, ἀλλὰ τὴν σαυτοῦ βεβαιότητα ἐμιμήσω καὶ χρηστότητα· καὶ πλημμελησάντων τοιαῦτα τῶν προγόνων ὥστε καὶ μόσχον ἀντὶ θεοῦ καὶ γλύψαι καὶ προσκυνῆσαι, σαυτὸν μιμησάμενος αὐτὸς καὶ νόμους ἔδωκας καὶ ἱερωσύνης διάταξιν ἐχαρίσω καὶ πολιτείαν εἰσηγήσω εὐσεβείας καὶ δικαιοσύνης πεπληρωμένην. Πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον «ἄδηλα καὶ κρύφια» καλεῖ ὡς πρότερον μὲν ὄντα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἄδηλα καὶ κεκρυμμένα, μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ δῆλα γενόμενα διὰ τῆς τοῦ νόμου δόσεως, ὡς καὶ ὁ προφήτης Βαρούχ· Μακάριοί ἐσμεν,Ἰσραήλ, ὅτι τὰ ἀρεστὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῖν ἐστι γνωστά, ὡς πρὸ τούτου τῶν ἀνθρώπων καμνόντων καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ γνῶναι τί ἀρέσκει τὸν θεόν.  Ῥαντιεῖς με ὑσσώπῳ καὶ καθαρισθήσομαι· πλυνεῖς με καὶ ὑπὲρ χιόνα λευκανθήσομαι. Εἰπὼν ὅτι δέδωκας ἡμῖν νόμους θείους καὶ διατάξεις ἱερωσύνης, λέγει τὸ μεῖζον ὅτι καὶ καθαρισμούς τινας ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ἐχαρίσω. Οὕτω γὰρ καὶ Μωϋσῆς ὁ μακάριος ἐποίησε κατὰ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ διάταξιν τὸ αἷμα τῶν μόσχων λαβὼν καὶ ὕσσωπον, ἐρράντισε τὸν λαὸν καὶ τὴν σκηνὴν καὶ τὰ ἄλλα πάντα ὡσανεὶ καθαίρων αὐτὰ καὶ ποιῶν ἄξια τῆς ἁγιότητος τοῦ θεοῦ. Βούλεται οὖν εἰπεῖν τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῆς φιλανθρωπίας τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅτι πλημμελησάντων τῶν προγόνων οὐ μόνον νόμους ἐχαρίσω ἀλλὰ καὶ καθαρίσεις τοῖς οὐ δυναμένοις οἴκοθεν καθαρίζεσθαι. Κατὰ τοῦτον οὖν σου τὸν σκοπόν, δέσποτα, καὶ νῦν μὴ πρὸς τὰ πλημμελήματα ἴδῃς τὰ ἡμέτερα, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς σου φιλανθρωπίαν, καὶ παράσχου καὶ ἡμῖν τὰ ὅμοια. Ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς εἶ θεὸς ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁμοίοις ἁμαρτωλοῖς. Ὅθεν ἐπιφέρει· Ἀκουτιεῖς με ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην· ἀγαλλιάσονται ὀστέα τεταπεινωμένα. Καὶ νῦν οὖν, φησίν, ἐφ’ ἡμῶν χάρισαι ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην, ἀρκεσθεὶς τῇ συντριβῇ ἡμῶν καὶ τῇ τῆς δυνάμεως ταπεινώσει, καὶ χάρισαι τοὺς οἰκτιρμούς. Τὸ γὰρ «Ἀκουτιεῖς» ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀκουστὰ ἡμῖν ποιήσεις τὰ τῆς φιλανθρωπίας σου· τὸ δὲ ἀκουστὰ ἡμῖν ποιήσεις ἀντὶ τοῦ παρέξεις λέγει. Ὡς γὰρ τὰ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὰς ἀκοὰς ἡμῶν ἔχομεν λοιπὸν εἰς γνῶσιν, οὕτω καὶ τὰ παρασχεθέντα ἀκουστὰ γενέσθαι εἶπεν. Πῶς δὲ ἔσται τοῦτο; Εἰ παρίδοις, φησί, τὰ πλημμελήματα ἡμῶν. Ὅθεν ἐπιφέρει·  Ἀπόστρεψον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν μου καὶ πάσας τὰς ἀνομίας μου ἐξάλειψον. Εἰ ταῦτα, φησί, παράσχῃς τῇ σαυτοῦ χάριτι, ἐμιμήσω σαυτὸν περὶ τοὺς ὁμοίως δεομένους φιλανθρωπίας. Καρδίαν καθαρὰν κτίσον ἐν ἐμοί, θεός. Τὸ «κτίσον» ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀνάκτισον λέγει. Οὐδὲ γὰρ καινὴν αἰτοῦσι γενέσθαι καρδίαν αὐτοῖς, ἀλλὰ τὴν οὖσαν ἀνακαινοποιηθῆναι. «Καρδίαν» δὲ τοὺς λογισμοὺς καλεῖ. Βούλεται οὖν εἰπεῖν ὅτι διόρθωσαι ἡμῶν τοὺς λογισμούς, δέσποτα.  Καὶ πνεῦμα εὐθὲς ἐγκαίνισον ἐν τοῖς ἐγκάτοις μου.  «Πνεῦμα εὐθές», προαίρεσιν ἀγαθήν, φησί, καὶ οὐκέτι πλημμελοῦσαν ἔνθες ἡμῖν. Εἰ γάρ, φησί, τοὺς λογισμοὺς διορθώσαιο, διορθώσω ἐξ ἀνάγκης καὶ τὴν προαίρεσιν. Τί οὖν αἰτεῖς εἰπὲ φανερῶς. Μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς με ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου σου καὶ τὸ πνεῦμά σου τὸ ἅγιον μὴ ἀντανέλῃς ἀπἐμοῦ. Μὴ οὖν, φησίν, ἐπὶ πολὺ χρονίσαι με ποιήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς Βαβυλωνίας, ἀλλ’ ἐπανάγαγέ με εἰς τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ. Νῦν γὰρ ἔξω δοκῶ εἶναι τοῦ προσώπου τοῦ σοῦ, μὴ ἑστὼς ἐν τῷ ναῷ μήτε τὰς εἰθισμένας προσφέρων θυσίας. Ἐπανάγαγέ με οὖν, φησίν, εἰς τὰ οἰκεῖα καὶ τὴν χάριν ἀπόδος μοι  πάλιν τὴν ἀρχαίαν· τοῦτο γὰρ λέγει «τὸ πνεῦμά σου τὸ ἅγιον». Ὅθεν ἐπάγει· Ἀπόδος μοι τὴν ἀγαλλίασιν τοῦ σωτηρίου σου. Καὶ «Ἀπόδος μοι», φησί, τὰ ἀρχαῖα πάντα δι’ ὧν ἐσῳζόμην. Καὶ πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ στήριξόν με. Παρασκεύασον δέ, φησίν, ἄρχειν τῶν περιοίκων καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἐθνῶν ὡς ἦρχον ἐπὶ τοῦ Δαυεὶδ καὶ τοῦ Σολομῶντος. Τὸ γὰρ «πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ» ἀντὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνα με πάλιν κατάστησον καὶ ἄρχοντα τῶν περιοίκων φησίν. Καὶ τί ἐκ τούτου; Ἐὰν καταστῇς τῶν περιοίκων καὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἄρχων καὶ ἡγεμών, τί ποιήσεις; Ἐπάγει· Διδάξω ἀνόμους τὰς ὁδούς σου, καὶ ἀσεβεῖς ἐπὶ σὲ ἐπιστρέψουσιν. Πείσω οὖν κἀκείνους εὐσεβείας ἀντέχεσθαι καὶ τῶν εἰδώλων ἀμελεῖν. Ῥῦσαί με ἐξ αἱμάτων, θεὸς θεὸς τῆς σωτηρίας μου. Ἀπάλλαξον οὖν φησί με, δέσποτα, τῶν φονίων τούτων ἀνδρῶν· τοῦτο γὰρ λέγει «ἐξ αἱμάτων». Ἀγαλλιάσεται ἡ γλῶσσά μου τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου. Κύριε, τὰ χείλη μου ἀνοίξεις, καὶ τὸ στόμα μου ἀναγγελεῖ τὴν αἴνεσίν σου. Τὸ αὐτὸ λέγει ἐν τοῖς τρισὶ στίχοις ὅτι παράσχου μοι, δέσποτα, τὸ εὐφημεῖν σε καὶ ἀνυμνεῖν διὰ γλώσσης καὶ διὰ χειλέων καὶ ἐξαγγέλλειν ὅσα μοι παρέσχες ἀγαθὰ ἐπὶ τῷ καὶ μετὰ εὐφροσύνης τοῦτο ποιεῖν. Εἶτα καὶ εὐλόγους αἰτίας πάλιν ἐπιφέρει· Ὅτι εἰ ἠθέλησας θυσίαν, ἔδωκα ἄν· ὁλοκαυτώματα οὐκ εὐδοκήσεις. Ὑπὲρ γὰρ τούτων τῶν αἰτήσεων, εἰ κατεδέχου θυσίαν καὶ ἐβούλου ἐν ἄλλῳ τόπῳ καὶ ἐν τῇ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ θυσίαν λαβεῖν, ἐποίησα ἄν· ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ ὁ νόμος κελεύει ἔξω τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ μὴ ἐξεῖναι ἡμῖν θυσίας προσφέρειν—οὐδὲ γὰρ εὐδοκεῖς τοῖς τοιούτοις ὁλοκαυτώμασιν—, ἀντὶ τῶν θυσιῶν σοι προσφέρομεν τί; Ἐπιφέρει· Θυσία τῷ θεῷ πνεῦμα συντετριμμένον, καρδίαν συντετριμμένην καὶ τεταπεινωμένην θεὸς οὐκ ἐξουδενώσει. Προσφέρομέν σοι, φησίν, ἀντὶ τῶν θυσιῶν γνώμην—τοῦτο γὰρ λέγει πνεῦμα—ταπεινωθεῖσαν καὶ καρδίαν ταλαιπωρηθεῖσαν, ἅτινα μὴ παρόψει, φησί, δέσποτα, ἀλλ’ ὡς θυσίας δέξαι ταῦτα. Καὶ τί αἰτεῖς γενέσθαι σοι; Ἀγάθυνον, κύριε, ἐν τῇ εὐδοκίᾳ σου τὴν Σιών. Εὐδόκησον οὖν, φησί, δέσποτα, ἐπιδείξασθαί σου τὴν ἀγαθότητα καὶ ἐπὶ τῇ Σιών· ὥστε τί γενέσθαι; Καὶ οἰκοδομηθήτω τὰ τείχη Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ὥστε πάλιν, φησίν, ἀπολαβεῖν τὰ τείχη τὸ ἀρχαῖον σχῆμα. Εἶτα, εὐξάμενος ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως, λέγει τὴν αἰτίαν δι’ ἣν εὔχεται ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς. Τότε εὐδοκήσεις θυσίαν δικαιοσύνης. Καὶ ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως εὔχομαι, φησίν, οὐχ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλ’ ὥστε εἶναι τόπον ἡμῖν ἐν ᾧ μέλλομεν εὐσεβεῖν καὶ τὰ νόμιμα πληροῦν. Ἀναφορὰν καὶ ὁλοκαυτώματα. Ἀναφέρειν σοι, φησίν, ἅπερ ὁ νόμος προστάττει. Τότε ἀνοίσουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριόν σου μόσχους. Ὥστε, φησί, καὶ χώραν ἡμῖν εἶναι συνήθως ἐπὶ τῶν θυσιαστηρίων τῶν νέων προσφέρειν μόσχους ὑπὲρ πλημμελήματος καὶ ὑπὲρ σωτηρίου.

[4] Syriac CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 32. Cx. PG 27 for Latin and Greek.

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