Psalm 51  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Psalm 51 (Greek numbering: Psalm 50), traditionally referred to as the Miserere, its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential Psalms. It begins: Have mercy on me, O God.

The psalm's opening words in Latin, Miserere mei, Deus, have led to its being called the Miserere Mei or even just Miserere. It is often known by this name in musical settings.

Commentary

Introduction

Many psalms include introductory text ("superscription") in the manuscript attributing it to a particular author and sometimes to an occasion. There is no reason to believe that this could be written by another author.

The New King James Version of the Bible introduces it: "To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba."

But the Hebrew linguist and scholar Robert Alter identifies an additional jagged sharpness and translates it: "...a David psalm, upon Nathan the prophet's coming to him when he had come to bed with Bathsheba." He comments: "The Hebrew verb used for both Nathan and David is 'to come to' [or 'into']', but in the former instance it refers to the prophet's entering the king's chambers, whereas the latter instance reflects its sexual sense."



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Psalm 51" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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