Does Psalms 51:5 Teach Inherited Sin ?

Does Psalms 51:5 teach inherited sin? It reads, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

First let’s examine the phrase “shapen in iniquity”:

· Does “born in a tongue” (Acts 2:8) mean the audience was born speaking, or that they were born into an environment that taught them that tongue?

· “John was born in a potato patch” – does that make John a potato?

What about the phrase “in sin did my mother conceive me”?:

Does “in anger did my brother hit me” indicate that I was angry, or that my brother was angry? The verse says the mother was “in sin,” not David!

Personally I think David is using a hyperbole (“obvious and intentional exaggeration”) here. In discussing the magnitude of his sinful state (based upon what he did with Bathsheba and to her husband Uriah), he exaggerates the point by saying that his mother was in sin when he was conceived.  The use of a hyperbole is frequent in the Bible – examples:

· Psalms 22:9b … thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.

· Job 31:18b … and I have guided her (the widow) from my mother’s womb

But if there is no hyperbole here, then the conclusion would be that David’s mother (not David) was in sin when David was conceived.

Psalms 51:5 doesn’t contradict Ezekiel 18:20: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father … the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

One Response to “Does Psalms 51:5 Teach Inherited Sin ?”

  1. Bev O'Day Says:

    amen, that is right

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