Penitential Confession of Sin
Psalm 32:5
I acknowledge my sin to you, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD…


1. It was deliberate. "I said, I will," etc. He was not dull or unfeeling in his sense of sin; but, like one infirm in body, yet strong in courage, he resolved manfully to go through the operation, however painful, having respect to the recompense of the expected cure.

2. It was humble: "I will confess." By this is signified his intention of owning, without any excuses, and specifying, his fault — as was required of the Israelite seeking pardon (Leviticus 5:5), of the high-priest making atonement (Leviticus 16:21); and as was practised by the people (1 Samuel 12:19), and by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:3). With this would be connected submission to his trouble, as designed for punishment of his sin, and acknowledgment of its justice; to which course a particular promise was made under the law (Leviticus 26:40-42).

3. It was personal. "My sin." Many, anxious to pass hastily and lightly over their own failings, try to effect their purpose by making stepping-stones of their neighbours' faults. With the general confession, "I am a grievous sinner," they couple the truth, "and so are we all"; and to the admission, "I have done wickedly," they add the hackneyed saying, "this is a wicked world we live in." Thus they seem to derive a false comfort from the number of their fellow-offenders, as though the crowd of criminals could screen them from the piercing eye, or the daring band of rebels protect them from the avenging hand of a long-suffering, but all-seeing and almighty Judge.

4. It was intelligent, i.e. with understanding: "I will confess my transgressions." The word "transgression" implies a boundary-line to be passed, a fence to be broken; and, without knowing where this is fixed, a man will not be able to see and acknowledge his fault.

5. It was private: "I will confess unto the Lord." David could abase himself before the prophet (2 Samuel 12:13) and his household (vers. 16, 17); but on this occasion he carried his burden to the Lord. It may be asked, Where is the need of confessing to that Lord who "trieth the hearts and reins and understandeth our thoughts afar off"? We answer, The need is ours, and the benefit is ours. The exercise of mentioning our sins leads the mind to dwell longer upon them, discovering their guilt more fully; and helps to mortify our pride, though no mortal ear listens to the recital. It may be further remarked, that David's confession "to the Lord" was an appeal to his judgment, as to his sincerity; and pledged the penitent to a forsaking the sins which he professed to lament.

6. The happy consequences: "Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." Here is a benefit, beyond the mere ease obtained by giving vent to the feelings; here is the entire removal of the guilt of acknowledged transgression.


1. In dwelling on David's confession "to the Lord," I would by no means neglect or undervalue the exhortation of the apostle (James 5:16) to well-chosen confidence and sympathy.

2. I would suggest to parents, sponsors, and teachers, as concerned in the training of the young, the importance of insisting on the duty of confession before they pardon their offences.

(G. Newnham, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

WEB: I acknowledged my sin to you. I didn't hide my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

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