Psalm 143:2

Hebrew Bible

1 A psalm of David. O Lord, hear my prayer. Pay attention to my plea for help. Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me. 2 Do not sit in judgment on your servant, for no one alive is innocent before you. 3 Certainly my enemies chase me. They smash me into the ground. They force me to live in dark regions, like those who have been dead for ages. 4 My strength leaves me; I am absolutely shocked. 5 I recall the old days. I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishments. 6 I spread my hands out to you in prayer; my soul thirsts for you in a parched land. (Selah)

Romans 3:20

New Testament

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed— 22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 Notes and References

"... This wrestling with the problem of sin, especially by one such as David, makes the Psalms most effective for Paul’s purposes in demonstrating that sin has infected the whole human race. Paul concludes in Romans 3:20: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight”. This allusion is to Psalm 143:2.323 There is, however, a significant difference in Paul’s quotation. Psalm 143:2 in the Hebrew refers to יִָֽח־לָכ (all living), and in the Septuagint πᾶς ζῶν (all living), but Paul uses the expression πᾶσα σὰρξ (all flesh). For Paul, ‘flesh’ “is a heavily-loaded term … humankind seen as physically corruptible and morally rebellious, heading for death in both senses”. The psalm “is not adduced as a proof for Paul’s assertion, but his assertion echoes the psalm, activating Israel’s canonical memory. A reader formed spiritually by the psalter, with or without recognizing the specific allusion, will already know that before God no one can claim to be justified”. Many of the Psalms helped re-enforce Israel’s collective memory of times of bondage, and of deliverance,326 but that same combination of psalter and history also revealed their propensity to rebellion. Other Psalms repeated the consciousness of sin on the part of the Psalmist ..."

Gibb, Ian Paul and the Psalms: Paul's Hermeneutic and Worldview (pp. 154-155) University of Glasgow, 2017

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