I found the following on the web and thought it was interesting. It is adapted from its original post, which you can read by clicking here
David Was Conceived in Sin?
Psalm 51:5 (KJV) – “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
This is a Hebrew poetic parallelism where the second line of the verse says the same thing as the first line but in a slightly different way.
The subject of Psalm 51:5 does not seem to be dealing with the condition of David’s nature as a sinner at, or before, his birth. Although it is true that he was born in sin (into the nature of sin) just like all other people, they did not understand this concept as we do today. As a matter of fact, this concept was not understood fully until it was written about by Paul in Romans 7.
This is where Paul discusses that he could not do the things he wanted to do, and yet would find himself doing the things he doesn’t want to do. He ultimately comes to the understanding, through revelation from God, Romans 7:17; 21 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. This has come to be known as the law of sin, or the sin nature.
Even in John 3, when Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God., the Lord did not tell him why nor did Nicodemus ask why this was the case. He asked how to be born again, but he did not ask why. Again, the revelation of being born into the sin nature wasn’t revealed until Romans 7. This is why we must be born again.
In our original text of Psalm 51:5, David was not referring to being born into the sin nature because they didn’t understand that concept yet. They understood the requirement to keep the commandments of the Old Testament law. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for “sin” in Psalm 51:5 is chata which indicates a sinful action rather than a sinful location (i.e. being born into (location) the sin nature) as stated in Romans 7.
In the next post, we’ll look at why David was such an outcast among his family!