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For all His ordinances were before me, and as for His statues, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless toward Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. (2 Samuel 22:23-24 NASB)

We know David was not blameless in the literal sense, and he (when grieving and asking God not to depart from him because of the sin with Bathsheba) certainly recognized this as well. Why would David state that he was blameless towards the Lord, and what does the interesting phrase, “I kept myself from my iniquity” mean?

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David is justified (in God's sight) which causes him to be blameless (in God's sight).

It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth ? [Romans 8:33 KJV]

Although not a cause of boasting, but rather a cause of humility, it is still the case that when God justifies, one is justified.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Ephesians 2:8,9 KJV]

But David acknowledges the presence of sin (some call this 'inbred sin') within his own humanity, come of Adam.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Sin in the flesh, being condemned in the humanity of Christ, is taken away :

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [John 1:29 KJV]

These things being so, the justified are to pursue holiness :

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, [2 Peter 3:11 KJV]

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. [Luke 1:74, 75 KJV]

David is conscious of the iniquity within his natural humanity, come of Adam, but he keeps himself at a distance from it, by faith.

I was also upright before him (being justified by faith) and I kept myself from mine iniquity (which still dwells in mortal flesh until the resurrection) . . . . [Psalm 18:23 KJV]

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  • thanks for the helpful answer! Could you elaborate a bit on the context of this in the Old Testament? Was David justified in the sense of the above verses, even before the coming of Christ on earth? – Gremosa Mar 13 '20 at 13:55
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    @Gremosa Yes, I believe he was. The first verses of Psalm 32 speak of David's sins being nasa 'uplifted'. Together with the concept of kaphar (kaph the hand of God) David's sins are llifted up from him and 'contained' kaphar by God until such time as the Testator appears who shall bring in the Everlasting Testament by the shedding of his blood. Thus David is justified, righteously, in lieu of a future event. Thus he receives the Holy Spirit as a gift, based on that righteous justification. Compare Romans 4 and Psalm 32. – Nigel J Mar 13 '20 at 14:25
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David's song in 2 Samuel 22 is almost identical to Psalm 18 which contains the following prelude:

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

David wrote this song before the affair of Bathsheba. So the placement of this song in 2 Samuel 22 was not chronologically accurate.

He opened the song with

2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior

The following need to be interpreted under the above heading and context:

For all His ordinances were before me, and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless toward Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.

Why would David state that he was blameless towards the Lord?

David took refuge in God. That's how he could become blameless. He was shielded by God.

What does the interesting phrase, “I kept myself from my iniquity” mean?

He wrote this before the encounter with Bethsheba. He refused to kill Saul in e.g., 1 Samuel 24:6

He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD."

Another example was Joab killed Abner in cold blood.

2 Samuel 3:37 So on that day all the people there and all Israel knew that the king [David] had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner.

Another example had to do with Nabal and his men.

1 Samuel 25:32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.

David did try to keep himself from iniquity. He was a conscientious person before God, a man after God's heart.

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