Psalm 51:5

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

( The following youtube video link will lead to a video of a Charismatic/Pentecostal Pastor named Brian Carn who mentions that some Theologians indicate that Psalm 51:5 suggests that David was illegitimate(bastard) child:



I would like make Arguments Against some theologians who state that Psalm 51:5 could be hinting/suggesting/indicating that David was an illegitimate(bastard) son of either Jesse or the wife of Jesse.

The reason being is that whenever the Bible usually mentions some kind of genealogy descendant tree then there usually is an indication if someone is of illegitimate birth, born to a different mother/father than his/her siblings or born to a concubine

-Jesus Christ birth is clearly indicated as being conceived when The Holy Spirit came upon Mary:

(Luke 1:34-35)

34 Mary said to the angel, “How [w]can this be, since I [x]am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the [y]holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

(Matthew 1:18)

18 Now the birth of Jesus the [p]Messiah was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [q]betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

  • Jephthah the Gileadite in Judges 11 was the son of Gilead and a prostitute. Furthermore, Judges 11 clearly states that the half brothers of Gilead and his wife drove Jephthah away since he was the son of another woman.

( Judges 11:1-2 )

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a [a]valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead [b]was the father of Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.”

  • Judges 8:29-31 clearly states that Abimelech was the son of Gideon and a concubine as opposed to his half brothers who were the sons of Gideon and his many wives.

( Judges 8:29-31 )

29 Then Jerubbaal( aka Gideon ) the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons who [u]were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he [v]named him Abimelech.

Therefore, the circumstantial evidence strongly suggest/hint that David was the legitimate son of Jesse and his wife, and his brothers were his full brothers.

Would the aforementioned assessment/inference/deduction be correct?

  • 2
    Congratulations. You just succeeded in making more prominent the view you attempt to oppose. I had never heard of it before.
    – Polyhat
    Jul 21, 2021 at 0:30
  • I clearly state Arguments Against some theologians who state that Psalm 51:5 could be hinting/suggesting/indicating that David was an illegitimate(bastard) son of either Jesse or the wife of Jesse.
    – crazyTech
    Jul 21, 2021 at 1:03
  • 1
    Don't put your answer in the question. Instead please provide the names and quotes from those who claim this, and then put your counter argument in an answer.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 21, 2021 at 1:50
  • I see absolutely nothing here to doubt that David was Jesse's biological son.
    – Dottard
    Jul 21, 2021 at 2:30
  • The child of David and Uriah's wife, who died because of his parents' sin, following Nathan's prophecy, and on whose account the psalm was written to begin with, was born illegitimately. It would appear David is making supplications in his son's name. At any rate, the psalm speaks, more generally, of the sinful condition of mankind, with similar passages being found in Job and Isaiah.
    – Lucian
    Jul 21, 2021 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


Does Psalm 15:5 reveal King David's ancestry caused a "sinful" birth?

As the Author of [Tehillim 15], David דָוִד writes in Hebrew - verse 7 : "Behold, with iniquity I was formed, and with sin my mother conceived me." ( הֵן־בְּעָו֥וֹן חוֹלָ֑לְתִּי וּ֜בְחֵ֗טְא יֶֽחֱמַ֥תְנִי אִמִּֽי )

  • Perhaps the sin used to conceive דָוִד David came from the ancestry of his father יִשָֽׁי Yishay.

Can we prove יִשָֽׁי Yishay | "Jesse" was David's biological father?

  • 1 Samuel 17:12
  • 1 Chronicles 2:15
  • Ruth 4:17
  • Ruth 4:22

We learn about the biological father of דָוִד David in [1 Samuel 17:12] : "David was the son of this [Ephrathite] man from Bethlehem of Yehudah, whose name was [Yishay]" ( וְדָוִד בֶּן־אִ֨ישׁ אֶפְרָתִ֜י הַזֶּ֗ה מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֙חֶם֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה וּשְׁמ֣וֹ יִשַׁ֔י )

Although a MT scribal error in [1 Chronicles 2:15] writes the name "David" דָּוִ֖יד (with an additional yod), we are reminded King David was "The-Seventh [son]" הַשְּׁבִעִֽי of יִשָֽׁי Yishay.

We then learn Yishay is descended from a Moabite! - Ruth. In [Ruth 4:22], David appears to be the only son from Yishay. Showing the reader how important David was to Ruth. (No offense to Ruth's other great-grandsons.)

[Ruth 4:22] only states : "And Oved begot Yishay, and Yishay begot David." ( וְעֹבֵד֙ הוֹלִ֣יד אֶת־יִשָׁ֔י וְיִשַׁ֖י הוֹלִ֥יד אֶת־דָּוִֽד )

What's interesting in [Ruth 4:13-17] is that we are reminded David (Yishay's son) was the descendant of a Moabite.

David's ancestry to Ruth the Moabite appears to be the iniquity referred to in [Psalm 15:7] in context to the Torah, specifically [Deuteronomy 23:3-4].

We learn David's great-grandfather Boaz would have broken the Mosaic law of [Deuteronomy 23:4] which stated : "An Ammonite or [Moabite] shall not enter the assembly of YHVH; even the tenth generation shall never enter the assembly of YHVH." ( לֹֽא־יָבֹ֧א עַמּוֹנִ֛י וּמֽוֹאָבִ֖י בִּקְהַ֣ל יְהֹוָ֑ה גַּ֚ם דּ֣וֹר עֲשִׂירִ֔י לֹֽא־יָבֹ֥א לָהֶ֛ם בִּקְהַ֥ל יְהֹוָ֖ה עַד־עוֹלָֽם )

Yishay as 2nd generation of Ruth the Moabite would have also sinned when conceiving his seventh son David. - Making David a third generation of a Moabite [Ruth 4:13-17] in the assembly of YHVH.

As King, David was required to make for himself a two copies of the scroll of Deuteronomy as stated in [Deuteronomy 17:18] to become familiar with Torah.

David would become aware of terms like "Mamzer" based on [Deuteronomy 23:3] "A Mamzer shall not enter the assembly of YHVH; even the tenth generation shall not enter the assembly of the YHVH." ( לֹֽא־יָבֹ֥א מַמְזֵ֖ר בִּקְהַ֣ל יְהֹוָ֑ה גַּ֚ם דּ֣וֹר עֲשִׂירִ֔י לֹֽא־יָבֹ֥א ל֖וֹ בִּקְהַ֥ל יְהֹוָֽה )

As a Moabite descendant, David may have regarded himself as a "Mamzer" based on [Deuteronomy 23:3-4]. This sin in David's conception would have come through the ancestry of his father Yishay.

  • 1
    This seems like a better argument than that the direct mother of David was not the real/first wife of Yishay. Nonetheless, there are a lot of people arguing for or against this passage supporting their own view of being "born in sin". I think one can build a stronger case in either direction by using other verses in the Bible since this one isn't as conclusive.
    – Coder909
    Jul 21, 2021 at 16:11
  • Thx. (Deuteronomy 23:3-4) Only implies that someone like David(and his father( and also his siblings)) who have a lineal Moabite ancestry can Not enter the assembly of God. But, (Deuteronomy 23:3-4) does Not imply that being born with lineal Moabite ancestry is sinful. Psalm 51:5 is suggestive of being born into sinfulness or being born as a result of sin.
    – crazyTech
    Jul 24, 2021 at 12:42

“Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years.” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭17:12‬ ‭

The question relates to whether the eighth was born legitimately or out of wedlock. Of Jesse there is no indication he had multiple wives.

“And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.”” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:10-11‬ ‭

According the Samuel there were eight sons

“Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse. Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. And their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three.” ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭2:12-16‬ ‭

According to Chronicles there were only seven brothers and there are added two sisters. It would appear that one of the sons died leaving no heir, possibly chronicled during the life of David. Even today when asked parents who have multiple children will tell you how many they have living, even if they had one or more that died. They may or may not choose to specify that one has passed away. (My friend’s son passed and when I asked him recently how many children he had, he didn’t included the deceased child in the count).

Moving on.

David was in the Old Covenant system with the Law revealed by Moses. It states

““No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭23:2‬ ‭

This is to the tenth generation. David’s forefather Judah had an illegitimate child with his daughter in law, but David was now the eleventh generation

“and Judah the father (Er the father of Perez) of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and 1Perez the father of 2Hezron, and Hezron the father of 3Ram, and Ram the father of 4Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of 5Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of 6Salmon, and Salmon the father of 7Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of 8Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of 9Jesse,” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1:3-5‬ ‭ Emphasis is mine and additionally 10David

However on an initial count it appears that David is the tenth for only ten descendants of Judah are listed. However the child born to Tamar and Judah was a child that would be an heir to her first husband Er. This inserts Judah’s first son, and first husband of Tamar Er, into the numerical generation for Perez was born to be an heir to Er, the deceased father. This pushes David to the eleventh position.

God would not have accepted David had he been the tenth, much less were he to be born illegitimately.


If God was careful to observe the Law of the tenth generation which would have otherwise disqualified David from the throne, God would not have accepted an illegitimate child on His throne in the old covenant after just one generation. The interpretation that David was born illegitimately is unfounded given how careful God is not to break His own word/law/Torah.

  • Since (Deut 23:2) states “No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord..", lets just say that people born from "forbidden union" could Not be eligible for the royal throne.The reason is that by worldly standards, it could be viewed that Jesus Christ was illegitimately born from the world's viewpoint, however,Jesus Christ was certainly Not "born of a forbidden union" since His Birth was because (Luke 1:34) "The Holy Spirit will come upon" Mary ",& the power of the Most High will overshadow" Mary so that (Matthew 1:18) Mary "was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit"
    – crazyTech
    Jul 23, 2021 at 13:37
  • Apples and oranges @crazyTech Jul 23, 2021 at 15:10

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