In Ps. 51:4 and 9,
- Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. JPS
- pr. to tread or trample with the feet, to wash garments by treading on them when underwater
- To full, ie. clean cloth by treading, kneading or beating
- to cleanse and thicken cloth
- *Full Foil. ... [F. fouler] to tread or trample under one's feet, to press, oppress. 1. To tread under foot; to trample.
It is a harsh metaphor for drubbing the dirt out of something with one's fists and washboard or feet and pebbles. The Greek for this, πλύνω, has the English meaning "to launder." (This word is not used in the Greek New Testament for "washing in the water of the word." Eph. 5. )
It is camping time again and this recalls times at the beach with a bacon greasy frypan, swirling water and grit round and round until its clean - it does a surprisingly effective job without detergent. Who knew? Keep a bucket of gritty sand by the kitchen sink and kiss good-bye to detergent forever!
Most translations are content with "wash." However, The Message has,
- scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been;
my sins are staring me down.
*Full. Dictionary.com. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Full (accessed: May 08, 2008).
PS We have a new member of our elite 'those who are interested in Bible translation' club. Jane has posted her insights on Isaiah 32.16-18.
Iyov mentions that he intends to post more on the Geneva Bible and he even hands out a copy of the text before class.