51:11 Don’t give up on me, Lord, or banish me from Your presence. I can’t stand the thought of being away from You, or of having Your Holy Spirit taken from me. In this age in which I live, You do take Your Holy Spirit from men when they walk in disobedience to You. You did it to Saul (1 Sam. 16:14)—I shudder to think of the consequences. Please, Lord, spare me from this fate.
51:11 Your Holy Spirit from me. This is a reference to the special Holy Spirit anointing on theocratic mediators.
51:11take not your Holy Spirit from me. Some have taken this to imply that the Holy Spirit can be taken from someone, at least in the OT; others have suggested that the Holy Spirit is viewed here in his role of empowering David for his kingly duties, and that this is a prayer that God not take the kingship and the divine anointing for kingship from David as he did from Saul (see note on 1 Sam. 16:14; cf. 1 Sam. 16:13). To evaluate these views, one should observe that the OT rarely discusses the Holy Spirit’s role in cleansing the inner life (besides here, Ezek. 36:27 is the main OT text on the subject), and certainly does not enter into technical questions of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling. Further, the fact that this is a psalm for the whole congregation argues against the idea that this is David’s personal prayer about his kingship. The whole tenor of this psalm is that, if strict justice were God’s only consideration, he would have the right to bring dire judgment on those who sin (which includes all of his own people), and that the only possible appeal is to his mercy. The function of the psalm, as a song sung by the entire congregation, is to shape their hearts so that they feel this at the deepest level, lest they ever presume upon God’s grace.
51:11do not take your Holy Spirit from me The psalmist may have been thinking of when God removed His Spirit from Saul after Saul became His enemy (see 1 Sam 16:14 and note).
The psalmist hopes his sin will not make him an enemy of God, but that he will enjoy God’s presence (see note on Ps 4:6; note on 21:6).
51:11 Holy Spirit. The Old Testament does not make a full disclosure of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. David understands that his spiritual well-being depends on God’s presence with him. He fears that the Spirit may be taken away, because the Spirit is holy and David is sinful. See “The Holy Spirit” at John 14:26.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 630). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 51:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 782). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.