Psalms 8

Listen to Psalms 8
1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your 1name in all the earth! You have set your 2glory above the heavens.
2 3Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established 4strength because of your foes, to still 5the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I 6look at your heavens, the work of your 7fingers, the moon and the stars, 8which you have set in place,
4 9what is man that you are 10mindful of him, and 11the son of man that you 12care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than 13the heavenly beings[a] and crowned him with 14glory and honor.
6 You have given him 15dominion over the works of your hands; 16you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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Psalms 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

God is to be glorified, for making known himself to us. (1,2) And for making even the heavenly bodies useful to man, thereby placing him but little lower than the angels. (3-9)

Verses 1-2 The psalmist seeks to give unto God the glory due to his name. How bright this glory shines even in this lower world! He is ours, for he made us, protects us, and takes special care of us. The birth, life, preaching, miracles, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus are known through the world. No name is so universal, no power and influence so generally felt, as those of the Saviour of mankind. But how much brighter it shines in the upper world! We, on this earth, only hear God's excellent name, and praise that; the angels and blessed spirits above, see his glory, and praise that; yet he is exalted far above even their blessing and praise. Sometimes the grace of God appears wonderfully in young children. Sometimes the power of God brings to pass great things in his church, by very weak and unlikely instruments, that the excellency of the power might the more evidently appear to be of God, and not of man. This he does, because of his enemies, that he may put them to silence.

Verses 3-9 We are to consider the heavens, that man thus may be directed to set his affections on things above. What is man, so mean a creature, that he should be thus honoured! so sinful a creature, that he should be thus favoured! Man has sovereign dominion over the inferior creatures, under God, and is appointed their lord. This refers to Christ. In ( Hebrews 2:6-8 ) , the apostle, to prove the sovereign dominion of Christ, shows he is that Man, that Son of man, here spoken of, whom God has made to have dominion over the works of his hands. The greatest favour ever showed to the human race, and the greatest honour ever put upon human nature, were exemplified in the Lord Jesus. With good reason does the psalmist conclude as he began, Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, which has been honoured with the presence of the Redeemer, and is still enlightened by his gospel, and governed by his wisdom and power! What words can reach his praises, who has a right to our obedience as our Redeemer?

Cross References 16

  • 1. Psalms 148:13; Isaiah 12:4; [Exodus 34:5]
  • 2. Psalms 113:4
  • 3. Cited Matthew 21:16; [Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 1:27]
  • 4. Jeremiah 16:19
  • 5. Psalms 44:16
  • 6. [Psalms 111:2]
  • 7. Exodus 8:19; Exodus 31:18
  • 8. Genesis 1:16
  • 9. Cited Hebrews 2:6-8; [Psalms 144:3; Job 7:17; Job 25:6]
  • 10. [Genesis 8:1]
  • 11. Psalms 80:17
  • 12. Psalms 65:9; Genesis 21:1; Genesis 50:24
  • 13. [Genesis 1:26]
  • 14. Psalms 21:5
  • 15. Genesis 1:26, 28
  • 16. Cited 1 Corinthians 15:27; [Matthew 28:18]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or than God; Septuagint than the angels

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician upon Gittith, a Psalm of David. Some think this psalm was composed when the ark was brought to the house of Obededom the Gittite; and that it was delivered to him and his sons, as others were to Asaph, to Jeduthun, to the sons of Korah, &c. {l}. But against this lies a strong objection, that Obededom and his sons were porters, and not singers, 1 Chronicles 26:4; and for the same reason "gittith" cannot be the name of a musical instrument which was kept in his family, and presided over by them {m}. Some are of opinion this word had its name from Gath; and that this psalm was wrote by David when he was there {y}; or that it is the name of a musical instrument invented and made there, and which was brought from thence {z}: And so the Targum paraphrases it; "upon the harp which was brought from Gath."

A word like this signifies "winepresses": and hence the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions, render it "for the winepresses": which Theodoret interprets of churches, where Christ the true vine is gathered by believers, and they prepare the mystic wine. Some think {a} the psalms which bear this name were composed for the feast of tabernacles: when, having got in their vintage, they filled their presses, and squeezed their grapes, and therefore gave thanks; it was usual, even with the Heathens {b}, to make use of the harp, and other instruments of music, at the gathering of the grapes to be squeezed and pressed. Some of the Jewish writers {c} apply it to the times of Edom's destruction, who was to be trodden down as in a winepress, foretold in Isaiah 63:1; and others interpret it of the times of Gog and Magog, when the prophecy in Joel 3:13; shall be fulfilled {d} and some have thought this psalm to be a song of praise, like one of those sung by them that tread in the winepress; the time of vintage being a time of joy. The ancient Christian writers explain it of the sufferings of Christ, when he trod the winepress of his Father's wrath. But the word "gittith" is either the first word of some song, as Aben Ezra thinks; or the name of the tune, as Kimchi; or rather of the musical instrument to which this psalm was set and sung. Though the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 2:6; citing some passages from this psalm, only says, "one in a certain place testified"; without mentioning either the number of the psalm, or the name of the writer; yet it is certain that David was the penman of it: and both from the testimony of that writer, and from a citation of Christ himself, it is evident that the subject of this psalm is the Messiah, and that it belongs to his times; see Hebrews 2:6. So the Syriac scholiast; "the eighth psalm is concerning Christ our Redeemer."

{l} Aben Ezra in loc. {m} R. Moses apud ibid. {y} Ben Melech in loc. vide Kimchi ibid. {z} Jarchi in loc. {a} Vide Godwin. Synops. Antiqu. Heb. l. 2. s. 1. c. G. {b} Phurnutus de Natura Deorum, p. 84. {c} Rabbini apud Jarchium in loc. {d} Midrash Tillim apud Viccars. in loc.

Psalms 8 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.