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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 8



Verses 1-9

This Ps. is a poem of wondering praise, called forth by the thought of the supremacy and honour that God has given to man, who in himself holds such an insignificant place in the universe. The glory of the heavens and the variety of the works of nature combine to emphasise the marvel of this choice. The Ps. is based upon the story of creation (Genesis 1:26-28), and sets forth the ideal dignity of man. Psalms 8:6 is applied in 1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22 to the exaltation of Christ, in whom alone the ideal is realised. In Hebrews 2:6-8 the same thought is expressed in another way, man's failure to attain to full dominion being contrasted with the supremacy Christ has won. The Ps. is used on Ascension Day.

Title.—Upon Gittith] RV 'set to the Gittith' (perhaps an instrument, or tune, of Gath).

1. O Lord our Lord] lit. 'Jehovah, our Lord.' So in Psalms 8:9. Thy name] see on Psalms 5:11.

Above] RV 'upon.' The glory of God is stamped or impressed on the visible universe.

2. Babes and sucklings] a figure for men in their weakness and ignorance. The words are quoted by our Lord in a more literal sense (Matthew 21:16). Ordained strength] RV 'established strength,' laid a foundation for Thy great work. LXX has 'perfected praise,' and our Lord follows this version in the quotation just mentioned. Because of thine enemies, etc.] God's use of feeble instruments to display His glory puts His adversaries to silence: see 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

3. The work of thy fingers] The wisdom and skill of the Creator are thus poetically expressed. The moon and the stars] It is the glory of the sky by night which is before the writer's mind. The discoveries of astronomy only make the conceptions of the Ps. more impressive.

4. What is man] The word rendered 'man' means 'frail man'—humanity in all its weakness and limitation. The son of man] the human race. The expression is a simple variant, and is exactly equivalent to 'man' in the former clause. Visitest] with loving care and remembrance.

5. A little lower than the angels] RV 'but 'a little lower than God.' 'A little less than divine' would represent the meaning. Man, the only creature made in God's image, stands nearest to Him in the ranks of the universe. Philosophy and science are at one with Scripture in placing man at the top of the scale of creation.

6. All things under his feet] A reference to Genesis 1:26-28 : applied to Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:27; Hebrews 2:6-8.


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 8:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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