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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-9

Psalms 8:1-9 is to the chief musician upon Gittith. Now Gittith means wine press, and so you have the thought of the harvest in the sense, actually, of judgment. The time of harvest has come.

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! ( Psalms 8:1 )

The first Lord, all capital letters, signifying that it is a translation of the Hebrew name for God. That name which we do not know exactly how to pronounce. Perhaps it is Yahweh; perhaps it is Jehovah. Nobody really knows for sure. People have taken sides on the issue, but it is a mute question. We really are not certain of the pronunciation of the name. The Jews felt the name was so sacred that they would not write it in their script. They would only write Y H V H, the consonants, so it remained unpronounceable. They didn't want a person to even pronounce it silently as they were reading, so when a Jew would come to this particular verse to read it, "O Lord, our Lord," reading it out of Hebrew, he would just say, "O," and then he would bow his head and then he would say, "The name." But he would not try to pronounce the name, just, "The name," for it was the name of God.

It is a Hebrew verb which means, "I am that I am." Or more literally, "the becoming one." It is a name by which God describes His desired relationship to you. As God desires to become to you whatever you may need. He is become our peace. He is become our righteousness. He is become our healer. He is become our provider. God becomes to us whatever we need. And so it is a beautiful name, because it is a name by which God describes His relationship to you. He wants to become to you whatever you need.

The second Lord here, "Our Lord," capital L, small ord, signifies that it is the translation of the Hebrew word adonai, which means master. And thus, it is a title, and thus, it signifies our relationship to Him. The first one signifies His desired relationship to us, the Becoming One; the second indicates our relationship to Him, Master. "O Jehovah, our Master, how excellent is Thy name." You see, the name Jehovah, how excellent is that name in all the earth.

Now we are told in Philippians, chapter 2, that Jesus, even though He was in the form of God and thought it not robbery or something to be grasped to be equal with God, emptied Himself, or made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a man. And coming in likeness of a man was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God has also highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jehovah Shua, the compound name of Jehovah, for He has become, in Jesus Christ, our salvation. The angel said to Joseph when he was worried whether or not to expose Mary or put her away privately, the angel said, "Don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife. That which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She is going to bring forth a son. Thou shalt call His name, Jehovah Shua, (or Yashua in Hebrew). For He shall save His people from their sins." A name that is above all names. "How excellent is Thy name." The name of Jesus, the most excellent name in all of the world. Yashua, Jehovah has become our greatest need, our salvation.

Now in the Kingdom Age He is going to have a new name, Jehovah-Tsidkenu. I would just assume stick with Yashua, cause Tsidkenu is hard to pronounce. But Jeremiah tells us that is the name in the Kingdom Age, which is, "He has become our salvation, Jehovah, our salvation." How excellent is Thy name, a name which is above every name in all the earth.

who has set thy glory above the heavens ( Psalms 8:1 ).

Now the heavens are glorious. The heavens declare the glory of God. They are not the glory of God; they declare the glory of God. His glory is even above the heavens, or higher than the heavens. And yet, perhaps the most glorious thing that we as man can observe are the heavens. But God's glory is even above the heavens.

Out of the mouth babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger ( Psalms 8:2 ).

It is interesting to me that that glorious God has revealed Himself in such simple terms that even a child can comprehend and begin to know God and have faith in God. And to me the purest faith probably that we can find is that faith within a child. How beautiful is that faith of a child. When our kids were growing up, I always wanted them to pray for me when I wasn't feeling well. Such pure faith, the simplicity. As Jesus took a child and put it in the midst of all the scholars, and He said, "Unless you become like a little child, you are not going to catch on. You are not going to enter the kingdom of heaven." Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings God has perfected praise; He has ordained strength.

Then David said,

When I consider thy heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man ( Psalms 8:3-4 ),

Now the philosophers and man today is seeking to understand, "What is man?" That is the basic question of the philosophers, "What is man?" But the mistake that the philosophers make is that they start with man, rather than, as with David, starting with God. "O LORD, our Lord, when I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon, the stars, which Thou hast ordained, what is man?" If I start with God, then I have man in his proper perspective. If I start with man, I have no perspective. I have no place to go. I don't know where to go. I have no perspective. I can't see man in any perspective unless I start with God and then I see man in his proper perspective.

"When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers the moon, the stars which Thou hast ordained,"

what is man, that thou art mindful of him? ( Psalms 8:4 )

How often I have sat at the seashore watching the sun go down when I was a child. I lived in a seacoast town, Ventura, north of here. I used to love to get my fishing pole and go down and dig for soft-shelled sand crabs and I had a neat corbina hole. And I'd cast out there, and I would watch the surf and I would watch the sun as it would go down. And I would be all alone in the sandy beach, and I felt so small as it was getting dark. I felt so small as Venus would start to come out. And then some of the other stars, and I would look up and I would think, "Wow! I am alone here on the beach, looking out at that portion of the Pacific to the horizon seeing the sun go down." And thinking how vast the Pacific Ocean was, how vast the world was. I knew just to ride my bike the two miles back to my house seemed like a long way at that point. And to realize, you know, just how vast the earth is. And I felt so small in relationship to the earth. But then I thought of the earth in relationship to the sun that had just set, and then the relationship to the earth to the stars that I saw coming out. "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?" Here I am, a speck of dust down on this little planet, and yet, God thinks about me. All the time He thinks about me. And sitting there in the sand, it was exciting, 'cause I would look up the beach and see all of the sand dunes. And my mother had taught me the scripture concerning, "Thy thoughts concerning me, if I should number them are more than the grains of sand in the sea." And I would think of the greatness of God, and I would just sit there just over awed that God, the One who created this vast universe that I was looking at, was mindful of me. This little kid sitting on the sand on a beach by myself.

"What is man that thou art mindful of him?" God is thinking about you all of the time. And His thoughts concerning you are good, not evil. He isn't thinking how He can give you a bad time this week and make it really tough on you. See how much He can make you squirm. God is thinking, "How can I show them how much I love them? How can I show them that I care? What good thing can I do for them this week, that they will know that I am there, that they'll know that I am concerned, that they know that I love them?" He is thinking about you all of the time.

and the Son of man that thou shouldst visit him? ( Psalms 8:4 )

What is man that God should come down to visit him? Who am I that God should seek to visit with me? And yet, He desires to visit with me. I don't always have time for Him. Sometimes He has called to me and said, "Chuck, come, let's have a little visit." And I say, "No, Lord. I don't have time. I'm so busy, Lord. Can't You see how busy I am? Catch you later, Lord." But you know what? He has never once said to me, "I am too busy for you." In fact, He seems always so happy whenever I come around. So glad that I came, as though He was longing for my fellowship. When I had everything to gain from it, and He has so little to gain. O, how excellent, Lord, is thy name in all the earth. Who is a pardoning God like Thee? Who is the God that is so merciful and so kind and so loving, and so concerned as our God? What is man that God should visit him? And yet, He did.

Thou hast made him ( Psalms 8:5 )

Man is not the product of accidental circumstances. Man is not the product of a series of chance, random chance, through billions of years. But the psalmist declares, "Thou hast made him." But brilliant men who don't want to acknowledge God, because they don't want to keep God in their minds, have had to create theories by which they have sought to explain the existence of man, in quote, "scientific terms." And these brilliant men tell us that God was created by man in man's own image and after man's own likeness. That because man needed to believe in something, he created the idea and the concepts of God. But God is only the figment of man's imagination; he was created by man. But the scriptures said, "Not so." "Thou hast made him." God created man in His image and after His likeness. So you have the choice to believe that man created God, or that God created man. But to me, if I am going to have any kind of a logical base for existence, I must believe that God has created me, otherwise life is without purpose. I am living in a puzzle in the middle of a muddle, and there is no reason, rhyme, purpose for existence or being. I came by an accident; I'll go by an accident. Tough! Life becomes completely empty, dehumanizing, if you try to take away from, "Thou hast made him."

Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels ( Psalms 8:5 ),

Now the angels are God's ministering spirits. They have been sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation. We see the order now of beings in the universe. It is: God, angels, man, animals, plants. "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,"

but you've crowned him with glory and honor ( Psalms 8:5 ).

I look around the earth in which I live, I see all of the life forms upon the earth, and I realize that I have been crowned with glory and honor. I am the highest order of God's observable creation here on the planet Earth. And I see the accomplishments of man. Think of what the world would be if man wasn't here. Both good and bad, isn't it? If man wasn't on the earth, they wouldn't have polluted streams, polluted skies, and threat of destruction by nuclear warheads. And yet, also, if man wasn't here, there would be no music, no poetry, there would be no beautiful paintings, there would be, the earth would miss so much as God has placed in man the music and the beauty of expression.

"You have crowned him with glory and honor."

You made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands ( Psalms 8:6 );

God has given us dominion over that work of His hands. "The earth showeth forth His handiwork." So we have dominion over the plants, we have dominion over the animals, over the earth. God gave it to Adam, "Have dominion over it." Now, that is dominion in the sense of dressing it, keeping it, taking care of it, developing it. It isn't dominion in the sense that I can destroy it if I please, I can waste it if I please, I can recklessly, carelessly destroy the natural resources if I please because I have dominion. Not at all. The idea is to dress it, to keep it, to take care of it. "You have given him dominion over the works of Thy hands."

you have put all things under his feet ( Psalms 8:6 ):

Crowned him with glory and honor. Now this in a broader sense, of course, applies to Jesus Christ and is used in application to Jesus Christ in the book of Hebrews, the second chapter, verses Psalms 8:6 , and Psalms 8:8 , and has been made to apply to Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. You see, He was God, not Michael the archangel. If He was Michael the archangel, then He wouldn't have had to have been made a little lower than the angels. He would have been an angel, and He would not have had to been made a little lower than the angels. But He made Him a little lower than the angels, and crowned Him, for the suffering of death. As an angel He could not die; as God He could not die. And thus, He had to be made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death. And God has put all things in subjection unto Him, but the author of Hebrews said, "We do not yet see all things in subjection unto Him, but we see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor."

So all those things that God has put under man,

The sheep, the ox, the beast of the field; the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea ( Psalms 8:7-8 ).

A sea captain was one time in the hospital, and the nurse was reading to him the psalms. And when she came to the eighth psalm, she read the eighth psalm, and when she read that last verse, or the next to the last verse there, verse Psalms 8:8 , he said, "Read that again." She read it again. And he said, "Read it again!" And she read it again. And he said, "That is interesting, paths in the sea. If God has declared that there are paths in the sea, there must be paths in the sea." And so he began to put out bottles and he began to chart the sea currents, and discovered that there are definite paths in the seas, the sea currents. And from that time on the shipping industry began to follow the sea currents, saving thousands upon thousands of dollars in fuel, because they go with the currents. There are paths through the sea.

O LORD [O Jehovah, our master], how excellent is thy name in all the earth! ( Psalms 8:9 ) "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-8.html. 2014.
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