Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 8

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-9

The length of our lessons in this book are determined rather arbitrarily by the length of the different psalms, or the special interest found in them. We have in mind weekly classes wishing to study the whole Bible in a connected way, and yet avoid tediousness in the process. The six psalms included in the last lesson might easily be read by the class in a week; and on the Lord’s Day, the teacher with the assistance of the questions, would have little difficulty in fastening the facts and their application on their minds in a way both interesting and profitable.

At the same time the average person, independent of any class preparation, reading a psalm a day for private meditation, will probably find the brief comments and questions upon it as much as he will be able to assimilate.

Psalms 7:0

We commence this new lesson with this psalm because it offers a point of beginning in the title. This, however, is rather obscure since it is not clear who may be meant by Cush. The margin of the King James Version identifies him with Shimei of 2 Samuel 16:5-14 , which story it would be well to peruse again, although there are several incidents in Saul’s persecution of David which would fit about as well. The word Shiggaion in the title means “a plaintive song or elegy.”

David is persecuted (Psalms 7:1-2 ), and charged with wrong-doing to one at peace with him (Psalms 7:3-4 ). The charge is so false that he can safely offer the challenge in verse five. Jehovah is appealed to, and asked to sit in judgment on this matter: “Return, Thou on high” (Psalms 7:7 ). “My righteousness” (Psalms 7:8-10 ) means his innocence of this particular charge. A warning is uttered against the wicked (Psalms 7:11-13 ), whose folly is described in serious wit (Psalms 7:14-16 ). David’s experience illustrates these concluding verses more than once.

Psalms 8:0

If the whole book of Psalms be considered a mountain range of poetic prophecy, then this is one of the highest peaks. Observe in the margin how frequently it is quoted in the New Testament, and applied to Jesus Christ. Read Hebrews 2:5-9 especially.

“O Lord, our Lord,” gives better sense as “O Jehovah, our Lord.” His glory is in the Heavens as we see in verse three, and yet it is “above the heavens,” both in kind and in degree. So great is His glory that He uses “the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (Compare Psalms 8:2 with Matthew 11:25 ; Matthew 21:15-16 ; and 1 Corinthians 1:27 ).

Psalms 8:4-8 find a partial fulfillment in man as created in the first Adam, but their complete fulfillment is seen only in redeemed and regenerated man in the Second Adam. The passage in Hebrews shows this, and particularly alongside of 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 . “Upon Gittith” is “set to the Gittith” (RV), which, some think, means a tune of a joyous character.

Psalms 9:0

Is one of the cursing or imprecatory psalms which, as stated in the introductory lesson, find their key in the millennial age and the events introductory thereto.

It opens with rejoicing (Psalms 9:1-2 ). This rejoicing is for victory over enemies (Psalms 9:3 ), but they are God’s enemies rather than the psalmist’s. It is His coming (presence) that has overcome them. Moreover, they are nations rather than individuals. (“Heathen” in verse five, is “nations” in the RV.) Their cities are destroyed (Psalms 9:6 ).

At the same time the Lord is seen sitting as King (Psalms 9:7 RV), judging the world in righteousness, comforting the oppressed, dwelling in Zion (Psalms 9:9-12 ). All these are millennial figures. Israel is lifted from the gates of death (Psalms 9:13 ), and the great tribulation is over. She is praising God in Zion for the deliverance from the Gentile nations which are sunk in the pit they had digged for her (Psalms 9:13-16 ). And so on to the end of the psalm.

Muth-labben may refer like Gittith to the name or character of the tune.

Psalms 10:0

Seems allied in thought with that preceding, and the two may have been one, originally. The psalmist is not referring to personal experiences, but to those which are more general. It seems as though the poor and oppressed of the nation and the whole world were uttering their complaint through him.

Because God seems far away, the wicked are flourishing (Psalms 10:1-2 ). It would not be out of place to conceive of the wicked in this psalm as personified in the Antichrist at the end of this age, when, as we shall learn later, he will be persecuting Israel as God’s witness in the earth. This is not to say that, in no sense, the psalm is applicable to an earlier period in the history of that people, but that in its fuller sense, it is for the time to come.

The wicked one is described as boastful, covetous, proud, atheistic, self- opinionated, bold, deceitful, oppressive, and cunning (Psalms 10:3-11 R¥). The “poor” means, as is customary in Psalms, “the poor in spirit,” described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. They are sad and sorrowful sufferers for righteousness’ sake, even though they may be rich in this world’s goods. “Meek” would be a better word to describe them than “poor.”

The description of the wicked oppressor is followed by the usual appeal to God (Psalms 10:12-15 ), who is represented as reigning over the millennial earth, punishing the wicked, establishing the meek, and judging the oppressed against “the man of the earth” who may be taken for the Antichrist.


1. What is the title or inscription of Psalms 7:0 ?

2. What is the meaning of Shiggaion and Gittith?

3. Have you read 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 and Hebrews 2:5-9 ?

4. What is the key to the imprecatory psalms?

5. To what period does Psalms 10:0 seem to apply?

6. Who are usually meant by the poor in these psalms?

7. What title is given to the wicked one in Psalms 10:0 ?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Psalms 8". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/psalms-8.html. 1897-1910.
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