Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 8

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-9

Psalms 8:1 . How excellent is thy name. See note on Proverbs 18:10.

Psalms 8:2 . Thou hast ordained strength. For some reason the LXX read αινον , praise. So our Saviour, it would seem, cited this text, Matthew 21:16, when the children sung hosannas to him in the temple. Perhaps David made this psalm presently after his anointing, and when keeping his father’s flock by night, where he had the fairest opportunity for the study of astronomy.

Psalms 8:4 . What is man. Hebrews Enosh, frail perishing man, that thou hast crowned him, and hast put all sheep and oxen, wild beasts and fishes under his controul. In his body he was honoured above all the beasts, and in mind was scarcely inferior to the angels. Hebrews Thou madest him less than God. See on Genesis 1:2. Luke 20:36. In this view, Adam was a type of Christ’s regal glory, to whom all things in heaven and in earth are put in subjection, as David asserts in Psalms 110:1. St. Paul also in 1 Corinthians 15:27. Hebrews 2:8.


Here the study of nature is connected with devotion; and this psalm is a happy model of the spirit in which natural history should be read. The contemplation of the starry heavens should ever inspire the sublime of piety, and self-abasement.

These are thy works, Parent of good; thine this universal frame, Thus wondrous fair, Thyself how wondrous then! MILTON.

Let us carefully observe the methods of divine providence, in making use of weak instruments to bring about great events. He can make infants the preachers and publishers of his praise, and confound the mightiest enemies by persons and means which they despise.

Our Lord quotes the second verse of this psalm to silence the scribes and pharisees, who were displeased at the Jewish children saying, Hosannah to the son of David; and St. Paul applies what is here said of God’s regards to man, and putting the creatures into subjection to him, to the Lord Jesus, Hebrews 2:6; to his character and circumstances, both in his humbled and exalted state; as made for awhile lower than the angels, and having all things subjected to him. When therefore we survey the bounty and goodness of God to man, let us think of this most illustrious display of his goodness, in giving his Son to humiliation and suffering for our sake; and now exalting him above the highest angels, and making every creature, every being but himself, subject to him. When we contemplate this scene of wonders, surely we have peculiar reason to say, “Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him; and the son of man that thou visitest him?”

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 8". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-8.html. 1835.
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