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Psalms 8:1-9. Title. " Gittith " perhaps is the name of some tune, which David had learned when in Gatli, or from the Gittites, and to which this and two other psalms were set. -(Marg. Ref.) Various other conjectures have been formed; and the following may be considered as the most probable. ’ I take it to have been composed by David, ’ . . . after he had overthrown . . . Goliath of Gath ; which is ’ . . . a lively emblem of Christ’s conquest over our great ’ enemy the devil." Bp. Patrick.
V. 1. The eternal JEHOVAH, the universal Creator and Benefactor, is that Lord and Governor, whom all ought entirely to obey and serve ; and to him as God their Saviour, all true believers render thankful and willing- obedience. He infinitely excels all creatures in every thing which can excite love and adoration. The earth is full of the discoveries of his perfections ; and his glory fills the highest heavens, and is exalted far above them. " O LORD, " our Governor." Prayer Book version.
V. 2. God has often magnified his own perfections, through the simplicity and weakness of the instruments, by which he accomplishes his grand designs. (Note, Judges 7:13-22. P.O. 16- 25.) The new born infant is such a display of his power, skill, and goodness, as unanswerably confutes the cavils of Atheism. Even little children have been taught so to love and serve him, that their praises and confessions have baffled and silenced the rage and malice of persecutors : and thus a victorious strength has been manifested by them; while the wise, learned, and mighty, have either joined the enemy, or timidly and feebly crouched before him. The meanest and most despised persons have often been made successful in their attempts to promote his cause. Thus David overcame Goliath, though but as a babe in comparison of that insulting champion : and the despised Nazarene, with his obscure and unlettered apostles, prevailed against the combined wisdom, learning, and power of the world, and against the sagacity and influence of Satan, " the god of " this world." And by successive instruments whom man disdains, the same cause shall still more fully prevail, till every avenger and enemy is finally stilled, and all the wicked are silent in darkness. (Notes, Matthew 11:25-26. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. 2 Corinthians 4:7.) The LXX render the clause, here translated, " ordained strength," ’ perfected ’ praise ; ’ and the Evangelist, recording our Lord’s words, gives them according to that version. (Note, Matthew 21:14-16.)
V. 3. The Psalmist appears to have composed this sacred hymn, while his attention was fixed, during the silence of the evening, on " the moon walking in brightness," and on " the stars of light ; " but, instead of being tempted to worship the heavenly host, he contemplated the magnificent scene, and the immensity of the creation, till he was filled with adoring admiration of the Creator’s incomprehensible majesty, which naturally suggested the subsequent reflections. (Notes, Psalms 148:3. Deuteronomy 4:19. Job 31:24-28.
V. 4- 9. Adam, even when created in the image of God, was infinitely beneath his Maker ; and it was an unspeakable favour for him to be placed at the head of this lower world, in a state of honour and dominion. (Note, Genesis 1:26-27.) After the fall, it was still more wonderful that his children should be permitted to retain any authority over, or derive any benefit from, the different orders of creatures. But the apostle teaches us, that the Holy Spirit, who spake by David, also intended Christ, the eternal Son of God, who by his incarnation became " the Son of man." Thus he was " made a little lower " than the angels," by assuming and dwelling in a nature inferior to their’s, " for the suffering of death : " which object having been accomplished, he. arose from the dead, and was " crowned with glory and honour;" and in human nature exercises universal dominion, even an authority infinitely more extensive and absolute, than ever the first Adam possessed, or could possibly have administered. (Note, Hebrews 2:5-9.) In so wonderful a manner did the God of glory shew himself mindful of feeble, mortal, sinful man ! and thus has he visited and honoured one of our race, for the common benefit of all who believe in him ! (Note, Psalms 144:3-4.)
Than the angels. (5) Elohim is generally translated God, or gods: yet the apostle quotes the LXX, who render it angels ; which shews the latitude with which the term is used. (Notes,Psalms 82:6-7 - John 10:32-39.)
But when the true God is meant, it is, though plural, always joined with the singular verb; and the name JEHOVAH is never given to any but to the true God : and, when applied to Christ, it shews who he is, even " the true God " and eternal Life."
No words can express the glorious excellency of JEHOVAH, our Ruler and Lord ; nor can Cherubim or Seraphim reach his worthiness by their most exalted adorations : yet he graciously accepts the upright though feeble efforts of men on earth, and even counts himself honoured by the praises of babes and sucklings ! He works by the weakest instruments for the greater confusion of his enemies and the honour of his name ; and all the vengeance and rage of earth and hell shall soon be stilled by the prevalence of his despised gospel. Every creature speaks the Creator’s praise to the mind of the devout believer ; whose pious contemplations render his solitary walks unspeakably pleasant and profitable. But each display of the divine glory should lead us to reflect on our own meanness and sinfulness. What indeed is man, that the Lord should still visit him, and be mindful of him ? What are we, but mean, guilty, polluted, ungrateful, rebellious, and apostate creatures ? We are unworthy of the least of those manifold advantages, which we derive from the sheep and oxen, the fishes and the fowls, and the other animals, which arc still subjected to us, and subservient to our benefit : nor should we ever partake of these common mercies, without admiration joined with gratitude. But in the person of Emmanuel, every other instance of divine condescension is eclipsed, and our most exalted previous conceptions of the divine love are far exceeded, and the powers of our minds are almost overwhelmed. His love, his humiliation in assuming our nature, his atoning sufferings unto death, his subsequent glory, and his dominion over all creatures, which shall endure till all enemies are put under his feet, can never sufficiently be admired and adored. Thus our nature, in the second Adam, is infinitely more honoured and exalted, than it could have been in the first Adam. Thus also the true dignity of human nature, even the worth ola rational, immortal soul, though ruined by sin, yet capable of recovery and eternal felicity, is clearly shewn. And if we trust and submit to Christ as our Saviour and Lord, he will advance us also to glory, honour, and immortality. We had indeed cause to celebrate the excellencies of the Lord our Governor, as displayed in the works of creation : but what "words can reach his praises, who is now become our Salvation, and has laid us under new and still more powerful obligations to obedience, as our Redeemer, and as displaying among us sinners on earth those glories, " which angels desire to look into ! "
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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 8". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany