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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Psalms 8

 

 

Verses 1-9

Psalm 8

Theme- Psalm 8 is considered by some scholars as a "hymn of praise," and more particularly, as a "hymn of creation." 17] This psalm shows that God created man as the pinnacle of His creation, and He thus gives to mankind His constant care.

17] Peter C. Craigie, Psalm 1-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol 19, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004), notes on Psalm 8, Form/Structure/Setting.

Literary Structure- As the psalmist begins to worship the name of the Lord ( Psalm 8:1), he is inspired to declare the authority that God has given to mankind through His glorious name ( Psalm 8:2), an authority that gives man dominion upon the earth ( Psalm 8:3-8). He ends with a final praise to God's name ( Psalm 8:9). As we take the prophetic message of Psalm 8 into the New Testament, the Evangelists reveal the power of the name of Jesus in taking dominion upon the earth as the Gospel is proclaimed. We read in the Gospel of Luke how Jesus Christ sent out His disciples to cast out demons and heal the sick through His name ( Luke 10:17). In the Gospel of Mark , Jesus commissions His disciples to preach the Gospel and work miracles in His name ( Mark 16:17). The early apostles learned that there was power in His name to heal ( Acts 3:16).

Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."

Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"

Acts 3:16, "And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all."

Psalm 8 is a prophecy regarding man's call to take dominion upon the earth using the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, as the author of Hebrews testifies in his citation of Psalm 8:4-6.

Psalm 8:1 (To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Psalm 8:1 — "To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David" - Comments - Three psalms open with a similar phrase, Psalm 8, 81, , 84. However, each of these three psalms are written by different authors: David, Asaph, and Korah.

Psalm 8:1, "To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David."

Psalm 81:1, "To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph."

Psalm 84:1, "To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah."

Psalm 8:1"O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth" - Comments- Webster says the English word "excellent" means, "surpassing others in some good quality or the sum of qualities; of great worth; eminent, in a good sense; superior."

Psalm 8:1 refers to Jesus" name. The New Testament teaches us that the church has authority in that name ( Mark 16:16, Luke 10:17, Acts 3:16).

Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"

Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."

Acts 3:16, "And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all."

Psalm 8:1"who hast set thy glory above the heavens" - Comments- Jesus' name has been placed above every name in heaven and earth ( Philippians 2:9-11). Although man has been crowned with glory and honor upon earth ( Psalm 8:5), Jesus' name far exceeds all names ( Hebrews 1:4).

Philippians 2:9-11, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Hebrews 1:4, "Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."

Psalm 8:1Comments - As the psalmist opens Psalm 8 with praise, God responds by pouring out divine revelation upon the psalmist, who writes the rest of the psalm through divine inspiration. If David was the author, we see a man who had learned to worship God and move into an anointing, receiving and writing under divine inspiration.

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

Psalm 8:2Word Study on "ordained" - Strong says the Hebrew word "ordained" ( יָסַד) (H 3245) is a primitive root that means, "to set." Intensified, it means, "to found." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 42times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "foundation 15, lay 8, founded 8, ordain 2, counsel 2, established 2, foundation + 031171, appointed 1, instructed 1, set 1, sure 1."

Psalm 8:2Word Study on "strength" - Strong says the Hebrew word "strength" ( עֹז) (H 5797) means, "strength in various applications (force, security, majesty, praise)." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 93times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "strength 60, strong 17, power 11, might 2, boldness 1, loud 1, mighty 1." Strong says it comes from the Hebrew verb ( עָזַז) (H 5810), which means, "to be stout."

Psalm 8:2Comments- Where does our strength to defeat the enemy come from? It comes out of our mouth in the form of praise. Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2 in Matthew 21:16, "And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?"

Jesus' quote uses the word "praise" in the place of "strength" because He was quoting from the LXX which reads, " ἐκ στόματος νηπίων καὶ θηλαζόντων κατηρτίσω αἶνον ἕνεκα τῶν ἐχθρῶν σου τοῦ καταλῦσαι ἐχθρὸν καὶ ἐκδικητήν." Thus, Brenton reads, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest put down the enemy and avenger."

By our praise we find strength to over come the enemy. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Praise Me, O My People, praise Me. Praise Me out of a heart full of love. Praise Me for every blessing and every victory. Yea, and praise Me when the most difficult thing to do is to praise. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith, and praise is the voice of faith. It is faith rejoicing for victories claimed in advance. The song of praise is made of the very fabric of things hoped for. It becomes an evidence of unseen things. It is the raw material in My hands from which I fashion your victories.

"Give it to Me. Give Me much, give to Me often. I dwell in the midst of the praises of My people. I dwell there because I am happiest there, and just as surely as ye make Me happy with your praising, ye shall make the enemy most unhappy. He has no power whatsoever over a praising Christian. He cannot stand against a praising Church. This is the most powerful weapon ye can use against him. So praise is like a two-edged sword, the one side bringing health to your own spirit and the other side cutting down the enemy." 18]

18] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 126-7.

For example, when Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed against the Amalekites in battle ( Exodus 17:11).

Exodus 17:11, "And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed." As long as Moses held up his hands, representing praise to God, Joshua prevailed.

We find another example of praise and God's judgment over the enemy of the Church in the book of Revelation. One of the major characteristics of the book of Revelations is its many references to worship around the throne of God. It is important to note that worship precedes judgment in Revelation For example, the worship seen in Revelation 4-5 precedes the opening of the seven seals. The worship in Revelation 15 precedes the pouring out of the seven vials of God's wrath. This insight into worship and judgment reminds us of Psalm 8:2, which tells us that when God's children worship Him, He responds by avenging their enemies.

God inhabits the praises of this people ( Psalm 9:2-3).

Psalm 9:2-3, "I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence."

Babes and sucklings refer to the Church. By using Jesus" name, the Church overcomes Satan, Jesus" foe. This victory also involves intercession for a dying world.

Psalm 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Psalm 8:4-6 — — God's Exaltation of Prayer of Manasseh - Hebrews 2:6-7 quotes Psalm 8:4-6.

Hebrews 2:6-7, "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is Prayer of Manasseh , that thou art mindful of him? or the son of Prayer of Manasseh , that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:"

In Matthew 9:8 the people marveled that God had given such power unto men.

Matthew 9:8, "But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

Psalm 8:4 What is Prayer of Manasseh , that thou art mindful of him? and the son of Prayer of Manasseh , that thou visitest him?

Psalm 8:4 — — Scripture Reference- Note a similar passage in Psalm 144:3.

Psalm 144:3, "LORD, what is Prayer of Manasseh , that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of Prayer of Manasseh , that thou makest account of him!"

Psalm 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Psalm 8:5 — "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels" - Comments- Andrew Wommack teaches that mankind was never created to be below the office of the angel. 19] We see a clear verse stating the role of angels as servants to bring man along his journey of redemption in Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" The context of Psalm 8 supports the view that mankind was made a little lower than the angels in the sense that the angels dwell in God's presence while man was made to dwell upon the earth.

19] Andrew Wommack, Gospel Truth (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Andrew Wommack Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

The Hebrew word translated "angels" in Psalm 8:5 is "'elohiym" ( אֱלֹהִים) (430). The Enhanced Strong says this Hebrew word is used 2 ,606 times in the Old Testament, being translated "God 2346, god 244, Judges 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1, God-ward + 041361, godly 1." The only time it is translated "angels" is in Psalm 8:5. For this reason, many modern English translations choose to translate this statement as "thou made a little lower than God."

ASV, "For thou hast made him but little lower than God (or the angels), And crownest him with glory and honor."

God'sWord, "You have made him a little lower than yourself. You have crowned him with glory and honor."

HNV, "You have made him a little lower than God, And crowned him with glory and honor."

LITV, "For You have made him lack a little from God; and have crowned him with glory and honor."

NAB, "Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor."

RSV, "Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor."

YLT, "And causest him to lack a little of Godhead, And with honour and majesty compassest him."

One translation uses the word "gods."

BBE, "For you have made him only a little lower than the gods, crowning him with glory and honour."

However, the New Testament quote of Psalm 8:4-6 is found in Hebrews 2:6-7, which supports the translation of "angel," using the Greek word ἄγγελος (H 32).

Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

The LXX also supports the word "angels."

Brenton, "Thou madest him a little less than angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour."

Psalm 8:5 — "and hast crowned him with glory and honour" - Word Study on "crowned" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word ( עָטַר) means, "to cover," "to cloth oneself," "to wrap," or "to faint." TWOT says it means, "to enwrap, to cover." The TWOT says the most basic meaning of this word is seen in 1 Samuel 28:14, in which the prophet Samuel is wrapped in a robe or mantel. This same sense of the word is used in Psalm 104:2 when it describes God as clothed with light. The causative sense of this word is used in Isaiah 61:10 in which God clothes the righteous with garments of salvation.

1 Samuel 28:14, "And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself."

Psalm 104:2, "Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:"

Isaiah 61:10, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."

Comments- How did God crown, or cloth, or wrap, man with glory and honour? He created man in His image; He gave man dominion and authority over the work of His hands; God exalted man above His creation to a position at the right hand of the Father in Christ Jesus. Some suggest that God crowned, or clothed, Adam and Eve with His glory so that they did not recognize their nakedness prior to the Fall. In other words, Adam and Eve were clothed with the light and glory of God.

What makes a man's life valuable and of much worth is the fact that God loves him; for He has crowned him with glory and honor. This means that our worth is not dependent upon our actions, as good or as evil as they may be. We cannot crown ourselves, nor can we take the crown off that our Almighty Creator gave to us.

Psalm 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

Psalm 8:6 — "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands" - Comments- This statement in Psalm 8:6 is parallel to the statement in Genesis 1:26-28, where God gave man dominion over the works of His hands.

Genesis 1:26-28, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

We know that Jesus went before us, so that this dominion will one day be restored ( Hebrews 2:10).

Hebrews 2:10, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Psalm 8:6 — "thou hast put all things under his feet" - Comments- We find a references to this in 1 Corinthians 15:27, "For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him."

Psalm 8:7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

Psalm 8:8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

Psalm 8:8 — "and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" - Comments- It was not until the late 1800's that man discovered the currents in the seas and oceans. Science has now proved that there are ocean currents that flow in "paths" across the world which affect weather and animal life on this earth. Isaiah 43:16 refers to ocean currents as well.

Isaiah 43:16, "Thus saith the LORD, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;"

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 8:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/psalms-8.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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