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PSALM 8#While marvelling at the limitless grandeur of God (Ps 8:2–3), the psalmist is struck first by the smallness of human beings in creation (Ps 8:4–5), and then by the royal dignity and power that God has graciously bestowed upon them (Ps 8:6–9).
Divine Majesty and Human Dignity
1For the leader; “upon the gittith.”#Upon the gittith: probably the title of the melody to which the Psalm was to be sung or a musical instrument. A psalm of David.
2O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
I will sing of your majesty above the heavens
3with the mouths of babes#a. [8:3] Mt 21:16; Wis 10:21. and infants.#With the mouths of babes and infants: the psalmist realizes that his attempts to praise such an awesome God are hopelessly inadequate and amount to little more than the sounds made by infants. Established a bulwark: an allusion to lost myth telling how God built a fortress for himself in the heavens in primordial times in his battle with the powers of chaos. This “bulwark” is the firmament. Enemy and avenger: probably cosmic enemies. The primeval powers of watery chaos are often personified in poetic texts (Ps 74:13–14; 89:11; Jb 9:13; 26:12–13; Is 51:9).
You have established a bulwark#With the mouths of babes and infants: the psalmist realizes that his attempts to praise such an awesome God are hopelessly inadequate and amount to little more than the sounds made by infants. Established a bulwark: an allusion to lost myth telling how God built a fortress for himself in the heavens in primordial times in his battle with the powers of chaos. This “bulwark” is the firmament. Enemy and avenger: probably cosmic enemies. The primeval powers of watery chaos are often personified in poetic texts (Ps 74:13–14; 89:11; Jb 9:13; 26:12–13; Is 51:9). against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger.#With the mouths of babes and infants: the psalmist realizes that his attempts to praise such an awesome God are hopelessly inadequate and amount to little more than the sounds made by infants. Established a bulwark: an allusion to lost myth telling how God built a fortress for himself in the heavens in primordial times in his battle with the powers of chaos. This “bulwark” is the firmament. Enemy and avenger: probably cosmic enemies. The primeval powers of watery chaos are often personified in poetic texts (Ps 74:13–14; 89:11; Jb 9:13; 26:12–13; Is 51:9).
4When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place—
5#Man…a son of man: the emphasis is on the fragility and mortality of human beings to whom God has given great dignity.What is man that you are mindful of him,#b. [8:5] Ps 144:3; Jb 7:17.
and a son of man that you care for him?#c. [8:5] Heb 2:6ff.
6Yet you have made him little less than a god,#Little less than a god: Hebrew ‘elohim, the ordinary word for “God” or “the gods” or members of the heavenly court. The Greek version translated ‘elohim by “angel, messenger”; several ancient and modern versions so translate. The meaning seems to be that God created human beings almost at the level of the beings in the heavenly world. Heb 2:9, translating “for a little while,” finds the eminent fulfillment of this verse in Jesus Christ, who was humbled before being glorified, cf. also 1 Cor 15:27 where St. Paul applies to Christ the closing words of Ps 8:7.
crowned him with glory and honor.
7You have given him rule over the works of your hands,#d. [8:7ff] Gn 1:26, 28; Wis 9:2; 1 Cor 15:27.
put all things at his feet:
8All sheep and oxen,
even the beasts of the field,
9The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
10O Lord, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
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