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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Psalms 8

Verses 1-9

Psalms 8

THE EXCELLENCY OF THE LORD

Verses 1-9:

An Harvest-Time Psalm - "Gittith"

This is a psalm of Thanksgiving, a Gittish or "winepress" psalm, for the exaltation of man in righteousness, in triumph over judgment, to an hour of harvest-time praise.

Verse 1 has been called "the gospel of the stars," as it points to the Creator’s glory as fixed in and shining forth from "above the heavens" in all the earth. It relates to the "Theology of nature," as described Psalms 19:1-4, to the living God who sustains all men, as recounted, even by heathen poets, quoted by Paul in his Mars Hill address, Acts 17:24; Acts 17:28. The exclamation "How excellent is thy name!" indicates that the glory of it is beyond the description of poet, bard, or saint, unspeakable, Isaiah 9:6; 2 Corinthians 9:15. The glory of nature is derived from the greater glory of God who created all the beauties of nature. Nature is like a mirror that reflects, or declares the "glory of God," Psalms 19:1.

Let it be recalled that the 150 Psalms are all inspired, as written by holy men of God, who were moved by the Holy Spirit, Luke 24:44; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21. The Book is composed of "five books," that correspond with the books of Moses; Each of the five books of the Psalms closes with a doxology of praise. Of these A.C. Gabelein wrote:

"These five books correspond with the books of Moses. So clear is the correspondence that the old rabbis called the Psalms "The Pentateuch of David." The subject matter of each of these five books correspond with that of each of those books of the Pentateuch. It is therefore proper that David should here extol the greatness of God’s glory as reflected in His creation and His creatures, even from the mouths of babes, as follows:

Verse 2 asserts that praise and glory of God’s greatness is ordained or set in Divine order to come forth, even from the mouths of babes, and sucklings, to reprove the enemies, as illustrated when they cried "Hosanna" as our Lord made His final, triumphant march into Jerusalem, Matthew 21:16. Children received and praised Him, as patriarchs denied, derided, and rejected Him, John 1:11-12. Even small children who are taught the word of God and believe it is true often confound the enemies of God, Psalms 119:160.

A Pagan Priest

A little girl when asked by a Catholic priest to attend his service replied that it was against her father’s wishes. The priest insisted that the little girl obey him for he was "Father." "O no, Jesus said call no one your father upon the earth for one is your father who is in heaven," answered the child, Matthew 23:9.

The priest then responded, "You have no business reading the Bible." The little girl sweetly asked, "Then why did Jesus tell me to search the Scriptures?" Matthew 23:39. The priest replied "That is only for the clergy. A child cannot understand the Scriptures." "Then why did Paul tell Timothy that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation?" 2 Timothy 3:14-15, the girl inquired. The priest countered, "Timothy was being trained to be a bishop and was being taught by church authorities." "That just doesn’t seem right," the little girl said, "For he was taught by his mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, 2 Timothy 1:5, at least that is what Paul wrote." The priest turned away mumbling, "that girl knows enough. about the Bible to poison a whole parish." But really, out of the mouth of a babe God was receiving praise and putting to silence the enemy and avenger, 1 Corinthians 1:27.

Verse 3 begins a description of the dignity of man among and above that of the creatures of the universe, above "the heavens, the stars, and the moon." No mention is made of the sun, indicating that this was a night meditation of David, under the oriental heavens. Men should still consider the work of His heavens as a testimony evidence of His being, existence, and daily care and concern for His universe and all her creatures, like a shepherd’s watch over the flock by night, Psalms 23; Luke 2:8.

Verse 4 inquires "what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?" with such favor, Ruth 1:6; Genesis 21:1. Just what interest should God have in him, David wonders? He seems appalled that God should be interested in man in his frailty, depravity, and mortality, so inglorious in comparison with the other glories of creation? Yet, He is interested, thank God, Ecclesiastes 1:4; 2 Peter 3:15; John 3:16. God condescends in love to care for man, 2 Samuel 7:18.

Verse 5 asserts that God had made man "a little lower than angels," and had crowned him with (administrative) glory and honor, attributes of royal, ruling dignity. This glory and honor seems to have been given when God said, "have dominion over everything that moveth upon the earth," Genesis 1:28. But man, by sin and transgression, forfeited his "glory and honor" position over the earth. It was a position lost that Jesus came to regain for and restore to man, who is made like God, a little lower than angels, as a physical being, bearing the image of his creator, Hebrews 2:6-8.

Verse 6 adds that God made, formed, or fashioned man to have or hold dominion or jurisdiction over all the works of His own hand. He put all things under man’s feet. Yet, we do not observe them in subjection now. But we do behold Jesus who has set in order the restitution of all things to the purpose for which the Father ordained them, 1 Corinthians 15:27.

Verses 7, 8 declare that all the sheep, oxen, beasts of the field, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, and all sea-faring creatures that pass through the sea have been ordained to be obedient subjects of the rule of man in reflecting the glory and honor of God one day, Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:2. Man is a person of dignity, a king, with the universe as his subjects, all earthly creatures are to be subject to him, subdued by him, a position man lost in sins fall. His crown-right was lost, but it has been restored through Jesus Christ. He wore a crown of thorns, symbolic of the curse that man’s sin brought to the earth. His suffering under the crown of thorns, redeemed to us the crown right to rule the earth as joint heir with Him, through His church, one day, Hebrews 2:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; Revelation 5:9-10. This is a prophecy yet certain to be fulfilled.

Verse 9 concludes the Psalm in the triumph-strain, "O Lord, (Jehovah) our Lord, how excellent (excelling) is thy name in all the earth!" Through his name men find salvation, Acts 4:12; Through it men labor and pray obediently, Colossians 3:17. Through it Jesus will one day sit on David’s throne, bringing peace and harmony to the whole earth, restoring the earth to its Edenic glory and all the redeemed to a state of innocence, holiness, and harmony before God, even as man and the universe existed before the fall, as certified Acts 3:19-21.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-8.html. 1985.