Psalm 8

Psalm 8  •  13 min. read  •  grade level: 9
This Psalm is the celebration, by the Jews, of the glory of their Lord Jehovah-His name excellent in all the earth, and His glory now set above the heavens. Of the application of this, there can be no question.
3. I do not think the omission of the sun immaterial; it is man in his humiliation and as the son of Adam that is considered.
5. I am at present disposed to think this verse right.
9. Observe, this verse expresses the sense of the Jews as to their own portion of the glory-His name, etc.-not the Church's. His glory set above the heavens. Also observe this is the dominion of men, properly the Jewish portion, not the fullness which is the Church's. He, this Man, is “Head over all things to the Church." Observe also, as Christ is identified with the Remnant of believing Jews in the latter day trial, when this Psalm has its fulfillment, so Christ was the only faithful Jew in the days of His humiliation in the flesh, and held that character as a Remnant, ever alone in the midst of the opposition and hatred of unbelieving Jews, and the kings of the earth rising up against the Lord and against His anointed. This mystery opens out much in the giving and sacrifice of Christ for the people, and, by the power of the resurrection, it also let in the Gentiles to the blessing of the same testimony. Hence see the application of verse 2.
We have here the full exaltation of Christ on the destruction of Antichrist, Jehovah being here addressed as One who has set His glory above the heavens. Enemies, persecutors within- Israel's character as redeemed by God's grace among the babes, so that He, Jehovah, can righteously put down the external enemy, and avenger of their general fault. When Jehovah sets His glory above the heavens-the heavens being considered; "What is man?" Yet herein set above all the works, the highest—God's heavens, and all they contain (to wit, in Christ), yet owned here by Jewish faith, and therefore while previously stated now dropped, and Jehovah as their Adon (Lord) owned, as making His name excellent in all the earth. It is a most beautiful expression of the economy of glory; the whole economy, now that we know Christ, the very Person being revealed, who is both Jehovah and Man—Enosh ben-Adam (Man, the Son of Man). Nothing, moreover, however low, is out of the reach of His dominion.
It is the full result in Christ displayed as Son of Man, but to the glory of Jehovah, as the Adon, or Lord of Israel. Yet I doubt not, Christ is owned as such here.
Thus the universal Adamic, and the Jehovah government in Israel are united, while it reaches far wider still, because they are established in the Person of the Lord, the Son of God.
This Psalm has rather a mysterious position. Its general purport is evident; but Psa. 9 and 10 introduce the earthly part of all that follows, and this sets up Messiah on a higher ground. It is spoken from Israel's point of view, "O Jehovah our Adon," but recognizing the exaltation of Christ as Son of Man, and consequent on His rejection. But it stands, I think, by itself—the thoughts of God, like the two first Psalms; it stands between the seventh and ninth, i.e., the sense etc. supposes rejection on the footing of the other two. It is counsels outside all that; while Psa. 9 descends to earth and takes up, historically in Israel, what follows really on Psa. 7. Psa. 9 follows on Psa. 8, in that Christ had to take the place of Psa. 8 for the accomplishment of Psa. 9, but then Psa. 8 is far away beyond the scope of Psa. 9, and in itself only looks at the general exaltation of Christ consequent on His humiliation; the result of Psa. 8 is, we know, not accomplished, nor does Psa. 9 reach out to it at all. It returns to the previous Psalms, but Christ's title in Psa. 2 is maintained in Psa. 9, and the humble ones of Psa. 3 and 7 not forgotten. It is the Remnant, Zion, and the world. Psa. 8 is everything except God Himself-the Father. In Psa. 10 we have the parties on earth; but Psa. 9 etc. could not be without Psa. 8. The other remarks in previous statements remain. All this gives an immense importance to this Psalm.
It seems to me that this Psalm finishes, in a certain sense, the subject, after the two first introductory Psalms. The complaint of the Messiah-His confidence in apparent abandonment (Psa. 4), the certainty that the Almighty had chosen a Well-beloved, and that the light of His countenance was all that He desired. In both Psalms Messiah takes the place of crying to the Lord, especially in Psa. 4, and then He takes the ground, not of the number of His enemies, but of His righteousness and glory. In Psa. 5 He puts Himself in contrast with the wicked—appealing to the character of God; in Psa. 6 He takes His sorrow up as between Him and God, as chastening coming from Him; Psa. 7 is an open appeal to judgment—the rage of His enemies rising up against Him, He demands the Lord to awake to the judgment that He has commanded; then in Psa. 8 the humiliation and glory is explained in connection with the Jews.
In Psa. 9 and 10, He places Himself specially in presence of the difficulties and oppressions of Antichrist and the nations. In Psa. 9 He celebrates deliverance as the ground of confidence in the distress occasioned by the wicked one. The Lord judges all—that some have been put to death, but deliverance is sought as placing them with songs in Zion. The nations are judged also; in Psa. 10 it is rather the other side of the picture—what the wicked one is, and his character and doings, but closes with the royalty of Jehovah who has cleared His land from the nations, and comforts the meek. It is evident that, while the previous Psalms gave the rights (Psa. 1 and 2) and then the sorrow of Messiah, closing in the now extended position of second Adam, which indeed serves for introduction to the following, these Psalms give much more historically the source of affliction of the latter day in the nations, and specially the wicked one-objects of the just judgment of God, who delivers the meek, though He has had patience while some have been put to death even; and this, specially in Psalm 10, in reference to the land.
These Psalms make it evident that, whatever the progress or the knowledge of those who suffer, or the consequence in glory if they are put to death, the Remnant are considered, and dealt with here in their Jewish associations with Christ, and with Jehovah.
Psa. 8 and 9 add the name of "Most High"; but Psa. 8 gives His supremacy over all things; Psa. 9 and 10, special relationship with the Jews. This throws a good deal of light over this part of the Psalms. Thus Psa. 9 celebrates what will introduce the millennium, but prophetically, not historically; verses 17, 18 take it up in the way of calm commentary, while verses 19, 20, look for its execution; verse 18 is the needy poor.
Thus the “Son of Man" and "Most High" are both introduced in contrast with the Jewish " Son of God " and " King of Israel," though the same Person, and the Remnant in trouble meanwhile. I say " in contrast," but though Psa. 1 and 2 are the general thesis, and Psa. 1 gives the Remnant simply in character, and owned of God in the judgment, yet in the characters of Psa. 2 Christ would be rejected as implied, as in Psa. 8 He could not be. It was purpose, only He must die (John 12), consequent on His rejection, to take it up. In Psa. 9 it is Jehovah's power and judgment, actually, which of course cannot be resisted, " He is known by the judgment which he executeth." Psa. 10 begins historically with the tribulation of the Remnant, the lawless (anomos) one is spoken of; verses 16-18 prophetically declare the result, and then come, as heretofore seen, the feelings of the Remnant.
Psa. 11-14 contemplate the wicked one. In Psa. 15-17 we have the character of the Remnant, and Christ, more in view, though in Psa. 17 in contrast with the wicked. Hence death comes in; but in the position of Christ with the Remnant trusting Jehovah.
Psa. 18 begins afresh, and connects Christ's distress with the history of God's people-Christ connecting Himself with them, and standing for them to the end. Psa. 22 does not speak directly of atonement, but of the sufferings of Christ when He was making it. Psa. 18 stands by itself. Then comes Jehovah's dealing with Messiah (and the people's) only first the testimony of Creation and the law; and of Messiah first with men-His enemies, and then, when in the work of atonement, forsaken of God in His soul.
Psa. 23 is the care of the sheep during the time of trial; Psa. 24 is Jehovah taking His place in the temple as Lord of the earth-both really fulfilled in Christ, though of course He was not really a sheep, but He went before them in the path in which they had to walk. Psa. 25 starts afresh, introducing an entirely new element-the confession of sins, looking for forgiveness and mercy (while persecuting enemies, and troubles are there) to Jehovah. Thus the actual state of the Remnant comes in. Psa. 26 gives the sense of integrity, and separates the heart of the Remnant from the wicked, while Jehovah's house is loved.
Psa. 27 looks to Jehovah according to promise, the desire of the godly one being to Him; Psa. 28 looks for judgment on the wicked and not to be counted with them, but that, as Jehovah's people, they should be saved. The Anointed is also brought in. This Psalm goes further than the previous ones, and looks more definitely to the effects of Jehovah's intervention.
Psa. 29 celebrates Jehovah's might as above all the swellings of evil, so as to give strength to His people and bless them with peace. So we have confession of sins with troubles and enemies—integrity—trust in Jehovah—separation from evildoers, and judgment on them—the Anointed brought in—Jehovah's might in favor of His people; Psalm 30 is deliverance celebrated, out of the trouble; Psa. 31, the Lord's dealings with the soul, and Himself a resource in the midst of it all; then Psa. 32, forgiveness on confession, preservation and guidance.
Psa. 33 to 39 are a kind of reflective commentary on all this; Psa. 33 is what Jehovah is-Psa. 34, what His chastening is, what the wicked are, His ways, and man's ways, true hearted or the opposite in all these circumstances, and the suggested working of the heart under them-Psa. 37 is the trust of the righteous in the Lord, as in presence of the wicked-Psa. 38 and 39 are Jehovah's discipline in the circumstances for transgression.
Psalm 40 evidently brings Christ, the faithful One, into the midst of the sorrows of the Remnant, and also bearing their sins, and glorifying God in obedience there; in Psa. 41 the Remnant are viewed as owning Him in His humiliation- though true of those owning the position, it is really " Blessed are the poor in spirit," "Ye poor."
I note in the second Book, Psa. 42-44, that there is not the mixing up, or the deprecating it, which there was when nominally connected with Jehovah in Jerusalem. It is only open enemies, and, though cast out, joy in God. Also there is a great deal more praise in this Book; but this is after Psa. 45 has brought in Messiah, at least God's thoughts about Him. Psa. 40 is Christ, perfect but in humiliation-Psa. 45, in triumph; Psa. 44 begins a new subject.
In a certain sense Psa. 42-53 go together, but there is a distinct break at the end of Psa. 48; Psa. 45 (Messiah) brings in praise to Jehovah up to the end of Psa. 48. In Psa. 42 and 43 the power of the enemy is in and around the city, and the godly are separated and cast out; Psa. 44, they declare their integrity, though their soul is bowed down in the dust-it was even for God's sake they were suffering; Psa. 45, Messiah is brought in; then Psa. 46, the Lord of Hosts is with them; Psa. 47, He is King over all the earth; Psa. 48, He is great in Zion, and the kings are seized there with fear; Psa. 49 comments on it, and there it is essentially God not Jehovah, for every soul, save that, in Psalm 50, God judges from Zion as Jehovah, but even there it is essentially God, also Most High; the saints are gathered-the true character of the wicked shown.
In Psa. 51 the Remnant confess their sin against God in the rejection of Christ; Psa. 52, the wicked man is portrayed in contrast with the delivered just who trusted in God; Psa. 53 the fool, who went on as if there were no God—but the salvation of Israel is looked for. Psa. 51 indeed closes the direct appeal to God. To the end of Psa. 59 the enemies are specially in view as noted, then God is more looked to in the same circumstances, and the King is brought in from Psa. 55 to 68; deliverance is now immediately anticipated and celebrated. Psa. 69-72, Christ is specially brought in, and as entering into these sorrows, and then as Solomon.
Psa. 73 begins God's connection with Israel as such, the general troubles and sorrows of the last day, and the Remnant and wicked separated.
But note, to the end of Psa. 58 from 52, though Jehovah be looked to in hope, it is again essentially God; in Psa. 59 Jehovah comes in again. Then God comes in—they are still outside, only praise is ready; Psa. 64; 65 In Psa. 68 God is summoned, as it were, as when the ark started—" fah" is introduced; Christ's ascension, and then, in verse 18, is "fah" again. Psa. 63, though outside, the soul is fully brought into its right state; Psa. 64 the righteous and wicked are clearly distinguished—Jehovah will be the joy of the upright. Then Psa. 65 etc. as below, only He must first be despised and rejected but heard (Psa. 69). Psa. 70 and 71 are the closing cry when all is finally closing in. Jehovah is looked to with faith, but this Book is the time of casting out. In Psalm 10, Christ is looked to in Jewish triumph—David in humiliation, and reigning in millennial peace. It is more wholly Jewish than Book I, though it thence reaches out farther; the ascension of Christ being sung and so triumph.
I return again to notice in some detail the Psalms.