A Psalm of David.

Thus this is yet another psalm by the greatest of Israel’s past kings.  This is the psalm of praise David had promised to sing to the LORD in the last verse of the previous psalm.

1.  O LORD, our Lord,

Or “O Yahweh our Adonim.”  Yahweh is the personal, relational God.  Adonai is God as the Overlord or Master.  Adonim is the plural of Adonai, and thus means “Masters.”  Yet another proof of God’s plurality!

How excellent is Your name in all the earth,

A person’s name is his reputation.  It has to do with what people know of his character and attributes.  The LORD’s reputation is great in all the earth.  This is true in part in our day, yet the LORD is little known in some places of the earth.  This probably looks forward to Kingdom times, when everyone on earth will know the LORD, and His reputation will indeed be great!

You who set Your glory above the heavens!

It would be a mistake to think of “heavens” as places here.  The word “heaven” means “that which is lifted up or exalted.”  In English it comes from the word “heave” and speaks of that which has been heaved and is therefore “heave”-en.  There are places that are heaven up above the earth.  But there are also beings that are heaven up far above any authority that men have.  Yet the glory of God is above the glory of even the greatest of these heaven beings.

Your glory is that which you value most or hold as most significant about yourself.  If you know yourself well and know what is truly valuable, then what you glory in will be what is most important or significant about you.  If you do not know yourself well or if you do not value what is good, your glory may be in your shame, as the Bible warns.  In this case, God’s glory is placed above the heavens.  That means His glory is greater than all of theirs…it is more important and more significant.  This may be referring to Christ Himself, Who is the Glory of God indeed, and is also placed above these heaven ones, as we know from various passages in Paul’s epistles in the New Testament.

2.  Out of the mouth of babes and infants

Children often seem to inherently understand what adults cannot or will not comprehend.

You have ordained strength,

There is a strength in the innocent heart of children that many miss entirely.  David is probably referring here to his own youth during the time of the slaying of Goliath (see I Samuel 17.)

Because of your enemies,

The enemies of God are often put to silence by the insightful words and actions of little children.  In the case of Goliath, the entire army of the Philistines was overthrown by the youthful David.

That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

The enemies of God cannot stand up before the strength of the simple truth simply stated by the mouths of little children.

3.  When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers,

This is referring to the physical heavens, for we cannot really consider the heavenly beings, knowing nothing of them.

The heavens are the work of God’s fingers, not of millions of years of evolution.  It is our job as believers to believe this statement just as we do the rest of Scripture!

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

Ordained here means “established” or “set in place.”  God put them there, not a big bang and random chance.  The consideration of these things should turn our minds to the God Who created them.  Yet many instead turn to a fairy tale of billions of years!

4.  What is man that You are mindful of him?

Many would tell us that our planet is but a speck of dust in the vast cosmos of the universe, and that we as even tinier specks of dust upon it are really insignificant and not worthy of God’s notice.  Yet God is mindful of us!  And it is on this one little speck of dust that God is acting out the greatest drama of all time: the redemption of mankind and their preparation for all God has for them in the future.  At present, this drama is in an act wherein God is showing forth the wonders of the riches of His grace.

And the son of man that You visit him?

God used to visit the son of man often in Old Testament days.  He came and walked with Adam in the garden.  He walked with Enoch until He took him.  He ate and talked with Abraham and told him of His plans for Sarah and for Sodom and Gomorrah.  He met with Moses face to face.  He would often visit earth to speak with His most faithful servants.  The greatest visit of all, of course, had not yet occurred, when He would become a man and dwell among us.  Since His return to heaven, however, these visits have stopped, for the Scripture tells us that He now must remain there until all enemies are put under His feet.  He has not abandoned us, however, for He still visits mankind in the form of His Spirit, Who indwells all believers and enlightens all men to the truth.

5.  For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

The son of man is made a little lower than the angels. The Hebrew word, however, is not “angels” but “gods” (elohim.)  These gods are those who are given authority by God to act on His behalf, and therefore become gods themselves inasmuch as they are representing the true God.  The aspects significant in the word “God” are Judge and Creator, and those who are called “gods” are usually those who are judges.  To assume that these judge-gods are heavenly beings is probably correct, but the word “angel” means “messenger,” which is an entirely different function from judge.  Man is created a little lower than the Divine judges.  Who or what these beings are is difficult to say.  All that we know for certain is that we are created a little lower than they are.

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

These are things God has bestowed upon His human creations, for they are certainly not inherent within us!  We are a “glory,” we are significant, because God makes us so.  When I look at myself objectively I cannot help but think what a little, pathetic, useless, insignificant creature I truly am.  The only reason I am significant at all is because God has given me significance through His loving and gracious will.  This is a crown, an authority, that we have only in God, not in ourselves.

6.  You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

See Genesis 1:28 for God’s word concerning our dominion over His works.  This is an example of God giving up His authority to adamkind.  If God has given up any part of His dominion, then He cannot be in charge of everything that happens and He cannot have predetermined every little detail of everything that happens.  As long as even the smallest bit of authority is not His then the one who holds that authority may act in a way that He did not desire.  Those who claim that God is ultimately the cause of everything that happens do not understand this.

You have put all things under his feet,

“Things” is in italics, and thus did not appear in the original Hebrew.  The “all” that was put under Adam’s feet was not everything in existence.  “All” here refers to “all” the things that are about to be listed.  The ellipsis might better be supplied, “You have put all these things under his feet.”

This Psalm, although speaking of mankind in general and Adam in particular, is, interestingly enough, quoted of Christ in Hebrews 2:5-8.  These statements are first and foremost true of Christ, and then are true of mankind in general as being made like Christ.

7.  All sheep and oxen–

The animals in particular are what God placed under Adam’s feet, and thus are also under our dominion today.  Therefore we must be responsible in how we treat them and what we do with them.  As we fall more and more into barbarism, the perversion of bestiality will no doubt greatly increase as we blatantly misuse this privilege that God has given us.

Even the beasts of the field,

The list goes on of the “all” that are placed under our feet.

8.  The birds of the air,

These too are under our dominion.

And the fish of the sea

Fish are under our dominion as well.

That pass through the paths of the seas.

Modern science did not even know that there were paths in the sea until a Bible-believing scientist decided to look for them after reading this verse.  He discovered that there are indeed paths in the sea, just as God said when He wrote this verse three thousand years ago.  Our modern science has taken a great step backwards since it gave up the Bible.

9.  O LORD, our Lord,

The first verse is repeated for emphasis.

How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Yes, how great it is indeed!

To the Chief Musician.

This is therefore probably another song for public worship.

To the tune of “Death of the Son.”

This is a bad translation of “upon Muth-labben.”  The phrase actually means “relating to the death of the champion.”  In the context of this psalm, it is obviously referring to Goliath.  As I mentioned earlier, the psalm speaks of David’s youth when he slew the giant, and how God had ordained strength through him in spite of his tender years.  It is only when this phrase is improperly connected with the ninth psalm rather than the eighth that it becomes mysterious and seemingly meaningless.  When it is connected to the proper psalm it makes perfect sense and helps us to understand the psalm and its subject.