Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Psalm 8 Commentary

Recommended Posts

I just edited a draft of commentary on one of my favorite Psalms # 8.


Psalm 8

{8:1} Unto the end. For the oil and wine presses. A Psalm of David.

~ The oil and wine presses mark this Psalm as one of praise for the abundance of creation. On a spiritual level the presses refer to the Sacraments of the Church which transform men from the fallen state of sin to the noble state of grace. Just as olive oil and wine is delightful to men; so a man cooperating with sanctifying grace is delightful to God.

{8:2} O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is your name throughout all the earth! For your magnificence is elevated above the heavens.

~ The Psalmist muses over the works of creation and realizes a pale reflection of God the Creator. Wonder ensues. For the mystery of God is beyond the visible earth, and the farthest reaches of outer space (the heavens). And although the Angels and Saints of Heaven are given a direct vision of God, they will never be able to know God as God knows Himself. The same is true of Jesus Christ the God-man. There will always be this darkness about him which even the holiest of Saints will never be able to completely fathom.

{8:3} Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have perfected praise, because of your enemies, so that you may destroy the enemy and the revenger.

~ The babes are those not yet mature in the Faith. They desire the pure milk of truth and grace offered by Christ and His Church. The infants are those members of the Church who are mature in the Faith, yet remain innocent and meek as infants (or toddlers). In an eschatological sense the revenger is Antichrist and the enemy is the False Prophetess. The enemies are the people of Antichrist and the fallen angels who assist them. At the end of the nearly seven year reign of Antichrist, Jesus Christ will return and perfect the praise of His Church.

{8:4} For I will behold your heavens, the works of your fingers: the moon and the stars, which you have founded.

~ Aquinas says, “that which we make with our fingers are subtle works. In order that it is shown that these are more subtle works than others, he says Thy fingers etc.” The Psalmist views the delicate movements of the celestial bodies and conceives the subtlety of God. In the spiritual sense the celestial bodies refer to the Angels and Saints who are all unique reflections of God and His manifold gifts. And so men study the lives of the Saints for edification.

The moon is a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To the naked eye, the moon is the brightest of all celestial bodies and unique in that it reflects to us the light of sun by night. Blessed Mary is the greatest of all Saints and the perfect disciple of Jesus Christ, who is referred to as the sun or the Sun of Justice (Malachi 4:2).

{8:5} What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you visit him?

~ Now moved by God’s grandeur, the Psalmist is dumbfounded by the memory of all the times God cared for and visited the Hebrews in the Old Testament. God led His people from Egypt, fed them the manna, conveyed His law and His ways through Moses and the prophets, rescued them upon many occasions, etc. Yet these deeds of God in salvation history foreshadowed and led up to the time when the Son of God became man.

{8:6} You reduced him to a little less than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,
{8:7} and you have set him over the works of your hands.

~ The Son of God mystically united Himself to human nature: “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity . . . of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” as is recited to God the Father in the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Thus He was reduced to a nature less than that of the angels. Yet the Father set Him up as the King, Head, Master of the Church and all creation (including the angels), not only because of who He is, and what He is, yet also what He accomplished (His deeds), namely the perfect obedience of the Father’s will unto the sorrowful Passion and Death on the Cross.

{8:8} You have subjected all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and in addition: the beasts of the field,
{8:9} the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, which pass through the paths of the sea.

~ The literal sense is clear. God gave men dominion over animal kingdom, summarized by the different types of animals in this passage. In the spiritual sense Jesus Christ has been given dominion over all men. And so the animals are figurative for men. The sheep and oxen are domesticated animals, so they symbolize the members of the Church, those in authority positions (oxen) and the laity (sheep). The other beasts of the field are untamed, so they could symbolize men seeking truth and grace. The birds of the air are the arrogant of the world, who hold positions of power and authority. They deem themselves above Christ and His Church. The fish of the sea are those who have fallen into the depths of sin, and need to be caught by the net of the Church in order to be saved.

{8:10} O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is your name throughout all the earth!

~ And the Psalm ends in an enveloping structure with the repeat of verse one. It seems to imply a continuous cycle of the Psalmist rolling over in his mind the abundance of creation and his continual praise of God, unto the end of his life’s journey.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
You nailed it. I can't really add anything except what Apotheoun said in one of your other threads of a psalm: we look at the psalms in a Christological sense. You've done just that.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Sacred Music Man' post='1677794' date='Oct 14 2008, 11:28 PM']You nailed it. I can't really add anything except what Apotheoun said in one of your other threads of a psalm: we look at the psalms in a Christological sense. You've done just that.[/quote]
All of Sacred Scripture (the entire Bible both O.T. & N.T.) is a reflection of Jesus Chirst, is summed up in Jesus Christ and is Jesus Christ speaking to us. Sacred Scripture is One Utterance of God, as a reflection of the Son proceeding from Father.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this