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Psalms 8:1-9

Context
Psalm 8 1 

For the music director, according to the gittith style; 2  a psalm of David.

8:1 O Lord, our Lord, 3 

how magnificent 4  is your reputation 5  throughout the earth!

You reveal your majesty in the heavens above! 6 

8:2 From the mouths of children and nursing babies

you have ordained praise on account of your adversaries, 7 

so that you might put an end to the vindictive enemy. 8 

8:3 When I look up at the heavens, which your fingers made,

and see the moon and the stars, which you set in place, 9 

8:4 Of what importance is the human race, 10  that you should notice 11  them?

Of what importance is mankind, 12  that you should pay attention to them, 13 

8:5 and make them a little less than the heavenly beings? 14 

You grant mankind 15  honor and majesty; 16 

8:6 you appoint them to rule over your creation; 17 

you have placed 18  everything under their authority, 19 

8:7 including all the sheep and cattle,

as well as the wild animals, 20 

8:8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea

and everything that moves through the currents 21  of the seas.

8:9 O Lord, our Lord, 22 

how magnificent 23  is your reputation 24  throughout the earth! 25 

Psalms 8:1-9

Context
Psalm 8 26 

For the music director, according to the gittith style; 27  a psalm of David.

8:1 O Lord, our Lord, 28 

how magnificent 29  is your reputation 30  throughout the earth!

You reveal your majesty in the heavens above! 31 

8:2 From the mouths of children and nursing babies

you have ordained praise on account of your adversaries, 32 

so that you might put an end to the vindictive enemy. 33 

8:3 When I look up at the heavens, which your fingers made,

and see the moon and the stars, which you set in place, 34 

8:4 Of what importance is the human race, 35  that you should notice 36  them?

Of what importance is mankind, 37  that you should pay attention to them, 38 

8:5 and make them a little less than the heavenly beings? 39 

You grant mankind 40  honor and majesty; 41 

8:6 you appoint them to rule over your creation; 42 

you have placed 43  everything under their authority, 44 

8:7 including all the sheep and cattle,

as well as the wild animals, 45 

8:8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea

and everything that moves through the currents 46  of the seas.

8:9 O Lord, our Lord, 47 

how magnificent 48  is your reputation 49  throughout the earth! 50 

Psalms 84:1-12

Context
Psalm 84 51 

For the music director; according to the gittith style; 52  written by the Korahites, a psalm.

84:1 How lovely is the place where you live, 53 

O Lord who rules over all! 54 

84:2 I desperately want to be 55 

in the courts of the Lord’s temple. 56 

My heart and my entire being 57  shout for joy

to the living God.

84:3 Even the birds find a home there,

and the swallow 58  builds a nest,

where she can protect her young 59 

near your altars, O Lord who rules over all,

my king and my God.

84:4 How blessed 60  are those who live in your temple

and praise you continually! (Selah)

84:5 How blessed are those who 61  find their strength in you,

and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! 62 

84:6 As they pass through the Baca Valley, 63 

he provides a spring for them. 64 

The rain 65  even covers it with pools of water. 66 

84:7 They are sustained as they travel along; 67 

each one appears 68  before God in Zion.

84:8 O Lord, sovereign God, 69 

hear my prayer!

Listen, O God of Jacob! (Selah)

84:9 O God, take notice of our shield! 70 

Show concern for your chosen king! 71 

84:10 Certainly 72  spending just one day in your temple courts is better

than spending a thousand elsewhere. 73 

I would rather stand at the entrance 74  to the temple of my God

than live 75  in the tents of the wicked.

84:11 For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. 76 

The Lord bestows favor 77  and honor;

he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. 78 

84:12 O Lord who rules over all, 79 

how blessed are those who trust in you! 80 

1 sn Psalm 8. In this hymn to the sovereign creator, the psalmist praises God’s majesty and marvels that God has given mankind dominion over the created order.

2 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term הגתית is uncertain; it probably refers to a musical style or type of instrument.

3 tn The plural form of the title emphasizes the Lord’s absolute sovereignty.

4 tn Or “awesome”; or “majestic.”

5 tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

6 tc Heb “which, give, your majesty on the heavens.” The verb form תְּנָה (tÿnah; an imperative?) is corrupt. The form should be emended to a second masculine singular perfect (נָתַתָּה, natatah) or imperfect (תִתֵן, titen) form. The introductory אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “which”) can be taken as a relative pronoun (“you who”) or as a causal conjunction (“because”). One may literally translate, “you who [or “because you”] place your majesty upon the heavens.” For other uses of the phrase “place majesty upon” see Num 27:20 and 1 Chr 29:25.

7 tn Heb “you establish strength because of your foes.” The meaning of the statement is unclear. The present translation follows the reading of the LXX which has “praise” (αἶνος, ainos) in place of “strength” (עֹז, ’oz); cf. NIV, NCV, NLT.

8 tn Heb “to cause to cease an enemy and an avenger.” The singular forms are collective. The Hitpael participle of נָקַם (naqam) also occurs in Ps 44:16.

9 tn Heb “when I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and stars which you established.” The verb “[and] see” is understood by ellipsis in the second half of the verse.

10 tn Heb “What is man[kind]?” The singular noun אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh, “man”) is used here in a collective sense and refers to the human race.

11 tn Heb “remember him.”

12 tn Heb “and the son of man.” The phrase “son of man” is used here in a collective sense and refers to human beings. For other uses of the phrase in a collective or representative manner, see Num 23:19; Ps 146:3; Isa 51:12.

13 tn The two imperfect verbal forms in v. 4 describe God’s characteristic activity.

14 tn Heb “and you make him lack a little from [the] gods [or “God”].” The Piel form of חָסַר (khasar, “to decrease, to be devoid”) is used only here and in Eccl 4:8, where it means “to deprive, to cause to be lacking.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive either carries on the characteristic nuance of the imperfect in v. 5b or indicates a consequence (“so that you make him…”) of the preceding statement (see GKC 328 §111.m). Some prefer to make this an independent clause and translate it as a new sentence, “You made him….” In this case the statement might refer specifically to the creation of the first human couple, Adam and Eve (cf. Gen 1:26-27). The psalmist does appear to allude to Gen 1:26-27, where mankind is created in the image of God and his angelic assembly (note “let us make man in our image” in Gen 1:26). However, the psalmist’s statement need not be limited in its focus to that historical event, for all mankind shares the image imparted to the first human couple. Consequently the psalmist can speak in general terms of the exalted nature of mankind. The referent of אֱלֹהִים (’elohim, “God” or “the heavenly beings”) is unclear. Some understand this as a reference to God alone, but the allusion to Gen 1:26-27 suggests a broader referent, including God and the other heavenly beings (known in other texts as “angels”). The term אֱלֹהִים is also used in this way in Gen 3:5, where the serpent says to the woman, “you will be like the heavenly beings who know good and evil.” (Note Gen 3:22, where God says, “the man has become like one of us.”) Also אֱלֹהִים may refer to the members of the heavenly assembly in Ps 82:1, 6. The LXX (the ancient Greek translation of the OT) reads “angels” in Ps 8:5 (this is the source of the quotation of Ps 8:5 in Heb 2:7).

15 tn Heb “you crown him [with].” The imperfect verbal forms in this and the next line describe God’s characteristic activity.

16 sn Honor and majesty. These terms allude to mankind’s royal status as God’s vice-regents (cf. v. 6 and Gen 1:26-30).

17 tn Heb “you cause [i.e., “permit, allow”] him to rule over the works of your hands.”

18 tn The perfect verbal form probably has a present perfect nuance here. It refers to the continuing effects of God’s original mandate (see Gen 1:26-30).

19 tn Heb “under his feet.”

sn Placed everything under their authority. This verse affirms that mankind rules over God’s creation as his vice-regent. See Gen 1:26-30.

20 tn Heb “and also the beasts of the field.”

21 tn Heb “paths.”

22 tn The plural form of the title emphasizes the Lord’s absolute sovereignty.

23 tn Or “awesome, majestic.”

24 tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

25 sn Using the poetic device of inclusio, the psalmist ends the psalm the way he began it. The concluding refrain is identical to v. 1.

26 sn Psalm 8. In this hymn to the sovereign creator, the psalmist praises God’s majesty and marvels that God has given mankind dominion over the created order.

27 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term הגתית is uncertain; it probably refers to a musical style or type of instrument.

28 tn The plural form of the title emphasizes the Lord’s absolute sovereignty.

29 tn Or “awesome”; or “majestic.”

30 tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

31 tc Heb “which, give, your majesty on the heavens.” The verb form תְּנָה (tÿnah; an imperative?) is corrupt. The form should be emended to a second masculine singular perfect (נָתַתָּה, natatah) or imperfect (תִתֵן, titen) form. The introductory אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “which”) can be taken as a relative pronoun (“you who”) or as a causal conjunction (“because”). One may literally translate, “you who [or “because you”] place your majesty upon the heavens.” For other uses of the phrase “place majesty upon” see Num 27:20 and 1 Chr 29:25.

32 tn Heb “you establish strength because of your foes.” The meaning of the statement is unclear. The present translation follows the reading of the LXX which has “praise” (αἶνος, ainos) in place of “strength” (עֹז, ’oz); cf. NIV, NCV, NLT.

33 tn Heb “to cause to cease an enemy and an avenger.” The singular forms are collective. The Hitpael participle of נָקַם (naqam) also occurs in Ps 44:16.

34 tn Heb “when I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and stars which you established.” The verb “[and] see” is understood by ellipsis in the second half of the verse.

35 tn Heb “What is man[kind]?” The singular noun אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh, “man”) is used here in a collective sense and refers to the human race.

36 tn Heb “remember him.”

37 tn Heb “and the son of man.” The phrase “son of man” is used here in a collective sense and refers to human beings. For other uses of the phrase in a collective or representative manner, see Num 23:19; Ps 146:3; Isa 51:12.

38 tn The two imperfect verbal forms in v. 4 describe God’s characteristic activity.

39 tn Heb “and you make him lack a little from [the] gods [or “God”].” The Piel form of חָסַר (khasar, “to decrease, to be devoid”) is used only here and in Eccl 4:8, where it means “to deprive, to cause to be lacking.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive either carries on the characteristic nuance of the imperfect in v. 5b or indicates a consequence (“so that you make him…”) of the preceding statement (see GKC 328 §111.m). Some prefer to make this an independent clause and translate it as a new sentence, “You made him….” In this case the statement might refer specifically to the creation of the first human couple, Adam and Eve (cf. Gen 1:26-27). The psalmist does appear to allude to Gen 1:26-27, where mankind is created in the image of God and his angelic assembly (note “let us make man in our image” in Gen 1:26). However, the psalmist’s statement need not be limited in its focus to that historical event, for all mankind shares the image imparted to the first human couple. Consequently the psalmist can speak in general terms of the exalted nature of mankind. The referent of אֱלֹהִים (’elohim, “God” or “the heavenly beings”) is unclear. Some understand this as a reference to God alone, but the allusion to Gen 1:26-27 suggests a broader referent, including God and the other heavenly beings (known in other texts as “angels”). The term אֱלֹהִים is also used in this way in Gen 3:5, where the serpent says to the woman, “you will be like the heavenly beings who know good and evil.” (Note Gen 3:22, where God says, “the man has become like one of us.”) Also אֱלֹהִים may refer to the members of the heavenly assembly in Ps 82:1, 6. The LXX (the ancient Greek translation of the OT) reads “angels” in Ps 8:5 (this is the source of the quotation of Ps 8:5 in Heb 2:7).

40 tn Heb “you crown him [with].” The imperfect verbal forms in this and the next line describe God’s characteristic activity.

41 sn Honor and majesty. These terms allude to mankind’s royal status as God’s vice-regents (cf. v. 6 and Gen 1:26-30).

42 tn Heb “you cause [i.e., “permit, allow”] him to rule over the works of your hands.”

43 tn The perfect verbal form probably has a present perfect nuance here. It refers to the continuing effects of God’s original mandate (see Gen 1:26-30).

44 tn Heb “under his feet.”

sn Placed everything under their authority. This verse affirms that mankind rules over God’s creation as his vice-regent. See Gen 1:26-30.

45 tn Heb “and also the beasts of the field.”

46 tn Heb “paths.”

47 tn The plural form of the title emphasizes the Lord’s absolute sovereignty.

48 tn Or “awesome, majestic.”

49 tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

50 sn Using the poetic device of inclusio, the psalmist ends the psalm the way he began it. The concluding refrain is identical to v. 1.

51 sn Psalm 84. The psalmist expresses his desire to be in God’s presence in the Jerusalem temple, for the Lord is the protector of his people.

52 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term הַגִּתִּית (haggittit) is uncertain; it probably refers to a musical style or instrument.

53 tn Or “your dwelling place[s].” The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; this is the Lord’s special dwelling place (see Pss 43:3; 46:4; 132:5, 7).

54 tn Traditionally, “Lord of hosts.” The title draws attention to God’s sovereign position (see Ps 69:6).

55 tn Heb “my soul longs, it even pines for.”

56 tn Heb “the courts of the Lord” (see Ps 65:4).

57 tn Heb “my flesh,” which stands for his whole person and being.

58 tn The word translated “swallow” occurs only here and in Prov 26:2.

59 tn Heb “even a bird finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, [in] which she places her young.”

sn The psalmist here romanticizes the temple as a place of refuge and safety. As he thinks of the birds nesting near its roof, he envisions them finding protection in God’s presence.

60 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see v. 12 and Pss 1:1; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

61 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here was certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to in v. 5a is representative of followers of God, as the use of plural forms in vv. 5b-7 indicates.

62 tn Heb “roads [are] in their heart[s].” The roads are here those that lead to Zion (see v. 7).

63 tn The translation assumes that the Hebrew phrase עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא (’emeq habbakha’) is the name of an otherwise unknown arid valley through which pilgrims to Jerusalem passed. The term בָּכָא (bakha’) may be the name of a particular type of plant or shrub that grew in this valley. O. Borowski (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 130) suggests it is the black mulberry. Some take the phrase as purely metaphorical and relate בָּכָא to the root בָּכָה (bakhah, “to weep”). In this case one might translate, “the valley of weeping” or “the valley of affliction.”

64 tc The MT reads “a spring they make it,” but this makes little sense. Many medieval Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX, understand God to be the subject and the valley to be the object, “he [God] makes it [the valley] [into] a spring.”

65 tn This rare word may refer to the early (or autumn) rains (see Joel 2:23).

66 tc The MT reads בְּרָכוֹת (bÿrakhot, “blessings”) but the preceding reference to a “spring” favors an emendation to בְּרֵכוֹת (bÿrekhot, “pools”).

sn Pools of water. Because water is so necessary for life, it makes an apt symbol for divine favor and blessing. As the pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem, God provided for their physical needs and gave them a token of his favor and of the blessings awaiting them at the temple.

67 tn Heb “they go from strength to strength.” The phrase “from strength to strength” occurs only here in the OT. With a verb of motion, the expression “from [common noun] to [same common noun]” normally suggests movement from one point to another or through successive points (see Num 36:7; 1 Chr 16:20; 17:5; Ps 105:13; Jer 25:32). Ps 84:7 may be emphasizing that the pilgrims move successively from one “place of strength” to another as they travel toward Jerusalem. All along the way they find adequate provisions and renewed energy for the trip.

68 tn The psalmist returns to the singular (see v. 5a), which he uses in either a representative or distributive (“each one” ) sense.

69 tn HebLord, God, hosts.” One expects the construct form אֱלֹהֵי before צְבָאוֹת (tsÿvaot, “hosts”; see Ps 89:9) but יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים (yehvahelohim) precedes צְבָאוֹת in Pss 59:5 and 80:4, 19 as well.

70 tn The phrase “our shield” refers metaphorically to the Davidic king, who, as God’s vice-regent, was the human protector of the people. Note the parallelism with “your anointed one” here and with “our king” in Ps 89:18.

71 tn Heb “look [on] the face of your anointed one.” The Hebrew phrase מְשִׁיחֶךָ (mÿshikhekha, “your anointed one”) refers here to the Davidic king (see Pss 2:2; 18:50; 20:6; 28:8; 89:38, 51; 132:10, 17).

72 tn Or “for.”

73 tn Heb “better is a day in your courts than a thousand [spent elsewhere].”

74 tn Heb “I choose being at the entrance of the house of my God over living in the tents of the wicked.” The verb סָפַף (safaf) appears only here in the OT; it is derived from the noun סַף (saf, “threshold”). Traditionally some have interpreted this as a reference to being a doorkeeper at the temple, though some understand it to mean “lie as a beggar at the entrance to the temple” (see HALOT 765 s.v. ספף).

75 tn The verb דּוּר (dur, “to live”) occurs only here in the OT.

76 tn Heb “[is] a sun and a shield.” The epithet “sun,” though rarely used of Israel’s God in the OT, was a well-attested royal title in the ancient Near East. For several examples from Ugaritic texts, the Amarna letters, and Assyrian royal inscriptions, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 131, n. 2.

77 tn Or “grace.”

78 tn Heb “he does not withhold good to those walking in integrity.”

79 tn Traditionally “Lord of hosts.”

80 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man [who] trusts in you.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to here is representative of all followers of God, as the use of the plural form in v. 12b indicates.



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