To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
This psalm is cited four times in the New Testament, three of which are in direct application to Christ (i.e., 1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22, and Hebrews 2:6-10). Though the psalm focuses on the interaction between God and man — or, more precisely, between divinity and humanity — this direct application is possible because humanity is an attribute fully shared by Christ (as opposed to depravity, for example, which is not), and it is in Him, accordingly, that man’s ideal (i.e., all that we were meant to be and do) is directly fulfilled. — Wechsler, page 38.
Choir Director (intro) — see Psalm 4 intro
Gittith (intro) — an instrument from Gath? 1 Samuel 27:2
psalm (intro) = mizmor — See Psalm 3 intro
O Lord (v.1) = Jehovah — Creator
our Lord (v.1) = Adonai — Sovereign, controller
David not only affirms God’s majesty, but also his and his people’s submission to the One True God, as indicated by the first “Lord” (in Hebrew: “Yahweh”), representing the unique covenant name of the True God, which is conjoined to the second “Lord” (Hebrew: Adonenu), representing the proper Hebrew term for “master” (i.e., one to whom the speaker is subject. — Wechsler, page 39
out of the mouth of babes (v.2) — quoted in Matthew 21:6 (by Jesus Christ) and Hebrews 2:5-10
Christ does not intend by His citation to say that this event is the sole fulfillment of the verse, but rather that this event represents an expression of the principle indicated by the verse — namely, that God works through the weak and unlikely so that His power and role might be more evident (cf. on this same principle Deuteronomy 7:7 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). — Wechsler, page 39
The heavens and all that is in them, such as the moon and the stars, are described by David as the work of God’s fingers, which expression denotes products intended for adornment, whereas that which God gave man to rule over is described as the work of His hands, denoting products intended for use and enjoyment (the language of these verses also harkens back to Genesis 1:28).
The phraseology of v.4, moreover, is very similar to that of Job 7:17-18. this latter, however, is expressed by Job as a despairing complaint, which may well have been taken up and “corrected” here by the Holy Spirit, working “through the mouth of David” (cf. Acts 4:25; Hebrews 4:7). — Wechsler, page 40
little (v.5) — In quoting from the eighth psalm in Hebrews 2 the Holy Spirit made a slight change in the word in order to fit to His purpose. The word is “little.” In the psalm it is stated that man has been made a little lower than the angels, meaning lower in degree; but in the Hebrews passage the word is one which means “for a little time,” or “for a short while.” — Pettingill, page 31
heavenly beings (v.5) = lit. “gods” — Some think it means “lower than God.”
dominion (v.6) — Genesis 1:26, restored in the kingdom (Isaiah 11:6).
All power is given unto Him in heaven and in the earth. This is not yet made manifest, but the day is surely coming when at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). And when that time is come it will then be seen that the Man Jesus is the head of a new race, a race made up of all those who have found shelter under the shed blood of Calvary, and that to these the promise of the eighth psalm will be completely fulfilled, and they shall reign with Him in full dominion over the works of God’s hands. — Pettingill, page 31