Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Upon [or according to the] Gittith, probably means that the
musical performance was directed to be according to a tune of that
name; which, derived from Gath, a "wine-press," denotes a tune
(used in connection with gathering the vintage) of a joyous character.
All the Psalms to which this term is prefixed
[Ps 8:1; 81:1; 84:1]
are of such a character. The Psalmist gives vent to his admiration of
God's manifested perfections, by celebrating His condescending and
beneficent providence to man as evinced by the position of the race, as
originally created and assigned a dominion over the works of His
1. thy name--perfections
(Ps 5:11; 7:17).
who hast set--literally, "which set Thou Thy glory," &c., or
"which glory of Thine set Thou," &c., that is, make it more conspicuous
as if earth were too small a theater for its display. A similar
exposition suits the usual rendering.
2. So manifest are God's perfections, that by very weak instruments
He conclusively sets forth His praise. Infants are not only wonderful
illustrations of God's power and skill, in their physical constitution,
instincts, and early developed intelligence, but also in their
spontaneous admiration of God's works, by which they put to shame--
still--or, silence men who rail and cavil against God. A special
illustration of the passage is afforded in
when our Saviour stilled the cavillers by quoting these words;
for the glories with which God invested His incarnate Son, even in His
humiliation, constitute a most wonderful display of the perfections of
His wisdom, love, and power. In view of the scope of
(see below), this quotation by our Saviour may be regarded as an
exposition of the prophetical character of the words.
sucklings--among the Hebrews were probably of an age to speak (compare
ordained--founded, or prepared, and perfected, which occurs in
taken from the Septuagint, has the same meaning.
strength--In the quotation in the New Testament, praise occurs as
the consequence or effect put for the cause (compare
one desirous of revenge, disposed to be quarrelsome, and so apt to
cavil against God's government.
3, 4. The allusion to the magnificence of the visible heavens is
introduced for the purpose of illustrating God's condescension, who,
though the mighty Creator of these glorious worlds of light, makes man
the object of regard and recipient of favor.
4. man--literally, "frail man," an allusion to his essential infirmity.
son of man--only varies the form of speech.
This favor is now more fully illustrated.
5-8. God has placed man next in dignity to angels, and but a little
lower, and has crowned him with the empire of the world.
glory and honour--are the attributes of royal dignity
(Ps 21:5; 45:3).
The position assigned man is that described
as belonging to Adam, in his original condition, the terms employed in
detailing the subjects of man's dominion corresponding with those there
used. In a modified sense, in his present fallen state, man is still
invested with some remains of this original dominion. It is very
evident, however, by the apostle's inspired expositions
1Co 15:27, 28)
that the language here employed finds its fulfilment only in the final
exaltation of Christ's human nature. There is no limit to the "all
things" mentioned, God only excepted, who "puts all things under." Man,
in the person and glorious destiny of Jesus of Nazareth, the second
Adam, the head and representative of the race, will not only be
restored to his original position, but exalted far beyond it. "The last
enemy, death," through fear of which, man, in his present estate, is
"all his lifetime in bondage"
"shall be destroyed"
Then all things will have been put under his feet,
"principalities and powers being made subject to him"
This view, so far from being alien from the scope of the passage, is
more consistent than any other; for man as a race cannot well be
conceived to have a higher honor put upon him than to be thus exalted
in the person and destiny of Jesus of Nazareth. And at the same time,
by no other of His glorious manifestations has God more illustriously
declared those attributes which distinguish His name than in the scheme
of redemption, of which this economy forms such an important and
essential feature. In the generic import of the language, as describing
man's present relation to the works of God's hands, it may be regarded
as typical, thus allowing not only the usual application, but also this
higher sense which the inspired writers of the New Testament have
9. Appropriately, the writer closes this brief but pregnant and
sublime song of praise with the terms of admiration with which it was