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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps 8 :

While marvelling at the limitless grandeur of God ( 2–3 ), the psalmist is struck first by the smallness of human beings in creation ( 4–5 ), and then by the royal dignity and power that God has graciously bestowed upon them ( 6–10 ).

8, 1 :

Upon the gittith: probably the title of the melody to which the psalm was to be sung or a musical instrument.

8, 3 :

Babes and infants: the text is obscure. Some join this line to the last line of 2 (itself obscure) to read: “(you) whose majesty is exalted above the heavens / by the mouths of babes and infants.” Drawn a defense: some prefer the Septuagint's “fashioned praise,” which is quoted in Mt 21, 16 . Enemy and avenger: probably cosmic enemies. The primeval powers of watery chaos are often personified in poetic texts (Pss 74, 13–14; 89, 11; Jb 9, 13; 26, 12–13; Is 51, 9 ).

8, 5 :

Humans … mere mortals: literally, “(mortal) person” … “son of man (in sense of a human being, Hebrew ’adam).” The emphasis is on the fragility and mortality of human beings to whom God has given great dignity.

8, 6 :

Little less than a god: Hebrew ’elohim, the ordinary word for “God” or “the gods” or members of the heavenly court. The Greek version translated ’elohim by “angel, messenger”; several ancient and modern versions so translate. The meaning seems to be that God created human beings almost at the level of the beings in the heavenly world. Heb 2, 9 finds the eminent fulfillment of this verse in Jesus Christ, who was humbled before being glorified. Cf also 1 Cor 15, 27 , where St. Paul applies to Christ the closing words of 8, v 7 .

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