Hebrews 2:6
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man that you visit him?
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(6) But one in a certain place.—Better, somewhere. The expression is perfectly indefinite (comp. Hebrews 4:4). As a rule, the words of Scripture are in this Epistle quoted as God’s own utterances; and though the nature of the quotation (which is an address to God) made this impossible here, the writer seems gladly to avoid the mention of the human prophet, perhaps as distracting the thought from the divine prophecy. This studious indefiniteness in citation is common in Philo, and sometimes occurs where he cannot possibly have been in doubt as to the source of his quotation.

Testified.—That is, in Biblical usage, solemnly declared: the words are no light exclamation of wonder. The quotation which follows (from Psalm 8:4-6) agrees verbally with the LXX. version. The only point of doubt is whether the last clause of Hebrews 2:7 was included in the quotation, as in some very good ancient authorities it is absent from the text. The weight of external evidence is certainly in its favour; but it is easier to see how a scribe may have introduced the clause through his familiarity with the Psalm than to explain its omission if it stood in the original text of this Epistle. The Greek translation here faithfully represents the Hebrew, except in one point. For “a little lower than the angels,” the Hebrew text has “a little less than God.” The change (which is similar to that noticed in Hebrews 1:6) was probably introduced by the translators on a principle which we may often trace in their work—a wish to tone down expressions relating to the Deity which seemed strong or bold. In quoting the passage the writer does not depart from the rendering most familiar to the readers of the Greek Bible; but, though the clause in its altered form accords well with what had preceded the quotation, and, so to speak, more completely interweaves the words of the Psalm with the context in which they are here placed, yet no stress is laid on “angels.” The argument of this section would not be affected materially if the true rendering of the Hebrew were restored. The eighth Psalm is an expression of amazement that God, who has “set His glory upon the heavens,” should deign to remember man. Not only is He “mindful of man,” but He has made him but “little less than God,” “crowned him with honour,” given him “dominion over” all His works. The original blessing pronounced on man (Genesis 1:28) is clearly in the Psalmist’s thought, and suggests his words. The language which here precedes (Hebrews 2:5) and follows (Hebrews 2:8) shows that the last clause (“thou didst subject all things under his feet”) bears the stress of the quotation. (That the same words are the groundwork of 1Corinthians 15:24-28 is one of the most interesting coincidences between this Epistle and St. Paul.) It is easy to see, therefore, for what purpose these verses are here adduced. Not to angels is “the world to come” subjected: in the Scripture there are found words declaring that a divine decree has subjected all things to man. How the thought is combined with the argument of the whole passage will be seen in Hebrews 2:9. A question at once arises: Did the meaning here assigned to the Psalm exist in David’s thought? If not, on what principle does this application rest? David had in mind the words of the primal blessing, and probably did not himself think of more than those words seemed to imply. But the complete meaning of God’s words can be learnt only when they are fulfilled in history. To Him who speaks in Scripture the material dominion was the symbol of a higher and a universal rule, to be fulfilled in the Son of Man when the fulness of time should come. The Psalm is not directly Messianic,—it relates to man; but it is through the Man Christ Jesus that it receives its complete fulfilment for mankind.

Hebrews 2:6. But one in a certain place — Namely, David, Psalm 8:4; testified, saying, What is man — The Hebrew word אנושׁ, used in the Psalm, means weak, miserable, and mortal man; man in his fallen state; obnoxious to grief, sorrow, anxiety, pain, trouble, and death: that thou art mindful of him — What is he to the vast expanse of the heavens, to the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained? This Psalm seems to have been composed by David in a clear, moon-shiny, and star-light night, while he was contemplating the wonderful fabric of the heaven; because, in his magnificent description of its luminaries, he takes no notice of the sun, the most glorious of them all. The words here cited concerning dominion, were doubtless in some sense applicable to Adam; although, in their complete and highest sense, they belong to none but the second Adam. It has indeed been a great question among interpreters, whether the Psalm speaks of man in general, and of the honour which God put upon him in his creation, or only of the man Christ Jesus. But upon comparing the contents of it with this chapter, it seems evident that both are included. For the design of the Psalm appears plainly to have been to display and celebrate the great love and kindness of God to mankind: not only in their creation, but also in their redemption by Christ Jesus; whom, as he was man, God advanced to the honour here spoken of, that he might carry on that great and glorious work. Some parts of the Psalm, however, relate more eminently to Christ than to man in general, and accordingly are so interpreted, both by our Lord and by his apostles, particularly Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 2:6. Or the Son of man — Hebrew, בן אדם, the son of Adam, of one made out of the earth; that thou visitest him — The sense rises: we are mindful of him that is absent; but to visit denotes the care of one present. And it is worthy of observation, that the Hebrew word occurring in the Psalm, and rendered visitest, though variously used, yet constantly denotes the action of a superior toward an inferior, and commonly expresses some act of God toward his people for good. And especially in the term visiting used to express the stupendous act of God in sending his Son to take our nature upon him, as Luke 1:68; Luke 1:78. “He hath visited and redeemed his people;” and “The day-spring from on high hath visited us.” This was the ground of the psalmist’s admiration, and will be a cause of admiration to all believers through eternal ages.2:5-9 Neither the state in which the church is at present, nor its more completely restored state, when the prince of this world shall be cast out, and the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdom of Christ, is left to the government of the angels: Christ will take to him his great power, and will reign. And what is the moving cause of all the kindness God shows to men in giving Christ for them and to them? it is the grace of God. As a reward of Christ's humiliation in suffering death, he has unlimited dominion over all things; thus this ancient scripture was fulfilled in him. Thus God has done wonderful things for us in creation and providence, but for these we have made the basest returns.But one in a certain place testified - The apostle was writing to those who were supposed to be familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures, and where it would be necessary only to make a reference in general without mentioning the name. The place which is quoted here is Psalm 8:4-6. The "argument" of the apostle is this, that there stood in the sacred Scriptures a declaration that "all things were placed under the control and jurisdiction of man," but that that had not yet been accomplished. It was not true (Hebrews 2:8) that all things were subject to him, and the complete truth of that declaration would be found only in the jurisdiction conferred on the Messiah - the man by way of eminence - the incarnate Son of God. It would not occur to anyone probably in reading the Psalm that the verse here quoted had any reference to the Messiah. It seems to relate to the dominion which God had given man over his works in this lower world, or to the fact that he was made lord over all things.

That dominion is apparent, to a considerable extent, everywhere, and is a standing proof of the truth of what is recorded in Genesis 1:26, that God originally gave dominion to man over the creatures on earth, since it is only by this supposition that it can be accounted for that the horse, and the elephant, and the ox, and even the panther and the lion, are subject to the control of man. The argument of Paul seems to be this: Originally this control was given to man. It was absolute and entire. All things were subject to him, and all obeyed. Man was made a little lower than the angels, and was the undisputed lord of this lower world. He was in a state of innocence. But he rebelled, and this dominion has been in some measure lost. It is found complete only in the "second man the Lord from heaven" 1 Corinthians 15:47, the Lord Jesus to whom this control is absolutely given. He comes up to the complete idea of man - man as he was in innocence, and man as he was described by the Psalmist, as having been made a little lower than the angels, and having entire dominion over the world.

Much difficulty has been felt by commentators in regard to this passage, and to the principle on which it is quoted. The above seems to me to be what is most probably true. There are two other methods by which an attempt has been made to explain it. One is, that Paul uses the words here by way of "allusion," or "accommodation" (Doddridge), as words that will express his meaning, without designing to say that the Psalm originally had any reference to the Messiah. Most of the later commentators accord with this opinion. The other opinion is, that David originally referred to the Messiah - that he was deeply and gratefully affected in view of the honor that God had conferred on him; and that in looking down by faith on the posterity that God had promised him (see 2 Samuel 7:16), he saw one among his own descendants to whom God would give this wide dominion, and expresses himself in the elevated language of praise. This opinion is defended by Prof. Stuart; see his Commentary on Hebrews, Excursus IX.

(That the grand and ultimate reference, in Psalm 8:1-9, is to the person of the Messiah, none can reasonably doubt. Both our Lord and his apostles have affirmed it; Matthew 21:15-16; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22. Add to these, the place before us, where - as the quotation is introduced "in the midst of an argument, and by way of proof" - the idea of "accommodation" is inconsistent with the wisdom and honesty of the apostles, and therefore inadmissible. The opposite extreme, however, of "sole and original" reference to the Messiah is not so certain. There is a more obvious and primary reference, which at once strikes the reader of the Psalm, and which, therefore, should not be rejected, until disproved. The conjecture, which a learned author mentioned above, has made, regarding the course of thought in the Psalmist's mind, supposing him to have been occupied with the contemplation of the covenant, as recorded in 2 Samuel 7 and of that illustrious descendant, who should be the Son of God, and on whom should be conferred universal empire - at the very time in which he composed the Psalm - is ingenious, but not satisfactory.

The least objectionable view is that of primary and secondary, or prophetic reference. This relieves us from the necessity of setting aside the obvious sense of the original place, and, at the same time, preserves the more exalted sense, which our Lord and his apostles have attached to it, and the Spirit of course intended to convey. And in order to preserve this last sense, it is not necessary to ascertain what was the course of feeling in the Psalmist's mind, or whether "he" really had the Messiah in view, since the prophets, on many occasions, might be ignorant of the full import of the words which the Holy Ghost dictated to them. This view, moreover, is all that the necessity of the case demands. It suits the apostle's argument, since the great and prophetic reference is to the Messiah. It presents, also, a complete πληρωσις plērōsis of Psalm 8:1-9, which it is allowed on all hands the primary reference alone could not do. It is sufficiently clear that such universal dominion belongs not to man, in his present fallen state. Even if it be allowed that the contemplation of David regarded "man as innocent, as he was when created," yet absolutely universal dominion did not belong to Adam. Christ alone is Lord of all. Creation animate and inanimate is subject to him.

Here then we have what has been well styled: "the safe middle point, the μέτρον ἀριστὸν metron ariston, between the two extremes of supposing this, and such like passages, to belong only to the Messiah, or only to him concerning whom they were first spoken." This middle point has been ably defended by Dr. Middleton. "Indeed." says he, "on no other hypothesis can we avoid one of two great difficulties; for else we must assert that the multitudes of applications made by Christ and his apostles are fanciful and unauthorized, and wholly inadequate to prove the points for which they are cited; or, on the other band, we must believe that the obvious and natural sense of such passages was never intended, and that it is a mere illusion. Of Psalm 8:1-9 the primary import is so certain that it could not be mistaken." The only objection to this double reference, worthy of being noticed, is connected with the clause, Ἠλαττωσας αὐτον βραχύτι παρ ̓ ἀγγελους Ēlattōsas auton brachuti par angelous, which, it is affirmed, must possess two senses, not only different, but opposite and contradictory.

In its primary application to man, the idea is plainly that of exaltation and honor. Such was the dignity of man that he was made "but a little" lower than the angels; on the other hand, the secondary, or prophetic application, gives to the language the sense of humiliation or depression. For, considering the original dignity of Christ, the being made lower than the angels, cannot otherwise be regarded. But may not the clause, in both applications, have the idea of exaltation attached to it? If so, the objection is at once met. And that this is the case has, we think, been satisfactorily made out. "What," asks Prof. Stuart "is his (Paul's) design?" To prove that Christ in his human nature is exalted above angels. How does he undertake to prove this? First by showing that this nature is made but little inferior to that of the angels, and next that it has been exalted to the empire of the world." This note has been extended to such length, because it involves a "principle" applicable to a multitude of passages. On the whole, it may be observed in reference to all these cases of quotation, that the mind of the pious and humble reader will not be greatly distressed by any difficulties connected with their application, but will ever rest satisfied with the assertion and authority of people, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.)

What is man ... - What is there in man that entitles him to so much notice? Why has God conferred on him so signal honors? Why has he placed him over the works of his hands? He seems so insignificant; his life is so much like a vapor; he so soon disappears, that the question may well be asked why this extraordinary dominion is given him? He is so sinful also, and so unworthy; so much unlike God, and so passionate and revengeful; is so prone to abuse his dominion, that it may well be asked why God has given it to him? Who would suppose that God would give such a dominion over his creatures to one who was so prone to abuse it as man has shown himself to be? He is so feeble, also, compared with other creatures - even of those which are made subject to him - that the question may well be asked why God has conceded it to him? Such question may be asked when we contemplate man as he is. But similar questions may be asked, if, as was probably the case, the Psalm here be supposed to have had reference to man "as he was created."

Why was one so feeble, and so comparatively without strength, placed over this lower world, and the earth made subject to his control? Why is it that when the heavens are so vast and glorious Psalm 8:3, God has taken such notice of man? Of what consequence can he be amidst works so wonderful? "When I look on the heavens and survey their greatness and their glory," is the sentiment of David, "why is it that man has attracted so much notice, and that he has not been wholly overlooked in the vastness of the works of the Almighty? Why is it that instead of this he has been exalted to so much dignity and honor?" This question, thus considered, strikes us with more force now than it could have struck David. Let anyone sit down and contemplate the heavens as they are disclosed by the discoveries of modern astronomy, and he may well ask the question, "What is man that he should have attracted the attention of God, and been the object of so much care?"

The same question would not have been inappropriate to David if the Psalm be supposed to have had reference originally to the Messiah, and if he was speaking of himself particularly as the ancestor of the Messiah. "What is man; what am I; what can any of my descendants be, who must be of mortal frame, that this dominion should be given him? Why should anyone of a race so feeble, so ignorant, so imperfect, be exalted to such honor?" We may ask the question here, and it may be asked in heaven with pertinency and with power, 'Why was man so honored as to be united to the Godhead? Why did the Deity appear in the human form? What was there in man that should entitle him to this honor of being united to the Divinity, and of being thus exalted above the angels?' The wonder is not yet solved; and we may well suppose that the angelic ranks look with amazement - but without envy - on the fact that "man," by his union with the Deity in the person of the Lord Jesus, has been raised above them in rank and in glory. "Or the son of man." This phrase means the same as "man," and is used merely to give variety to the mode of expression. Such a change or variety in words and phrases, when the same thing is intended, occurs constantly in Hebrew poetry. The name "son of man" is often given to Christ to denote his intimate connection with our race, and the interest which he felt in us, and is the common term which the Saviour uses when speaking of himself. Here it means "man," and maybe applied to human nature everywhere - and therefore to human nature in the person of the Messiah.

That thou visitest him - That thou shouldst regard him or treat him with so much honor. Why is he the object of so much interest to the Divine Mind?

6. But—It is not to angels the Gospel kingdom is subject, BUT …

one … testified—the usual way of quoting Scripture to readers familiar with it. Ps 8:5-7 praises Jehovah for exalting MAN, so as to subject all the works of God on earth to him: this dignity having been lost by the first Adam, is realized only in Christ the Son of man, the Representative Man and Head of our redeemed race. Thus Paul proves that it is to MAN, not to angels, that God has subjected the "world to come." In Heb 2:6-8, MAN is spoken of in general ("him … him … his); then at Heb 2:9, first Jesus is introduced as fulfilling, as man, all the conditions of the prophecy, and passing through death Himself; and so consequently bringing us men, His "brethren," to "glory and honor."

What, &c.—How insignificant in himself, yet how exalted by God's grace! (Compare Ps 144:3). The Hebrew, "Enosh" and "Ben-Adam," express "man" and "Son of man" in his weakness: "Son of man" is here used of any and every child of man: unlike, seemingly, the lord of creation, such as he was originally (Ge 1:1-2:25), and such as he is designed to be (Ps 8:1-9), and such as he actually is by title and shall hereafter more fully be in the person of, and in union with, Jesus, pre-eminently the Son of man (Heb 2:9).

art mindful—as of one absent.

visitest—lookest after him, as one present.

But one in a certain place testified: the Spirit proves affirmatively out of one of the prophets, that with these Hebrews it might have the more weight and authority, by an elliptical speech, that this world to come was subject to the great gospel Minister: But to Jesus he put in subjection the world to come, as one testifieth. This one was the king and prophet David, a Lord and Son to whom was this Jesus; the title of the 8th Psalm {Psalm 8:1-9} ascribes it to him: he is not particularly named, because these Hebrews well knew it, yet he diemarturato, thoroughly testified, or most expressly, giving a full confirmation of what is asserted, that Jesus is the Lord of the world to come: and this certain place was a well known place, and very ready with those, even Psalm 8:1-9.

Saying; making it known by word and writing there beyond any contradiction.

What is man? the subject of David’s admiration is not the first Adam, nor any mere man, but the gospel Prophet, God-man, a most eminent One, the Messiah of these Hebrews, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5; and to him only are the privileges vouchsafed agreeable, and by him only enjoyed. For Adam had now lost his dominion when this Psalm was penned, and was never so honoured as to have all things under his feet, even principalities and powers, which Christ had, Hebrews 2:8 Ephesians 1:20-22; and Christ interprets it of himself, Matthew 21:16. The expostulation is resolvable: Man is nothing in himself, that such royalty should be assigned to him.

That thou art mindful of him; that God should respect him, should remember and design such a worm as man for so great preferment, as union to the Deity and universal dominion.

Or the Son of man: this is the peculiar title of the Second Adam. Adam was a man, but not the son of man, but of God by creation, Luke 3:38; but the Spirit testifieth this of Christ, Daniel 7:13; Lord of the sabbath, Luke 6:5; God-man, John 3:13 5:27.

That thou visitest him; episkepth, to be peculiarly inspected; and with a special care concerned for him, so industriously and with so great a providence to afford him suitable succour. The form of it is an expostulation with admiration: it is an amazement at the discovery of so stupendous love to man. How emptied he himself for sinners! This work of Christ is the greatest wonder and astonishment to angels. But one in a certain place testified,.... That is, David, for he is the penman of the psalm, out of which the following words are taken; and though his name is not mentioned by the apostle, nor the particular place, or the psalm pointed at, as in Acts 13:33 yet this was not through ignorance of either, nor out of disrespect to the penman; but because the apostle is writing to Jews, who were conversant with the Scriptures, and knew full well who said the words, and where they were: and it is usual with the Jews to cite passages in this manner; and the form by which the passage is introduced, by the word testified, is quite agreeable to their way of citing Scripture, of which there is another instance in Hebrews 7:17 and I think that this form is only used in this epistle to the Hebrews, with which they were acquainted: it is common with them to say, , "the law testified" (e), as it is said in such or such a place; and here the apostle produces a passage, as a witness and testimony of the truth of what he had said, that the Gospel dispensation is not put in subjection to angels, but to the Messiah: the passage stands in Psalm 8:4 which psalm belongs to the times of the Messiah, as appears from the non-application of it to others; and from the application of a passage in it to the children in his time, Matthew 21:16 by Christ himself, and of the passage here by the apostle; nor in any other time was the name of the Lord excellent in all the earth, with which the psalm begins and concludes:

Saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? this is not to be understood of mankind in general: not of man in a state of innocence; there were no babes nor sucklings in paradise, nor enemies to restrain; "Enosh", the word for man, signifies a frail mortal man, which Adam then was not; nor could he be called the son of man; nor can it so well suit with him, to be said to be made a little lower than the angels, and then crowned with glory and honour: nor of man as fallen, for all things are not subjected unto him; but of Christ, with whom everything agrees, as the name by which he is called, "Enosh", a frail man; for he was a man encompassed with infirmities; of no note and esteem among men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs; was subject to death, and did die; and is often called the son of man: what is said of him suits with him, as that God was "mindful of him"; which may be expressive of his love and delight in, and choice of his human nature, to be taken into union with his divine person; and of his counsel and covenant in preparing it for him; and of his uniting it to his person; and of his providential care of it, and great affection for it; of his unction of it, and of his great regard to it in its sufferings, by supporting it, and in raising it from the dead: and also that he "visited" him; not in a way of wrath, but of favour, with his presence, with the gifts and graces of his Spirit, with divine supports, and spiritual peace and joy; all which in itself it was not deserving of, nor could it claim; and therefore these things are spoken of as favours, and in a way of admiration.

(e) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 37. 1. Maimon. Hilchot Yesode Hattorsh, 3. 7. sect. 6. & Melachim, c. 11. sect. 1. Vid. Aben Ezra in Leviticus 16.8.

{4} But one in a certain place testified, saying, {g} What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the {h} son of man, that thou visitest him?

(4) He shows that the use of this kingly dignity exists in this, that men might not only in Christ recognise the dignity which they have lost, but also might be through him advanced above all things, which dignity of men David describes most excellently.

(g) What is there in man that you should have such a great regard for him, and do him that honour?

(h) He refers to all the citizens of the heavenly kingdom as they are considered to be, before God gives them the freedom of that city in Christ, man, and sons of man.

Hebrews 2:6 attaches itself closely to Hebrews 2:5, in that the adversative δέ (different from the disjunctive ἀλλά, but, on the contrary. Comp. Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 171), as Hebrews 4:13; Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:27, Hebrews 12:13, 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Corinthians 7:25 fin., and frequently, as it were correcting the preceding negative statement, now places in opposition the actual state of the question: Some one, however (some one, on the contrary), testified in a certain place and said. Quite wrongly does Heinrichs suppose an entirely new section of the epistle to begin with Hebrews 2:6.

πού τις] The wavering character of this form of citation is derived by Grotius from the consideration that the Psalms were the work of different authors, and the authors of particular psalms were often unknown. But the eighth Psalm, here cited, is, both in the Hebrew and the LXX., expressly ascribed to David. According to Koppe (Excursus I. ad epist. ad Roman., 2d ed. p. 379), Dindorf, Schulz, Heinrichs (comp. also Stengel), the indefiniteness of the formula is to be explained by the fact that the author is citing from memory. But the words agree too exactly with the LXX. to be a citation from memory, and, moreover, the indefinite που occurs again, Hebrews 4:4, in connection with the citation of Genesis 2:2, thus in connection with an appeal to a passage of the O. T. Scripture, of which the place where it is found could not possibly escape the memory of our author. De Wette, after the precedent of Bleek [cf. Peshito: the Scripture witnesses, and says], regards it as the most correct supposition that the author “was not concerned about the particular writers of Scripture, since for him God or the Holy Ghost spoke through the Scripture.” Yet, if the reason for the form of expression is to be sought in this, then in general we should hardly expect the personal indication τίς to be added, but rather a passive construction to be chosen. According to Hofmann, finally, ̔πού τις is intended to declare “that it is indeed a matter of indifference for his purpose who said this, and where it is found; that it is adduced as the utterance of some man, only an utterance which comes invested with the authority of Scripture!” The indefinite mode of citation has probably no other than a rhetorical ground, inasmuch as the author presupposes a universal acquaintance with the passage, without concerning himself to learn whether it is known to all or not. So substantially also Chrysostom (τοῦτο δὲ αὐτό, οἶμαι, τὸ κρύπτειν καὶ μὴ τιθέναι τὸν εἰρηκότα τὴν μαρτυρίαν, ἀλλʼ ὡς περιφερομένην καὶ κατάδηλον οὖσαν εἰσάγειν, δεικνύντος ἐστίν, αὐτοὺς σφόδρα ἐμπείρους εἶναι τῶν γραφῶν), Oecumenius, Theophylact, Primasius, Jac. Cappellus, Cornelius a Lapide [Owen: “the reason is plain; both person and place were sufficiently known to them to whom he wrote”], Calov, Tholuck, Bloomfield, Alford, Maier, Moll, Kurtz, al. The same reticence in the mode of citation is often found with Philo. Comp. e.g. de ebrietate, p. 248 (ed. Mangey, I. p. 365): εἶπε γάρ πού τις (sc. Abraham, Genesis 20:12). Further examples see in Bleek, Abth. II. 1 Hälfte, p. 239.

The citation, which extends to ̔ποδῶν αὐτοῦ, Hebrews 2:8, is from Psalm 8:5-7 (4–6). The utterance in its historic sense contains a declaration with regard to man in general; but the author, on the ground of the ideal import of the passage, as likewise in particular on the ground of the expression υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου, which in consequence of Daniel 7:13 was current with the Jews as an appellation of the Messiah (comp. John 12:34), which, too, was one often bestowed by Jesus upon Himself, finds in it a declaration concerning the Son of man κατʼ ἐξοχήν, i.e. concerning Christ.[44] Paul, too, has Messianically interpreted the psalm, 1 Corinthians 15:27 f. (comp. Ephesians 1:22).

Τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος κ.τ.λ.] What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou regardest him! i.e., in the sense of the original, How small, weak, and insignificant, as compared with the majestic heavenly bodies, is man, that Thou shouldst nevertheless take a loving and careful interest in him! In the application: How great and full of dignity is man, that Thou so greatly distinguishest him with loving care! (Kuinoel, Heinrichs, Böhme, Bleek, Stein; otherwise, de Wette, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 45, 2 Aufl.; Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 361; Alford, Moll, Kurtz, al.). Thus the author could understand the words, although the “being mindful” and “looking upon” do not very well accord therewith, in that he was guided in his acceptance of them pre-eminently by the final clause δόξῃαὐτοῦ.

] instead of this ו is found in the Hebrew, thus introduces a purely parallel member, in such wise that υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου is identical with ἄνθρωπος in the first member, and is distinguished therefrom only as a more sharply defined presentation of the same notion.

[44] In contradiction with the design of the whole explication, as this clearly manifests itself from the context, do Beza, Piscator, Storr, Ebrard, Delitzsch (p. 57, 59), Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 45, 2 Aufl.), Alford, Moll, and others, refer ἄνθρωπος, even in the sense of our author, and νἱὸς ἀνθρώπου to man generally, namely, to the man of the New Covenant, inasmuch as he shall receive the dominion over all things, in the possession of which Christ is already set. When Ebrard, p. 84, asserts that the “Messianic” interpretation “of the non-Messianic eighth Psalm” cannot be laid to the account of the author of the epistle, without charging him with “a downright Rabbinical misunderstanding of a psalm;” and when, in like manner, Delitzsch, p. 57, declares it “not at all conceivable that the author of our epistle should without any explanation have referred ἄνθρωπος and υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου of the psalm to Christ,” unless we are to attribute “the uttermost limitation of thought to the N. T. exposition of Scripture,” that is nothing else than a controlling of the author of the epistle by preconceived opinions of one’s own, from which, in the face of 1 Corinthians 15:27 f., one ought to have shrunk. For the rest, against the view espoused by Ebrard, Delitzsch, and Hofmann, comp. also Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 368 ff., note.6. but one in a certain place testified] The writer was of course perfectly well aware that the Psalm on which he proceeds to comment is the 8th Psalm. This indefinite mode of quotation (“some one, somewhere”) is common in Philo and the Rabbis. Scripture is often quoted by the words “It saith” or “He saith” or “God saith. Possibly the indefinite form (comp. Hebrews 4:4)—which is not found in St Paul—is only here adopted because God is Himself addressed in the Psalm. (See Schöttgen, Nov. Hebr. p. 928.)

What is man] The Hebrew word—enosh—means man in his weakness and humiliation. The “what” expresses a double feeling—how mean in himself! how great in Thy love! The Psalm is only Messianic in so far as it implies man’s final exaltation through Christ’s incarnation. It applies, in the first instance, and directly, to man; and only in a secondary sense to Jesus as man. But St Paul had already (1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22) applied it in a Messianic sense, and “Son of man” was a Messianic title (Daniel 7:13). Thus the Cabbalists regarded the name Adam as an anagram for Adam, David, Moses, and regarded the Messiah as combining the dignity of all three. David twice makes the exclamation—“What is man?”;—once when he is thinking of man’s frailty in connection with his exaltation by God (Psalms 8); and once (Psalm 144:3) when he is thinking only of man’s emptiness and worthlessness, as being undeserving of God’s care, (comp. Job 7:17).Hebrews 2:6. Διεμαρτύρατο δέ που τὶς, but one in a certain place testified) one, viz. a witness. David did not here speak of himself; wherefore it was not necessary to introduce his name. Nor should we stop short with the intermediate messengers, but should look to the word of GOD, when it has testified once for all. David testified in Psalms 8, to which this chapter often refers, even from the tenth verse, as we shall see. Δὲ, but, forms an antithesis between the angels and Him to whom the psalm testifies that all things are subjected.—τί ὲστινποδῶν αὐτοῦ) So altogether the LXX., Psalm 8:5-7. That clause, and Thou hast set Him over the works of Thy hands, the apostle does not assume, at least in his reasoning, but deduces the “all things” from what goes before and follows in the psalm. There are mentioned in that clause the works of GOD’S hands, i.e. heaven, the moon and stars. (The sun is wanting, either because, as the slavery and deliverance of his seed was shown to Abraham in the night time, Genesis 15:12; so the humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah were shown to David and sung by him during the night; as also the word of the Lord seems to have come to Job by night, Job 38:7; Job 38:31-32; or because Messiah, when forsaken on the cross, saw the moon and stars after that the sun was darkened.) But the authority of Christ continues beyond the duration of these.—τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος) what is man with respect to the works of GOD, the heaven, etc.; but what is man with respect to God Himself? The expression is thus more humble than if he had said: Who am I? A man, ἄνθρωπος, without the article, as one of many, אנוש, a man, παθητὸς, subject to sufferings and death.—ὅτι μιμνήσκῃ αὐτοῦ, that Thou art mindful of him) Such is the description of the Messiah’s condition, in which He might seem to have passed away from the remembrance and care of God. Whence, with wonderful humilty, He is astonished Himself at this very thing, the remembrance of Him: how much more at so great glory prepared for Him? It could not be otherwise, Acts 2:24; but He prays as if it could scarcely be so.—, or) בן אדם, the son of man, in this passage, conveys the notion of something more insignificant than אדם, man.—υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου) בן אדם, comp. Psalm 49:3.[10] Again without the article.—ἐπισκέπτῃ αὐτὸν, takest account of him, visitest him) An increase in the force of the expression; for remembrance refers even to the absent; ἐπισκέπτεσθαι, to visit or look after, denotes the care of one present.

[10] See the Hebrew בְנֵי אָדָם. Also Psalm 144:3.—ED.Verse 6. - But one in a certain place (or, somewhere) testified, saying. The phrase does not imply uncertainty as to the passage cited. It is one used by Philo when exact reference is not necessary. It is equivalent to "but we do find the following testimony with regard to man." We say to man; for the eighth psalm, from which the citation comes, evidently refers to man generally; not primarily or distinctively to the Messiah. Nor does it appear to have been ranked by the Jews among the Messianic psalms. It would be arbitrary interpretation to assign to it (as some have done) an original meaning of which it contains no signs. This being the case, how are we to explain its application to Christ, which is not confined to this passage, but is found also in 1 Corinthians 15:27? There is no real difficulty. True, the psalm speaks of man only; but it is of man regarded according to the ideal position assigned to him in Genesis 1, as God's vicegerent. Man as he now is (says the writer of this Epistle) does not fulfill this ideal; but Christ, the Son of man, and the Exalter of humanity, does. Therefore in him we find the complete fulfillment of the meaning of the psalm. If it be still objected that the application (in which sovereignty over all created things is inferred) transcends the meaning of the psalm, which refers to this earth only - πάντα in ver. 6. of the psalm being taken in a wider sense than seems justified by the following verses, which confine the application to earthly creatures, it may be replied

(1) that the idea of the psalmist is to be gathered, not only from Genesis 1:28, which he quotes, but, further, from the whole purport of Genesis 1, of which the psalm is a lyrical expression, including the conception of man having been made in God's image, and invested with a sovereignty little short of Divine;

(2) that, if the application does transcend the scope of the psalm, it was open to an inspired writer of the New Testament thus to extend its meaning, as seen in the new light from Christ. Taking the latter view, we have but to put the argument thus, in order to see its force and legitimacy: In Psalm 8. (read in connection with Genesis 1, on which it is founded) a position is assigned to man which at present he does not realize; but its whole idea is fulfilled, and more than fulfilled, in Christ. It is to be observed that the original reference of the psalm to man generally is not only evident in itself, but also essential to the writer's argument. For he is now passing from the view set forth in Hebrews 1, of what the SON is in himself, to the further view of his participation in humanity, in order to exalt humanity to the position forfeited through sin; and thus (as has been shown in the foregoing summary) to lead up to the idea of his being our great High Priest. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? In the psalm this exclamation comes after a contemplation of the starry heavens, which had impressed the psalmist's mind with a sense of God's transcendent glory. In contrast with this glory, man's insignificance and unworthiness occur to him, as they have similarly occurred to many; but, at the same time, he thought of the high position assigned to man in the account of the creation, on which position he next enlarges. He asks how it can be that man, being what he is now, can be of such high estate. Thus the Epistle carries out truly the idea of the psalm, which is that man's appointed position in the scale of things is beyond what he seems now to realize. In a certain place (πού)

Only here and Hebrews 4:4, signifying indefinite quotation. It does not mean that the writer is ignorant of the author or of the place, but assumes that the readers know it, and that it is a matter of no moment who said it or where it is written.

Testified (διεμαρτυράτο)

Mostly in Luke and Acts. Only here in Hebrews. In Paul only in 1st Thessalonians. See on 1 Thessalonians 2:12. It implies a solemn, earnest testimony.

What is man

The Hebrew interrogation, מָה, what, what kind of, implies "how small or insignificant" compared with the array of the heavenly bodies; not "how great is man."

The son of man

Hebrew son of Adam, with a reference to his earthly nature as formed out of the dust. Very often in Ezekiel as a form of address to the prophet, lxx, υἱὲ ἀνθρώπου son of man. The direct reference of these words cannot be to the Messiah, yet one is reminded that the Son of man was Christ's own title for himself.

Visitest (ἐπισκέπτῃ)

The primary sense of the verb is to look upon; hence, to look after or inspect; to visit in order to inspect or help. Similarly the Latin visere means both to look at and to visit. An ἐπίσκοπος is an overlooker, and ἐπισκοπὴ is visitation. The verb only here in Hebrews, oP., very often in lxx. See on Matthew 25:36. Here in the sense of graciously and helpfully regarding; caring for.

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels (ἠλάττωσας)

Rend. thou didst for some little time make him lower than the angels. Ἐλαττοῦν to make less or inferior, only here, Hebrews 2:9, and John 3:30. Often in lxx (principally Sirach).Βραχύ τι, the Hebrew as A.V. a little; of degree. The lxx translators interpreted it, apparently, of time, "for some little time." Although there is precedent for both meanings in both Class. and N.T., the idea of time better suits the whole line of thought, and would probably, as Robertson Smith observes, have appeared to a Greek reader the more natural interpretation. For this sense see Isaiah 57:17; Acts 5:34. He who has been described as superior to the angels, was, for a short time, on the same plane with man, and identified with an economy which was under the administration of angels. This temporary subordination to angels was followed by permanent elevation over them. Παρ' ἀγγέλους. The Hebrew is מֵאֱלֹהִים, than God. Elohim is used in a wide sense in O.T.: see, for instance, Psalm 82:6, where God addresses the judges by that titles and declares that he himself called them to their office and gave them their name and dignity. Comp. John 10:34 and Psalm 29:1, lxx υἱοὶ θεοῦ sons of God, A.V. mighty. The lxx translators understand it, not as representing the personal God, but that which is divine, in which sense it would be appropriate to angels as having divine qualities.

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