Hebrews 2:7
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
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Hebrews 2:7. Thou madest him — That Isaiah , 1 st, Man, when first created; a little lower than the angels — So the LXX., and all the old Greek translations, as also the Targum, read the clause; but the Hebrew, מעשׂ מאלהים, is a little lower than God; the word God being probably put by an ellipsis for the angels of God. Man, when first formed, was, it seems, in the scale of creatures next to angels, his soul being spiritual, intelligent, free, and immortal; but, as by his body he was allied to the earth, and to the beasts that perish, he was lower than they. But, 2d, The expression here used, βραχυ τι, may be rendered, for a little while, as it is Acts 5:44; And commanded to put the apostles forth, βραχυ τι, a little space, or while; and Luke 22:58, μετα βραχυ, after a little while. Thus translated, the clause is, Thou hast made him, for a little while, lower, or less, than the angels: in which sense the passage may be properly applied to Christ, as it here is by the apostle, whose meaning appears to be, Thou, O God, hast made thy Son, by his incarnation, humiliation, and obedience unto death, for a little while, lower than the angels. For although from Christ’s birth the angels adored his person as their Lord, yet in the outward condition of his human nature he was made exceedingly beneath their state of glory and excellence, for a little while, a short season. “That which renders this sense unquestionable,” says Dr. Owen, “is the apostle’s restraining the words precisely thereto, Hebrews 2:9. It was but for a little while that the person of Christ, in the nature of man, was brought into a condition more indigent than that to which the nature of angels is exposed: neither was he for that season made a little, but very much lower than the angels. And had this been the whole of his state, it could not have been an effect of that inexpressible love which the psalmist so admires. But, seeing it was but for a short season, and that for the blessed ends which the apostle speaks of, nothing could more commend it to us.” Thou crownedst him with glory and honour — That is, not only man at his first creation, to whom God gave dominion over the creatures, but also, and more especially, Jesus, after his resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven. Jesus was covered with the greatest ignominy when he was crucified by the Jews as a deceiver, for calling himself Christ the Son of God. But at his resurrection and subsequent exaltation that ignominy was entirely removed; and his fame, and name, and honour, as the Son of God, were, in the most illustrious manner, restored to him. See Php 2:9-11. And didst set him over the work of thy hands — As Ruler and Lord of all; namely, in a lower sense Adam when created, and more eminently Christ when raised from the dead, and set at God’s own right hand. For as he had actual dominion given him upon his ascension into heaven, so the extent of this dominion is the works of God’s hands.

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.Thou madest him a little lower than the angels - Margin, "A little while inferior to." The Greek may here mean a little inferior in rank, or inferior for a little time. But the probable meaning is, that it refers to inferiority of rank. Such is its obvious sense in Psalm 8:1-9, from which this is quoted. The meaning is, that God had made man but little inferior to the angels in rank. He was inferior, but still God had exalted him almost to their rank. Feeble, and weak, and dying as he was, God had exalted him, and had given him a dominion and a rank almost like that of the angels. The wonder of the Psalmist is, that God had given to human nature so much honor - a wonder that is not at all diminished when we think of the honor done to man by his connection with the divine nature in the person of the Lord Jesus. If in contemplating the race as it appears; if when we look at the dominion of man over the lower world, we are amazed that God has bestowed so much honor on our nature, how much more should we wonder that he has honored man by his connection with the divinity. Paul applies this to the Lord Jesus. His object is to show that he is superior to the angels. In doing this he shows that he had a nature given him in itself but little inferior to the angels, and then that that had been exalted to a rank and dominion far above theirs. That such honor should be put on "man" is what is suited to excite amazement, and well may one continue to ask why it has been done? When we survey the heavens, and contemplate their glories, and think of the exalted rank of other beings, we may well inquire why has such honor been conferred on man?

Thou crownedst him with glory and honor. - That is, with exalted honor. Glory and honor here are nearly synonymous. The meaning is, that elevated honor had been conferred on human nature. A most exalted and extended dominion had been given to "man," which showed that God had greatly honored him. This appeared eminently in the person of the Lord Jesus, "the exalted Man," to whom this dominion was given in the widest extent.

And didst set him over ... - "Man" has been placed over the other works of God:

(1) by the original appointment Genesis 1:26;

(2) man at large - though fallen, sinful, feeble, dying;

(3) man, eminently in the person of the Lord Jesus, in whom human nature has received its chief exaltation. This is what is particularly in the eye of the apostle - and the language of the Psalm will accurately express this exaltation.

7. a little—not as Bengel, "a little time."

than the angels—Hebrew, "than God," "Elohim," that is, the abstract qualities of God, such as angels possess in an inferior form; namely, heavenly, spiritual, incorporeal natures. Man, in his original creation, was set next beneath them. So the man Jesus, though Lord of angels, when He emptied Himself of the externals of His Divinity (see on [2544]Php 2:6, 7), was in His human nature "a little lower than the angels"; though this is not the primary reference here, but man in general.

crownedst him with glory and honour—as the appointed kingly vicegerent of God over this earth (Ge 1:1-2:25).

and didst set him over the works of thy hands—omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts; but read by others and by oldest versions: so Ps 8:6, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands."

Thou madest him: ’ Hlattwsav, so diminished, as it supposed the subject to be in a higher condition before: this no man ever was, but the man Christ Jesus: see Philippians 2:7,8.

A little lower than the angels: bpacu ti, may refer to his condition, and to the duration of it. He was lower a little in his nature, being a man and servant; in his condition, suffering and dying; yet this was but for a little while, being about thirty-three years in the form of a servant, and three days in the grave, Ephesians 4:9: so he was lesser than the angels, in the Psalm styled Myh la God’s sons, Psalm 97:7, to whom he is here compared; though it be a truth he is lesser than God in the human nature.

Thou crownedst him with glory and honour; an allusion to the crowning of kings at their inauguration; so God visibly took him up to heaven, set him down on his right hand on his throne, and conferred on him the highest royal dignity, honour, and glory, though the Hebrews disesteemed him, Ephesians 1:20,21 4:9,10 Php 2:9.

And didst set him over the works of thy hands; his institution to his mediatory sovereignty and dominion, as the supreme Lord of all that God made in heaven and in earth, to order, rule, command, and dispose of them as he will, Psalm 8:6: compare Philippians 2:10,11.

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels,.... In the Hebrew text it is, "than Elohim", which some render, "than God"; but it is rightly rendered by the apostle, "than angels"; and so the Targum, Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it. Christ was made a little lower than the angels, through the assumption of the human nature, which is inferior to angels, especially the corporeal part of it, and in this Kimchi makes the lessening to be; and more especially as that was assumed by Christ, with the infirmities of it; and by reason of the straits and indigencies he was brought into in it; besides, he was in it made under the law, which was given by angels, and to some parts of which they are not subject; and sometimes he stood in need of the ministry and support of angels, and had it; particularly he was made lower than they, when he was deprived of the gracious presence of God, and in the time of his sufferings and death; and which seem chiefly to be respected, as appears from Hebrews 2:9 and the word "little" may not so much intend the degree of his humiliation, as the duration of it; for it may be rendered, "a little while"; in which sense it is used in Acts 5:34 as the Hebrew word is in Psalm 37:10 and so may respect the time of his suffering death; and at most the time from his incarnation to his resurrection; for he could not continue long in this low estate, which is matter of joy to us; he could not be held by the cords of death, but must rise, and be exalted above angels, as he is: and he was made so low by God, Jehovah the Father, whose name is excellent in all the earth, Psalm 8:1 he preordained him to this low estate; he prepared a body for him, and had a very great hand in his sufferings and death; though neither of these were contrary to his will:

thou crownest him with glory and honour; with that glory he had with the Father before the world was, and which followed upon his sufferings and death; for through them he entered into it, and upon his resurrection had it, and he is ascended on high, where he has the honour to sit at the right hand of God, which none of the angels have; and therefore is now above them, though once for a while below them, and they are now subject to him:

and didst set him over the works of thy hands: over angels, principalities, and powers; over the kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of it, and all things in it, and made him higher than the heavens, and gave him a name above every name.

Thou {i} madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with {k} glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

(i) This is the first honour of the citizens of the world to come, that they are beside the angels.

(k) For they will be greatly honoured when they partake of the kingdom. He speaks of the thing that will be, as though it were already, because it is so certain.

Hebrews 2:7. Ἠλάττωσας αὐτὸν βραχύ τι παρʼ ἀγγέλους] Thus the LXX. translate the Hebrew ותְּחַסְרֵהוּ מְעַט מֵאֱלֹהִים. The sense of the Hebrew is: “Thou hast made Him only a little lower than God, hast made Him only a little less than God.” The βραχύ τι is consequently in the original a note of degree, and the whole former member ἠλάττωσαςἀγγέλους contains in the original the same thought as the immediately following δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν. The author, however, takes the βραχύ τι of the LXX. in the temporal sense: “for a short time” (comp. Hebrews 2:9), and finds in the second member an opposition to the first, in such wise that in the application he refers the statement of the first clause to the humiliation of Christ, that of the second to the exaltation of Christ.

The words following these in the LXX. (as also in the Hebrew): καὶ κατέστησας αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὰ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου (comp. the critical remarks), have been left out by the author as unsuitable to his presentment. For the statement that God has set the Son of man or the Messiah over the works of creation which proceeded from the hands of God, might appear to contain a contradiction to Hebrews 1:10 (comp. also Hebrews 1:2), where earth and heaven were designated as works created by the hands of the Son.

Hebrews 2:7. That God has been mindful of man and visited him is apparent in the three particulars now mentioned. βραχύ τι is “a little,” either in material, or in space, or in time. In 1 Samuel 14:29, ἐγευσάμην βραχύ τι τ. μέλιτος. In Isaiah 57:17, of time, διʼ ἁμαρτίαν βραχύ τι ἐλύπησα αὐτον. So in N.T., of aterial, John 6:7; of space, Acts 27:28; of time Acts 5:34. So in classics, v. Bleek. The original of the psalm points to the translation: “Thou didst make him little lower than the angels” [in the Heb. מֵאֱלֹהִים “than God”]. There seems no reason to depart from this meaning either in this verse or in Hebrews 2:9. So Alford and Westcott, but Davidson and Weiss and several others are of opinion that as the words are in Hebrews 2:9 applied to the Messiah, whose superiority has been so insisted upon, an allusion to His inferiority would be out of place; “and that the phrase should be used of degree in one place and time in another, when the point of the passage lies in the identity of the Son’s history with that of man, is an idea only puerile” (Davidson). But on any rendering the inferiority of Jesus to angels so far as dying goes is granted, and there is no reason why the sense of degree should not be kept in both clauses. δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ frequently conjoined, Revelation 21:26; 1 Timothy 1:17; Thucyd., iv. 86; Plut., Num., 51; Lucian Somn., 13.

7. a little lower] The “little” in the original (mëat) means “little in degree;” but is here applied to time—“for a little while”—as is clear from Hebrews 2:9. The writer was only acquainted with the LXX. and in Greek the βραχύ τι would naturally suggest brevity of time (comp. 1 Peter 5:10). Some of the Old Greek translators who took the other meaning rendered ὄλιγος παρὰ θεόν.

than the angels] The original has “than Elohim,” i.e. than God; but the name Elohim has, as we have seen, a much wider and lower range than “Jehovah,” and the rendering “angels” is here found both in the LXX. and the Targum. It must be borne in mind that the writer is only applying the words of the Psalm, and putting them as it were to a fresh use. The Psalm is “a lyric echo of the first chapter of Genesis” “and speaks of man’s exaltation. The author is applying it to man’s lowliness (“ad suum institutum deflectit,” says Calvin, “κατ' ἐπεξεργασίαν”). Yet David’s notion, like that of Cicero, is that “Man is a mortal God,” and the writer is only touching on man’s humiliation to illustrate his exaltation of the God-Man. See Perowne on the Psalms (1. 144).

and didst set him over the works of thy hands] This clause is probably a gloss from the LXX., as it is absent from some of the best MSS. and Versions (e.g. B and the Syriac). The writer omitted it as not bearing on his argument.

Hebrews 2:7. Βραχύ τι, a very short time) The same word occurs at Luke 22:58.—παρʼ ἀγγέλους) In Psalm 8:6, the Hebrew ותחסרהו מעט מאלהים has this meaning: Thou hast made the Son of Man to be a little less than God, that is, than Himself. The beautiful paraphrase of Christopher Corner is as follows: Christ having become man, humbled Himself under the cross, and abased Himself BELOW GOD, when the Divine nature remaining quiescent, and not exerting its power, God Himself and the Lord of Glory was crucified and put to death.—Expos. Psalm, p. 24. This is the force of Mem prefixed, 2 Chronicles 15:16; Isaiah 52:14. See Nold. Concord. on this particle, § 21. Mem following מחסר itself, Ecclesiastes 4:8. This mode of expression we find in another of Paul’s phrases: μὴ ὢν ἶσα Θεῷ and κενώσας ἑαυτὸν; Php 2:6-7, note. But Paul retains the interpretation of the LXX interpreters as suited to his purpose; for the homonymy[11] of the Hebrew word אלהים signifies an invisible nature, and therefore, whether angelic or divine, superior to the human nature; and He, who was made lower than the angels, was certainly made lower than GOD: but He as it were anew supplies the appellation, GOD, in ch. Hebrews 3:4. For so the apostle is accustomed to use appropriately to his purpose the words of the LXX interpreters, and to bring before the reader anew the force of the Hebrew words, when they are more to his purpose; ch. Hebrews 10:8, Hebrews 12:6, notes.

[11] Things differing in nature called by one name by analogy. Append.—ED.

Verse 7. - Thou madest him a little lower than the angels. Here the LXX. takes Elohim (being a plural form) to mean "angels;" as also in Psalm 97:7 and Psalms 138:1. The more correct rendering of the Hebrew may be, "thou reddest him a little short of God," with reference to his having been made "in God's image," "after God's likeness," and having dominion over creation given him. But, if so, Elohim must be understood in its abstract sense of "Divinity" (so Genesis), rather than as denoting the Supreme Being. Otherwise, "thyself" would have been the more appropriate expression, the psalm being addressed to God. The argument is not affected by the difference of translation. Indeed, the latter rendering enhances still more the position assigned to man. Thou crownedst him with glory and worship, and didst set him over the works of thy hands. The latter clause of this sentence, which is found in the LXX., but not in the Hebrew, is omitted in several codices. It is not wanted for the purpose of the argument. Hebrews 2:7
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