Psalm 8:7
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
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8:3-9 We are to consider the heavens, that man thus may be directed to set his affections on things above. What is man, so mean a creature, that he should be thus honoured! so sinful a creature, that he should be thus favoured! Man has sovereign dominion over the inferior creatures, under God, and is appointed their lord. This refers to Christ. In Heb 2:6-8, the apostle, to prove the sovereign dominion of Christ, shows he is that Man, that Son of man, here spoken of, whom God has made to have dominion over the works of his hands. The greatest favour ever showed to the human race, and the greatest honour ever put upon human nature, were exemplified in the Lord Jesus. With good reason does the psalmist conclude as he began, Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, which has been honoured with the presence of the Redeemer, and is still enlightened by his gospel, and governed by his wisdom and power! What words can reach his praises, who has a right to our obedience as our Redeemer?All sheep and oxen - Flocks and herds. Genesis 1:26, "over the cattle." Nothing is more manifest than the control which man exercises over flocks and herds - making them subservient to his use, and obedient to his will.

And the beasts of the field - Those not included in the general phrase "sheep and oxen." The word rendered "field," שׂדה śâdeh - or the poetic form, as here - שׂדי śâday, means properly a plain; a level tract of country; then, a field, or a tilled farm, Genesis 23:17; Genesis 47:20-21,; and then the fields, the open country, as opposed to a city, a village, a camp Genesis 25:27; and hence, in this place the expression means the beasts that roam at large - wild beasts, Genesis 2:20; Genesis 3:14. Here the allusion is to the power which man has of subduing the wild beasts; of capturing them, and making them subservient to his purposes; of preventing their increase and their depredations; and of taming them so that they shall obey his will, and become his servants. Nothing is more remarkable than this, and nothing furnishcs a better illustration of Scripture than the conformity of this with the declaration Genesis 9:2, "And the fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air," etc. Compare the notes at James 3:7. It is to be remembered that no small number of what are now domestic animals were originally wild, and that they have been subdued and tamed by the power anti skill of man. No animal has shown himself superior to this power and skill.

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 (Ge 1:26-28) 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 (Heb 2:6-8; 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" [Heb 2:15], "shall be destroyed" [1Co 15:26]. Then all things will have been put under his feet, "principalities and powers being made subject to him" [1Pe 3:22]. 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 assigned it.

All sheep and oxen; here is no perfect enumeration, but under these are comprehended all other beasts, and much more men and angels.

The beasts of the field, i.e. the wild beasts; which together with divers fowls and fishes were subject to Christ, and are governed and employed as it pleaseth him; although many of them be without the reach and are not brought under the, power of any other man.

All sheep and oxen,.... The tame creatures, which are useful for food and clothing:

yea, and the beasts of the field; the wild beasts, which he can make use of to destroy and devour his enemies, and whom he can restrain from harming his own people, Jeremiah 15:8.

All {d} sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

(d) By the temporal gifts of man's creation, he is led to consider the benefits which he has by his regeneration through Christ.

7, 8. Man’s subjects are as it were mustered and passed in review: domestic animals, and even the wild creatures that roam at large over the open country; the birds of the air (lit. heaven, as Psalm 104:12), and the fish of the sea, and all the manifold inhabitants of the mysterious depths of ocean. See Genesis 1:21; Genesis 9:2. Cp. Homer’s ὑγρὰ κέλευθα (Il. i. 312); “the wet sea-paths,” as Milton calls them in his version of the Psalm.

The living creatures here enumerated are only mentioned by way of example and illustration of “all things.” In the Psalmist’s day the dominion of man over nature was most strikingly exercised in his mastery over the animal creation, which he tamed or caught and turned to his own use. “Man has become,” says Darwin, “even in his rudest state, the most dominant animal that has ever appeared on this earth.” In our own day it is by the investigation of the great laws of nature, and by the utilisation of the great forces of nature, that man asserts and extends his sovereignty.

Verse 7. - All sheep and oxen; literally, flocks and oxen, all of them. The domesticated animals are placed first, as most completely under man's actual dominion. Yea, and the beasts of the field; i.e. "and all other land animals" (comp. Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:2). If some were still unsubdued (2 Kings 17:25, 26; Job 40:24; Job 41:1-10), their subjugation was only a question of time (see Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 65:25). Psalm 8:7(Heb.: 8:7-9) Man is a king, and not a king without territory; the world around, with the works of creative wisdom which fill it, is his kingdom. The words "put under his feet" sound like a paraphrase of the רדה in Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:28, כּל is unlimited, as in Job 13:1; Job 42:2; Isaiah 44:24. But the expansion of the expression in Psalm 8:8, Psalm 8:9 extends only to the earth, and is limited even there to the different classes of creatures in the regions of land, air, and water. The poet is enthusiastic in his survey of this province of man's dominion. And his lofty poetic language corresponds to this enthusiasm. The enumeration begins with the domestic animals and passes on from these to the wild beasts-together the creatures that dwell on terra firma. צנה (צנא Numbers 32:24) from צנה (צנא) Arab. dnâ (dn'), as also Arab. dân, fut. o., proliferum esse is, in poetry, equivalent to צאן, which is otherwise the usual name for small cattle. אלפים (in Aramaic, as the name of the letter shows, a prose word) is in Hebrew poetically equivalent to בּקר; the oxen which willingly accommodate themselves to the service of man, especially of the husbandman, are so called from אלף to yield to. Wild animals, which in prose are called חיּת הארץ, (השּׂדה) here bear the poetical name בּהמות שׂדי, as in Joel 2:22, cf. Joel 1:20, 1 Samuel 17:44. שׂדי (in pause שׂדי) is the primitive form of שׂדה, which is not declined, and has thereby obtained a collective signification. From the land animals the description passes on to the fowls of the air and the fishes of the water. צפּור is the softer word, instead of עוף; and שׁמים is water. צפּור is the softer word, instead of עוף; and שׁמים is used without the art. according to poetical usage, whereas היּם without the art. would have sounded too scanty and not sufficiently measured. In connection with ימּים the article may be again omitted, just as with שׁמים. עבר is a collective participle. If the following were intended: he (or: since he), viz., man, passes through the paths of the sea (Bttcher, Cassel, and even Aben-Ezra and Kimchi), then it would not have been expressed in such a monostich, and in a form so liable to lead one astray. The words may be a comprehensive designation of that portion of the animal kingdom which is found in the sea; and this also intended to include all from the smallest worm to the gigantic leviathan: ὁππόσα ποντοπόρους παρεπιστείβουσι κελεύθους (Apollinaris). If man thus rules over every living thing that is round about him from the nearest to the most remote, even that which is apparently the most untameable: then it is clear that every lifeless created thing in his vicinity must serve him as its king. The poet regards man in the light of the purpose for which he was created.
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