Hebrews 2:6
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible

King James Bible
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Darby Bible Translation
but one has testified somewhere, saying, What is man, that thou rememberest him, or son of man that thou visitest him?

World English Bible
But one has somewhere testified, saying, "What is man, that you think of him? Or the son of man, that you care for him?

Young's Literal Translation
and one in a certain place did testify fully, saying, 'What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, or a son of man, that Thou dost look after him?

Hebrews 2:6 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

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?

Hebrews 2:6 Parallel Commentaries

Men Chosen --Fallen Angels Rejected
But now we wish to draw your attention to two instances of God's doing as he pleases in the fashioning of the works of his hands--the case of angels, and in the case of men. Angels were the elder born. God created them, and it pleased him to give unto them a free will to do as they pleased; to choose the good or to prefer the evil, even as he did to man: he gave them this stipulation--that if they should prefer the good, then their station in heaven should be for ever fixed and firm; but if they
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

A God in Pain
(Good Friday.) HEBREWS ii. 9, 50. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. What are we met together to think of this day? God in pain: God sorrowing; God dying for man, as far as God
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

The Child Jesus Brought from Egypt to Nazareth.
(Egypt and Nazareth, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 19-23; ^C Luke II. 39. ^a 19 But when Herod was dead [He died in the thirty-seventh year of his reign and the seventieth of his life. A frightful inward burning consumed him, and the stench of his sickness was such that his attendants could not stay near him. So horrible was his condition that he even endeavored to end it by suicide], behold, an angel of the Lord [word did not come by the infant Jesus; he was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 17),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Letter iv. You Reply to the Conclusion of My Letter: "What have we to do with Routiniers?...
My dear friend, You reply to the conclusion of my Letter: "What have we to do with routiniers? Quid mihi cum homunculis putata putide reputantibus? Let nothings count for nothing, and the dead bury the dead! Who but such ever understood the tenet in this sense?" In what sense then, I rejoin, do others understand it? If, with exception of the passages already excepted, namely, the recorded words of God--concerning which no Christian can have doubt or scruple,--the tenet in this sense be inapplicable
Samuel Taylor Coleridge—Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit etc

Cross References
Job 7:17
"What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him,

Psalm 8:4
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

Psalm 144:3
O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him?

1 Thessalonians 4:6
and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.

Hebrews 4:4
For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: "AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS";

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