October 18 2022
Today, Tuesday October 18
A Psalm of Rejoicing
To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David
“O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen-- Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!
I have been reading through the Book of Psalms daily now for over 50 years and estimate that I have read them completely through well over 600 times. I have preached many messages from the Psalms but honestly, I never had taken the time to study the history or background behind the writing of each individual Psalm. I am thoroughly enjoying preparing for these chats each day as I research each Psalm and I feel like I am learning so much more about them, especially as I look at the writer and the occasion for the writing of each Psalm. I trust that you will be as blessed as I am as we go through the Book of Psalms over the next several months.
From the title that is over Psalm 8, we know that David wrote it. Different commentators have various opinions as to the occasion of the writing of the Psalm and especially the meaning of “Gath”. In many translations the word “Gittith” is used instead of “Gath”.
C.H. Spurgeon in his commentary, “The Treasury of David”, makes this observation about the title: “We are not clear upon the meaning of the word Gittith. Some think it refers to Gath and may refer to a tune that was commonly sung there, or possibly it was an instrument of music that was invented there. It might have been a song of Obed-edom the Gittite. This is the owner of the house where the ark was kept when it was brought back from the Philistines. Better still, this could have been a song that David wrote and sung over Goliath of Gath. Others, tracing the Hebrew to its root, conceive it to mean a song for the winepress, a joyful hymn for the treaders of grapes.”
Spurgeon went on to note: The term Gittith is applied to two other Psalms, (81:1-16, 84:1-12) both of which are of a joyous character. From this it may be concluded, that where we find that word in the title, we may look for a hymn of delight. (I have paraphrased Spurgeon’s comments for the sake of clarity.)
John Phillips believes Psalm 8 was definitely written by David on the occasion of his victory over Goliath of Gath. Phillips called this Psalm “The Death of a Champion” and noted: “It was later, when David was king and was arranging music for the royal choir he included this psalm with the note: "Muthlabben," a Hebrew expression which means, "the death of the champion." The tradition that refers it to Goliath is as old as the Targum. There it is paraphrased: "Concerning the death of the man who went forth between the camps." Scholars tell us that this is a direct reference to the story of David and Goliath for in 1 Samuel 17:4 the Hebrew word for champion is "the man of the space between the camps"—that dread no-man's land between Israel and the Philistines dominated by Goliath of Gath.”
Remember Psalms 1 and 2 gave us the introduction to the Book of Psalms assuring us that God blesses the righteous person and will judge and punish the evil deeds and iniquity of the unrighteous. Then Psalms 3 through 7 are the cries and prayers of David in times of trouble and distress as he faces the insurrection of his son Absalom and the slander and falsehoods of his enemies.
Psalm 8 is a refreshing and uplifting Psalm and song as we sit on a hillside on a beautiful clear night and view the creation of the heavens and reflect on how awesome our Lord is! Amen!