on Psalms 8 :5
Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels - The original is certainly very emphatic: ותחסרחו מעט מאלהים vattechasserchu meat meelohim, Thou hast lessened him for a little time from God. Or, Thou hast made him less than God for a little time. See these passages explained at large in the notes on Hebrews 2:6 (note), etc., which I need not repeat here.
Psalm 8:5Minuisti eum paullo minus ab angelis: gloria et honore coronasti eum; et constituisti eum super opera manuum tuarum.
Trans. Thow lessed hym a littil fra aungels; with ioy and honor thu coround hym: and thu sett him aboven the werkes of thi hend.
Par. Crist was lessed fra aungels, for he was dedely, and mught suffer pyne; but a littel; for in other thyng, es he abouen aungels, thair Kyng and Sychthu thou coround hym with ioy, that es with brighthede of body, na mare sufferand pyne; and honor, for he es honorable til al: and thou sett hym abouen aungels and al creatures.
on Psalms 8 :5
For thou hast made him - Thou hast made man as such; that is, he was such in the original design of his creation, in the rank given him, and in the dominion conceded to him. The object here is to show the honor conferred on man, or to show how God has regarded and honored him; and the thought is, that in his original creation, though so insignificant as compared with the vast worlds over which God presides, he had given him a rank but little inferior to that of the angels. See the notes at Hebrews 2:7.
A little lower - The Hebrew word used here - חסר châsêr, means to want, to lack - and then, to be in want, to be diminished. The meaming is, "Thou hast caused him to want but little;" that is, he was but little interior.
Than the angels - So this is rendered by the Aramaic Paraphrase: by the Septuagint; by the Latin Vulgate; by the Syriac and Arabic; and by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 2:7, who has literally quoted the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses from the Septuagint. The Hebrew, however, is - מאלהים mi'ĕlôhı̂ym - than God. So Gesenius renders it, "Thou hast caused him to want but little of God; that is, thou hast made him but little lower than God." So DeWette, "nur wenig unter Gott." So Tholuck renders it, "nur um wenig unter Gott." This is the more natural construction, and this would convey an idea conformable to the course of thought in the psalm, though it has been usually supposed that the word used here - אלהים 'Elohiym - may be applied to angels, or even men, as in Psalm 82:1; Psalm 97:7; Psalm 138:1; Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8-9. Gesenius (Thesau. Ling. Heb., p. 95) maintains that the word never has this signification. The authority, however, of the Aramaic, the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, would seem sufficient to show that that meaning may be attached to the word here with propriety, and that somehow that idea was naturally suggested in the passage itself. Still, if it were not for these versions, the most natural interpretation would be that which takes the word in its usual sense, as referring to God, and as meaning that, in respect to his dominion over the earth, man had been placed in a condition comparatively but little inferior to God himself; he had made him almost equal to himself.
And hast crowned him with glory and honor - With exalted honor. See the notes at Hebrews 2:7.
on Psalms 8 :5