on Hebrews 2 :7
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels - We must again have recourse to the original from which this quotation is made: ותחסרהו מעט מאלהים vattechasserehu meat meelohim. If this be spoken of man as he came out of the hands of his Maker, it places him at the head of all God's works; for literally translated it is: Thou hast made him less than God. And this is proved by his being made in the image and likeness of God, which is spoken of no other creature either in heaven or earth; and it is very likely that in his original creation he stood at the head of all the works of God, and the next to his Maker. This sentiment is well expressed in the following lines, part of a paraphrase on this psalm, by the Rev. C. Wesley: -
"Him with glorious majesty
Thy grace vouchsafed to crown:
Transcript of the One in Three,
He in thine image shone.
Foremost of created things,
Head of all thy works he stood;
Nearest the great King of kings,
And little less than God."
If we take the words as referring to Jesus Christ, then they must be understood as pointing out the time of his humiliation, as in Hebrews 2:9; and the little lower, βραχυ τι, in both verses, must mean for a short time, or a little while, as is very properly inserted among our marginal readings. Adam was originally made higher than the angels, but by sin he is now brought low, and subjected to death; for the angelic nature is not mortal. Thus, taking the words in their common acceptation, man in his present state may be said to be lessened below the angels. Jesus Christ, as the eternal Logos, or God with God, could not die, therefore a body was prepared for him; and thus βραχυ τι, for a short while, he was made lower than the angels, that he might be capable of suffering death. And indeed the whole of the passage suits him better than it does any of the children of men, or than even Adam himself in a state of innocence; for it is only under the feet of Jesus that all things are put in subjection, and it was in consequence of his humiliation that he had a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, Philippians 2:9-11. Therefore he must be infinitely higher than the angels, for they, as well as all the things in heaven, bow in subjection to him.
Thou crownedst him with glory and honor - This was strictly true of Adam in his state of innocence, for he was set over all things in this lower world; all sheep and oxen, the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth over the paths of the seas, Psalm 8:7, Psalm 8:8. So far all this perfectly applies to Adam; but it is evident the apostle takes all in a much higher sense, that of universal dominion; and hence he says, he left nothing that is not put under him. These verses, collated with the above passage from the Epistle to the Philippians, mutually illustrate each other. And the crowning Christ with glory and honor must refer to his exaltation after his resurrection, in which, as the victorious Messiah, he had all power given to him in heaven and earth. And although we do not yet see all things put under him, for evil men, and evil spirits, are only under the subjection of control, yet we look forward to that time when the whole world shall be bowed to his sway, and when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall become great, and fill the whole earth. What was never true of the first Adam, even in his most exalted state, is true of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ; and to him, and to him alone, it is most evident that the apostle applies these things; and thus he is higher than the angels, who never had nor can have such dominion and consequent glory.
on Hebrews 2 :7
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.
on Hebrews 2 :7
2:7 Thou hast made him - Adam. A little lower than the angels - The Hebrew is, a little lower than (that is, next to) God. Such was man as he came out of the hands of his Creator: it seems, the highest of all created beings. But these words are also in a farther sense, as the apostle here shows, applicable to the Son of God. It should be remembered that the apostles constantly cited the Septuagint translation, very frequently without any variation. It was not their business, in writing to the Jews, who at that time had it in high esteem, to amend or alter this, which would of consequence have occasioned disputes without end.