5 You made them[a] a little less than[b] the heavenly beings.[c] You crowned mankind[d] with honor and majesty.[e]
Psalm 8:5tnHeb “him.” The antecedent is “son of man,” so the pronoun is third masculine singular. But since “son of man” is taken in a generic sense, the translation says “them” referring to the human race.
Psalm 8:5tnHeb “and you make him lack a little from אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim, “God” or “the heavenly beings”). The Piel form of חָסַר (khasar, “to decrease, to be devoid”) is used only here and in Eccl 4:8, where it means “to deprive, to cause to be lacking.” The verb form is past tense, as confirmed both by the preterite pointing of the initial vav (ו) and by the form of the pronominal suffix (without nun as with the forms in the previous verse). Some see this as an allusion to the creation of Adam and Eve in Gen 1:26-27, but it may also be a general reference to the status of humanity. Any connection is theological as Ps 8:5 does not share any terminology with Gen 1:26-27.
Psalm 8:5tn The Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (ʾelohim) can refer to the one true God, to false gods, or the heavenly beings. In this context it would refer either to God or to the angels. The LXX (the ancient Greek translation of the OT) reads “angels” in Ps 8:5 (and is the source of the quotation of Ps 8:5 in Heb 2:7). The term אֱלֹהִים may refer to heavenly beings (angels) in Gen 3:5, where the serpent says to the woman, “you will be like the heavenly beings who know good and evil.” (Note Gen 3:22, where God says, “the man has become like one of us.” Also see the notes at Gen 1:26-27 regarding the plural forms.) In Ps 82:1, 6אֱלֹהִים may refer to the members of the heavenly assembly (or may be a polemic against false gods).
Psalm 8:5tnHeb “him.” The antecedent, “son of man” is understood generically as representing the human race. The form of the third masculine singular pronoun on the verb (i.e., without nun connector as in the previous verse) confirms that the verb is a preterite. Although beginning with vav-patakh-dagesh commonly the characterizes the preterite form, it is not always present in poetry. This form of the third masculine singular suffix is used with the short prefixed paradigms, preterite and jussive, of which only the preterite fits the context.
Psalm 8:5snHonor and majesty. These terms allude to mankind’s royal status as God’s vice-regents (cf. v. 6 and Gen 1:26-30).
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