Psalm 8

1 O Jehovah, our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all
the earth,
Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens!

1-4, 10. A song in praise of the Father by the Lord to regard His innocence, and give help against the hells. P. P. 2. 6, 7, 10. Passages concerning the coming of the Lord. Coro. 60.

2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou
established strength,
Because of thine adversaries,
That thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

3 That in the Word a sucking child signifies innocence is also plain from other passages (Matthew xxi. 16), where infants stand for celestial love, and sucklings for innocence.A. 3183.

By “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise” is signified that praise can come to the Lord by no other way than through innocence, for by this alone is effected all communication and all influx, and consequently access. A. 5236.

No one can see the face of God (Matthew xviii. 10) except from innocence. In the following passages also innocence is signified by infants, or little children. A. 5608.

3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
The moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

4 The signification of the finger of God is power from the Divine. The finger is power because fingers are of the hands, and by hands is signified power. A. 7430. The fingers signify power. A. 10062.

4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him ?
And the son of man, that thou visitest him ?

5 To remember when concerning the Lord, means to have compassion and thus to preserve or deliver from mercy. Recollection or remembrance cannot be predicated of the Lord, since things past and future in Him are eternal, that is, are present from eternity to eternity. A. 9849.

5, 6. Because they are not willing to understand the Word in simplicity.

5 For thou hast made him but little lower than God,
And crownest him with glory and honor.

6 By giving to the Lord glory and honour nothing else is meant in the Word but to acknowledge and confess that all truth and all good are from Him, and thus that He is the only God, for He has glory from the Divine truth, and honour from the Divine good. R. 249.

This also is spoken of the Lord. His state of humiliation is described by His being made a little lower than the angels, His state of glorification by His being crowned with glory and honour. By glorifying is meant the uniting of the Lord’s Divine itself with His Human, and making this latter also Divine. E. 288.

6 Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of
thy hands;
Thou hast put all things under his feet:

6, 7. See Psalm ii. 6-8, 12. L. 6. He said ” All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” D. P., Page 47.

6, 7 et seq. Verses 6, 7 quoted. D. P., Page 58. Verses 6, 7 again quoted. D. P., Page 58. 7. Since the Lord’s church on the earth is under the heavens, it is therefore called the footstool of His feet. R. 470.

This is spoken of the Lord, whose dominion over all things of heaven and the church is understood by all things being put under His feet. E. 606.

7 All sheep and oxen,
Yea, and the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O Jehovah, our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all
the earth!

7, 8. This is said of the Lord whose dominion over man and over the things pertaining to man is thus described. Otherwise, what would be the dominion over beasts and fowls? A. 776.

The subject here treated of is the Lord and His power over all things in heaven and in earth. By flocks and herds are signified the interior and exterior goods appertaining to men, and by beasts the affections appertaining to them. A. 10609.

7-9. So long as a man is spiritual his dominion proceeds from the external man to the internal — see Genesis i. But when he becomes celestial and does good from love, his dominion proceeds from the internal man to the external, just as the Lord says in David of himself, and thus at the same time of the celestial man who is His likeness. Here therefore the beasts are first mentioned, then the fowl and then the fishes of the sea, because the celestial man goes forth from love, which is of the will. It is otherwise with the spiritual man with whom the fishes and the birds precede, which are things of the understanding that relates to faith, and the beasts follow. A. 52. Describing the dominion of the Lord in man, the fish of the sea standing for outward knowledges. A. 991. Since the affections and thence the perceptions and the thoughts of spirits and angels in the spiritual world appear at a distance in the forms of the animals or creatures upon the earth which are called beasts, of the creatures in the air which are called birds, and of the creatures in the sea which are called fishes, therefore beasts, birds, and fishes are so often mentioned in the Word, by which however nothing else is meant. This verse is said concerning the Lord. R. 405.

In these places men as to their affections are signified by beasts. R. 567.

Birds signify the things which are of the understanding and thence of thought and design. This is clearly manifest from birds in the spiritual world. R. 757.

Here the subject treated of is the Lord and His Divine power over heaven and earth. By the sheep and oxen, the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea are understood men, spirits and angels as to things spiritual, and things natural pertaining to them. By the fish of the sea are understood those who are in the ultimates of heaven. E. 342.

These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning His dominion. That He has dominion over the angels in the heavens and over man on the earth is known from the Word, for He himself says — see Matthew xxviii. 18-; but that dominion was given to Him over animals, birds and fishes is not of sufficient importance to be mentioned in the Word, where all, even the most minute things, have respect to heaven and the church. Hence it may appear that by the flock and herd are signified in general spiritual things and natural things, by the flock things spiritual, and by the herd things natural pertaining to man, or which are of his natural and spiritual mind. By the beasts of the field are signified things voluntary which pertain to the affections, by the fowls of heaven things intellectual which pertain to the thoughts, and by the fishes of the sea things scientific which pertain to the natural man. E. 513. The subject treated of in the whole of Psalm viii. is concerning the Lord and His dominion over all things of heaven and the church. . . . Spiritual things in the Word are expressed by natural things, for the Word in its interior is spiritual. Hence by flock, herd, beasts of the field, birds of heaven, and fishes of the sea are not understood those things, but spiritual things appertaining to heaven and the church. E. 650.

Treating of the Lord, of whom it is here said that He shall have rule over all things of the hands of Jehovah, by which are not understood terrestrial things, such as flocks, herds, beasts, birds and fishes, for what would these be for His dominion which is in the heavens, and from the heavens over men on the earths whom He will lead to life eternal, wherefore the spiritual things of the church are those here understood. By the flocks are signified in general all spiritual things with man, by the herds natural things with him, which correspond to spiritual, by the beasts of the fields the affections of good in the natural man which are of the church, for a field signifies the church. The birds of heaven signify the thoughts of the rational man, and the fishes of the sea scientifics. E. 1 100.

The state of His glorification is described. P. P.

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)