[b-hebrew] Psalm 8:6(5) and vav-consecutive

Steve Miller smille10 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jul 25 23:07:37 EDT 2008

I have 3 questions about Psalm 8:6 (v5 in English)

And You caused him [man] to lack a little from gods and crowned him with
glory and honor.

1. ELOHIM is literally translated either "God" or "gods" depending on the
context. I think the context requires "gods". because David is speaking to
God directly. Since David is talking to God as "You" it doesn't make sense
to say, "You lowered him a little below God". If David meant to say that, he
should say, "You lowered him a little below Yourself". My question is: Does
anyone know of any place in the Bible where someone talks to God (or anyone)
in the 2nd person, and in the same sentence still addressing God, refers to
God in the 3rd person? That lacking, I think the meaning must be "gods", not
"God". Comments?

2. Does Ps 8:6 refer to God's creation of man in Gen 1:26-28 or to God's
causing man to suffer death in Gen 3:19 & 2:16-17? 

a. Arguments in favor of Ps 8:6 referring to Gen 1:26-28 : 

i. Psalm 8:7-9 (6-8 English) clearly refer to God subjecting all things on
earth to man in Gen 1:28. Since Psalm 8:7-9 follows v6, then what happened
in v6 should come before God's subjecting all things under man in vv 7-9.
This matches the sequence in Gen 1:26-28, where God created man in Gen
1:26-27 and subjected all things on earth to him in v28.

ii. Would suffering death be just a "little" lack? It seems to be a big

b. Arguments in favor of Ps 8:6 referring to Gen 3:19

i. The Piel form of the Hebrew verb CHACER means "caused to lack". This does
not seem to refer to creation. God did not create man lacking anything. The
English translations that say "You made him a little lower than ..." make it
sound like it means "You created him a little lower than ...", but this is
not what the Hebrew says. The Hebrew says "caused to lack" not "made".

ii. There is no place in the Bible that says God originally created man
lower than angels, which would be the meaning of "gods" (Ps 82:1; 86:8; Exo
15:11), but after becoming subject to death man is lower than the angels.
The New Testament implies that man was created to be above angels (1 Cor
6:3; Heb 1:7,14; 2:5,16).

iii. The Hebrew verb aspects and conjunctions of Ps 8:6-9 do not imply time
sequence (I think). 
  - v6 starts with a vav-consecutive (more on that in question 3). 
  - The verb in v6a "caused to lack" is perfect, which means it was already
  - v6b starts with a vav prefixed to the noun "glory". If the following
verb was perfect, it would imply past-perfect, but the verb "crown" is
imperfect. It has not been completed yet. Does v6b starting with vav-noun
followed by an imperfect verb imply that the crowning started before the
"causing to lack", but still hasn't been completed yet?
  -v7a uses an imperfect verb, "caused to rule over"
  -v7b uses a perfect verb, "set".
iv. suffering death may be "a little" thing because it is temporary.

3. Ps 8:6 starts with a vav-consecutive. But there is no previous action in
the Psalm to follow. Could this mean that the action in v6 follows some
implied action which the reader can assume happened? In this case, it would
mean that God's causing man to lack came after God's creation of him. 
The vav-consecutive that begins the book of Jonah would mean that the book
of Jonah does not start at the beginning of Jonah's ministry. 
Some translations, even LXX  & YLT which are very strict about always
translating vav prefixes, do not translate the vav at the beginning of Ps
8:6. Others translate it, "For". Are there any other places in the Bible
where a vav-consecutive should be translated as "for"?

Thank you.

-Steve Miller
In my calling, answer Thou me, 
O God of my righteousness. 
In my trouble, You enlarged me.
Hear my prayer, and be gracious. (Psalm 4:1)

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