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Psalm 8:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 O Jehovah, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth,
You have set your glory above the heavens.
O Jehovah. It is an address to God by his chosen and peculiar title, Ex. 3:14; Psa. 83:18 KJV. Compare Notes on Isa. 1:2.
The Lord.—יְהוָה Yehōvâ, or Jehovah. The small capitals used here and elsewhere throughout the Bible, in printing the word Lord, denote that the original word is Jehovah. It is derived from the verb הָיָה hâyâ, to be; and is used to denote being, or the fountain of being, and can be applied only to the true God; comp. Ex. 3:14: ‘And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM,’ אֶהְיֶה אְשְׁר אֶהְיֶה; Ex. 6:3; Num. 11:21; Isa. 47:8. It is a name which is never given to idols, or conferred on a creature; and though it occurs often in the Hebrew Scriptures, as is indicated by the small capitals, yet our translators have retained it but four times; Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4. In combination, however, with other names, it occurs often. Thus in Isaiah, meaning the salvation of Jehovah; Jeremiah, the exaltation or grandeur of Jehovah, &c.; comp. Gen. 22:14: ‘Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh,’ Ex. 17:15; Judg. 6:24; Ezek. 48:35. The Jews never pronounced this name, not even in reading their own Scriptures. So sacred did they deem it, that when it occurred in their books, instead of the word Jehovah, they substituted the word Adonai, אֲדֹנָי Lord. Our translators have shown respect to this feeling of the Jews in regard to the sacredness of the name; and hence, have rendered it by the name of Lord—a word which by no means conveys the sense of the word Jehovah. It would have been an advantage to our version if the word Jehovah had been retained wherever it occurs in the original.
Edward D. Andrews: the divine name Jehovah should have been retained. The concern should not be over the feeling of the Jews but over how God felt about his personal name that he gave to be known. Jesus said of the Jewish religious leaders of his day, “making void the word of God by your tradition.” (Mark 7:13) One of their traditions was not to say God’s personal name. Jehovah: (Heb. יְהֹוָה) The Tetragrammaton, God’s personal name, יְהֹוָה (JHVH), which is found in the Hebrew Old Testament 6,828 times.
Our Lord. The word here used—אֲדֹנָי, Adonai—means properly master, lord, ruler, owner, and is such a title as is given to an owner of land or of slaves, to kings, or to rulers, and is applied to God as being the ruler or governor of the universe. The meaning here is, that the psalmist acknowledged Jehovah to be the rightful ruler, king, or master of himself and of all others. He comes before him with the feeling that Jehovah is the universal ruler—the king and proprietor of all things.
How excellent is thy name. How excellent or exalted art thou—the name being often used to denote the person. The idea is, “How glorious art thou in thy manifested excellence or character.”
In all the earth. In all parts of the world. That is, the manifestation of his perfect character was not confined to any one country but was seen in all lands and among all people. In every place his true character was made known through his works; in every land, there were evidence of his wisdom, his greatness, his goodness, his condescension.
Who hast set thy glory above the heavens. The word here used, and rendered “hast set,” is in the imperative mood—תְּנָה, tenah—give; and it should probably have been so rendered here, “which thy glory give thou;” that is, “which glory of thine, or implied in thy name, give or place above the heavens.” In other words, let it be exalted in the highest degree, and to the highest place, even above the heavens on which he was gazing, and which were in themselves so grand, ver. 3. It expresses the wish or prayer of the writer that the name or praise of God, so manifest in the earth, might be exalted in the highest possible degree—be more elevated than the moon and the stars—exalted and adored in all worlds. In His name there was such intrinsic grandeur that he desired that it might be regarded as the highest object in the universe and might blaze forth above all worlds. On the grammatical construction of this word—תְּנָה—see an article by Prof. Stuart, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. ix. pp. 73–77. Prof. Stuart supposes that the word is not formed from נָתַן, nathan—to give, as is the common explanation, but from תָּנָה, tanah—to give presents, to distribute gifts, Hos. 8:9, 10, and that it should be rendered, You who diffuse abroad your glory over the heavens.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews