Introduction to Psalm 8

To the chief Musician upon Gittith, a Psalm of David. Some think this psalm was composed when the ark was brought to the house of Obededom the Gittite; and that it was delivered to him and his sons, as others were to Asaph, to Jeduthun, to the sons of Korah, &c. {l}. But against this lies a strong objection, that Obededom and his sons were porters, and not singers, 1 Chronicles 26:4; and for the same reason "gittith" cannot be the name of a musical instrument which was kept in his family, and presided over by them {m}. Some are of opinion this word had its name from Gath; and that this psalm was wrote by David when he was there {y}; or that it is the name of a musical instrument invented and made there, and which was brought from thence {z}: And so the Targum paraphrases it;

"upon the harp which was brought from Gath.''

A word like this signifies "winepresses": and hence the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions, render it "for the winepresses": which Theodoret interprets of churches, where Christ the true vine is gathered by believers, and they prepare the mystic wine. Some think {a} the psalms which bear this name were composed for the feast of tabernacles: when, having got in their vintage, they filled their presses, and squeezed their grapes, and therefore gave thanks; it was usual, even with the Heathens {b}, to make use of the harp, and other instruments of music, at the gathering of the grapes to be squeezed and pressed. Some of the Jewish writers {c} apply it to the times of Edom's destruction, who was to be trodden down as in a winepress, foretold in

Isa 63:1; and others interpret it of the times of Gog and Magog, when the prophecy in Joel 3:13; shall be fulfilled {d} and some have thought this psalm to be a song of praise, like one of those sung by them that tread in the winepress; the time of vintage being a time of joy. The ancient Christian writers explain it of the sufferings of Christ, when he trod the winepress of his Father's wrath. But the word "gittith" is either the first word of some song, as Aben Ezra thinks; or the name of the tune, as Kimchi; or rather of the musical instrument to which this psalm was set and sung. Though the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 2:6; citing some passages from this psalm, only says, "one in a certain place testified"; without mentioning either the number of the psalm, or the name of the writer; yet it is certain that David was the penman of it: and both from the testimony of that writer, and from a citation of Christ himself, it is evident that the subject of this psalm is the Messiah, and that it belongs to his times; see Hebrews 2:6. So the Syriac scholiast;

"the eighth psalm is concerning Christ our Redeemer.''

{l} Aben Ezra in loc.
{m} R. Moses apud ibid.
{y} Ben Melech in loc. vide Kimchi ibid.
{z} Jarchi in loc.
{a} Vide Godwin. Synops. Antiqu. Heb. l. 2. s. 1. c. G.
{b} Phurnutus de Natura Deorum, p. 84.
{c} Rabbini apud Jarchium in loc.
{d} Midrash Tillim apud Viccars. in loc.