The Sky at Night

Psalm 8

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 8

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


The children in the temple said, "Hosanna to the son of David". This made the leaders of the Jews very angry. They said to Jesus, "Do you hear what they are saying?" Jesus said, "Yes! Did you never read, 'From the mouths of children and babies at the breast you received praise'?" (Matthew 21:15-16) Matthew was a friend of Jesus. Hosanna is now a word of praise. Praise is saying good things about someone. The son of David in this story is Jesus.

Psalm 8

  The music leader must use Gittith.
  (This is) a song of David.

v1   LORD, you are our most powerful king.
  Your name is famous in all the wide world.
  Your glory is over the skies.

v2   From the mouths of children and babies at the breast
  you show (what it is to be) strong.
  This is because you have enemies.
  You will beat your enemies and the avenger.

v3   When I look at your skies that your fingers made:
   I see the moon
   I see the stars
   You gave them all a place

v4   Then I ask:
   why do you remember men (and women)?
   what makes you visit them?

v5   You made their place a little below God.
  You made them feel as kings.

v6 - v8   You made them to rule everything that your hands made.
  You put everything under their feet:
   sheep and cows
   wild animals in the fields
   birds in the air
   fish in the waters
   monsters in the deep seas

v9   LORD, you are our most powerful king.
  Your name is famous in all the wide world.

Word list

Gittith ~ something from the city of Gath, perhaps music

avenger ~ someone that hurts the people of God

monster ~ a very large animal

The Story of Psalm 8

When he was young David kept sheep. He was with his sheep on the hills at night. The sheep were safe with him. David saw the moon and the stars in the sky. God made them all. God was strong and powerful. But God had enemies. These enemies fought God. They also hurt the people of God. David felt very small when he looked at what God had made. David felt that he was not important. But David also knew that God would make people strong. As Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, 'God said, My power works best when you are weak'. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Later David wrote Psalm 8. Perhaps it was when he lived in Gath. Gath was a Philistine city. It was 30 kilometres west of Bethlehem. David came from Bethlehem. In the psalm David remembered:

    the sheep, the hills and the wild animals

    the moon and stars at night

David also remembered that he felt very small. David put all that he felt into Psalm 8. Perhaps he used music from Gath.

The New Testament of the Bible tells us that David was a prophet. A prophet speaks for God. He also says what will happen in the future. In Psalm 8 David said that God would visit the earth. He came as Jesus.

What Psalm 8 means

Verse 1: Only God has true glory. He has it because he is so good. God's glory shines from inside him. God shines brighter than the sun. We usually call God's home "heaven". It is sometimes called "glory". In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus taught us how to pray. He finished: "Yours (God) is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for always, Amen". A kingdom is everywhere that a king rules. Amen means, "Yes! We agree!"

Verse 2: God has many powerful enemies. The most powerful is Satan or the Devil. He may be the avenger in the psalm. But God will win. God is more powerful than all his enemies. There are 2 pictures of children in Psalm 8:2.

1.  babies at the breast: this tells us:

    the love of a mother for her child is very strong

    the child grows strong as it feeds from its mother

2.  what children say:

    their words are usually true

    their words show what they understand

The Jews were very angry in Matthew 21:15-16. (See the words before the start of Psalm 8.) This was because the children understood who Jesus was! They praised Jesus. They said that he was the son of David. This meant that Jesus was the Messiah, God's very special servant.

Verses 3 4: The night sky is so big and we are so small. Can God really see us and care for us? Yes! He remembers us and visits us. This happened when Jesus came to earth. Why did he come? The answer is in Psalm 8:5-8. This is the purpose of God for men and women. Satan stops us from doing it well. Jesus came to put things right. Jesus came on a very special visit.

Verses 5 9: The New Testament of the Bible repeats Psalm 8:5. It translates God (Elohim in Hebrew) as angels. An angel is a servant of God. Usually we cannot see angels. This is what the New Testament says in Hebrews 2:6-9:

v6  What is man that you remember him, or a son of man that you look at him?

v7  You made him below the angels. You gave him a crown of glory and honour.

v8  You put all things under his feet. When you did this everything was under the authority of man. But now we do not see all things put under him.

v9  But now we do see Jesus.

In other words, God made man for a special purpose. Man is not doing it. Only Jesus is doing it. One day Christians will be with Jesus. Then they will rule everything much better than we do now. We can only understand Psalm 8 when we know this.

Something to Do

On a very dark night look at the sky. If there are no clouds you will see the stars. Tell God that you believe that he made them all. Tell God how great he is. Tell God that you love him. Tell God that you always want to be his servant. Ask God to show you what to do for him. He will!


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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