Psalm 8: What Is Man?

psalm-8-what-is-man

Find chord charts, sheet music, and audio for Psalm 8 by jumping to the Psalm 8 download package.

The arrangement you’ll hear below uses a choral style with simple instrumentation. You can use this same arrangement with a church choir, but the song really lends itself well to a band or even just a guitar and vocalist.

About the eighth Psalm

This psalm is iconic, so trying to put this piece of art to music is, well, intimidating to say the least.

The eighth psalm’s structure is super simple, and that’s part of why it’s so profound:

  • A. The psalmist proclaims the majesty of the Lord’s name in all the earth.
  • B. The psalmist lists off some amazing, wondrous works of God—namely, his creation of the heavens.
  • C. Compared to the wonder of the heavens, the Psalmist asks, “What is man?”
  • But now the Psalm flips:
  • C. God has placed humans just beneath the angels—or “gods,” or “God,” depending how you interpret the Psalmist’s use of elohim in Hebrew here. Man is crowned in glory and honor! (See Genesis 1:26–27.)
  • B. And that means that humans are given the honor of ruling over God’s wondrous creation. (See Genesis 1:28.)
  • A. And now the psalmist brings it all back together by once again exclaiming how majestic God’s name is.

This song version reflects this structure in a way: the chorus is about the center of the psalm (man’s privileged place in the universe). The verses are about God’s creation. The introduction and ending are lifted from the beginning and end of the psalm: “Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Lyrics to Psalm 8

Lord, how majestic
Is your name in all the earth!
Oh Lord how majestic
Is your name in all the earth!

You have set your wondrous glory
In the heavens, high above the low
Yet in praise from babes and children
You will silence every single foe.

I consider your great heavens—
The mighty works your hands have made
Silver moon and fiery stars and
You have given every one a place

They have a place
I have a place
We have a place
And I wonder:

What is man that you know him?
What is man, that you care?
Yet you seat us, ‘neath the angels
And your glory with us share.

You have made us kings and rulers
Over everything your hands have made
Bird and beast and sky and sea, you’ve
Trusted us to care for all you’ve made

They have their place
We have a place
We have a place
And we wonder:

What is man that you know him?
What is man, that you care?
Yet you seat us, ‘neath the angels
And your glory with us share.

Lord, how majestic
Is your name in all the earth!
Oh Lord how majestic
Is your name in all the earth!

Download the Psalm 8 song package

You can download a package of materials to use for learning and playing What Is Man? in your church.

Just enter your email address below, and you’ll get a package that includes the following:

  • Chord chart
  • Printable lyrics handout
  • An .mp3 of the audio
  • Sheet music of the recorded arrangement

The download will start immediately after you hit the button.

When you submit your email address, you’ll also join our email list. As long as you stay subscribed, you’ll get updates about new songs and projects as they become available. (AnthemBible is a project of OverviewBible, so you’ll get updates on new Psalms and also get some Bible-study tips.)

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