In chapters 1 and 2, the writer of Hebrews mounted a rhetorical argument to prove the superiority of the Son, identified in 2:9 as Jesus, over angels. In this short passage the writer assembled 11 quotations and several more allusions to both biblical and apocryphal literature to make his point.
Verses 8 and 9 quote the Septuagint (Greek translation) of Psalm 45, a ‘love song’ describing a royal wedding. The selected passage addresses the king-groom: (Ps.45:7-8, JPS)
Your divine throne is everlasting;
your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
rightly has God, your God, chosen to anoint you
with oil of gladness over all your peers.
While the royal princess is also described as being escorted by “maidens in her train, her companions” (v.15), the king’s peers or ‘companions’ (חָבֵר, chaber) appear to relate to his anointing as king, not the wedding party. In the psalm, the king’s ‘companions’ were the other contenders for the throne from among whom God chose this man to be king.
Given the lack of exposition in Hebrews, it is unclear how many of the psalm’s details the writer intended to apply, metaphorically, to Jesus. But within the context of the superiority argument, we can at least safely infer the writer claimed God chose Jesus over his heavenly ‘companions’, i.e. the angels. Commentators often assume further parallels as well.