When Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2(LXX) in Matthew 21:16(ESV)

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”

The greek word used for "prepared" is Κατηρτίσω. Who is the praise being prepared for, the one who is preparing the praise themself, or for another?

1 Answer 1


Great question that involves some subtleties. First the original Hebrew phrase in Ps 8:2 is:

מִפִּ֤י עֹֽולְלִ֨ים ׀ וְֽיֹנְקִים֮ יִסַּ֪דְתָּ֫ עֹ֥ז = "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings [nursing babies] You have ordained strength"

However, the LXX gives this interpretive text:

ἐκ στόματος νηπίων καὶ θηλαζόντων κατηρτίσω αἶνον = "from the mouth of infants and sucklings [nursing babies] you have ordained praise"

Jesus' remarks as recorded in Matt 21:16 reflect the LXX text.

Who ordains the praise and for whom?

Let us be very clear that:

  • John 6:44 - No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
  • John 6:65 - And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
  • John 12:32 - And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to Myself.”
  • 1 Cor 12:3 - Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Thus we deduce two things:

  1. Any impulse to paise and worship God comes from God and is initiated by God
  2. True praise must be directed to God alone, Deut 8:3, Matt 4:10, Ps 150:6

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