Music in the Bible

Teachers of

  • 1 Chronicles 15:22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.
  • 1 Chronicles 25:7-8 So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight. 8 And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.
  • Also 2 Chronicles 23:13.

Bible Encyclopedia for MUSIC.

Physical effect of, on man

  • 1 Samuel 6:15-16 And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD. 16 And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.

Definition of music

Discoursed during the offering of sacrifices

  • 2 Chronicles 29:27-28 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. 28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

"Music" Bible Outline

Precentor

  • Nehemiah 12:42 And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.

See also McClintock and Strong Cyclopedia for Music.

Chief musician

  • Nehemiah 12:42 And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.
  • Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Chambers for musicians in the temple, in Ezekiel's vision

  • Ezekiel 40:44 And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south: one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north.

In heaven

  • Revelation 5:8-9 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
  • Also Revelation 14:2-3; 15:2-3.

INSTRUMENTS OF

Invented by Jubal

  • Genesis 4:21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

Invented by David

  • 1 Chronicles 23:5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
  • Also 2 Chronicles 29:26; Amos 6:5.

Made by Solomon

  • 1 Kings 10:12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
  • 2 Chronicles 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king's palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.
  • Also Ecclesiastes 2:8.

Made by Tyrians

  • Ezekiel 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

CORNET

  • Daniel 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
  • Daniel 3:7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
  • Also Daniel 3:10.

See TRUMPET

CYMBAL

See CYMBAL

DULCIMER, a double pipe

  • Daniel 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
  • Daniel 3:10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
  • Also Daniel 3:15.

FLUTE

  • Daniel 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
  • Daniel 3:7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
  • Also Daniel 3:10,15.

GITTITH, a stringed instrument

  • Psalms 8 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? ...
  • Also Psalms 81; 84.

HARP

See HARP

ORGAN, probably composed of pipes furnishing a number of notes

  • Genesis 4:21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
  • Job 21:12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
  • Also Job 30:31; Psalms 150:4.

PIPE

See PIPE

PSALTERY

See PSALTERY

SACKBUT, a harp

  • Daniel 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
  • Daniel 3:7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
  • Also Daniel 3:10,15.

TABRET

See TIMBREL

TIMBREL, a tambourine

See TIMBREL

TRUMPET

See TRUMPET

VIOL, a lyre

  • Isaiah 5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.
  • Isaiah 14:11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.
  • Also Amos 5:23; 6:5.

SYMBOLS USED IN ALAMOTH

(Literally virgins)

A musical term which appears in

  • 1 Chronicles 15:20 And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;

And in the title of

  • Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

(It seems to indicate the rendering of the song by female voices, possibly soprano)

AL-TASCHITH

It appears in the titles of

  • Psalms 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
  • Psalms 58:1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
  • Also Psalms 59:1; 75:1.

(it seems to have been used to indicate the kind of ode, or the kind of melody in which the ode should be sung.)

HIGGAION

  • Psalms 92:3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

(According to Gesenius, it signifies the murmuring tone of a harp, and hence that the music should be rendered in a plaintive manner.)

  • Psalms 9:16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

(Combined with "Selah," it may have been intended to indicate a pause in the vocal music while the instruments rendered an interlude.)

  • Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

(Mendelssohn translates it "meditation, thought." Hence, the music was to be rendered in a mode to promote devout meditation.) MAKALATH, MASCHIL, LEANNOTH

These terms are found in the titles of

  • Psalms 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
  • Psalms 88:1 O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

(Authorities grope in darkness as to their signification. They may indicate the instruments to be played, or the melody to be sung)

MASCHIL

This musical sign occurs in the titles of

  • Psalms 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
  • Psalms 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
  • Also Psalms 44:1; 45:1; 52:1; 53:1; 54:1; 55:1; 74:1; 78:1; 88:1; 89:1; 142:1.

(The meaning is obscure. But its signification where it occurs elsewhere than in the titles of Psalms is equivalent to the English word "instruction," or to become wise by instruction; hence, Ps 47:7: "Sing ye praises with understanding.")

MICAHTAM

A musical term in the titles of

  • Psalms 16:1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.
  • Psalms 56:1 Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
  • Also Psalms 57:1; 58:1; 59:1; 60:1.

(Luther interprets this as "golden," that is, "precious." Ewald interprets it as signifying a plaintive manner.)

MUTH-LABBEN

In the title of

  • Psalms 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

(Authorities, ancient and modern, differ as to the probable signification. Gesenius and De Wette interpret it, "with the voice of virgins, by boys." Others derive the word from a different Hebrew root, and interpret it as indicating that the Psalm was a funeral ode.)

NEGINAH and NEGINOTH

Appear in the titles of

  • Psalms 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
  • Psalms 54:1 Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
  • Also Psalms 55:1; 61:1; 67:1; Habakkuk 3:19.

(Its use seems to have been to indicate that the song should be accompanied by stringed instruments.)

NEHILOTH

Appears in the title of

  • Psalms 5:1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

(It seems to indicate, according to Gesenius, that when this Psalm was sung it was to be accompanied by wind instruments.)

SELAH

(This term appears frequently in the Psalms. Its use is not known. Possibly it signified a pause in the vocal music while an instrumental interlude or finale was rendered.)

SHEMINITH

In the titles of

  • Psalms 6:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
  • Psalms 12:1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

(Translated "eighth," probably indicates the measure, movement, or pitch.)

SHIGGAION

In the title of

  • Psalms 7:1 O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:

And its plural, SHIGIONOTH, in the title of

  • Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

(Supposed to be a musical term to guide in rendering the song. At the close of the chapter, the author refers the ode "to the chief musician, on my stringed instruments." The term may suggest the movement in interpreting the music set to it.)

SHOSHANNIM and SHUSHAN-EDUTH

In the titles to

  • Psalms 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
  • Psalms 60:1 O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.
  • Also Psalms 69:1; 80:1.

(Seems to indicate the manner in which these Psalms were to be rendered. Kimchi, Tremellius, and Eichhorn render it "hexachorda," that is, that in singing these Psalms instruments of six strings were to accompany.)

UNCLASSIFIED SCRIPTURES RELATING TO

  • Genesis 31:27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
  • Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
  • Also Exodus 15:20-21; 21:17-20; Judges 5:1-3; 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6-7; 2 Samuel 19:35; 1 Kings 1:40; 1 Chronicles 6:31-32; 15:16-22,24,27-28; 16:4-39,41-42; 22:3,5-6,19,19; 25:1,5-6,7-8; 2 Chronicles 5:12-13; 20:19,21-22,28; 23:13,18; 29:25-28; 31:2; 35:15,25; Ezra 2:64; 3:10-11; Nehemiah 12:24,27-31; Job 21:12; 30:31; Psalms 33:1-4; 68:4,25-26,32-35; 81:1-3; 87:7; 92:1-3; 95:1-2; 98:1-8; 104:33; 105:2; 135:1-2,3; 137:1-6; 144:9; 149:1-3,6; 150; Proverbs 25:20; Ecclesiastes 2:8; Isaiah 5:12; 14:11; 16:10; 23:16; 24:8-9; 30:29,32; Jeremiah 31:4; Ezekiel 26:13; 33:32; Daniel 3:4,6-7; Amos 6:5; 8:10; Matthew 9:23; 11:17; Mark 14:26; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; Revelation 14:2-3; 18:22.

See PRAISE

See PSALMS

 
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