Music in the Bible

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The First Instruments

The first instruments of music recorded in the Bible were created before Noah's flood. A man named Jubal, a descendant of Cain (Genesis 4:16 - 21), created both the kinnor, a type of harp, and a flute-like wind instrument called ugab in Hebrew.

Concentrated Music

Verses 5, 10 and 15 of Daniel 3 each mentions the same set of instruments used by King Nebuchadnezzar's court. These Babylonian music makers are the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut (a type of lyre), psaltery (string based) and an unknown instrument mistranslated as "dulcimer."

Created to Praise

God inspired the prophet Ezekiel to reveal fascinating information about how music and the creation of Lucifer are linked.

You have been in Eden the garden of God . . . The workmanship of your settings (toph, Strong's #H8596) and of your sockets (nekkeb, #H5345) was prepared in you in the day that you were created (Ezekiel 28:13, HBFV).

The toph, usually translated as "timbrel" or "tabret," was a percussion instrument of the drum kind. The nekkeb refers to a pipe. God created Lucifer to be the living embodiment of music dedicated to praising the Eternal. Unfortunately, after being given a throne of responsibility, Lucifer sinned and corrupted his musical talents.

In the Middle of It All

The Bible contains 1,189 chapters. Psalm 118 is in the exact middle of Scripture as 594 chapters are recorded both before and after it. The middle verse of God's word offers plain but profound advice on how a person can live their best life.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man (Psalm 118:8, KJV).

The Horn of God

The shofar, made from the curved horns of a goat or ram, is the most frequently mentioned instrument for making music in the Bible. Unfortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find it by name. Most major versions of God's word (KJV, NKJV, NIV, etc.) translate the Hebrew shofar (Strong's Concordance #H7782) erroneously as "trumpet" or "cornet."

The hatsotserah (Strong's #H2689), also translated as "trumpet" in the KJV, is the true horn of God. It was straight, narrow, long and made out of gold or silver. It was blown on New Moons and other festive occasions. It was important enough to be considered one of the temple's sacred utensils (2Kings 12:13, Numbers 31:6).

Holy Song Writers

King David, prodigious as he was in writing Psalms, was not the only one who contributed music to this book of praising God. Asaph and Heman, two of David's four chief musicians employed for the tabernacle in Jerusalem, also wrote songs.

Asaph, the leader over the Levites responsible for the temple's music (1Chronicles 6:39, 16:4 - 5), wrote twelve of the Psalms (Psalm 50 and 73 through 83). Heman, grandson of the prophet Samuel (1Chronicles 6:33), was author of Psalm 88.

The Noteworthy Psalms

Psalms is the second most referred to book in the New Testament. This collection of sacred music is referenced 414 times in 23 books, with Isaiah being quoted a few more times at 419. This unique group of music for worshipping God is also the longest Biblical book with 43,743 words. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible with only two verses, while 119 is the longest with 176!

Other Music

Not all music dedicated to praising God is found in the Psalms. Exodus 15 records a song of triumph after God permanently freed the Israelites from the Egyptians (verses 1 to 19). The song of Deborah and Barak, found in Judges 5, praises the Eternal for his deliverance from Canaanite oppression.

The entire chapter of 2Samuel 22 is David's song after being saved from his enemies. Isaiah 26 is a prophecy of the song sung after the resurrection of the dead when Israel will again live in the land it received as a perpetual inheritance (verse 19).

Royal Music Lovers

King David is well known for his ability to play musical instruments and compose music. What is often overlooked, however, is that he also invented several instruments for the express purpose of praising God (2Chronicles 7:6, Nehemiah 12:36, Amos 6:5).

David's son Solomon's interest in music was such that he paid both men and women to be his fulltime personal singers!

I also gathered silver and gold to myself, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got men singers and women singers for myself, even the sensual delights of the sons of men . . . (Ecclesiastes 2:8, HBFV).

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