David’s instructions to the seer of Israel regarding holding your silence, part 1:

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Puritan Board Sophomore
David’s instructions to the dean of musicians and the king's seer regarding holding your silence, part one: Psalm 39

Jeduthan of Bethlehem, God has been blessed you. I am blessed to have you as my music director, not to mention you being an excellent harp teacher when I was a boy. Your son, Obed Edom of Gath-rimmon received the ark after it left the other Gath and in the Philistine;s hands. God has indeed blessed you with skills on stringed instruments. Indeed, God abundantly blessed Obed Edom your son for his faithfulness in allowing the ark to come to rest in his care. Such was his blessing, I saw the wisdom of moving the Ark to Mount Zion. After the ark was moved from the home of Obed Edom to Mount Zion he was good enough to serve with 68 like minded helpers before the ark leading worship and music on Mount Zion.

Greet your six sons, Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah. who have been so faithful in ministering before the Lord, especially Obed Edom. Please greet Heman, grandson of Samuel, the 'seer of Israel', enlist his wise counsel as seer of Israel in this Psalm on silence. I am amazed how 'the sons of Korah' have touched so many aspects of worship: Ethan, Samuel, some of my advisers, some of my military.
Who would have expected God to show such mercy given Korah's rebellion against Moses long ago. Now his son's protect rather than protest the holiness of God.

We've been through a lifetime of changes ... from Bethlehem... to the ark at the tabernacle in Samuel's days, to the Ark being in your son's care, to you all joining the procession bringing it to Mount Zion. I have an unusual request. I have prepared a collection of about 39 of my Psalms as a hymn book of Israel and I would like you to help prepare one of them for the Lord.

Jeduthan, or shall I call you by your shorter name, Ethan? Ethan I would like you to use your musical gifts on a new Psalm. As a prophet of God, you who prophesies on the harp, it may seem odd to ask you to prepare music for a Psalm about holding your silence. I see three sections each requiring proper music to engage thinking and feeling.

In the first section, I make a statement of how I tried in my own strength to manage the situation and failed. I hold back some of the details till later. Begin with a musical feel of subdued confidence. I hold my silence in the presence of the wicked. It works for a while and I just can’t as I muse on my circumstances in my own strength and and I blow my top. Up to the point I would subject somewhat subdued background music, move to occasional notes of frustration, then underscore my failure in my natural thinking and effort. A cymbal? A trumpet? The music should support my ‘blowing up’ in from of the wicked yet should reflect failure on my part, not triumph. Perhaps the conductor might lead slowly, then at the moment of 'dressing down the wicked' wave his arms more frantically for a second.

In the next section, I present the hearer a new perspective, drawing them in through my experience in coping with the problem and moving toward a reliance on God. I pray ‘show me my end’ I move to a new perspective. My life is a couple of hand breadths, you know six or seven inches, eight inches tops… when it's all said and done that's my life... not much as all when you think about it and from God’s point of view next to nothing and the time will fly. There should be music here with a touch of wonderment and allowing reflection. Sorrowful reflection at the end? Don't hold onto this passing world too tightly, God may trash your earthly treasures. Use new short melodies.Like a breath on a cold day. You breath and see a puff of steam and in a moment, gone. Perhaps the conductor can visibly make or blow a breath and slowly slowly stretch out his hand, watching it as if the breath is fading and then gone...

Make the last section brief. As I mentioned, I held back a bit with some information for the hearers, use the music to let it land on them. In the last section, I place my hope in God. Use pauses. Use new short melodies. I then pray for deliverance and underscore the whole thing with a poignant ending. My problem is not the wicked. God is using the wicked to discipline me. My problem is my sin and I am under God’s discipline. It is God's sovereign stare that is my problem and my good. I did not reveal I was under God’s discipline in the first section deliberately postponing that for the reader. My suffering, which I want to be delivered from, is ultimately from God’s stare of discipline on me for my good, I poetically ask God to look away before my fleeting life is over.

Let it land on the hearers a perhaps unexpected realization that it was God who was disciplining me and I was silent before God. I was keeping silent not merely to keep the wicked from unnerving me but out of honor and brokenness before the Good Shepherd himself who's rod and staff comfort me. It is God who disciplines me, using even the wicked. I focus on my vaporous life to keep things in perspective as I hope in God. For the poignant ending perhaps have the conductor hold his hands as if blocking God's view, pleading for mercy indirectly.

With these instructions in mind, prayerfully consider the music to set these ideas to. By all means consult with your godly and gifted sons on the matter.

May God bless you, oh faithful seer of Israel,

King David,
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Puritan Board Sophomore
Interesting article

Who was Jeduthun and what was his relationship to David?

With the exception of the implication that the origin and background of the musical system of the Levites traced back to Egypt through and Moses and the period in which the Israelites resided there, we have no historical or scriptural references to rely upon. On the surface, the same is also true with the musical background and training of David.

What we do know from the scriptures is that David was well known as a musician as a young man, even being summoned before King Saul to play away his numerous mood swings (1 Samuel 16:14-23). From the plethora of works found within the Psalm manuscripts that are attributed in some manner to him, it is reasonable to conclude that David was intimately familiar with and well trained in the inner workings of music from a compositional, lyrical, instrumental and performance standpoint. Along all his many other traits, David was a very talented individual in music. The question is, how did a young shepherd boy become one of the most famous musicians and composers of all time? The answer may lie in his association with one of the prominent Levites named Jeduthun.

The three directors of the Levite musical ensembles were:
Heman - lead singer
Asaph - choir director
Jeduthun [aka Ethan] - musical director

more at
Who was Jeduthun and what was his relationship to David and his music?


Puritan Board Sophomore
Heman is the 'seer of Israel' title was slightly messed up.... not too far off...
in 2 Chronicles 35:15, Jeduthan is called 'the King's seer' so both were titled seer
Jeduthan and his six son's prophesied on the harp... seer fits...
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