OT Elemental use of musical instruments ceremonial and gone in NT or not?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by bookslover, Sep 19, 2019.

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  1. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    "Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women" (Ezra 2:65).

    John Gill:
    "Besides their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven,.... This shows that the greater part of those that returned were of the poorer sort, since there were so few servants that belonged unto them; these came not into the above account:

    "and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women; among the servants, who were kept by persons of figure for their pleasure and recreation, see Ecclesiastes 2:8, for that these were such as were employed in sacred service is not so clear, especially the latter, though some conclude it from 1 Chronicles 25:5, but rather they were such as were employed at marriages, festivals, and funerals; though Jarchi thinks they were employed by the returning captives, to make them cheerful as they travelled along."

    Every account of Levites appointed for song and the playing of instruments indicate males, and the sons of males. So as to the 1 Chronicles 25:5 passage Dr. Gill mentions:

    vs. 25: All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.
    vs. 26: All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king's order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.

    It seems the "all these" in verse 26 should naturally be taken to refer to the afore-mentioned sons.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  2. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Jeri,
    I would have responded sooner if the thread hadn't been suspended, and I must say that I appreciate the gracious and helpful tone you always display. In answer to this though, I can only say that I think the same of you: if only you could understand the RPW correctly; if only you had a right view of God's covenants, you wouldn't agglomerate to yourself these prohibitions that God has not made.
    But, as with the baptism debate, I'm afraid we must leave it there. We will never convince each other, but I hope we can coexist here in charity.
     
  3. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    The Bible plainly says that there were numerous female singers, as Dr. Duguid pointed out, but you'd rather believe John Gill. Alrighty, then. . .
     
  4. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    First, Calvin on Psalm 68:25:
    "David now adverts to the victories by which God had signally displayed his power in behalf of his people. He had himself been the instrument of restoring peace to the country, by putting down its foes, and he had extended the boundaries of the kingdom; but he ascribes the praise of all that had been done in stratagems and counsels of war to God. In representing God as issuing orders for the song of triumph, he intimates, figuratively, that it is he who determines the successful issue of battles. Notice is taken of the women who announce the army, for it was the custom anciently for women to sing the song of triumph, as Miriam, the sister of Moses, with her companions, sounded the praises of God upon the timbrel, and the women celebrated David’s victory upon the harp, when he slew Goliath, and routed the Philistines, (Exodus 15:20; 1 Samuel 18:6.) In making this reference to a song of praise, the Psalmist, as I have already said, intended to impress the truth upon the people, that the victories gained were entirely owing to God; though, at the same time, he tacitly reminds them of its being their duty to proclaim his benefits with due gratitude." It seems clear from the context of the Psalm that stated Temple worship is not in sight here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  5. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Gill agrees there were numerous female singers, friend.
     
  6. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, you're welcome to try, although I don't think you can do it (see Dr. Duguid's latest post for an example as to why).

    By the way, you only allow yourself 3 bowls of Captain Crunch in the morning. It takes at least 7 bowls to really get cranked up for the day!
     
  7. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    I will likely not try so soon. This thread should likely end. This will give time for chewing. As to Dr. Duguid’s post, it was very helpful, but as he stated himself...his comments did not sway the OP argument one way or the other.

    I would just challenge you (and myself) to read the OT regarding instruments used during the sacrifices. I think you will see the “intimate” relationship you already see on bowls and incense.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  8. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Remember, Dr. Duguid states that the women were part of the Levitical singers - so, part of the Temple worship (along with their tambourines and lyres. Instruments!).
     
  9. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Yes. Much, much respect to Dr. Duguid; but I don't see the necessity of that in the text and quoted Gill as an example of a commentator who would not. It fits better with all the narratives concerning the appointment of Levites to understand these women as non-Levitical, as Gill does.
     
  10. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Psalm 68 states that the procession was into the sanctuary (verse 24), including the singers, the musicians, and the virgins with tambourines (verse 25). Can't get around it: there were musical instruments and female singers with musical instruments right there in the middle of the sanctuary.
     
  11. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    My apologies. I failed to cite the context of the surrounding verses in Psalm 68:
    24 People have seen your procession, God, the procession of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.
    25 Singers lead the way, with musicians following; among them are young women playing tambourines.
    26 Bless God in the assemblies; bless the LORD from the fountain of Israel. (Ps. 68:24-26 CSB17)
     
  12. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    "They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels."
    Richard think of it as the goings of God to the sanctuary, when the ark was taken up by the Levites; God was said to be going forth. Mr. Albert Barnes is helpful here:

    "In the sanctuary - Or, “to” the sanctuary; in other words, as the ark was borne to the sanctuary, the place appointed for its rest, for, as above remarked, the psalm seems to have been composed on such an occasion.

    Verse 25
    "The singers went before" - That is, in the removal of the ark; in the solemn procession referred to in the previous verse. “In” that procession those who sang preceded those who performed on instruments of music. Compare 1 Chronicles 13:8; 1 Chronicles 15:16. “The players on instruments followed after.” The different classes of performers would naturally be ranged together. In 1 Chronicles 13:8, the following instruments of music are mentioned as having been employed on a similar occasion, if not on this very occasion - harps, psalteries, timbrels, cymbals, and trumpets.

    "Among them were the damsels playing with timbrels - The true construction of the passage is, “Behind were the players in the midst of damsels playing.” The singers and the players were surrounded by these women playing on timbrels."

    A beautiful picture of the rejoicing at God's rising up and going forth! Very applicable to the church today.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  13. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Dr. Duguid. I agree with Barnes and others on the imagery in the verses previous to 26 as alluding to the ark of God going forth, with the rejoicing of the singers, players, and women on tambourines attendant. I don't see that this procession necessarily continued into the Tabernacle.

    Edited to say: understanding this better now, I also would not hold this joyful procession to be a worship service proper, but rather an occasion of national rejoicing, as explored laterin the thread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  14. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Jeri,
    As I'm sure you are aware, the Hebrew word bne can be translated "sons" or "children"; I'd argue for the latter here, noting the specific mention of Heman's daughters, which would otherwise be curious.

    It is certainly true that kings (probably not many other rich people) had male and female singers. You can add 2 Sam 19:35 to show that from the time of David. The question is a) did David (and other kings) keep choirs of several hundred non-levites, in addition to the Levitical choir in the Jerusalem temple, which was part of the royal palace complex? Or did the choir of levites do double duty? Why specifically mention singers as a special group in Ezra 2:65, unless they are specifically the levitical singers - which they clearly are in 2:41 and 2:70? Indeed, the Hebrew word meshorerim seems to be used specifically only of those who are temple singers (so Holladay's lexicon)
     
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  15. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Jeri,
    Thanks for sealing my case for me. The musicians and singers in 1 Chronicles 15 are explicitly Levitical. In other words, the same standards are applied in the bringing up of the ark to Jerusalem as will be the case in the temple.

    In any event, Ps 68:25 is not "to" the sanctuary but "in" or "at" the sanctuary (the Hebrew preposition b)
     
  16. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I don't see any compelling reason why these collections of singers by the King would have been Levites, especially since every text that describes the actual Levitical appointments specifies males. John Trapp agrees with Gill that these 200 male and female singers sang at feasts and funerals. (Perhaps there exists some further historical reference for this?) Trapp references Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:8: "I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts." One of the commentators, I can't remember which, suggests that the singers were particularly spared when in captivity.
     
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  17. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I may not be following your line of thought, so forgive me if I'm missing something. Yes, absolutely, the singers and musicians in 1 Chronicles 15 are Levites. Only Levites could carry the ark and only Levites could play upon instruments. (And they also were male.)

    As mentioned before, a different dispensation existed for the church in the wilderness. Miriam and the other women rejoicing with their tambourines provide the imagery for the rejoicing of Psalm 68. Now in 1 Chronicles 15, God is beginning the institution of Temple worship.

    I'm missing how I sealed your case- please help me out!
     
  18. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I'm definitely no scholar Dr. Duguid! As is surely obvious. :) But to answer why (since you asked!). Ezra 2 is a record and a list, of course, of those who came back to Israel. It seems a carefully organized and categorized list to me. First is named some prominent folks with their lineage given; following are those who are given a lineage but who couldn't be confirmed and so could not serve as priests. All that is covered in Ezra 2:1-63. That list is followed by a summation: "The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women." It seems to fit well the flow of this narrative to see the listing of the 7,337 servants and maids put here, with the 200 singing men and women as a subset of the servants and maids (I notice the male to female correlation in the narrative).

    Next, incidentally, comes the listing of their animals; which again seems to naturally fit the flow of the narrative: "Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty" (Ezra 2:66-67).
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  19. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Reverend Duguid, sorry to post so many replies but I forgot to ask, and wanted to ask in a separate post anyway- where are you getting meshorerim in Ezra 2? I don't see it in Strong's and don't have access to Holladay's (and wouldn't know what to do with it if I did).
     
  20. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    This conversation about the RPW applying to private and public worship is interesting. I asked about women playing instruments in temple worship because, as I suspected, you would say no (I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you). Now you said,

    The women were playing instruments with the Levites in Psalm 68:25. If this was not in the capacity of temple worship, then we've just proven that instruments were played in worship outside the temple.

    Are you willing to acknowledge that women served as musicians in temple worship to maintain the consistency of your argument that "they wouldn't have dared" to play instruments outside of temple worship?
     
  21. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Tim,

    Is this just for Jeri? From my viewpoint, even if you prove instruments outside the temple in the OT, the Acapella practice from the veil being torn and forward still stands. Again, from your own reasoning if something is permissible/commanded for the saints in corporate OT worship, then it is not surprising to see it in other worship proper settings in the OT (again assuming your stance on worship use outside the temple is valid). BUT the ceremonial use has now been abrogated. So since we do not have a NT command or practice in worship proper then we should not just pick it back up since it is never condemned in the NT as that seems to favor the NPW. Where are incense expressly condemned as will-worship in the NT? Bowls? Candles? Therefore, since we know instruments in the Temple (corporate worship proper) were often intimately related to and commanded with sacrificing then it should follow that their use passed with the ceremonial. I remember reading some commentaries where those instruments also served, among other ceremonial ways, to cover the sounds of animal screams during the sacrifices, which still reflected the mercy of the Lord towards us in a more shadowy dispensation.

    Even if you say, “we can use them as a circumstance”, I still raise the question:

    Why would you risk bringing something back into the service of the saints that was in fact intimately related to ceremonial worship? The 2nd commandment reflects on us that we will always struggle with will-worship while on earth. IF it were likewise possible to bring back incense as a circumstance we would run the same risk of placing an unnecessary temptation in front of congregants prone to 2CVs (myself included). Another example could be candles, while they CAN be used as a valid circumstance (ex. power outage)....we need to make clear that we are NOT worshipping through the candles. Further, look what’s happened, many reformed (RPW claiming) congregations likely brought in a single piano as a “circumstance”.... but now I think you don’t have to look to hard to find that those same reformed congregations have built the instruments up and become attached to them in ways that pull them back into being used in a ceremonial shadowy way, which Jesus abrogated. Thus instead of honoring Christ, bring dishonor (hopefully ignorantly).

    You stated earlier that you don’t like to use “element” and “circumstance” for instruments.... why? What do you call them? Would you also permit incense to be used today to assist worship? Do you categorize incense as an OT element, circumstance, or neither?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  22. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I'm still waiting for some old questions in this thread to be answered. New topics are coming up faster than old ones have begun to be dealt with.
     
  23. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I'm up too late, aren't y'all?!! :(

    Tim, you say that "the women were playing instruments with the Levites in Psalm 68:25." But 68:25 isn't describing a worship service (and doesn't mention Levites). It's describing a time of national rejoicing, either at the Red Sea or as the ark is brought up (both,I think). (Edit here to correct myself that the Levites are indeed performing their office as the ark is brought up. There is no specific mention of women on this occasion.) The worship service comes after the ark arrives in Jerusalem and is settled in its place.

    Psalm 68 begins with God going before his people as they marched through the wilderness to the Promised Land (Psalm 68:7). If this Psalm was written on the occasion of David bringing the ark up to Jerusalem, as it seems to be, then it makes sense that the picture would be of a procession, not of being inside the Tabernacle or the Temple with women playing musical instruments alongside the Levites.


    There is something really interesting about David bringing up the ark I think it's helpful to take note of. Bringing back the ark to Jerusalem really began in 1 Chronicles 13. David hatched a plan that seemed good to him, and then they set off to fetch it. 1 Chronicles 13:7-14:

    "And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months" (1 Chronicles 13:1-14a).

    So that first attempt ended in disaster. Some time passed and David was ready to try again. But look at the difference, at the care he took this time:

    "And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, and said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.

    "So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord. And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; and with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters.

    "So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass; and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful. And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark. And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.

    "So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen" (1 Chronicles 15:11-27).

    This 2nd time, David appointed the Levites to carry the ark as God had commanded, and appointed the Levites to perform the service of song. Then they had a worship service:

    "So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine" (1 Chronicles 16:1-3).
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
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  24. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Jeri, it doesn't matter to me right now whether or not they were in the temple. Were they worshipping God?
     
  25. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Tim, you know that in a sense we are always presenting our members to God as living sacrifices. However, I do not believe this was worship “proper” as we have been discussing. It was rather an occasion of national rejoicing and triumph. The worship service proper it seems followed this triumphal procession, when sacrifices were made.
     
  26. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Tim,

    Second time you've overlooked direct questions to you and then gone on to continue in your view. Would you please answer the concerns of Posts #81 and 82 please.
     
  27. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I've had difficulty finding any in-depth responses to the a capella only arguments. Sorry...
     
  28. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I understand that, but is there ever a time when we sing to God and it is not worship?
     
  29. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I find it distasteful to force element or circumstance on this issue when it is praise itself that is the element. There is inherent diversity in how we praise God in song.
     
  30. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    So are you saying you know of no one that holds your view...or?
     
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