Question on Verse in Isaiah

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fishingpipe

Puritan Board Freshman
Our church has a number of EP families and we lean that way ourselves. We've been wrestling through it for a while now. I do have a couple of quick questions for anyone, particularly those who are EP. I searched through the threads for a bit and couldn't find thoughts on this, but please feel free to link me if it has been covered.

1. Isaiah 38:9-20 - In verse 20 Hezekiah states: "The LORD will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the LORD."

What is "my music?" What does he mean by "at the house of the LORD?" At first glance it appears he is saying he will sing uninspired hymns he wrote himself in church.

Any commentaries that speak of this from an EP perspective?

Thanks!
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
Brian Schwertley on this question:
Another author quotes from Isaiah 38:20 (“The Lord was ready to save me; therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life, in the house of the Lord”) as proof that uninspired songs were used in public worship in the Old Testament era. This author assumes that since these songs, written by King Hezekiah, were never inscripturated into the canon, therefore they must be uninspired. This argument falls to the ground when we consider that many prophecies and inspired writings were not included in our Bibles. (There are Old Testament prophets named of whom we have no surviving oracles. There is the missing letter of Paul to the Corinthians as well as the volumes of sayings, proverbs, and teachings that Christ spoke to His disciples, etc.). The fact that Hezekiah’s songs (except the one recorded in Isaiah 38) were not inscripturated does not tell us at all whether or not they were inspired. In fact, the passage under discussion, if anything, indicates that his songs were inspired. Note the transition from the singular (me) to the plural (we). The king identifies himself with the Levitical choir of the Temple, which as noted above functioned as a musical prophetic guild. In any case, there certainly is not a shred of evidence that Hezekiah composed uninspired songs. That assertion is assumed, not proven.
(from Exclusive Psalmody: A Biblical Defense)
I'd also add that any words from Hezekiah in this passage should be interpreted in light of 2 Chronicles 29:30:
Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
What I would ask or say to Brian schwertly is this: what is your view of the Regulative principle? If God wants to be worshipped the way He has prescribed in scripture, and God has preserved His word, then what is the way in which He desires His people to worship? If it was inspired why does Brian believe it's inspired vs It not being inspired? By the way I hold to the rpw but I've been starting to look into this.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
What I would ask or say to Brian schwertly is this: what is your view of the Regulative principle? If God wants to be worshipped the way He has prescribed in scripture, and God has preserved His word, then what is the way in which He desires His people to worship? If it was inspired why does Brian believe it's inspired vs It not being inspired? By the way I hold to the rpw but I've been starting to look into this.
I think the answer would be that God wants us to worship Him in the way He has commanded through Inspiration. God has chosen what Inspired texts should remain with us. Remember that the Bible was collected over time, and before that "The Word of God" was simply God's inspired Word given through the prophets and Apostles, collected in various texts (some of them weren't even written down). If He wanted us to have any of the songs which He gave to Hezekiah, He would have preserved them for us.

My personal opinion is that Hezekiah was referring to the songs of David and Asaph (i. e., the Psalms), since those were the songs which he actually DID command to be sung in the temple.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Brothers:

I listened to the sermon that Joshua referenced above. Here are my notes (in my words, as a summary of Rev. Ruddell's argument, and not necessarily a defense of the argument) for your benefit-

On the question of the meaning of "my songs" in vs. 20 of Isaiah 38

The non-exclusive psalmodist position assumes that these songs are Hezekiah's uninspired (since he is not a prophet) compositions. These songs are then (according to vs. 20) introduced into the worship of the temple. This gives warrant for uninspired songs to be included in our worship today.

Rev. Ruddell responds: First, what was Hezekiah's prior commitment when it came to song and worship? Under his leadership, reform was wrought in the temple and worship of Israel (as per 2 Chronicles 29). There we read that he restores the music of the temple, as formerly commanded through David. In particular we see in vs. 30 that the songs themselves are previously inspired psalms. So it would not be, or should not be our assumption that Hezekiah would introduce something new into the worship of God (i.e. uninspired songs).

Secondly, it is possible (though not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt) that "my songs" does not refer to his own, unique compositions since, in the days of Hezekiah there was a kind of "prophetic guild" that had a hand in compiling the proverbs of Solomon (as per Proverbs 25:1). They are his songs as they are written under his direction, supervision as king but not personal uninspired compositions but rather prophetically inspired songs that were commanded to be used in worship.

Third, why would we have several inspired lines here (in vss. 9-19 of Isaiah 38) that would be followed up with a statement in vs. 20 about now singing uninspired songs in worship? If the reply is that Hezekiah was not a prophet because he was a king, we do have precedence in scripture for kings to be prophets: Saul, David and Solomon were all prophets of God.

Fourth, it is likely that Hezekiah's song(s) are, in fact, found in the Psalter itself. Psalm 116 is very similar to his words in Isaiah 38 (compare for example vs. 11 with Psalm 116:9). Psalm 76 also which begins with the same description of "on stringed instruments" (compare to Isaiah 38:20). Though it is a 'song of Asaph' we know that does not always mean 'written by Asaph' but in his inspired 'tone'. The words of this Psalm depict a battle that is remarkably similar to that recorded in Isaiah 37 which describes the death of the Assyrians (this is the view of some commentators as well).

Finally, since the command of God is to do as He pleases, and never to do anything against what He says or to add to what He says, how can the non exclusive-psalmodist prove through Isaiah 38:20 that we should sing uninspired song in the worship of God, unless he can prove that these songs were not inspired? Judging but what we have seen above we should not assume that what Hezekiah wrote was uninspired, and, besides the burden of proof is on the non-exclusive psalmodist to prove that this was so.
 
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