Sing THIS new song?

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brendanchatt

Puritan Board Freshman
In psalms that say to sing a new song, could the psalmist be referring to the Psalm itself?

Before posting, I was able to find a similar point mentioned briefly in a thread, but the poster's main point was another interpretation.

This is like the commands to use different instruments, for example. I tend to reckon those could be about instruments used with that very song.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Psalm 149:1 in the SMV seems to imply that the "psalms" are the new song being sung, though maybe not that one in particular. I think it's peculiarly implied by that translation though as I don't see it in other versions:

Praise ye the Lord: unto him sing
a new song, and his praise
In the assembly of his saints
in sweet psalms do ye raise.

Also, it's obviously outside of the Psalms, but Revelation 14:3 is using "new song" to refer to the song being then introduced and sung.
 
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
The answer will likely depend on your view of exclusive psalmody. From my non-EP perspective, it's far fetched to make "new song" only refer to the old songs in the book of Psalms. Certainly the angels in Revelation didn't abide by this interpretation.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The answer will likely depend on your view of exclusive psalmody. From my non-EP perspective, it's far fetched to make "new song" only refer to the old songs in the book of Psalms. Certainly the angels in Revelation didn't abide by this interpretation.

While I can see how some folks might take their EP or non-EP position and turn it into a hermeneutic for interpreting those passages, I don't think that's going to drive everyone's answer. For example, I am not EP. But if I read a psalm that beings, "Sing to the Lord a new song..." I assume the psalmist probably had the song he was then writing in mind, or maybe a few other psalms being introduced at the time. I assume this the same way I assume, for example, that Homer had The Iliad itself in mind when he began that poem by writing, "Sing, goddess, of Achilles' rage..." It just makes sense. I also assume a psalm that speaks of trumpets and cymbals would originally have been sung accompanied by trumpets and cymbals, much as I figure Dueling Banjos will probably include banjo music.

But I don't think the way we answer those questions settles the separate question of whether or not we may sing recently-written songs in worship today, or use musical instruments. That has more to do with big-picture views regarding continuity and change between the Old and New Testaments, type and fulfillment in Temple worship, what you think the New Testament writers assumed would remain or said was passing away, etc.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
While I can see how some folks might take their EP or non-EP position and turn it into a hermeneutic for interpreting those passages, I don't think that's going to drive everyone's answer. For example, I am not EP. But if I read a psalm that beings, "Sing to the Lord a new song..." I assume the psalmist probably had the song he was then writing in mind, or maybe a few other psalms being introduced at the time. I assume this the same way I assume, for example, that Homer had The Iliad itself in mind when he began that poem by writing, "Sing, goddess, of Achilles' rage..." It just makes sense. I also assume a psalm that speaks of trumpets and cymbals would originally have been sung accompanied by trumpets and cymbals, much as I figure Dueling Banjos will probably include banjo music.

But I don't think the way we answer those questions settles the separate question of whether or not we may sing recently-written songs in worship today, or use musical instruments. That has more to do with big-picture views regarding continuity and change between the Old and New Testaments, type and fulfillment in Temple worship, what you think the New Testament writers assumed would remain or said was passing away, etc.

Hi Jack,

I agree with you that sometimes the usage of "new song" in the Psalms can refer to a particular song that would be an old song from our perspective. Thank you for that helpful qualification!

However, I do think that scripture sometimes does use "new song" to mean something different than a specific Psalm. For example:

"He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God..." (Ps. 40:2-3a)

David describes being delivered from the miry clay, horrible pit, being set on a rock and his steps established as an ongoing product of a life of faith which would set up the new song as an ongoing work, not an established song. It seems that this passage in particular describes new music as a legitimate part of praise.

Again, I really do appreciate your qualification, and I do not want to imply that every time a new song is spoken of it refers to a new composition. Thoughts? I value your opinion.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Yeah, Psalm 40 sounds to me like the "new song" might refer to the one David is now writing or might refer more generally to a new period of praise and singing, or even songwriting, in his life... or maybe both. That's just my gut feeling when I read it, based on context. Others may have further insight.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
I argue that the "new song" is precisely equal to the Gospel being taken to the nations--the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Kingdom.
Note that in the context of almost every mention of the "new song" there is concurrent mention of the isles, etc. (in other words, the goyim, the nations out beyond the Jews.)
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I argue that the "new song" is precisely equal to the Gospel being taken to the nations--the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Kingdom.
Note that in the context of almost every mention of the "new song" there is concurrent mention of the isles, etc. (in other words, the goyim, the nations out beyond the Jews.)

Thanks for that observation, Wayne. It caused me to look at all the passages. I think you are right!
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I argue that the "new song" is precisely equal to the Gospel being taken to the nations--the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Kingdom.
Note that in the context of almost every mention of the "new song" there is concurrent mention of the isles, etc. (in other words, the goyim, the nations out beyond the Jews.)

That is helpful. Much to think about there.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
"Song" functions as a covenant witness in Deut. 32. There the nations are first introduced as the means of chastening Israel, and are then invited to rejoice with Israel in her restoration after judgment. The "new song" in the Psalms takes up this eschatology of restoration and calls the nations to rejoice with His people in light of the Lord coming to judgment and showing truth and mercy to Israel.

The New Testament gives new revelation on this matter as it uncovers the "mystery" of the Old Testament. The Gentiles are called to "rejoice with His people," Romans 15:10, not as mere instruments serving the nation of Israel but as equal participants in the mercy of restoration and fellow heirs of the household of God. Christ is made known as the sweet Psalmist of Israel singing and confessing the name of the Lord among the Gentiles. By Him the promises are confirmed to Israel and the Gentiles are gathered in for an acceptable offering to God.
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
See Isaiah 42.10: These are certainly "new songs" to those who were once Israel's enemies. Those in the seas, the isles (the farthest point known to the ancient poeople) those nomads of Kedar with no inheritance, those on the tops of the mountains, in the wilderness, from the rocks, from the ends of the earth, etc. are all invited to join the people of God in singing these new songs. As one who is convinced of Exclusive Psalmody, the Psalter forms the content of this "new song".
 
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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I'll add that if "sing a new song" means sing a freshly written song that no one has ever sung before, then we are in sin every time we enter into worship without doing just this. If we don't have a brand new song every time we worship God, we are violating the regulative principle of worship.

I don't agree with that position, of course, but those are the implications of it.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I'll add that if "sing a new song" means sing a freshly written song that no one has ever sung before, then we are in sin every time we enter into worship without doing just this. If we don't have a brand new song every time we worship God, we are violating the regulative principle of worship.

I don't agree with that position, of course, but those are the implications of it.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't think the logic holds up. We are required to include the various parts of worship in a worship service. That does not mean that we include each part of worship and its comprehensive form every week. For example, we are to preach the word, but we do not have to preach from the whole Bible every week. We are to sing praises, yet you would not sing 150 Psalms every week. We are required to pray, but we do not pray every week for everything that we could.

I think upon careful examination of the implications of your argument, we would always be in violation of the RPW in every service because of a lack of being comprehensive in every category.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I understand what you are saying, but I don't think the logic holds up. We are required to include the various parts of worship in a worship service. That does not mean that we include each part of worship and its comprehensive form every week. For example, we are to preach the word, but we do not have to preach from the whole Bible every week. We are to sing praises, yet you would not sing 150 Psalms every week. We are required to pray, but we do not pray every week for everything that we could.

I think upon careful examination of the implications of your argument, we would always be in violation of the RPW in every service because of a lack of being comprehensive in every category.
Not so, sir. There is no command for the entirety of the Word to be preached as an element of worship. Nor is there a command to sing all of the Psalms as an element of worship. The same goes for praying for everything. But if there is a command to sing a new song in worship, then we are in sin if we don't do it (the equivalent to the examples you gave would be if we were to seek to sing all of the new songs in existence).

Furthermore, how can a hymn that is two hundred years old qualify as a new song any more than a Psalm that is three thousand years old? Sure, it is newer, but it certainly isn't new.
 
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