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Are Musical Instruments Allowed in Worship?

Singing has always played an important role in worship and so has music. Instruments and singing played a large part in worship in Judaism. Though Hebrew music was primarily vocal, people celebrated through music.

The Hebrew people used mainly three types of instruments:

1) stringed instruments,

2) percussion instruments, which

3) wind instruments,

The lyre was the most common instrument commonly used. Then the Timbrel, which is most often translated “tambourine,” sometimes “timbrel.” Mariam first prophetess led the women in timbrel and dancing as they sang the same song of Moses.

Nmes for string instruments used were the Lyre, Harp, Lute, Psaltery, Trigon were Stringed Instruments ( Dan. 3:5,7,10,15) .

Trumpet, Horn. of metal and of animal. Moses was instructed to prepare two trumpets of silver (Num. 10:2) called hasosera (Neh. 12:35; Ps. 98:6) came in pairs,

Trumpets were from the horn of the ram or goat. (Dan. 3:5,7,10,15). “trumpet[s]” are the shofar, used for giving of signals for war, Joshua, Ehud, Gideon, and Joab. It announced the year of Jubilee and also approaching danger (Jer. 4:5; Ezek. 33:3; Joel 2:1). It announced the appearing of the new and full moon (Ps. 81:3).

The woodwind instrument “flute” (Job 21:12) and “pipe” (Gen. 4:21; Isa. 30:29; Jer. 48:36). Sachs is, considered to be an oboe. Reed-pipe

Cymbals. The Heb. words for cymbals are onomatopoetic (names that imitate the instruments' sounds). The more common is mesiltayim (1 Chr. 15:16,19; Ezra 3:10.). The other is selselim (2 Sam. 6:5; Ps. 150:5). Cymbals are seen on Assyrian reliefs where two types appear. This instrument is seen for the first time in the list of instruments upon which David played when the Ark of God was transported to Jerusalem from the house of Abinadab. Bells were common in Palestine, they are mentioned only twice in the Bible not as musical instruments. Tiny bells of pure gold were fastened to the hem of the priest's robe (Ex. 39:25,26). The prophet Zechariah mentions the Hebrew people put such tiny bells on the bridles of their horses.

Sistrums were small musical instruments with a U-shaped frame and a handle at the bottom. Strung on bars between the two parts of the U were small pieces of metal or other objects which could create a rattling sound. The collection of the Jewish oral law, known as the MISHNAH, recognized the sistrum, also called a rattler-sistrum, as the instrument used by women who mourned the death of a relative or friend. This instrument probably originated in Egypt. It was used to express great joy as well as deep sorrow (2 Sam. 6:5); (cornets, KJV; (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

The “tabret.” scholars think it was a drum, like a tom-tom, made

So there were various instruments used in worship and singing, what was available was used (Exodus 15:1; Psalm 122).

Solomon writes: Eccl. 2:8 “I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers the delights of the sons of men and musical instruments of all kinds”

Playing Instruments - Psalm 33:2, 3 says, “Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

Clapping - Psalm 47:1 says, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.”. Lifting Hands - Psalm 63:4 says, “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”

2 Chron. 7:6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of music of the LORD”

Psalm 149:3 says, “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.”

On the feast day-

And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD” (2 Chr 30:21)

Neh 12:27 “Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps.”

God would at times accompany Music with his spirit II Kings 3:15 “But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.” Prophecy was often sung not just spoken and prophecies are associated with worship and musical instruments (1 Sam.10:5-6, 1 Chron. 13:8, 2 Chron.29:25, 30:21.) 1 Chron. 25:1”Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals.”

1 Sam 10:5-6: “After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying.”

2 Sam 6:5 “Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals.

1 Chr 13:8 “Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.”

1 Chr 15:16 “Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy.”

1 Chr 16:5Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, and Obed-Edom: Jeiel with stringed instruments and harps, but Asaph made music with cymbals;”


1 Chr 16:42 “And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God.”

2 Chr 5:13 “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;

2 Chr 9:11 “And the king made walkways of the algum wood for the house of the LORD and for the king's house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers; and there were none such as these seen before in the land of Judah.

Neh 12:27 “Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps

Ps 68:25 “The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the maidens playing timbrels.

Music al instruments were used as worship during the sacrifice 2 Chron. 29:26-28 “And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.” (also ps.68:25, 87:7)

2 Chr 30:21 “So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing to the LORD, accompanied by loud instruments.

Ps 150:4-5 “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals!

There should be a difference in sound and quality of the music made to the Lord and the way the world orchestrates its music. We find that loud and unruly Music accompanied the dances around the golden calf, (Ex 32:17-18) as Joshua and Moses headed down the mountain Joshua mistook it for ‘the noise of war" because of its disorder and melody.

There are no specific examples of musical instruments being used in New Testament times yet we know they were part of the Jewish culture for over a thousands years. Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn (Mathew 26:30) at the Last supper the Passover feast. The early church had singing as an integral part of worship. there is no prohibition for musical instruments in the New Testament.

In the New Testament, music is a means of teaching God's word and used in thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:18f; Colossians 3:16).

Heaven will have the songs of the redeemed (Revelation 5:9ff; 14:3), and angels and numerous other creatures will sing to the Lord it probably will be loud, but sweet

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