Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
Music was also a part of the religious life of Israel. The Israelites’ formal worship observed various rituals prescribed by God. Music served as an accompaniment to these rituals.
Temple music consisted of singers and an orchestra. The singers and musicians could come only from the males of certain families. Likewise, the types of instruments were restricted. Instruments that were associated with women, with raucous merrymaking (such as the Egyptian sistrum), or with pagan worship were banned from the temple orchestra.
The Old Testament lists several kinds of instruments in the temple orchestra (cf. 1 Chr. 15:28; 16:42; 25:1). These instruments include the big harp (nevel), the lyre (kinnor), the ram’s horn (shophar), the trumpet (chatsotserah), the timbrel (toph), and cymbals (metsiltayim). After the Israelites returned from the Exile and rebuilt the temple, the orchestra was reestablished (cf. Neh. 12:27). The pipe or flute (halil) was probably now included, and vocal music became more prominent.
Beyond formal worship within the temple, music was a part of other religious activities. Instruments not allowed in the temple were played at other religious functions, such as feast days. Often the feast began with a musical proclamation; then music, singing, and even dancing were part of the celebration. Women singers and musicians were allowed to participate (Ezra 2:65; Neh. 7:67; 2 Chr. 35:25).
James I. Packer, Merrill C. Tenney and William White, Jr., editors, Nelson’s Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, ©1995.
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