2 Chronicles 29:25-28- Instrumental Music


T. Pierce Brown


A Christian in Africa has asked for some comments on 2 Chron. 29:25-28. The passage reads, “And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. 26 And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 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. (28) And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.”

          I am not a scholar nor an expert in Bible matters, but am merely a student of God’s word, but let us notice a few things: The text plainly says twice that it was “according to the commandment of David” and “the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and the instruments ordained by David.” This is in accord with the statement of Amos 6:1-6 that it was David who introduced instruments of music into the worship of God, for which he was reproved.

          The English version may give the impression that the whole thing was commanded by the Lord, but other versions and the Septuagint make it seem that it was by the commandment of the Lord and his prophets that the Levites should praise the Lord (the original Hebrew text may be so understood) but it was by the order of David that the instruments should be introduced into the worship.

          The Septuagint reads in the last part of verse 25, “For by the commandment of the Lord the order was in the hand of the prophets.” The word “order–prostagma” in this connection leaves me with the impression that God had given commandments regarding how he wanted to be worshipped, and left it in the hands of the prophets to tell the people His will, but they sang as the Lord ordained and then, as the text plainly says, “The song of the Lord began” then it says “also with the trumpets and instruments ordained by David.” This seems very similar to what happens today in many denominations. The song of the Lord begins, then they add to it the trumpets and instruments ordained by men.

It may be interesting to note here the comment of Adam Clark, one of the most noted of Methodist commentators on this verse. “Moses had not appointed any musical instruments to be used in the divine worship; there was nothing of the kind under the first tabernacle. The trumpets or horn’s then used were not for song nor for praise, but as we use bells, i. e., to give notice to the congregation of what they were called to perform, etc. But David did certainly introduce many instruments of music into God’s worship, for which we have already seen he was solemnly reproved by the prophet Amos, <Amos 6:1-6>. It was by the hand or commandment of the Lord and his prophets that the Levites should praise the Lord; for so the Hebrew text may be understood: and it was by the order of David that so many instruments of music should be introduced into the divine service. But were it even evident, which it is not, either from this or any other place in the sacred writings, that instruments of music were prescribed by divine authority under the law, could this be adduced with any semblance of reason, that they ought to be used in Christian worship? No: the whole spirit, soul, and genius of the Christian religion are against this: and those who know the church of God best, and what constitutes its genuine spiritual state, know that these things have been introduced as a substitute for the life and power of religion; and that where they prevail most, there is least of the power of Christianity. Away with such portentous baubles from the worship of that infinite Spirit who requires his followers to worship him in spirit and in truth, for to no such worship are those instruments friendly.”

(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

          I do not understand your question or comment with reference to “take not of the purpose of the message of God through Amos to Judah and Israel and displeasure of God in their sacrifices and worship.” It is certain that he was displeased with them and their sacrifices and worship, but until you ask a specific question, I do not know what particular point you want examined, and a whole book could be written about how he was displeased and why he was displeased.

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