David’s Instrumental Music Was Not Amoral

March 15, 2012

Scripture provides us with the truths that we need to be fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17). Music is not an exception to this truth, and we must apply Scripture to all problem issues in our churches concerning music.

Many people today hold that music without words is amoral. The account of David’s music ministry to Saul (1 Sam. 16), however, makes clear that instrumental music is not amoral.

God judged Saul by sending an evil spirit to afflict him (1 Sam. 16:14). To relieve him of his affliction, Saul’s servants sought a skillful harpist to minister to him (1 Sam. 16:15-16). They found David and brought him to Saul (1 Sam. 16:17-22).

Whenever the evil spirit troubled Saul, David’s playing made Saul better and caused the demon to depart (1 Sam. 16:23). The passage does not say anything about David’s singing any words to Saul as he played his harp.

It was David’s instrumental harp music, therefore, that caused the evil spirit that tormented Saul to depart from him. Had his music been amoral, it could not have had this effect for good.

Because the music did drive out the evil spirit, it was a force for good. We thus learn that David’s instrumental music was not amoral.


Please see these important articles related to this passage:

Did an Unholy Spirit from God Torment Saul?

Correcting a Wrong Handling of the Accounts of David’s Music Ministry to Saul

The Importance of 1 Samuel 16:14-23 for a Sound Theology of Music

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