The Importance of What First Samuel 10:5-6 Reveals about Music

June 8, 2024 — Leave a comment

After Samuel had anointed Saul, he uttered a striking prophetic declaration of what would shortly happen to Saul:

1 Samuel 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

Concerning what it reveals about music, this passage is significant for several reasons.

First, it shows that more than two years (cf. 1 Sam. 13:1) before David came to the forefront as a uniquely skilled musician in Israel (1 Sam. 16:14-23), God already had a group of prophets among His people who were sacred musicians who ministered with music for Him! As prophets, these men were specially chosen, anointed, and empowered servants of God on whom He had put His Spirit; these musicians undeniably therefore knew fully how to play sacred music that pleased God.

Second, the verse speaks about the prophetic use of three different kinds of instruments: stringed (psaltery, harp); percussion (tabret); and wind (pipe). The verse, therefore, shows the legitimacy of using each of these kinds of instruments for sacred uses.

Third, the verse mentions two stringed instruments but only one each of the other two kinds of instruments. The greater number and variety of stringed instruments versus percussion or wind instruments points to the greater importance of stringed instruments in sacred activities.

Fourth, the verse does not make any mention of singing. Although the lack of mention of singing does not definitively show that there was no singing by those in this prophetic company, the explicit mention of multiple musical instruments and no mention of singing stresses the importance of the use of musical instruments in sacred ministry.

See also A Prophet, A Minstrel, and Resolving Today’s Worship Wars

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.



Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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