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Scripture explicitly reveals some information about Solomon and music that could be easily overlooked:

Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

The Spirit here reveals to us that Solomon acquired for himself male and female singers. Given the context of this information in its own verse (his statements in the first part of the verse that he acquired the most precious metals and the distinctive treasure of kings), we understand that these were not just ordinary singers—they were singers who knew how to sing at excelling levels and did so.

In order to rightly assess the fuller significance of this information, we must learn more from Scripture about how Solomon acquired these singers.

Solomon Acquired Singers through All-Excelling Wisdom

Rightly assessing just how good these singers were requires that we give careful attention to what the broader context within the book teaches us about how Solomon acquired these singers:

Ecclesiastes 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

These passages show that Solomon knew that he had excelled in wisdom above everyone that had been before him in Jerusalem (Eccl. 1:16). His knowing that he had that all-surpassing knowledge makes what he then says even more remarkable—he applied his heart to know wisdom (Eccl. 1:17a)!

When, therefore, we read in Eccl. 2:1-8 of all the areas in which Solomon applied his heart to know wisdom—including his acquiring to himself male and female singers (Eccl. 2:8)—we must hold that Solomon got those singers to himself by giving his heart to know wisdom about singers and singing.

We further know that this interpretation is correct because Solomon explicitly said even earlier in the book that he gave his heart to search out and seek by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven, which, of necessity, therefore, included wisdom concerning singers and their singing:

Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Given that God enlarged Solomon’s heart exceedingly and gave him exceedingly much wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (1 Kings 4:29; 2 Chron. 1:12) and given that he applied his heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning everything that is done (Eccl. 1:13), we can be certain that Solomon acquired these singers through the application of all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge!

Conclusion

Based on this line of biblical reasoning, we learn all the following from the biblical information about Solomon’s acquiring singers for himself:

As the richest king ever (cf. 1 Kings 3:13; cf. 10:23), Solomon had the position, power, and wealth to acquire for himself the finest singers possible. As the wisest person ever in the history of the world (except for Jesus of Nazareth), king Solomon had the unparalleled wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to rightly assess who were the finest singers that he could get for himself.

These two considerations coupled with the explicit statement that by way of necessary application shows us that Solomon sought out and acquired these singers by applying his heart to that matter proves that Solomon had to have and did have all-excelling wisdom not just concerning musical lyrics but also concerning the singing of those lyrics and who the people were who could sing them in the best ways possible.

We must also conclude, therefore, that Solomonic Israelite kinds of singing were the best kinds of singing in the world (cf. God’s revealing that Solomon’s wisdom excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), which necessarily therefore included all Egyptian wisdom about singing and kinds of singing). We thus have biblical basis to hold that through Solomon God gave Israel the best singers, singing, and kinds of singing in all the world.


See also The Importance of the All-Excelling Musical Supremacy of Solomon’s Wisdom

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

To fully understand and accept the all-excelling musical supremacy of the wisdom that God gave Solomon, we must rightly appreciate and accept the importance of Solomon’s all-excelling calling to build a house for the name of the Lord. The following nine passages reveal these truths to us:

2 Sam. 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

1 Chron. 22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

1 Chron. 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

1 Chron. 29:1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.

1 Chron. 29:25 And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

2 Chron. 1:1 And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.

2 Chron. 2:1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

2 Chron. 2:4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. 5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.

2 Chron. 2:9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.

These passages profoundly and abundantly set forth the matchless glory of the Solomonic temple. Unlike any other physical structure ever built by any other peoples in the history of the world, this house was a house for the name of the LORD (2 Chron. 2:1).

This house had to be and was of unmatched greatness because it was “not for man, but for the LORD God” (1 Chron. 29:1) who was and is great “above all gods” (2 Chron. 2:5). This house was “wonderful great” (2 Chron. 2:9). It had to be and was “exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries” (1 Chron. 22:5).

The combined force of all these inspired statements shows that there has never been another physical structure in the history of the world that has even remotely compared to the greatness of the Solomonic temple. Keeping that truth in mind and accounting for the divinely ordained immense importance of music in the Solomonic temple (for example, 2 Chron. 5:11-14), we must accept and recognize that God gave Solomon the all-excelling musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He did because the music of that temple had to be the greatest music ever in the history of the world for the sake of the glory of the one and only living and true God!

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

To appreciate rightly the supremacy of the musical wisdom that Solomon had, we need to account for his excelling musical background.

1. Solomon was the son of king David who was a prophet (Acts 2:30) who was an extraordinarily skilled harpist who had the Spirit on him (1 Sam. 16).

Solomon undoubtedly had extensive exposure to David’s excelling playing of instrumental music. Moreover, Solomon very likely had considerable exposure to other supernaturally gifted instrumentalists as well (cf. 1 Chron. 6:31-32; 9:33; 1 Chron. 15-16).

Through hearing and observing such supernaturally skillful instrumental music being played, Solomon was thus given vast knowledge and understanding of excelling kinds of instrumental music even before God gave to him surpassingly great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that he surpassed even David in those areas (cf. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chron. 1:12).

2. Solomon was the son of “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1) who gave to Israel around 75 perfect songs through divine inspiration. No other human being had ever had such excelling supernatural skillfulness in producing such songs in all human history prior to David.

Even before God gave to Solomon surpassingly great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that he surpassed even David in those areas (cf. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chron. 1:12), Solomon therefore almost certainly had had direct exposure to all of those perfect songs from God. What’s more Solomon did not just have such exposure to the lyrics of those perfect songs, he would have had considerable opportunity to hear his father and other supernaturally skilled singers (cf. 1 Chron. 6:31-32; 9:33; 1 Chron. 15-16) sing those songs before God made him (Solomon) a surpassingly excellent producer of songs himself.

These two considerations about Solomon’s background, therefore, should greatly heighten our appreciation and acceptance of the reality of Solomon’s all-surpassing musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge concerning songs, singing, musical instruments, and playing instrumental music.

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

Are some kinds of instrumental music objectively better than other kinds of instrumental music? Through a careful examination of what God has revealed in 1 Kings 4:29-32, the Spirit provides us with certainty about the correct answer to this key question.

Solomon’s Excelling Musical Wisdom

1 Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

Here, Scripture explicitly says that Solomon’s wisdom excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt.” This unqualified statement shows that God made Solomon to excel in wisdom above all Egyptian wisdom!

Whatever wisdom, therefore, the Egyptians had about kinds of instrumental music—Solomon’s wisdom excelled all of it!

Through the all-excelling wisdom that God gave to Solomon, Solomonic Israelite kinds of instrumental music were all superior to all those of the Egyptians!

In addition, the Spirit explains and stresses that superiority further by explicitly declaring that Solomon was wiser than both Ethan the Ezrahite and Heman. Because Ethan was the inspired writer of Psalm 89, God here stresses to us the supremacy of Solomon’s wisdom even above another leading Israelite musician!

Furthermore, the Spirit adds that Solomon’s wisdom excelled that of Heman. Although there is some uncertainty about who this Heman was, it is quite possible that he was another leading Israelite musician. If that interpretation is correct, the Spirit has profoundly stressed to us the supremacy of Solomon’s musical wisdom by comparing him first of all by name to two other leading Israelite musicians!

Finally, because the Spirit revealed that Solomon produced 1005 songs, we know that Solomon had excelling musical wisdom about collections of musical sounds because songs by definition are musical compositions that are sung as collections of musical sounds. Because Solomon had that kind of excelling musical wisdom concerning collections of musical sounds, we have further biblical support to hold that our understanding that Solomon excelled in musical wisdom concerning kinds of instrumental music is correct because kinds of instrumental music by definition both produce and are collections of musical sounds.

Conclusion

Based on what God has revealed in 1 Kings 4:29-32, we can know and say with certainty that some kinds of instrumental music (namely, at least Solomonic Israelite kinds of instrumental music) are objectively better than other kinds of instrumental music (namely, at least all Egyptian kinds of instrumental music at the time of Solomon).


Photo Credit: D. Hendrix

See also On the Excellence of Solomon’s Temple, Its Musicians, and Their Music

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

Friends, I’m looking for thoughtful feedback on the possible pros and cons of the following train of thought:

I have been studying the subject of the Bible and music intensely for the past twelve years. I have been working on a book on that subject for several years now.

Because I want to profit as many people as possible and as soon as possible with all my work in this area, I am considering disseminating the material of my book in a lengthy series of blog posts instead of an e-book or a printed book.

Doing it as a series of blog posts allows me to instantly make my work available all over the world and gives me total control of everything about how that material is formatted and does so at no additional cost to me. It also allows me to continually revise anything in my work on an instantaneous, ongoing basis.

It also removes inherent limitations that other formats have with what can be included (for example, printed books cannot provide live links to other articles on my site as well as on other sites; illustrations by necessity have many limitations that would not be true on a blog post).

Thoughts?

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

The most important, most necessary, and most profitable information to study thoroughly and discuss thoroughly about any subject is whatever Scripture says about the subject, whether directly or by way of principle or by way of necessary and legitimate inference.

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

Is it important to study the Bible in its original languages? An examination of James 3:2 in both English and Greek provides a clear example that answers this question decisively.

James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

A normal, natural reading of the beginning of this verse in English would lead one to believe that James teaches that in many things we offend all people, that is, we offend everybody, everyone etc. That reading regards “all” as the direct object of the verb “offend,” which is what a proper understanding of normal English grammar and syntax would indicate for that phrasing.

An examination of the original text, however, shows that this is a wrong understanding of what James teaches. Regardless of which Greek manuscript families we look at (BGT, BYZ, or SCR), the original reading is the same—the Greek word (ἅπαντες) that is rendered “all” in the verse is in a Greek case (the nominative case) that is *never* the direct object of a verb.

BGT James 3:2 πολλὰ γὰρ πταίομεν ἅπαντες. εἴ τις ἐν λόγῳ οὐ πταίει, οὗτος τέλειος ἀνὴρ δυνατὸς χαλιναγωγῆσαι καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα.

BYZ James 3:2 Πολλὰ γὰρ πταίομεν ἅπαντες. Εἴ τις ἐν λόγῳ οὐ πταίει, οὗτος τέλειος ἀνήρ, δυνατὸς χαλιναγωγῆσαι καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα.

SCR James 3:2 πολλὰ γὰρ πταίομεν ἅπαντες. εἴ τις ἐν λόγῳ οὐ πταίει, οὗτος τέλειος ἀνήρ, δυνατὸς χαλιναγωγῆσαι καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα.

The correct understanding of the first part of James 3:2, therefore, is that we all offend in many things—it is not that we offend all people, everyone, etc.

This is a clear example that shows how reading the Bible in the original languages can greatly help us to interpret it correctly!

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

We live in a day when more and more believers are choosing cremation instead of burial. Scripture, however, provides abundant revelation that shows that burial and not cremation is the right choice for every believer to make.

This post treats a premier reason for choosing burial instead of cremation. It does so by applying Micah 6:8 to what Scripture reveals about the importance of burial in 2 Samuel 2:4-6.

What Loyal People Do for a Deceased Person

When the men of Jabeshgilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul and to his sons, they acted at great personal cost (“went all night”) to ensure that Saul and his sons would be buried:

1 Samuel 31:11 And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; 12 All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 13 And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

Later, king David was informed of what these men had done:

2 Samuel 2:4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.

When David learned of what they had done, David declared that what they had done to bury1 Saul showed kindness (Heb. hesed) to Saul:

 2 Samuel 2:5 And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabeshgilead, and said unto them, Blessed be ye of the LORD, that ye have shewed this kindness [hesed] unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. 6 And now the LORD shew kindness and truth unto you: and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing.

Holladay defines hesed as ‘loyalty’ (A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 111). We thus learn from Scripture that burying a deceased person is how we show our loyalty to him.

God Requires Us to Love Loyalty

One of the most famous passages in Scripture teaches us that God requires us to love mercy (hesed):

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy [hesed], and to walk humbly with thy God?

This passage that instructs believers to love hesed shows us that God requires that we love loyalty.

Applying Micah 6:8 to 2 Samuel 2:4-6

God has instructed us that He requires that we love loyalty (Micah 6:8). He has also revealed that loyalty to a deceased person is shown by burying that person (2 Sam. 2:4-6).

In obedience to God, therefore, believers should show that they love loyalty by burying a deceased person. Burial—not cremation—is the right thing for all believers to do for a deceased person.

Conclusion

Let us choose burial to display our love of loyalty to a deceased person.


1 See my post Three Reasons for Why Cremation Is Unbiblical for an explanation of why the account in 1 Samuel 31:11-13 does not support cremation at all.

Picture Credit: M. Shires

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

Nehemiah was an exemplary leader of God’s people. He was a devoted servant of God who repeatedly asked God to remember him for good because of what he had done for the sake of the things of God.

Two statements that Nehemiah made in his requests to King Artaxerxes when he requested permission of him to rebuild Jerusalem stress for us the importance of burial in a way that many may have overlooked:

Neh. 2:3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

Neh. 2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

Jerusalem was the place where God’s house was. Surely, Nehemiah regarded the place of God’s house to be of surpassing importance.

Nonetheless, Nehemiah did not say that he was sad because the city, the place of God’s house, lay waste and had its gates consumed with fire. Nor did Nehemiah request permission from the king to build the city because it was the city of his God’s house.

Remarkably, instead, he said that he was sad that Jerusalem lay waste with its gates consumed with fire—and he sought the king’s permission to build the city—because it was the place of his fathers’ sepulchers! For Nehemiah, what made Jerusalem of special importance was not just that God’s house was there—it was that Jerusalem was the place where his forefathers were buried in their tombs!

He later implicitly stresses the same point for the readers of Nehemiah by writing about what another Nehemiah repaired:

Neh. 3:16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty.

By mentioning explicitly “the place over against the sepulchres of David” in this statement, Nehemiah made known whose sepulchres were of special importance to him.

Conclusion

Nehemiah’s heart for the place where his fathers were buried instructs us that such places of biblical burial is what godly people should choose for themselves and for their own.


Honoring our loved ones by burying them is the right thing to do.


See also The Biblical Importance of a Proper Burial

Three Reasons Why Cremation is Unbiblical

Picture Credit: M. Shires

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

What Is Worldliness?

November 22, 2023

I have been thinking a lot lately about what Scripture teaches about Christians, the world, and worldliness (see the discussion that I recently started on Sharper Iron). This is a subject that I have never studied in-depth.

Based on Pastor Minnick’s four messages so far in his series, “Out of, Not of, Into the World,” and on my own recent study, I have come up with the following working understanding concerning worldliness:


1 Here are some key passages that have helped shape my present thinking about this subject: John 17; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:13; James 4:1-12; 2 Peter 2:19-20; and 1 John 2:15-17.

2 As God directs, I probably will be editing and adding to this post as I continue to study this subject.

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