Using some advanced capabilities of BibleWorks 10 and Excel, I discovered today that the ten* longest verses (by the number of words) in the Bible are all in the Old Testament.

Book Words
1 Esther 8:9 90
2 Jeremiah 21:7 83
3 Ezekiel 46:9 81
4 Joshua 8:33 80
2 Chronicles 2:14 80
Jeremiah 44:12 80
Ezekiel 48:21 80
5 2 Kings 16:15 79
6 Daniel 5:23 78
7 Jeremiah 33:11 77
Daniel 4:23 77
8 1 Samuel 29:4 75
2 Kings 1:6 75
Ezra 3:8 75
Esther 3:12 75
Ezekiel 45:7 75
9 Esther 4:11 74
Ezekiel 43:11 74
10 Deuteronomy 13:5 73
1 Kings 2:5 73
2 Kings 6:32 73
1 Chronicles 29:2 73

*Because many verses have equal numbers of words, this list actually has 22 verses.

Verse ranks and word totals are for the KJV.

The longest verse in the NT is Revelation 20:4, which has 68 words and ranks as the 42nd longest verse in the Bible.

Among non-divine biblical characters, Stephen and Barnabas are noteworthy for their excellence. They are the only two believers that Scripture specifically says were full of the Spirit and full of faith:

Acts 6:5 And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost . . .

Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith . . .

Scripture even says of Barnabas that he was a good man!

Because God has given us this revelation to profit us, by the grace of God, let us strive for such excellence in our own lives.

The early Christian writers aimed no polemic at the nobler art music or the folk music of their day. Had they been opposed to it, they would no doubt have spoken against it. Their denunciations of music were not general; rather, they were aimed at a few well-defined targets: the music of the popular public spectacles, the music associated with voluptuous banqueting, the music associated with pagan weddings, and the music of pagan religious rites and festivities. As we have already seen, they were not alone in their denunciations. They joined their voices with those of pagan Romans who were painfully aware of the decay of their civilization.

—Calvin R. Stapert, A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church, 145

At least 21 verses in Scripture record instances of shouting directly connected with singing or playing musical instruments. These passages relate instances of divine, angelic, and human shouting.

Divine Shouting

One passage clearly records an instance of divine shouting connected directly to music.

Psalm 47:5 God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.

Angelic Shouting

Not only does Scripture record divine shouting connected directly to music, but also it records angelic shouting connected directly with music.

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Human Shouting

In addition to passages recording divine and angelic shouting directly connected with music, many passages record human shouting directly connected with music. All the major sections of the OT contain at least one such passage.

The Law

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Historical Books

2 Sam. 6:15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

1 Chr. 15:28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.

2 Chr. 15:14 And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.

Ezr. 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezr. 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:

Ezr. 3:13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

Poetry or Wisdom Books

Ps. 5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Ps. 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Ps. 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

Ps. 47:1 <To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.> O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Ps. 65:13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Ps. 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.

Ps. 132:16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.

The Prophets

Isa. 12:6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Isa. 42:11 Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

Isa. 44:23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

Jer. 31:7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

Zeph. 3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

Application

This wealth of biblical data shows the musical importance of shouting. Commands of worldwide scope (Ps. 47:1; Is. 44:23) especially highlight that importance.

Not everyone can sing well, but almost everyone who can speak can shout. Given that Scripture plainly teaches the musical importance of shouting for every believer (Ps. 5:11, 32:11, 35:27), churches would do well to add regular corporate shouting of praise to God (cf. Ezra 3:11) to their other musical worship activities.

 

 

 

Profoundly dangerous teaching about music from an influential writer on the subject:

Because true Christianity cannot be thought of apart from new creation, there should be no kind of music, however radical, however new, however strange, that is out of place in Christian worship, as long as it is faithfully offered. And no Christian, truly living by faith, should ever turn his or her back on and refuse to offer a musical piece simply because it is too radical.

—Harold M. Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, 154

A large group of people who virulently hate God gather in a remote location to curse God corporately for an extended period. Their blasphemous activities include the use of lots of musical instruments.

This group uses melodies in songs written by and known only to the people who attend the event. The instrumental music played throughout the event to accompany the singing is all new music written specifically for the event.

A Secret Recording

At some distance from the event, some animal researchers happen to hear the loud musical sounds emanating from the gathering. Fearing for their personal safety, the researchers do not want the large group to discover their presence.

The researchers have with them state of the art audio equipment. They use it secretly from a distance to record the musical activities of the blasphemers. Because of the distance involved, the equipment cannot pick up any of the lyrics of the songs. The equipment only records the composite sound from a distance of the singing accompanied by the musical instruments.

The researchers do not know anything about the nature of the group or why they have gathered. They cannot hear any of the words the people sing, but they are able to tell that the group is singing.

What Should We Think?

From a human standpoint, what are we to think of the morality of the composite sound that the researchers record? Anyone who would hear that recording of the composite sound would not know anything about either the words being sung or the instrumental music accompanying it. Would that composite sound recording, therefore, be an amoral musical recording for any people who hear it?

God, angels, and demons, however, would know exactly all that the group did and and sang on this occasion. Because of their full knowledge about the event, would that recording still be an amoral recording simply because it is a recording of composite sound of humanly unknown and unknowable lyrics sung to musical accompaniment that is humanly unknown and unknowable?

Scripture reveals that ancient Babylon was shockingly a nation characterized by an immense prevalence of human involvement in occult practices:

Isaiah 47:8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:
9 But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.
11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.
12 Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.
13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.
14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.

With at least seven statements in this passage about the occult practices of ancient Babylon, we understand that it was a nation whose people had pervasive contact with evil supernatural spirits. A right understanding of the wickedness of this nation must foremost account for this profound revelation.

Exodus 32 is an important passage in Scripture on the subject of worship. I recently engaged in a lengthy online discussion on Sharper Iron concerning that passage: “How Does God Want Christians to Profit concerning Worship from Exodus 32:17-20.”

I then conducted a follow-up poll on the question: “Is Exodus 32:17-18 divine revelation about worship music?

Respondents chose from 7 answers: “Yes, for sure; Probably; Maybe; Not sure; Probably not; No; or, Absolutely not.”

Poll Results

The results of the poll were shocking. Out of 22 respondents, 3 voted “No” and 14 voted “Absolutely not.” Only 2 people voted “Yes, for sure” and 1 voted “Probably.”1

Poll Analysis

Are the majority of the responses in this poll the correct view about Exodus 32:17-18? A careful analysis of the passage and of other relevant passages answers that question decisively.

Undeniably, Exodus 32:17-18 is divine revelation that has been given by inspiration of the Spirit:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Because verse 18 mentions singing explicitly, these verses are undeniably divine revelation about music. The only question that remains is whether these verses are divine revelation about worship music.

Exodus 32:5 shows that what took place in the Golden Calf Incident (GCI) took place on an occasion that was supposed to have been a feast to the Lord, which would have been a divinely ordained occasion of corporate worship (cf. John 12:20). In addition, apostolic citation of Exodus 32:6 in 1 Corinthians 10:7 decisively shows that the GCI was an occasion of worship because it says that they were idolaters on that occasion:

1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

1 Corinthians 10:7 μηδὲ εἰδωλολάτραι γίνεσθε, καθώς τινες αὐτῶν· ὡς γέγραπται, Ἐκάθισεν ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πιεῖν, καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν.

Furthermore, Paul specifies that their idolatrous worship extended to their eating and drinking what had been offered to the idol and to their subsequent playing. The Greek verb παίζειν that is rendered “to play” in this statement is used in the LXX to signify singing and playing of musical instruments:

1 Chr. 13:8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.

1 Chr. 13:8 καὶ Δαυιδ καὶ πᾶς Ισραηλ παίζοντες ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ ἐν ψαλτῳδοῖς καὶ ἐν κινύραις καὶ ἐν νάβλαις ἐν τυμπάνοις καὶ ἐν κυμβάλοις καὶ ἐν σάλπιγξιν

This biblical data justifies holding that the idolatrous worship in the GCI included their singing.

Conclusion

In spite of the prevailing view to the contrary that is held by most of the respondents to this poll, a careful handling of Exodus 32:17-18 shows that it is definitively divine revelation concerning worship music.


Notes

1 One of the people who responded to this poll on SI conducted the same poll in a closed Facebook group of fundamentalist pastors. He found that 24 of the 30 pastors said that Exodus 32:17-18 is not divine revelation about worship music. If anything, his results are more shocking than mine are because of the nature of the group that he polled.

A professional CCM musician recently made the following revealing comment to an online article about CCM:

I’m a professional musician who has and does work with some of the most well known CCM artists. I’ve done tours, recorded on their albums , etc.. I can tell you first hand that it’s about the bottomline, not Jesus. The hypocrisy is rampant. And I will say many are not believers. I was on a tour bus one year with a well known act and I was mocked for reading my bible. I was yelled at by the drummer for calling out heretics on TBN. Many musicians like myself who work in the CCM market are not believers. They all call themselves Christian’s, but their words and actions betray them. And the biblical ignorance is beyond breathtaking. There ate [sic] true believers players and artists alike, but far and few between.

This article provides telling information about CCM. The comments are especially informative.

Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his lifethat he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Even as God would have done with any of the kings who would have obeyed this divine revelation, so God would use the faithful reading of the Bible on all the days of our lives to teach us to fear Him aright and to keep our hearts from being lifted up above our brethren.

One tragic reason for so much of the division and strife among God’s own people is the lack of immersion in His Word on all the days of the lives of many of God’s people. A verse a day, although better than nothing, cannot give the Word of God the rich dwelling that God desires it would have in all of our lives.