Doxology of praise to Yahweh (Ps 150:3-150:6)

“Praise him

With trumpet sound!

Praise him

With lute!

Praise him

With harp!

Praise him

With tambourine!

Praise him

With dance!

Praise him

With strings!

Praise him

With pipe!

Praise him

With clanging cymbals;

Praise him

With loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that breathes

Praise Yahweh!

Praise Yahweh!”

This psalm and the whole book of psalms end with the double phrase “praise Yahweh,” another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” This doxological praise of God explains how this is done here on earth. The various instruments were to be used in praising Yahweh, the trumpet, the lute, the harp, and the tambourine. There was to be dancing with stringed instruments, playing pipes, and clanging cymbals. Everything that breathes should praise Yahweh. This is a fitting end to a great book of praise to God.

Call to worship (Ps 81:1-81:5)

To the choirmaster leader, according to the Gittith, a psalm of Asaph

“Sing aloud to God!

Our strength!

Shout for joy

To the God of Jacob!

Raise a song!

Sound the tambourine!

Sound the sweet lyre!

Sound the harp!

Blow the trumpet

At the new moon,

At the full moon,

On our feast day.

It is a statute for Israel.

It is an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

He made it a decree in Joseph,

When he went out

Over the land of Egypt.”

Once again, Psalm 81 is a choral psalm on a Gittith or stringed instrument. Of course it is in this series of Asaph psalms, who was a Temple singer. They were to sing aloud with joy to the God of Jacob. They were to play on the tambourine, the lyre, and the harp. They were to blow the trumpet at the new moon, the full moon, and the feast day. This was a statute of Israel and an ordinance of the God of Jacob. This was the decree that came from tribe of Joseph as they left Egypt.

Praise God (Ps 71:22-71:24)

“I will also praise you with the harp,

For your faithfulness,

O my God!

I will sing praises to you with the lyre,

O Holy One of Israel!

My lips will shout for joy,

When I sing praises to you.

My soul also will shout for joy.

You have rescued my soul.

All day long,

My tongue will talk of your righteous help.

Those who tried to do me harm

Have been put to shame.

They have been disgraced.”

This long psalm ends with the usual cry of praising God. This psalmist, like the Davidic psalms, talks about playing the harp and the lyre.   He was going to sing praises about the faithfulness of God, the holy one of Israel. His lips would shout for joy because his soul had been rescued. All day long, he would talk about the righteous help of God. He had to add the zinger that those who tried to do him harm were put to shame and disgraced.

The musicians prepare to transport the ark (1 Chr 15:16-15:24)

“King David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as the singers to play on musical instruments, on harps, lyres, and cymbals, to raise loud sounds of joy. So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel with his kindred Asaph son of Berechiah. Of the sons of Merari and their kindred, was Ethan son of Kushaiah. With them were their kindred of the second order Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. The singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were to sound bronze cymbals. Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps according to Alamoth. But Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres according to the Sheminith. Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it. Berechiah and Elkanah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, should blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were to be gatekeepers for the ark.”

Ever the musician King David, in fact, wanted some kind of band or orchestra to accompany the ark on its travels. He wanted the Levites to be in charge of music, to play the harp, the lyre, and the cymbals.  The Kohathite Levite Heman, son of Joel and the grandson of the prophet Samuel, was appointed by King David as one of the leaders of the temple-singing earlier in chapter 6 of this book. Although Asaph the son of Berechiah is called Heman’s kindred he is actually a Gershonite Levite, not a Kohathite Levite, as in chapter 6 of this book. The 3rd leader was the Merarite Ethan, so that all three main braches of the Levites were included. There was a 2nd order of 11 singers or musicians. The 3 leaders were to play the cymbals. 8 people were to play the harps according to Alamoth, which means some kind of high pitch like a female voice. 6 people were to play the lyres according to Sheminith, which is a lower pitch or the lowest pitch of a male voice. Chenaniah was in charge of the music because he seemed to understand it better than anyone else. There were 7 horn blowers. This seems like it was very organized here, while in 2 Samuel, chapter 6, it seemed more haphazard. It looks like here there are about 24 people playing 4 different instruments, cymbals (3), harps (8), lyres (6), and trumpets (7). Obed-edom keeps showing up as a gate keeper, but actually the ark was at his house, since there is no indication that they are different people.