To the choirmaster leader, according to Jeduthun, a psalm of Asaph
“I cry aloud to God!
I cry aloud to God!
Thus he may hear me!
In the day of my trouble
I seek Yahweh!
In the night
My hand is stretched out without wearying.
My soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God!
My spirit faints!”
Psalm 77 is another in the choral psalms of Asaph, the Temple singer. This time it is according to Jeduthun, the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. Jeduthun was a trumpet player. His sons led the music in the Temple. His name appears here and in Psalms 39 and 62. Once again this is a lamentation about how bad things are. Asaph or this psalmist is seeking Yahweh with a personal cry to God. He cried out aloud so that God could hear him. When he was in trouble he always sought Yahweh. He spent his nights with outstretched arms in prayer. He refused to be comforted. He was thinking of God. He moaned and meditated as his spirit became faint. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
To the choirmaster leader, according to Jeduthun, a psalm of David
“For God alone
My soul waits in silence.
Comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock.
He alone is my salvation.
He alone is my fortress.
I shall never be shaken.”
Psalm 62 is another choral psalm of David. However the melody is to Jeduthun, who was mentioned in Psalm 39 and 77. Jeduthun was the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. He was a trumpet player and his sons led the music in the Temple. David placed all his trust in God alone. He waited in silence. He knew that God was his salvation, his rock, and his fortress. He would not be shaken in his ways.
“To the choirmaster leader, Jeduthun, a psalm of David
‘I will guard my ways.
So that I may not sin with my tongue.
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth,
As long as the wicked are in my presence.’
I was silent and still.
I held my peace to no avail.
My distress grew worse.
My heart became hot within me.
When I mused,
The fire burned.
Then I spoke with my tongue.
Let me know my end.
What is the measure of my days?
Let me know how fleeting my life is!
You have made my days a few handbreadths.
My lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely every man stands as a mere breath!”
Once again, Psalm 39 is a prayer for healing. Jeduthun was the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. He was a trumpet player and his sons led the music in the Temple. His name appears here and in Psalms 62 and 77. David or Jeduthun were guarding their ways. They did not want their tongue to sin so they kept a muzzle on their mouths, like vicious dogs today. One of the problems is that this psalmist did not speak out when he was in trouble. His heart burned within him. What he really wanted to know was how long his life would be. When would his days be over? He knew that his lifetime was like a breath in the life time of Yahweh. This section ends with a musical pause, a Selah.
“Then the Levites arose. Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites arose. Of the sons of Merari, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel arose. Of the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah arose. The sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel also arose. Of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah arose. Of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei arose. Of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel arose. They gathered their brothers. They sanctified themselves. They went in as the king had commanded, by the words of Yahweh, to cleanse the house of Yahweh.”
The Levites responded positively. 2 people from each of the Levitical tribes arose from the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the Gershonites. The same was true for the 3 groups of singers or cantors, the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, all had 2 people stand up. On top of that, the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel also rose up. They gathered their brother Levites and sanctified themselves. Then they went in to cleanse the house of Yahweh. I wonder why they had not done more to sustain the house of Yahweh even in the face of indifference.
“King David and the officers of the army also set apart certain of the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun for the worship service. They should prophesy with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals.”
As mentioned earlier in chapter 6 of this book, King David was associated with songs, music, and psalms. Thus it does not seem strange that he should appoint Levites to sing songs in the house of Yahweh. The problem is that the house of Yahweh was only established under Solomon. Therefore, this section talks about songs around the tabernacle in the tent of meeting. However, once the temple was complete, they performed there. The 3 people in charge were Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. Earlier in chapter 6 it was Ethan rather than Jeduthun who was in charge. The other 2 people are the same as the 2 mentioned in chapter 6.
“KIng David left the priest Zadok and his kindred, the priests before the tabernacle of Yahweh in the high place that was at Gibeon. There he offered burnt offerings to Yahweh on the altar of burnt offering regularly, morning and evening, according to all that is written in the law of Yahweh that he commanded Israel. With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to Yahweh, because his steadfast love endures forever. Heman and Jeduthun had with them trumpets and cymbals for the music and instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were appointed to the gate. Then all the people departed to their homes. KIng David went home to bless his household.”
The high priest Zadok, who was a descendent of Eleazar the son of Aaron, with his family were in charge of the tabernacle that was at Gibeon, which was about 6 miles from Jerusalem. He followed the Mosaic Law about burnt offerings. Heman and Jeduthun were in charge of the cymbals and trumpets. Jeduthun’s sons were the gatekeepers, which seems like an important job. At last, all the people went home as King David returned to his house, with the Ark of the Covenant safe in Gibeon not Jerusalem. The last verse is taken literally from 2 Samuel, chapter 6. The only addition is that King David blessed his household that was not in 2 Samuel.