The woeful bad situation in Israel (Am 6:4-6:7)

“Woe to those

Who lie on beds

Of ivory!

Woe to those

Who lounge

On their couches!

Woe to those

Who eat lambs

From the flock!

Woe to those

Who eat calves

From the stall!

Woe to those

Who sing idle songs

To the sound of the harp!

Like David,

They improvise

On instruments of music.

Woe to those

Who drink wine

From bowls!

Woe to those

Who anoint themselves

With the finest oils!

But they are not grieved

Over the ruin of Joseph!

Therefore,

They shall now be

The first of those

Who go into exile.

The revelry

Of the loungers

Shall pass away.”

Yahweh, via Amos, pointed out the woeful bad situation in Israel. Those lying on beds of ivory, lounges, or couches would be cursed. Those eating lambs or calves would also be cursed. Even those who sang idle songs on the harp or other improvised instruments would also be cursed. Those who drank wine from bowls or anointed themselves with fine oil would also be cursed. They would not grieve for the ruin of Joseph, that is Israel. Now all these who were lounging around will be the first to be sent into exile. All of these pleasures among the overconfident people in Israel would pass away.

The king spoke to the three men (Dan 3:14-3:15)

“King Nebuchadnezzar

Said to them.

‘Is it true?

O Shadrach!

O Meshach!

O Abednego!

Do you not

Serve my gods?

Do you not worship

The golden statue

That I have set up?

Now if you are ready,

When you hear

The sound of the horn,

The pipe,

The lyre,

The trigon,

The harp,

The drum,

The entire musical ensemble,

To fall down,

To worship,

The statue

That I have made,

Well and good.

But if you do not worship,

You shall immediately

Be thrown

Into a furnace

Of a blazing fire.

Who is the god

That will deliver you

Out of my hands?’”

King Nebuchadnezzar gave the 3 companions of Daniel, the benefit of the doubt. He wanted to know it was really true that they, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not serve his gods. Did they not worship the golden statue that he had set up? Did they not respond to the musical instruments of the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the trigon, the harp or the drum? Did they not fall down and worship his golden statue? If they did not worship this statue, then they would be immediately thrown into the blazing furnace. The king then asked them what god would deliver them from his hands.

The accusations against the Jews (Dan 3:8-3:11)

“Therefore,

At this time,

Certain Chaldeans

Came forward.

They denounced

The Jews.

They said

To King Nebuchadnezzar.

‘O king!

Live forever!

You!

O king!

Have made a decree

That everyone

Who hears

The sound of the horn,

The pipe,

The lyre,

The trigon,

The harp,

The drum,

The entire musical ensemble,

Shall fall down!

They shall worship

The golden statue.

Whoever does not

Fall down,

Who does not

Worship,

Shall be thrown

Into a furnace

Of a blazing fire.’”

Certain Chaldeans went to King Nebuchadnezzar to denounce the Jews. They reminded him that he had sent out a decree that everyone who heard the sound of the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the trigon, the harp, the drum, or any musical instrument should fall down and worship this golden statue. Anyone who failed to do so, would be thrown into a fiery furnace.

The worship of the statue (Dan 3:7-3:7)

“Therefore,

As soon as

All the people

Heard the sound

Of the horn,

The pipe,

The lyre,

The trigon,

The harp,

The drum,

The entire musical ensemble,

All the people,

All the nations,

All the language groups,

Fell down.

They worshiped

The golden statue

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Had set up.”

According, everyone fell down and worshiped this statue of King Nebuchadnezzar, including all the various people, countries, and language groups. When they heard these various musical instruments, they reacted immediately. Just as in the preceding section, these were the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the trigon, the harp, and the drum, some with a Semitic origin, while others were Greek or Egyptian. Obviously, not everyone in the world could hear these musical sounds.

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.

Thanksgiving hymn (Ps 92:1-92:4)

A psalm, a song for the Sabbath

“It is good

To give thanks to Yahweh!

It is good

To sing praises to your name!

O Most High!

It is good

To declare your steadfast love in the morning!

It is good

To declare your faithfulness by night!

It is good

To play the music of the lute!

It is good

To play the music of the harp!

It is good

To play the melody of the lyre!

Yahweh!

You have made me glad by your work.

At the works of your hands,

I sing for joy.”

Psalm 92 is definitely a hymn of thanksgiving after some kind of victory. There is no name in the title but an indication that it is a Sabbath psalm. The refrain “It is good” is repeated often. It is good to give thanks to Yahweh. It is also good to sing praises to his name. There is a hint of a morning and evening offering as steadfast love is mentioned in the morning while faithfulness comes in the evening. It is also good to have music, especially, the lute, the harp, and the lyre. Everyone is glad because of the works of God. Therefore they would all sing with joy.

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.