Music In Israelite Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

In these five entries we find that song and instrumentation played a vital part in biblical worship. In ancient times, as today, music was an important way of approaching the mystery of God and of expressing the joy of being in God's presence.

The Problem of Biblical Musicology

Music is gone as soon as it is made; especially where music is not recorded in some fashion, a piece of music can be reconstructed only if there are people who remember it and how to perform it. Because of the cultural and linguistic differences between our civilization and that of the ancient Israelites, it is difficult to recover the exact sound and use of biblical music in its historical context.

Music In Israelite Communities

In Israelite life music was central to all that the people did. It is found not only in their worship, but also in their work, in their personal recreation, and in their military activities.

Music In the Temple

Music in the temple was made for the worship of God. More than 10 percent of the people serving in temple ministries were musicians. Their music occupied a central place in the worship of God's people.

Music In the Synagogue

Synagogue worship expanded and developed the use of the voice. No musical instruments were used in synagogue worship.

Style of Israelite Music

It is difficult to determine the style of biblical music. Recent studies and discoveries, however, are resulting in an improved picture and expanded understanding of music in ancient Israel.