Danny Corbitt Psallō: Lost in the Translation?


5.02.11 See Danny Dodd and Royce Ogle on Legalism

John T. Willis 2. "Sing" is vocal; "make melody" is instrumental. Psalms 33:2-3; 144:9; 149:1, 3 make this crystal clear. Amos 5:23 further verifies this reality.  People forget that God turned Israel over to worship the starry host because of musical idolatry at Mount Sinai. The Levites were under the KING and the COMMANDERS of the army: they made war and not worship. We will examine these passages in context.


Jay Guin is a good lawyer: he has come up with a new foundational authority for instrumental music.  However, his premise that God commanded the king, kingdom, temple, animal sacrifices and the associated instrumental noise is wrong: there is no historic scholarship among the church fathers that God commanded that which was the result of "firing" God and demanding a human king.

See Exodus where Musical Idolatry caused God to cast away the nation of Israel.  If you don't grasp this fatal event you can never understand why it is repeated several times in the New Testament.

by Danny Corbitt
September - December, 2010

11.03.10 Added rebuttal of the Josephus "proof texts" and prove that the "playing" words always implicate gender confusion.

If you’ve ever taken a foreign language, you’ll remember your teacher occasionally saying, “English just doesn’t have a word for this.” Sometimes these rare words find their way into English, like déjà vu. Less fortunate ones, though, can get lost in the translation. There is beauty in understanding these special words’ original meanings.

When we see the word “sing” or “song” in our Bibles, we shouldn’t be tempted to think that the original word behind ours is restricted to the meaning of our English word. When we do that, the meanings of the original Greek words can be, as we say, “lost in translation.” Let’s look at those words through the eyes of the original writers and their audiences, long before anyone spoke the King’s English.

A key set of Greek words for “song” and “sing” is the Greek pair psalmos/psallō. (You can see the English word “psalm” in the Greek noun.) In discussing Colossians 3:16, Thayer’s lexicon says that “the leading idea of ψαλμ [psalm] is a musical accompaniment.”1 It could also refer specifically to the OT psalms.2

The Jews who translated from the Greek understood that all of the "psallo" words spoke of SRIKING or SMITING someone or some thing.  There are only 57 true Psalms in the Book of Psalms.  Only 50 of these were not reserved for Clergy singers.  Psallo NEVER translates "Play a Harp" or "Sing to a Harp." What knowledgeable people say is how a word is used in context.

Aesch. Pers. 1060
Xerxes [1060] And with your fingers tear the robe which drapes you.
Anguish, anguish!
Pluck out your locks, and lament our host. Chorus With clenched nails, with clenched nails, with loud wailing.

Eur. Ba. 775 Go to the Electran gates, bid all the shield-bearers and riders of swift-footed horses to assemble, as well as all who brandish the light shield and pluck bowstrings with their hands, so that we can make an assault against [785] the Bacchae. For it is indeed too much if we suffer what we are suffering at the hands of women.

"Sing to the music of a harp has been corrected." Psallo means pluck or play!

Hdt. 1.155.4 But pardon the Lydians, and give them this command so that they not revolt or pose a danger to you: send and forbid them to possess weapons of war, and order them to wear tunics under their cloaks and knee-boots on their feet, and to teach their sons lyre-playing (kitharizo) and song (Psallein) and dance and shop-keeping. And quickly, O king, you shall see them become women instead of men, so that you need not fear them, that they might revolt.”

The word kitharizo means to PLAY THE CITHARA and does not include singing.

Kitharizô 1 [kitharis] to play the cithara, phormingi kitharize Il., Hes.; lurêi eraton kitharizôn Hhymn. (so that there can have been no great difference between the kithara, lura, and phorminx); kitharizein ouk epistatai, of an uneducated person

Plat. Lysis 209b And, I suppose, when you take your lyre, neither your father nor your mother prevents you from tightening or slackening what string you please, or from using your finger (psallo) or (striking Krouo) your plectrum at will: or do they prevent you? Oh, no. Then whatever can be the reason, Lysis, why they do not prevent you here,

Way down the list in connection with stringed instruments II. [select] mostly of the strings of musical instruments, play a stringed instrument with the FINGERS, and NOT with the plectron, “psēlai kai krouein plēktrō

krouō , fut. - E.El.180: aor. 2. [select] strike one against another, strike together, k. kheiras clap the hands, E.Supp.720;
*5. trike a stringed instrument with a plectron, Simon.183, Pl.Ly.209b: generally, play any instrument (v. krouma, kroumatikos)“, aulei . . krouōn iastiCom.Adesp.415: c. dat., k. krembalois, = krembalizein, Ath.14.636d.

1 Corinthians 14:16 speaks of Christians sharing their psalms. While Fourth Century Christian ascetics were condemning instrumental music in all praise, non-monastic 
1Cor. 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:
         I will SING with the spirit, and I will SING with the understanding also.

15 ti oun estin; proseuxomai pneumati, proseuxomai de kai noi: psalō pneumati, psalō de kai noi:

If you sing WITH the Spirit you obviously do not sing WITH a harp. Paul calls instruments "lifeless instruments" and he would never imply an instrument to GIVE UNDERSTANDING.

1Cor. 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit,
        how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks,
        seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
16 epei ean eulogēs en pneumati, ho anaplērōn ton topon tou idiōtou pōs erei to Amēn epi eukharistia; epeidē ti legeis ouk oiden:

Lego 5. l. ti to say something, i. e. to speak to the point or purpose
9. to boast of, tell of, Xen.: to recite what is written, labe to biblion kai lege Plat., etc.:—but the sense of Lat. lego, to read, only occurs in compds., analegomai, epilegomai.

See on Jay Guin for more details

Like the Jews, this was a clergy and not a congregational worship.

Loquor to talk, whisper; to speak, talk, say (in the lang. of common life, in the tone of conversation;
1. To speak out, to say, tell, talk about, mention, utter, name

1Cor. 14:19 Yet in the church (Ekklesia: no performance in the ekklesia permitted)
        I had rather speak five words with my understanding,
        that by my voice I might TEACH others also,
        than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

1Cor. 14:24 But if all prophesy, (teach that which has been taught)
        and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned,
        he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:


I. Pass., not to be trusted, and so:
1. of persons and their acts, not trusty, faithless,huperphialoi kai a.Il.3.106;
by untrustworthy, groundless confidence, Th.1.120; shifty, unreliable
2. of reports and the like , incredible
II. Act., mistrustful, incredulous, suspicious,thumos de toi aien a.Od.14.150;
2. disobedient, disloyal
2. Act., distrustfully, suspiciously, Th.3.83; “a. tina diatheinaiD.20.22.
b. treacherously, Ph.1.516.

1. The "unlearned" or ignorant wanted to speak in Corinth but he knows nothing of THE WORD. Prophesying is "telling forth.

idiōt-ēs , ou, o(, (idios) “i. kai mēden aulēseōs epaiōnId.Prt.327cA "WANNABE" FLUTE PLAYER
Aul-ēsis , eōs, h(, A. flute-playing, Pl.Prt.327b, 327c,al., Arist.Pol.1341a25, etc.

idiôtismos , ho, way or fashion of a common person, Epict.Ench.33.6, S.E.M.1.67, Dam.Isid.223; in language, homely, vulgar phrase, Phld.Po.2.71, Longin.31.1, D.L.7.59.
2. Rhet.,
argumentum ad hominem, usu. in the form of a hypothetical question, Rufin.Fig.10

2. Convinced Elegkho cross-examined, questioned. Accused of wrong.disgraced, put to shame, treat their speech (Muthon) with contempt, refute, Prove, put right. prove by a reductio ad impossibile.

3. Judged is Anakrino interrogate, examine closely, interrogate, esp. judicially
Fourth Century morning prayers in the West “nearly always included Psalms 148-150.”3 And these songs remind us of God’s pleasure with instrumental praise.
The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. Upon ordination to any of the Holy Orders, the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours becomes a canonical obligation.

This is a performance: not a congregational singing with instrumentes

The Mass is not a congregational worship service: as in Judaism and all pagan religions the priesthood presided at the naval of the earth and made certain that the connection with God was not lost: you might be an observer but you were never a participant.

Three other psalms came to be closely associated with morning prayers in the cathedral: psalms 148, 149, and 150. All of these psalms begin with the command 'Praise the Lord!' In Latin the verb 'to praise' is laudare. And so it came to pass that these psalms were known collectively as 'lauds.' Eventually the morning service, most often called 'matins' in early sources often came to be called 'lauds' instead. These three psalms are nothing more than collections of cheerful and exuberant commands to praise the divine.

Praise the Lord!

Halal means "to make yourself vile." The instruments named were not part of the temple system and the king and Levites were part of the military and not the priestood.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150)

Only an octopus should apply.  Notice that the "service" does not include the organ.

Anglicans: If the service is accompanied the church organ will normally be played before and after the service. Many institutions have regular unaccompanied evensongs: at Exeter Cathedral and Ripon Cathedral, as well as the Chapels of New College, Oxford and King's College, Cambridge, for example, Friday evensongs are usually sung to a cappella settings of the liturgy.

Kings Chapel Music is also an important element of worship at King's Chapel. King's Chapel was the home of the first church organ in New England, acquired in 1713, and music has taken a central place in Morning Prayer and other services since the congregation's founding in 1686.
Everyone agrees that the verb psallō evolved from its earlier sense of merely “plucking the strings of a musical instrument.”

Psallo never changed its meaning at any time in recorded history: it never meant "plucking AND the strings of a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. 

In the First Century, psallō had more than one meaning, though the meanings were related. Frederick Danker is representative of most modern lexicons when he identifies the primary NT meaning of psallō as “to sing songs of praise, with or without instrumental accompaniment.”4 Notice that this definition is specific to the NT, where psallō always refers to praise, not just any song. Thayer noted this distinction over a century ago.5

Notice also that the primary meaning is to sing praise with or without accompaniment. To sing praise and wash dishes would be to psallō AND something else, because “wash dishes” is not part of the definition of psallō. To sing praise with accompaniment, however, is not to psallō and something else; it is merely to psallō. To sing praise with accompaniment or to sing praise without in either case is, by definition, to psallō, with no apologies.

Never in recorded history..

Kat-auleō ,A. charm by flute-playing, tinos Pl.Lg.790e, cf. R.411a; tinaAlciphr.2.1: metaph., se . . -ēsō phobō I will flute to you on a ghastly flute,E.HF871 (troch.):—Pass., of persons, methuōn kai katauloumenos drinking wine to the strains of the flute, Pl.R.561c; k. pros khelōnidos psophon to be played to on the flute with lyre accompaniment,  
2. make a place sound with flute-playing, Thphr.Fr.87:— Pass., resound with flute-playing, “nēsos katēuleitoPlu.Ant.56.
II. in Pass., [ton monokhordon kanona parekhein tais aisthēsesi . . katauloumenon subdued by a flute accompaniment,   to be piped down, ridiculed,gelōmenoi kai -oumenoi”  
III. c. acc. rei, play on the flute, “ta mētrōa  , to have played to one as an accompaniment on the flute, -“oumenoi pros tōn hepomenōn ta mētrōa melē

Epi-psallō ,A. play the lyre, S.Fr.60, Poll.4.58(Pass.); “melesi kai rhuthmois” 
    SING,tous humnousLXX 2 Ma.1.30:Then the priests sang the hymns.
Psallo means to pluck and make a sound: it does not include either melody or rhythm.

Katapsallō S play stringed instruments to, [“sumposion kataulein kai k.” Pass., have music played to one, enjoy music, ib.785e; of places, resound with music, Id.Ant.56.
Pass., to be buried to the sound of music, Procop.Pers.2.23.
3. metaph., katapsalletai . . ho dēmiourgos is drummed out, Porph.
The secondary First Century meaning of psallō was to play on a musical instrument, and this meaning continued long after the NT was written.6 Danker gives “singing and playing (instrumentally) heartily to the Lord” as a possible translation of Ephesians 5:19,7 although he also suggests that cultural reasons – not scriptural or linguistic ones – are why psallō is more often translated with a generic “making music” in that passage.8

Psallo never meant to play on a musical instrument: psallo means to PLUCK. It can on be used of strings pluckked with the fingers and never with a plectrum.  The root of the word stems from pulling out the hair or plucking a bow string. There was allways a dedicated word meaning to Play the Harp: KataLura.

Psallo does not MEAN but is used in connection with Plucking the string of a musical instrument. When it supplies the "plucking with the fingers only" it always points to enticing religious prostitution.

Psallo carries no musical content.  The word bowing carries no mucal content. Beating carries no musical content. Yet you can bow a violin but you MUST name something.  You can beat a drum but you can beat a rug.

We often say that psallō was no longer used for playing an instrument in the First Century, but there are many examples to the contrary. Ferguson confirms, for example, that the First Century Jewish historian Josephus always used psallō for playing an instrument,9 and we know that Josephus wrote in the same common Greek as the NT.10 The earliest Aramaic translation of the Bible,

Not true:

Bill Swetmon: "Now some have argued that the word psallo underwent such a drastic change of meaning from the time of the Septuagint, that the first century the the word meant to sing only,without the sound of instruments. However one would have to seriously question that agrument, especially in view of the fact that when Josephus, the Jewish historian in the first century, was translated into Greek,

psallo was used to translate "playing the harp." And you will find that in several references. One would be in his Antiquities, (Book 6, Ch. 8. v.2). In that particular reference, I counted at least three times where psallo was used when Josephus translated, to mean "playing on the harp." Now that is the first century literature. (Bill Swetmon, p. 29)

Josephus: they advised them to inquire of such a one, and observe when these demons came upon him and disturbed him, and to take care that such a person might stand over him,

One: and play [psalein]
Two: upon the harp
Three: and recite hymns to him....skillful in
........... playing [psalein]
........... ........... on the harp, and
........... in singing [exadein]
........... ........... of hymns,...
........... whensoever it was that it came upon him, and this by

One: reciting of hymns, and
Two: playing [psalein]
Three: upon the harp... -Antiquities, Bk. 6, chap. 8, #2; Pages 185-186. (6.166 Whiston)


"That if any person could charm those passions by singing, and playing upon the harp, they advised them to inquire for such a one, and to observe when these demons came upon him and disturbed him, and to    
        take care that such a person might stand over him,
        [1] and play (psallein)
[2] upon (epi)
[3] the harp, (Kinura from bewail, lament)
[4] and recite (Keleuo urge
        hymns to him.

Spanheim takes notice here that the Greeks had such singers of hymns; and that usually children or youths were picked out for that service; as also, that those called singers to the harp, did the same that David did here, i.e. join their own vocal and instrumental music together.

        and this by reciting (Epilego, say, pronounce a spell
        of hymns, (Humnos in praise of gods or heros, Psalms of David, Aphormikos, Alurois hymns)
                (Oida, eido cunning, Aeido sing of other sounds, twang, of the bow-string
        and playing psallein
        upon the harp, (Kinura)
        and bringing Saul to his right mind again.

the Syriac Peshitta (“peshitta” meaning simple or common) translates psallō with the same word (zammar) that it uses to translate “play (an instrument)” in Matthew 11:17 and Luke 7:32, where we read, “We played the flute for you.”11 Psallō had not lost its secondary meaning of “to play an instrument” when the NT was written.
Rather than losing its meanings, psallo carried the baggage of making war, of worshipping Apollo (abaddon, Apollyon) or male or female prostitutes.  It was chosen by the LXX translators to convey something violent.  To escape this contamination, the Greeks had dedicated, complex words meaning to (1) play (2) a (3).  It would still have no musical connection beyond noise unless you prescibed a melody which was never metrical but rythmic.

This defines the Dionysus clergy which continued as the "Abomination of Desolation in the Temple." Most Jewish boys had fled to keep from being emasculated as musical and sexual operatives even in the Holy Places where a Levite would be executed.  The homosexual initiation to Bacchus happened as they piped and made a great noise as each "youth minister" was sodomized which made him sing or lament and dance!
Homosexuality was always the MARK of religious musicians:


The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth,
.......... all the merryhearted do sigh. Isa 24:7

The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth,
.......... the joy of the harp ceaseth. Isa 24:8

They shall not drink wine with a song; [Parallel strolling minstrel / prostitute] strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. Isa 24:9

The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in. Isa 24:10

There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. Isa 24:11

In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. Isa 24:12

When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. Isa 24:13

Mizmowr (h4210) miz-more'; from 2167; prop.instrumental music; by impl. a poem set to notes: - psalm. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower,

he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. Is.18:5

They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. Isa 18:6
Is. 24:16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

Click for Isaiah 25 H2158 Zami Isa 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast [spirit] of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Is. 25:5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

Psa. 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Wring your hands with a Kinor (meaning to twang a harp)

SING: H2167 zâmar zaw-mar' A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music:—give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

Nebel, Psaltery wineskin for liquids collapsing when empty, and the
Asor instrument of ten strings.

Psa. 33:3 Sing unto him a new song;
play skilfully with a loud noise.

PLAY: H5059 nâgan naw-gan' A primitive root; prop to thrum, that is, beat a tune with the fingers; especially to play on a stringed instrument; hence (generally) to make music:—player on instruments, sing to the stringed instruments, melody, ministrel, play (-er. -ing).
H5060 nâga‛ naw-gah' A primitive root; properly to touch, that is, lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphemistically, to lie with a woman); by implication to reach (figuratively to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.)
NOISE: H8643 terû‛âh ter-oo-aw' From H7321 ; clamor, that is, acclamation of joy or a battle cry; especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarum:—alarm, blow (-ing) (of, the) (trumpets), joy, jubile, loud noise, rejoicing, shout (-ing), (high, joyful) sound (-ing).

Livy defines the Bacchus or New Wineskin worshipers in Rome

10. As such pledges of mutual love subsisted, and as neither kept anything secret from the other, the young man, jokingly, bid her not be surprised if he separated himself from her for a few nights; as, "on account of a religious duty, to discharge a vow made for his health, he intended to be initiated among the Bacchanalians." 

On hearing this, the woman, greatly alarmed, cried out, "May the gods will more favorably!" affirming that "it would be better, both for him and her, to lose their lives than that he should do such a thing," she then imprecated curses, vengeance, and destruction on the head of those who advised him to such a step.

The young man, surprised both at her expressions and at the violence of her alarm, bid her refrain from curses, for "it was his mother who ordered him to do so, with the approbation of his stepfather."

"Then," said she, "your stepfather (for perhaps it is not allowable to censure your mother) is in haste to destroy, by that act, your chastity, your character, your hopes, and your life." To him, now surprised by such language, and inquiring what was the matter, she said (after imploring the favor and pardon of the gods and goddesses, if, compelled by her regard for him,

she disclosed what ought not to be revealed) that "when in service, she had gone into that place of worship, as an attendant on her mistress;

but that, since she had obtained her liberty, she had never once gone near it: that she knew it to be the receptacle of all kinds of debaucheries; that it was well known that,

for two years past, no one older than twenty had been initiated.

When any person was introduced he was delivered as a victim to the priests, who led him away to a place

resounding with shouts, the sound of music, and the beating of cymbals and drums, lest his cries, while suffering violation, should be heard abroad."

She then entreated and besought him to put an end to that matter in some way or other; and not to plunge himself into a situation, where he must first suffer, and afterwards commit, every thing that was abominable. Nor did she quit him until the young man gave her his promise to keep himself clear of those rites.

Gnostics believed that those who passed through initiation (as in the earlier Mysteries) and achieved Gnosis, had the right to interpret the message of Jesus in their own way.

In an introduction to the finds at Nag Hammadi, the distinguished Gnostic historian Elaine Pagels writes about Professor Gilles Quispel's dicovery of a complete text of the Gospel of Thomas

Tertullian also wrote Chapter XXIII. 

Moreover, if SORCERS call forth ghosts, and even make what seem the souls of the dead to appear;

if they put boys to death, in order to get a response from the oracle; if, with their juggling illusions, they make a pretence of doing various miracles;

if they put dreams into people's minds by the power of the angels and DEMONS whose aid they have invited, by whose influence, too, goats [cappella] and tables are made to divine,-

how much more likely is this power of evil to be zealous in doing with all its might, of its own inclination, and for its own objects, what it does to serve the ends of others! Or if both angels and demons do just what your gods do, where in that case is the pre-eminence of deity, which we must surely think to be above all in might?

Psallo never MEANT to play an instrument. It never meant play a harp. Pluck means pluck: if you pluck a harp string then PLUCK means to STRIKE and you have to name WHAT is to be struck.

Matt. 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
4624. skandalizo, skan-dal-id´-zo; from 4625; to entrap, i.e. trip up (figuratively, stumble (transitively) or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure):  (make to) offend. 

And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John
        What went ye out into the wilderness to see? 
        reed shaken with the wind? Matt 11:7

Jesus always spoke or acted parables to "fool the fools" from the foundation of the world. Probably no person at the preacher or musician level knows that they are MARKED or identified by Jesus so those with eyes and ears will not be TRIUMPHED OVER as Psalm 41 says that Judas would try in a musical sense.  You may want to click on the Dead Sea version of Psalm 41.

 You may want to click on the Dead Sea version of Psalm 41.

The effeminate priests of Dionysus shook the thyrus or bundle of reeds. In addition, the reed was vital in the seductive process of the serpent: 0.Idiot

Behold! the Holy Idiot, lost within 
A private world. He'll have the chance to win 
New freedom from confining rules. 
Rejoice The madness! For it brings another choice. 
Now let the Saturnalia begin
When the time comes, as it always does, when the old rules, conceptual structures, prejudices and beliefs are no longer adequate to the challenges at hand, then a Divine Maniac is needed. He or she lives in a private world, and so is not bound by the shared conventions, preconceptions or norms of the society. The Gods - or Chance - select the Idiot who will become the savior who will transform society. He is elevated to King for a short time (for only so much madness can be tolerated), and must undergo many transformations before, with luck, he rejuvenates the world. [Second Incarnation]

It is appropriate that 0.Idiot leads the trumps for, according to Cartari (Imagini degli Dei, 1647), Bacchus invented the "triumph" in the form of the wild processions of maenads, panthers and other creatures, which he led (Williams 31). Indeed, Latin triumphus or triumpus comes from Etruscan, which got the word from Greek thriambos, a hymn to Bacchus (Bonfante, p. 17). Our image is based on the famous Townley Vase (2nd cent. BCE), which depicts a Bacchanalian triumph.

What men or gods are these? What maidens loath? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? - Keats, "Ode to a Grecian Urn"

Fig trees, which are sacred to Dionysos, represent both vitality and enlightenment. The figleaf is shaped like male genitalia and the fig fruit like female genitalia; to this day in Europe the fica (sign of the fig/vulva), a gesture made by placing the thumb between the first two fingers, is used for protection (as also are phallic gestures). The Bodhi, under which the Buddha found enlightenment, was a fig tree; so also our Idiot will be illuminated beneath fig-laden branches. (Biedermann s.vv. fig; fig, sign of the; Cooper s.v. fig)

The thyrsus (pine-cone tipped staff) is a phallic symbol representing the life force. Its staff is a stalk of the narthex (giant fennel), which Prometheus used to convey the celestial fire to humanity (see 12.Hanged Man). The jester is consistently associated with the phallus as a symbol of fertility and lewdness (lewd jokes were an essential part of several Greek religious festivals, including the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Anthesteria, in both of which Dionysos had an important role, and the Thesmophoria). (Biedermann s.v. thyrus; Cooper s.v. thyrsos; Nichols 28)

Matt. 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings houses.

Soft is: 

Malakos (g3120) mal-ak-os'; of uncert. affin.; soft, i.e. fine (clothing); fig. a catamite: - effeminate, soft.\

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Corinthians 6:9 

Abusers are: 
(g733) ar-sen-ok-oy'-tace; from 730 and 2845; a sodomite: - abuser of (that defile) self with mankind.

Arren (g730) ar'-hrane; or arsen +tx ar'-sane; prob. from 142; male (as stronger for lifting): - male, man

Matt. 11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

Matt. 11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

17 legousinĒulēsamen humin kai ouk ōrkhēsasthe: ethrēnēsamen kai ouk ekopsasthe:

Piped is Auleo which means to Play On The Flute.  Pass., of tunes, to be played on the flute,ho Bakkheios rhuthmos ēuleitoX. Smp.9.3; “auleitai pan melathronis filled with music, E.IT367.

Xen. Sym. 9.3 Then, to start proceedings, in came Ariadne, apparelled as a bride, and took her seat in the chair. Dionysus being still invisible, there was heard the Bacchic

The role of NYMPH (o maniac) was the BRIDE in Revelation 18 who engaged in holy sex as a ritual.

Numphē  II. Nymph or goddess of lower rank, “theai NumphaiIl.24.616, cf. Hes.Th.130, Fr.171.5, al., IG12(8).358 (Thasos, V B.C.) ; N. “kourai Dios aigiokhoioOd.6.105 ; N. “haliai

Pan , gen. Pa_nos, dat. Pa_ni Panos gonos, sperma, in magic, PMag.Par.1.2306, 2996; Panos kerata, = glukusidē, Ps.-Dsc.3.140. music played on a flute. Then it was that the assemblage was filled with admiration of the dancing master. For as soon as Ariadne heard the strain, her action was such that every one might have perceived her joy at the sound; and although she did not go to meet Dionysus, nor even rise, yet it was clear that she kept her composure with difficulty.

[17] dicunt cecinimus vobis et non saltastis lamentavimus et non planxistis

kuknos ,
metaph., minstrel, bard
melpsasa thanasimon goon 
Melpô ,Sing or celebrate a song and dance
Thansimos deadly, death song, of poisonous reptiles
Goos , ho, A.weeping, wailing, also of louder signs of grief, 3 Maccabees 1:18

mouso-polos , on, A.serving the Muses, poetic II. Subst., bard, minstrel, E.Alc. 445
Aoidos A.singer, minstrel, bard, 3.enchanter,S.Tr.1000. Eunouchos
Eunouchos A.castrated person, eunuch, employed to take charge of the women and act as chamberlain (whence the name, hotêneunênechôn), Hdt.3.130, al., Ar.Ach. 117, X.Cyr.7.5.60, etc.

spădo  I.Lit., one who has no generative power, an impotent person (whether by nature or by castration; hence more gen. Than castratus)
Gallos , ho,
A. priest of Cybele
II. eunuch, J.AJ4.8.40, PGnom.244, D.L.4.43.
Used with
Pempô ,

2. pompên p. conduct, or take part in, a procession, Hdt.5.56, Ar. Ec.757, Th.6.56, Lys. 13.80, D.4.26, etc.; p. chorous move in dancing procession, E.El.434(lyr.); Panathênaia p. Men. 494, Philostr. VA4.22 :--Pass., phallos Dionusôi pempomenos carried in procession in his honour, Hdt.2.49, cf. Plu.Aem. 32, Demetr.12; tês pompês hopôs an hôs kallistapemphthêi IG12.84.27 ; choros ho eis Dêlon pempomenos X. Mem.3.3.12.
Gallans , antis, Part. [3. Gallus, II. A., analogous with bacchans from bacchor], I. raving or revelling like a priest of Cybele 

Even the Church Fathers still sometimes used psallō for playing an instrument. Commenting on Colossians 3:16, Clement of Alexandria (died 215) writes, “If you should wish to sing and play (psallein) to the cithara and lyre, that is not blameworthy.”12 Eusebius (died 340) shares this usage,

Psallo does not mean "playing on an instrument." You will notice that there is the PLAY word and WHAT is to be played or plucked is NOT part of the psallo word. 

Clement is not speaking of IN CHURCH but OUT of church if someone invites you to a feast. Clement specificially repudiates all of the instruments Danny wants to promote but that the lyre would not create the spiritual damage as the other EXCLUDED instruments.
Chapter IV.-How to Conduct Ourselves at Feasts.

Let revelry keep away from our rational entertainments, and foolish vigils, too, that revel in intemperance. For revelry is an inebriating pipe, the chain of an amatory bridge, that is, of sorrow. And let love, and intoxication, and senseless passions, be removed from our choir. Burlesque singing is the boon companion of drunkenness. A night spent over drink invites drunkenness, rouses lust, and is audacious in deeds of shame.

Why would Clement tell the sowers of discord they could use the lyre IN CHURCH when he repudiates exactly what the new style praise singing produces:

For if people occupy their time with pipes, and psalteries, and choirs, and dances, and Egyptian clapping of hands, and such disorderly frivolities,

they become quite immodest and intractable, beat on cymbals and drums, and make a noise on instruments of delusion ; for plainly such a banquet, as seems to me,

is a theatre of drunkenness. For the apostle decrees that, "putting off the works of darkness, we should put on the armour of light, walking honestly as in the day, not spending our time in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness." 

Let the pipe be resigned to the shepherds, and the flute to the superstitious who are engrossed in idolatry. For, in truth, such instruments are to be banished from the temperate banquet, being more suitable to beasts than men, and the more irrational portion of mankind.

Group means were very common in the ancient world. If you attend a pot-luck dinner then here is what you are allowed--but not really:

In the present instance He is a guest with us. For the apostle adds again, "Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to God." And again, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and His Father." This is our thankful revelry.

And even if you wish to sing and play to the harp or lyre, there is no blame.

Thou shalt imitate the righteous Hebrew king in his thanksgiving to God. "Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; praise is comely to the upright," says the prophecy.

"Confess to the Lord on the harp ; play to Him on the psaltery of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song."

And does not the
ten-stringed psaltery indicate the Word Jesus, who is manifested by the element of the decad?

And as it is befitting, before partaking of food, that we should bless the Creator of all; so also in drinking it is suitable to praise Him on partaking of His creatures.  For the psalm is a melodious and sober blessing. The apostle calls the psalm "a spiritual song." 

Going to Church

Woman and man are to go to church 150 decently attired, with natural step, embracing silence, possessing unfeigned love, pure in body, pure in heart, fit to pray to God. Let the woman observe this, further. Let her be entirely covered, unless she happen to be at home.

For that style of dress is grave, and protects from being gazed at. And she will never fall, who puts before her eyes modesty, and her shawl;

nor will she invite another to fall into sin by uncovering her face. For this is the wish of the Word, since it is becoming for her to pray veiled. 151

Out of Church
After having paid reverence to the discourse about God, they leave within [the church] what they have heard. And outside they foolishly amuse themselves with impious playing, and amatory quavering, occupied with flute-playing, and dancing, and intoxication, and all kinds of trash.

As is written in the historical books of Kings and Chronicles, David, king after the death of Saul, brought up the Ark of the Lord's Covenant — it had been in the house of Obedom for twenty years, when it had been taken from the Azotians — installed it in Jerusalem, and chose by lot four musicians from the tribe of Levi as leaders of song, to play and sing (psallein kai adein) before the Ark of the Lord, and to raise a voice of joy in confession and praise upon harmonious instruments and in song — upon kinuras, nablas, tympana, cymbals, psaltery and keratin.13
The word PSALLEIN means to play something but you have to name it.
"The psaltery (psalterion, saltere, sauterie, Psalterium, Psalter, salterio) is an ancient intstrument seen in many forms. Early versions were simply a wooden board with gut strings stretched between pegs. The strings were plucked with fingers or by plectra (the name might have derived from the Greek psallein meaning plucked with fingers)

"The name of psaltery entered Christian literature in the 3rd century B.C. translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint where, in the Psalms, nebel was translated psalterion. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous ensemble included the Aramic psantria. Notice, also, that the book of Psalms has also become known as the Psalter (or psalterium), from the hymns sung with this harp. Source

Psal-mos A. twitching or twanging with the fingers, “psalmoi toxōnE.Ion173 (lyr.); “toxērei psalmō toxeusasId.HF1064 (lyr.).
2. the sound of the cithara or harp, Pi.Fr.125, cf. Phryn.Trag.11; “psalmos d' alalazeiA.Fr.57.7 (anap.); there were contests in to psallein,

David was too fearful to return to Gibeon to seek the Lord: rather than let David be killed God gave him an old Jebusite High Place already functioning to "worship the starry host" to which the kingdom was condemned.

David played, danced and confessed that he made himself VILE (the praise word) with the camp following girls.
You may not want to go naked with the girls: Click for the whole story.

It is interesting that Eusebius uses the same pair of Greek verbs (ado and psallō) that we find in Ephesians 5:19, demonstrating that even in his day, psallō retained its secondary meaning of “to play an instrument.”

You may have noticed that no lexicon distinguishes a meaning for psallō in public versus private worship. The differences between public and private worship are not defined by psallō or any of the passages where it is found.

Some have thought that if psallō meant to play, then it had to be on a stringed instrument. That was an early meaning, but Delling shows where psallō was used for playing a flute or oboe,14 and the Septuagint has psallō for playing a tambourine (Psalm 149:3). Eusebius’ example quoted above also is not limited to stringed instruments.


PSALM [3] Let them praise his name in the dance! Let them sing praises to him with tambourine and harp!

[3] laudent nomen eius in choro in tympano et psalterio psallant ei

Chorus A ring dance of the Nypharum, agitare, exerce, ostentare, II. Meton. (abstr. pro concr.), a troop or band of dancers and singers, a chorus, choir: “saltatores, citharistas, totum denique comissationis Antonianae chorum, etc.

David was dressed in the STOLA of the disolute and WENT NAKED.  His dance is defined as "performing the women's role."

tympănum , i (collat. form typă-num , Cat. 63, 8 sq.), n., = τύμπανον,
B. [select] Trop., a timbrel, etc., as a figure of something EFFEMINATE, enervating: “tympana eloquentiae,Quint. 5, 12, 21: “in manu tympanum est,Sen. Vit. Beat. 13, 3.—
Tabret meaning TOPHETH or "hell" outside of Jerusalem.

psaltērĭum ,

"Women and girls from the different ranks of society were proud to enter the service of the gods as singers and musicians. The understanding of this service was universal: these singers constituted the 'harem of the gods'." (Quasten)

"The name of psaltery entered Christian literature in the 3rd century B.C. translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint where, in the Psalms, nebel was translated psalterion. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous ensemble included the Aramic psantria. Notice, also, that the book of Psalms has also become known as the Psalter (or psalterium), from the hymns sung with this harp.

H3658 kinnôr kin-nore' From an unused root meaning to twang; a harp:—harp.

EUSEBIUS "Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshipping with symbols and types it was not inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and cithara and to do this on Sabbath days... We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living cithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. 

Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms." (commentary on Psalms 91:2-3)

Some have thought that if psallō allowed an instrument, then everyone would always be required to play an instrument in praise, but that would go against the understanding of the same kinds passages in the OT, from beginning (Psalm 81, in Egypt) to the end (such as Psalm 150). The many OT passages urging the worship of God with instruments did not imply that a Jew must only praise God with an instrument! Moreover, the primary meaning of psallō itself is to sing praise with or without accompaniment.

Some have said that if Ephesians 5:19 allows instruments, then it would contradict Colossians 3:16, but neither passage uses words that mean “sing only a cappella.” Rather, although Colossians 3:16 doesn’t use psallō, the verb used for “sing” is ado, which is used elsewhere in the Bible of singing with accompaniment.

In Colossians 3:16, the verb form of ádō is adontes. Speaking of this passage, Page makes the comparison, “As a noun, adontes is the standard term in the Septuagint [the Greek translation of the Old Testament used by many of the NT writers] for the Temple singers (Ezra 2:41, 65, 70, etc.).”15 A look at those passages will confirm that those who sing with instruments are identified merely as “singers”; Temple singing was, of course, accompanied with instruments.

Ezra 2:41 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.
Ezra 2:65 Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.
Ezra 2:70 So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

It is not surprising, then, to see the Apostle John using these words in that same sense in the Revelation. The ōdē/ádō pair occurs in Revelation 5:9, 14:3, and 15:3. All three instances occur with harps (or the sound of harps) specified in the preceding verse. Those who praise God with harps in chapters 5 and 15 are described only with the ōdē and ádō, translated “song” and “sing.”

Therefore, the word translated “sing” in Col 3:16 would not by itself communicate “sing only a cappella” in the eyes of first century inspired writers.

Some have said that psallō meant “to play” only if it was followed by a preposition and a specific instrument (e.g., “on a harp”), but again, no lexicon agrees, and it is counter to Eusebius’ example. Delling also gives counter-examples in the Septuagint.16

Some have said that the instrument to be played in Ephesians 5:19 is the heart, but the lexicons disagree. Danker translates with “heartily,” as we have seen (above), and Delling concurs, citing Psalms 9:1; 86:12; 111:1, and 138:117
19 lalountes heautois psalmois kai humnois kai ōdais pneumatikais, adontes kai psallontes kardia humōn kuriō,
Compare Psalm 108:1, 2, where David sings and makes music (on the harp and lyre) “with all my soul.”18
19 lalountes heautois psalmois kai humnois kai ōdais pneumatikais, adontes kai psallontes kardia humōn kuriō,

kardi-a especially as the seat of feeling and passion, as rage or anger,
3. [select] mind, “hōs anoon kradiēn ekhesIl.21.441; “kradiē porphureOd.4.572; “kradiē protiosset' olethron5.389; “ei theasē tois tēs kardias ophthalmoisCorp.Herm. 4.11, cf. 7.2; dialogismoi anabainousi en k. Ev.Luc.24.38
Hom. Il. 2. [450] Therewith she sped dazzling throughout the host of the Achaeans, urging them to go forth; and in the heart of each man she roused strength to war and to battle without ceasing. And to them forthwith war became sweeter than to return in their hollow ships to their dear native land.

Aesch. PB 877 Io
Oh! Oh! Alas! Once again convulsive pain and frenzy, striking my brain, inflame me. I am stung by the gadfly's barb, [880] unforged by fire. My heart knocks at my ribs in terror; my eyeballs roll wildly round and round. I am carried out of my course by a fierce blast of madness; I've lost all mastery over my tongue, [885] and a stream of turbid words beats recklessly against the billows of dark destruction.Exit

The human heart is the human MIND.  We make melody IN the Mind and not "mindely."
Luke [38] He said to them, "Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Psa. 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, WITH my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
Psa. 108:0 A Song or Psalm of David.
Psa. 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Psa. 108:2 Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
Psa. 108:3 I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people:
        and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.

David wanted to AWAKEN his lyre so that he could AWAKEN the dawn.  Fits with the kings being abandoned to worship the starry host (re the Star of David) OR "poems tend to be poetic."  Nonetheless, the uneducated fall sucker for poetic speech (says Jesus of speaking parables):

We even have a mention at a later date of a similar custom in connection with the cult in Jerusalem, where certain Levites, called me'oreim, 'arousers," sang every morning this verse from Ps 44: 'Awake, Lord, awake! Do not abandon us for ever." The Talmud tells us that Johy Hyrcanus suppressed the practice because it recalled too readily a pagan custom.

A similar practice is attested in connection with the cult of Herakles-Melkart. According to Menander, as he is quoted by Josephus, the king Hiram, who was a contemporary of Solomon, rebuilt the temples of Tyre and, 'he was the first to celebrate the awakening of Heracles in the month of Peritius." (de Vaux, Version: Roland, The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Doubleday p. 247)

In an inscription from Cyprus, in one from Rhodes and in several from around the district of Carthage, there are references to important personages who bear the title Mqm"lm which we can translate as 'arouser of the god." (de Vaux, p. 247).

Habakkuk knew that the superstitious really believed that the musical sounds were the "voice of demons" living inside of the instrument: that is why the Catholics BAPTIZED bells, books, candles and pipe organs.

Hab 2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image,
        and a teacher of lies,
        that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?

Hab 2: 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood,
        Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach!
        Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver,
        and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.

Hab 2: 20 But the LORD is in his holy temple:
        let all the earth keep silence before him.

Paul warned about LIFELESS INSTRUMENTS which are CARNAL WEAPONS.  You cannot defeat the principalities and powers in heavenly places [getting LIFTED UP with music] by using the INSTRUMENTS which came with Lucifer to be used AGAINST God's Word or SWORD of the spirit whichWE must use.

O thou, that wakest on thy seven-string'd lyre
Sweet notes, that from the rustic lifeless horn
Enchant the ear with heavenly melody,
Son of Latona, thee before this light
Will I reprove. Thou camest to me, with gold
Thy locks all glittering, as the vermeil flowers
And now my son and thine, ill-fated babe,
Is rent by ravenous vultures; thou, meanwhile,
Art to thy lyre attuning strains of joy.
You PLAY the harp like DAVID and don't CARE that your sons are RENT by rhe ravenous vultures or RAVENING WOLVES.
When we truncate the meanings of the Greek words and censor the instruments, the rich meanings of the Greek words are “lost in the translation.” The English translation doesn’t show Paul’s preference for words with a long history, pre- and post-NT, of referring to instrumental music.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine what better words Paul might have chosen for the sense “singing, with instruments permitted.” He certainly didn’t use words that his readers would have understood to mean “sing only a cappella,” which is surely one reason why not a single Church Father argues against the instrument based on the wording of Ephesians 5:19 or Colossians 3:16.
as similar passages, where an audible activity is offered with “the engagement of the heart.”1 Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), p. 637
2 New Testament Greek-English Dictionary, volume 16 “Sigma to Omega”, (Springfield, MO: The Complete Biblical Library, 1991), p. 542.
3 David Hiley, Western Plainchant: A Handbook (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 488.
4 Frederick William Danker, editor, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, third edition (based on Walter Bauer’s sixth edition), (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 1096.
5 Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), p. 675.
6 Danker, p. 1096.
7 Danker, p. 22.
8 Danker, p. 1096.
9 Everett Ferguson, A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church (Revised Edition), Abilene, TX: Biblical Research Press, 1972, p.11.
10 Danker, pp. xiv, xv.
11 The Concordance to the Peshitta Version of the Aramaic New Testament (New Knoxville, Ohio: American College Press, 1985), p 102.
12 James McKinnon, Music in Early Christian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 33.
13 McKinnon, p. 97.
14 Gerhard Delling, “Umnos,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cushing p Malloy, Inc., 1972), volume VIII, p. 490.
15 Christopher Page, the Christian West and its singers: The First thousand Years, p. 75.
16 Delling, p. 493.
17 Delling, p 498, footnote 96.
18 Jay Guin, “Eph 5:19 and the Psalms,” http://oneinjesus.info/2010/04/the-fork-in-the-road-learning-from-the-history-of-worship-part-5/ showing that Eph 5:19 borrows much of its language from Psa 108:1-2, which speaks of singing to an instrument.

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