Hand Clapping and Music Condemned: Heredotus

Ezek. 30:17 The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
Ezek. 30:18 At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened,
        when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt:
        and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her:
        as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity.
Ezek. 30:19 Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt:
         and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Plat. Laws 2.657b all this lapse of time are the compositions of Isis. Hence, as I said, if one could by any means succeed in grasping no principle of correctness in tune, one might then with confidence reduce them to legal form and prescription, since the tendency of pleasure and pain to indulge constantly in fresh music has, after all, no very great power to corrupt choric forms that are consecrated, by merely scoffing at them as antiquated. In Egypt, at any rate, it seems to have had no such power of corrupting,—in fact, quite the reverse.

Hdt. 2.59 The Egyptians hold solemn assemblies not once a year, but often. The principal one of these and the most enthusiastically celebrated is that in honor of Artemis at the town of Bubastis1 , and the next is that in honor of Isis at Busiris. [2] This town is in the middle of the Egyptian Delta, and there is in it a very great temple of Isis, who is Demeter [Ceres] in the Greek language. [3] The third greatest festival is at Saïs in honor of Athena; the fourth is the festival of the sun at Heliopolis, the fifth of Leto at Buto, and the sixth of Ares [Mars] at Papremis.

1 Bubastis in the Delta, the “city of Pasht,” where the cat-headed goddess Pasht (identified by Herodotus with Artemis) was worshipped.

hēlios , II. as pr. n., Helios, the sun-god, Od.8.271, etc.; ton . Men.Sam. 108; hupo Dia Gēn Hēlion, in manumission-formula, ; identified with Apollo, Carm.Pop.12, E.Fr.781.11; with Dionysus, D.Chr.31.11, etc.
2. Hēliou astēr, of the planet Saturn, v.l. in Pl.Epin.987c, cf. D.S.2.30, Theo Sm. p.130H. (I.-E. sāwelios, cf. Cret. abelios,  

Hdt. 2.3 Besides this story of the rearing of the children, I also heard other things at Memphis in conversation with the priests of Hephaestus;1 and I visited Thebes and Heliopolis, too, for this very purpose, because I wished to know if the people of those places would tell me the same story as the priests at Memphis; for the people of Heliopolis are said to be the most learned of the Egyptians. [2] Now, such stories as I heard about the gods I am not ready to relate, except their names, for I believe that all men are equally knowledgeable about them; and I shall say about them what I am constrained to say by the course of my history.

1 Identified by the Greeks with the Egyptian Ptah.

Eur. Tro. 424. [435] where dreadful Charybdis lurks in a narrow channel between the rocks; past Cyclops the savage shepherd, and Ligurian Circe who turns men to swine; shipwrecked often upon the salt sea-wave;
        longing to eat the lotus, and the sacred cattle of the sun,
[440] whose flesh shall utter in the days to come a human voice, bitter to Odysseus. In brief, he shall descend alive to Hades, and, though he shall escape the waters' flood, yet shall he find a thousand troubles in his country when he arrives.

"Erotic dance was a sacred ritual in ancient Egypt, common in fertility rituals and sex magick. The most famous was the erotic dance of the priestesses of Het Heret [whom the Greeks called Hathor], but also common in the temples of Bast, Aset [Isis], and Nuit.

The meaning of 'Eve' is disputed. Hawwah is explained in Genesis III. 20 as 'mother of all living'; but this may well be a Hebraicized form of the divine name Heba, hebat, Khebat or Khiba. The goddess, wife of the Hittite Storm-god, is shown riding a lion in a rock-sculpture at Hattrusas--which equates her with Anath-- and appears as a form of ishtar in Hurrian texts.

She was worshipped at Jerusalem (see 27.2). Her Greek name was Hebe, Heracles's goddess-wife.

The Golden Bough:..'Thus at Babylon every woman, whether rich or poor, had once in her life to submit to the embraces of a stranger at the temple of Mylitta, that is, of Ishtar or Astarte, and to dedicate to the goddess the wages earned by this sanctified harlotry. The sacred precinct was crowded with women waiting to observe the custom. Some of them had to wait there for years.

At Heliopolis or Baalbec in Syria, famous for the imposing grandeur of its ruined temples, the custom of the country required that every maiden should prostitute herself to a stranger at the temple of Astarte, and matrons as well as maids testified their devotion to the goddess in the same manner. The emperor Constantine abolished the custom, destroyed the temple, and built a church in its stead.

In Phoenician temples women prostituted themselves for hire in the service of religion, believing that by this conduct they propitiated the goddess and won her favour. "It was a law of the Amorites. that she who was about to marry should sit in fornication seven days by the gate."

This is Inanna: symbolic of defeating the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Of course, it was easy to make Eve into some other goddess or even Mary the mother of God. In Egypt:

"Hathor ruler of the desert." The Greeks also called Hathor Aphrodite-Urania so she is al-Uzza, just as she is identifiable with Ishtar. She has stars at the point of her horns, ears, on the forehead and on her body. "May the golden give life to thy nose, may the ruler of the stars be united with thee". As the "golden one", Hathor is the sky-cow who bears the sun eye between her horns and nurses the infant Horus-Re.

"Hathor maintained a special presence in Sinai on the high places such as Serabit, where the nomadic mining tribes worshipped her. (Maspero 354, Petrie 85). In Egyptian inscriptions, "Qadesh beloved of Ptah" appears as the Syrian and Canaanite fertility goddess known from terra cotta figurines from many sites in Palestine. Hathor is also known as The Lady of Byblos and is thus Ashtarte or Athirat

"During the erotic dance ritual, the priestess would actually become the Goddess in all Her glory. According to the ancient texts, during the erotic dance ritual the priestesses would achieve visionary orgasm in which great truths were revealed.

"Het Heret was the over-arching sky cow Goddess, associated with fertility and bounty and plenty. Married couples would go to the temples of Het Heret for fertility rites that would hopefully lead to a successful pregnancy. The temples were filled with sweet smelling incense.

Typically sweets and red beer or golden ale would flow freely.

The priestesses of Het Heret would dance to the rhythms of live drumming.

When the couples were sufficiently aroused, they would engage in sexual intercourse on comfortable pillows.

"The priestesses would often enter into an altered state of consciousness during erotic dance, becoming the Goddess manifest in human form. On occassion the priestesses would experience compelling spiritual visions while in this eroticly charged state. From Source See Bast and Lesbians

"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'." (Johannes Quasten. In Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, beginning on page 41)

"Celsus said that it was well known that "music pertained only to the lowest gods, the demons,

and that the highest divine being had no need of melodies and sounds. And again, Philo claimed that:

One cannot truly offer thanks to God as the vast majority of men do, with external effects, consecrated gifts and sacrifices..., but rather with songs of praise and hymns -

not such as the audible voice sings, but such as are raised and re-echoed by the invisible mind. (Philo, De Plantations 126 (II 148 Cohn-Wendland)

"Theodoret (Quasten, Music & Worship, p. 65) claimed that the Jews brought liturgical music from Egypt and Philo wrote that "Moses learned rhythm, harmony, meter and everything concerned with instrumental music from the Egyptians."

This is why Moses knew that the noise at Mount Sinai was not the sound of defeat or of victory. Rather, it was the "sound of them singing that I hear."

The Jews sang in the type of the Egyptian threnodies (elegies for the dead):

Thus they made a golden bull, the image of an animal that was held to be the most sacred in that land; they offered unholy sacrifices, performed impious dances and sang hymns which differed in no way from the pagan mourning songs. Philo, De specialibus legibus

Heredotus II notes that "The following are the proceedings on occasion of the assembly at Bubastis:-

Men and women come sailing all together, vast numbers in each boat, many of the women with castanets, which they strike, while some of the men pipe during the whole time of the voyage; the remainder of the voyagers,

male and female, sing the while, and make a clapping with their hands.

When they arrive opposite any of the towns upon the banks of the stream,

they approach the shore, and, while some of the women continue to play and sing,

others call aloud to the females of the place and load them with abuse, while a certain number dance, and some standing up uncover themselves.

After proceeding in this way all along the river-course, they reach Bubastis, where they celebrate the feast with abundant sacrifices.

More grape-wine is consumed at this festival than in all the rest of the year besides.

The number of those who attend, counting only the men and women and omitting the children, amounts, according to the native reports, to seven hundred thousand.

The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. Is.19:13

It is said that up to 700,000 people assembled at Bubastis (Pi-beseth) for the worship of Bast, a cat-headed lioness. That about fits the same episode at Mount Sinai.

"Now when they are being conveyed to the city of Bubastis, they act as follows: for men and women embark together, and great number of both sexes in evey barge: some of the women have castinets on which they play, and the men play on the flute during the whole voyage;

the rest of the women and men sing and clap their hands together at the same time." (Pfeiffer, Charles F., The Biblical World, A Dict. of Biblical Archaeology, p. 152, Baker Book House."

"We have only a few remarks of Herodotus about Egyptian practices, which were similar to those of ancient Hebrew popular singing. He refers to the 'lament for Linos,' also to women's chants in procession of the cult of Osiris and the Diana of Bubastis (Herodotus, Hist. II.60;79). (Interpreter's Dict of the Bible, Music, p. 461). Heredotus

This was repeated at mount Sinai when Israel rose up to Play. For that transgression, God gave Israel the Law of Moses and "turned them over to worship the starry host."

Of Egypt and Bubastis Ezekiel warned--

"'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis (This was Apis, the bull). No longer will there be a prince in Egypt, and I will spread fear throughout the land. Ezek 30:13

And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No. Ezek 30:14

And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No. Ezek 30:15

And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph (Memphis) shall have distresses daily. Ezek 30:16

The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will fall by the sword, and the cities themselves will go into captivity. Ezek 30:17

Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt; there her proud strength will come to an end. She will be covered with clouds, and her villages will go into captivity. Ezek 30:18

or Tehaphnehes

[Note: in the classical writers one of the primary motives of having a flute girl was so that they could make fun of her. Hand clapping was a way to show contemp for the looser.]


At Heliopolis, Jupiter Heliopolitanus, who had absorbed "Apollo," gave oracles in much the same way (Macrobius, Saturn, 1, 23, 13 sqq.). So also did Ammon at his great Libyan shrine (Siwa); the description of the procedure when Alexander consulted it (Diodorus, 17, 50-51), somewhat blind in itself, is clear in the light of these parallels. The ikon of the Virgin at Phaneromene, Salamis, is credited with similar powers do-day (Capps). So they assemble the divine predictions, and without this rite they conduct no business, neither religious nor mundane. And he speaks of the year and of its seasons, even if they do not ask; and he speaks of the "Sign",

Later on, God defines musical worship to seeing Him and Ezekiel as the musical, harp-playing prostitute:

Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. Ezek 33:30

And they come unto thee as the people cometh,
and they sit before thee as my people,
and they hear thy words,
but they will not do them:
for with their mouth they shew much love,
but their heart goeth after their covetousness. Ezek 33: 31
And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song
of one that hath a pleasant voice,
and can play well on an instrument:
for they hear thy words,
but they do them not. Ezek 33: 32
And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,)
then shall they know that a prophet
hath been among them. Ezek 33: 33

Egeb (h5690) eh'-gheb, from 5689; love (concr.), i. e. amative words: - much love, very lovely.

Agab (h5689) aw-gab'; a prim. root; to breathe after, i. e. to love (sensually): - dote, lover.

And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. Je.4:30

That is the universal message of hand clapping and playing musical instruments: it is a symptom of pagan idolatry, the worship of the musical prostitute.

See the story of Joseph and Asenath.


Fred Peatross: Clapping and Raising hands.

Heredotus and Hand Clapping: Background to Mount Sinai

Hand Clapping to Replace the Amen: Rubel Shelly

Escaping God's Grace into Legalism: the Musical Burden

Christ Died To Give us Rest


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