Arndt-Gingrich - Psallo to Authorize Instrumental Music as Worship?

Based on Arndt-Gingrich: History shows that Psallo in the Greek of the New Testament does not include instrumental music as worship. I have had the following question and I apologize for the technical explanation. This is my updated online edition. I submit it for your consideration and I am not into "cans" and "can'ts" but into the love for the truth. You should be aware that none of the words used by God's people ever spoke of the arousal singing with instruments which MARKED the perverted religionism of the pagans.

Psalmus , i, m., = psalmos, i. q. psalma,

I. a psalm (eccl. Lat.; cf.: carmen, hymnus), Tert. adv. Prax. 11 ; Lact. 4, 8, 14; 4, 12, 7; Vulg. Isa. 38, 20.--Esp., the Psalms of David, Vulg. Luc. 20, 42; id. Act. 13, 33 et saep.

Canto I. Neutr., to produce melodious sounds (by the voice or an instrument), to sound, sing, play (class. in prose and poetry; rare in Cic.)

2. Of the singing pronunciation of an orator, to declaim in a singing tone, to sing, drawl: si cantas, male cantas, si legis, cantas

C. Hence, because the oracles were of old uttered in verse, of any mysterious, prophetic, or warning utterance, to predict, warn, point out, indicate, make known, say

III. In the lang. of religion, as v. n. or a., to use enchantments, charms, incantations, to enchant, to charm,

The question is: "Doesn't Arndt-Gingrich include instruments based on Psallo?" The easy answer is that no translation I know of includes the name of a mechanical instrument. That should satisfy anyone who has not graduated beyond the Word "as it has been taught." Throughout the Bible, when an instrument is included with psallo or melody it is clearly identified:

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. Am.5:23

Take an harp, go about the city,
..........thou harlot that hast been forgotten;
..........make sweet melody, sing many songs,
.......... that thou mayest be remembered. Isaiah 23:16

We will let the "doctors of the law" argue the case and then look at some of the evidence arguing against the use of "melody" as a way to "worship." We will look at the Bible and other ancient writings including the Dead Sea Scrolls to skip over modern lexicons which are too often one man's opinion. As for the use of psallo to justify the previous decision to add instrumental music:

Lipscomb wrote as late as 1878 that:

We do not think anyone has ever claimed authority from Scriptures to use the organ in worship. They only claim it is not condemned. It is used as an assister in worship...Prayer, praise, thanksgiving and making melody in the heart (mind) unto the Lord are acts of worship ordained of God, but no authority do we find for the organ."

Even in Arndt-Gingrich a word is usually interpreted by how it is used in context.

One may Psallo (verb) a Psalmos (noun) with a musical instrument or chant it with the voice as poetry. Individuals chanted psalms with occasional strokes of a lyre or harp for emphasis. There was never any 'overlaying' of the instrument on top of the music at this date.

There is no "congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment in the Old Testament." All of the ancient instruments produced single tones like the human voice which means that "melody" has no relationship to modern "harmony." On the other hand, temple instruments were to make "one great crashing sound" and had nothing to do with music. Psalm 150 loses its punch when we understand that not all of these were allowed in the civil worship in the temple and there is no command, example or inference that the Hebrew "congregation" ever worshiped with music. To the contrary we have testimony that they were excluded "outside" the camp or gates.

Even if we ignore the statement that Psallo exculded instruments in 'polite society,' a song in the most liberal definition is the Greek

Psalmos (g5568) psal-mos'; from 5567; a set piece of music, i.e. a sacred ode accompanied with the

harp or
other instrument; a "psalm"; collect. the book of the

Psalms: - psalm.(5603 = a Hebrew cantillation or metrical composition.)

To say that a Biblical text is a "song" does not demand that it be set to music. In fact, then and now, children often learn best when the resource to be learned is put in a metrical form.

"Music, like the word, also may have symbolic meaning.
The basic elements out of which musical symbolism is built are

sounds, tones, melodies, harmonies,
and the various musical instruments,

among which is the human voice.

Sound effects can have a numinous (spiritual) character and may be used to bring about contact with the realm of the holy. A specific tone may call one to an awareness of the holy, make the holy present, and produce an experience of the holy. This may be done by means of drums, gongs, bells, or other instruments. The ritual instruments can, through their shape or the materials from which they are made, have symbolic meaning. The Uitoto in Colombia, for example,

believe that all the souls of their ancestors (gods) are contained in the ritual drums. (See liturgical music BM members.)

And so did the ancient pagans from whom Israel borrowed liturgical music for the temple-state after they "fired" God and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. Click for More

A speech cannot be set to music: a poem can. It is written in "measured out phrases or meter" so that it can be sung with the voice or instrument. The most literal interpretation does not demand instruments but says that psalms are of a type which can be musical. Paul defined the "accompaniment" as the voice and human heart.

As his authority he had most of the Psalms, the religious writings of the Jews and the Dead See literature. In marking the difference between secular singing and religious "speaking" he had the Classical literature. verifying Paul's demand for vocal speaking of the inspired Word. We have all of the "church Fathers" and theologians up to and including today all agreeing that music was rejected by the church because it had never been used for the Jewish "congregation" but only by the temple-state then in the hands of the Saducees and the paganism out of which a few of the churches had just recently extricated themselves.

Lexicons Claiming that Psallo Includes Instruments

Arndt and Gingrich? I am not an expert on Lexicon revisions. However, in a: Letter to James D. Bales of Harding University, September 22, 1959, from Constantine Cavarnos, of the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 113 Gilbert Road, Belmont 78, Massachusetts we read: (Bales = Instrumental Music and New Testament Worship, James D. Bales)

"In Paul's time psallo did not have an implication of the use of muisical instruments. 'And in the writings of the Greek Fathers it most certainly never has such an implicaton. It is interesting to compare the word psallo with the word pneuma. Originally, the word pneuma meant wind, air. But later it came to mean spirit; and this is the meaning it has in the New Testament and in the writings of the Greek Fathers." (Bales, p. 132)

"Your letter to the St. Anthony Guild concerning the Greek word psallo has been referred to me, an editor of the new English Catholic version of the Old Testament. You ask the question: 'Does the use of mechanical instruments of music inhere in the Greek word Psallo as used in the New Testament?' The answer is no. The meaning of this word in the New Testament usage is simply 'I sing a sacred hymn in honor of God."' (Letter to Dr. James D. Bales from Father Stephen Hartdegen, C.P.M., Holy Name College, Franciscan House of Studies, 14th & Shepherd Streets, NE, Washington 17, DC) (Quoted in part by Bales, p. 132)

Arndt and Gingrich on Psallo: "Adds sing/praise James.5:13, M-M."

"Continually I stand amazed at the scholarship in the Arndt-Gingrich lexicon. It is my understanding that under the direction of Dr. Gingrich you are now revising that lexicon. On the word psallo, since Thayer, Green, Abbott-Smith, etc., limit the New Testament meaning to sing praises, I would appreciate the reasoning that brought Doctors Arndt and Gingrich to insert "to the accompaniment of the harp" in relationship to Romans 15:19; Ephesians 5:19; and 1 Corinthians 14:15. Further, why is the phrase excluded in relationship to James 5:13. (Hugo McCord to Dr. Frederick W. Danker)

Response: The Source for Arndt and Gingrich did not make the mistake

"It was so kind of you to take the time to make your inquiry regarding the word psallo. I see by comparison with Bauer's first edition that the editors of Arndt and Gingrich have incorporated the obvious Old Testament meaning into the metaphorical usage of the New Testament.

"Bauer did not make this mistake, and we will be sure to correct it in the revision. I doubt whether the archaeologists can establish the use of the harp in early Christian services." (Bales, 114)

Psallo speaks of twanging a literal arrow to kill an individual by hitting their heart. That is the primary, foundation meaning of the word. If one does not accept the metaphorical meaning then one is bound to go back to the beginning and imitate Apollo and others by having a literal war between a harpist and flutest. The looser got skinned alive by the winner.

The Modern Arndt Gingrich

Arndt and Gingrich define psallo as 'in our lit., in accordance with OT usage, sing (to the accompaniment of a harp), sing praise...sing praise in spiritual ecstasy and in full possession of one's mental faculties." (Bales, p. 114)

When the new edition did not make the changes, Gingrich "thought that the comment makes valuable contributory information and he prefers to leave this expression." (Hugo McCord quoted by Bales, p. 115).

"In other words, Gingrich admitted that the harp no more inheres in psallo than it does in the English word sing. Furthermore, the phrase, which was in parenthesis, was not included in their translation of psallo in James 5:13)

"Gingrich told J. W. Roberts in a conversation in St. Louis that the insertion was his private opinion. McCord announced that the change would be made but it was not." (Bales, p. 115)

George P. Estes who knew the late Dr. Arndt said, "told me personally that the work in many ways fell short of Bauer's lexicon. In Bauer's work are the following words about psallo: 'to extol by singing praises, to sing praises."

Burgess on page 45:

C. Another interesting feature concerning the thoughts of Arndt & Gringich the meaning of these words is represented for us in Ex ample 17. This is a letter I received from F. W. Gingrich. It is in answer to my question: "It has been claimed by some that the Greek word psallo and the corresponding noun psalmos, in their evolution had entirely lost the meaning of instrumental accompaniment in the New Testament times. Is this true?"

Bales notes:

"The letter which Burgess received from Gingrich did not prove that the instrument inheres in psallo. He said: "It is true that by N.T. times the emphasis had shifted to 'sing,' with or without instrumental accompaniment."

"In our translation of Bauer's lexicon, Dr. Arndt and I gave the meaning as 'sing' "to the accompaniment of a harp"; meaning that the singing could be with our without accompaniment. It seems to me that you cannot exclude the possibility of accompaniment in the New Testament passages..." (Bales, p. 116)

Burgess after listing a hand-written letter ending: 'I must say that I regard the controversy over this matter as unimportant.

Dr Gingrich notes a definite shifting of the emphasis. BUT THIS SHIFT DID NOT GO SO FAR AS TO EXCLUDE INSTRUMENTAL ACCOMPANIMENT. Instrumental accompaniment is still sustained in the definition of the words! This, Dr. Gingrich points out, should be clear from the fact that it was still used that way in the Second Century A, D., by Lucian. We will make reference to this man in the same chapter that we deal with Josephus. p. 46

For Christians the question is do instruments INHERE in Psallo? The answer is no. None of the "melody" words include instruments unless those instruments are NAMES.

But we note that Lucian wrote in Attic Greek as did all professional observers and scribes who wrote for the upper, ruling classes. Lucian said profoundly: "You cannot play the flute without a flute." And equally as profound as "you cannot ride a horse without a horse." You could not perform LYRIC poetry without a lyre but we are warned that moving from SAYING or in Paul's terms SPEAKING to "singing" with music MARKED or developed into distinctly homosexual excitement.

The inclusion or exclusion is based upon how it is used in a sentence. See Psallo.

Gingrich could still write that a Psalm can be sung with an instrument as indeed people do. This is not, however, what Jesus practiced and Paul commanded and most churches practiced for 1850 years.

Lexicons Opposing Psallo as Including Instruments

"Moulton and Milligan defined psallo as 'properly play on a harp,' but in the NT, as in Jas. 5:13 'sing a hymn'. .

This process continued until psallo in Modern Greek means 'sing' exclusively . .with no reference to instrumental accompaniment . . . Moulton and Milligan: "Psallo, 'play on a harp,' but in the NT, as in Jas-5:13 = "sing a hymn."

Thayer: a. To pluck off, pull out: the hair. b. To cause to vibrate by touching, to twang; spec. to touch or strike the chord, to touch the strings of a musical instrument, to play the harp, etc.; Sept. for zamar and much oftener for nagan; to sing to the music of the harp.

In the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praise of God in song, Jas.5:13; Eph.5:13; Rom.15:9; 1 Cor.14:15 .

CONEYBEARE AND HOWSON: "Throughout the whole passage there is a contrast implied between the Heathen and the Christian practice, q.d. When you meet, let your enjoyment consist, not in fulness of wine, but fulness of the Spirit; let your songs be, not the drinking-songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment, not the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart; while you sing them to the praise not of Bacchus (Dionysus) or Venus, but of the Lord Jesus Christ." (P.775, n. 5.)

"Ephesians 5:19 enjoins: (1) Speaking TO ONE ANOTHER in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; (2) singing (adontes) and making melody (psallontes, psalming) with your heart TO THE LORD. (One is done with voice and lips, the other with the heart.)

PSALLO: From psao, to rub, to wipe; to handle, to touch (Thayer): Liddell and Scott.- I. To touch sharply, to pluck, pull. twitch; to twang the bow-string; to send a shaft twanging from the bow; so, schoinos miltophures psallomene a carpenter's red line, which is twitched and then let suddenly go, so as to leave a mark. II.

To play a stringed instrument with the fingers, not with the plectron.

Later, to sing to the harp,
sing, N.T.

My Vine's says "Melody": "PSALLO (psallo), primarily to twitch, twang, then, to play a stringed instrument with the fingers, and hence, in the Sept., to sing to a harp, sing praises, denotes, in the N.T. to sing a hymn, sing praise."

Additional Resource Material Not used by Arndt and Gingrich on Psallo

First, we should not that Paul uses the word psallo for melody and defines it as being in the heart.

Second, he disparages mechanical devices by comparing speaking in tongues to the lack of speaking ability of a war trumpet or the brass gong which was used in the pagan temples.

Third, he uses the terms "lifeless instruments" and "carnal weapons" where the equivalent Hebrew is often used to describe musical instruments.

Fourth, scholars are in large agreement that a psalm does not include instruments any more than a song demands instruments. If you said that you "went to hear Willie Nelson sing" but then heard him "play" and use this as Biblical authority for instruments then you surely lack precision.

Finally, we can look at much more ancient testimony which was then or probably now available to the book publishers.

Melody in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the rule was that when instruments were included, you defined the instrument upon which the melody was made: "sing and make melody with the harp." Some examples of melody are:

Isaiah 51:3 prophesies of "the voice of melody" but the NIV, RSV and the LIV translate this "melody" as "the sound of singing." Melody is also used of the religious festivals of Israel where music and temple prostitution went hand in hand:

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear
the melody of thy viols. Amos 5:23

Melody with instruments was connected to idolatry, ritual prostitution and was dominated by the women in Israel.

As a living personification of Lucifer (female), the king of Tyre (male) the harps were to remind everyone that the king was really a male:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Isaiah 23:15

Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten;
.......... make sweet melody,
.......... sing many songs,
.......... that thou mayest be remembered (as a male). Isaiah 23:16

Now, you might say that this is a 'direct command' but you wouldn't want to use it 'in church.'

Again, melody with instruments was connected to commercial - religious prostitution.

Tyre used the musical women to steal even Hebrews as slaves and pick the pocket of buyers from around the world. Click for Wen Amun

What we understand is that singing a song and making a melody were not the same thing.

Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Psalm 81:2

In hope that God would destroy all of the enemies, the Psalmist was ready to celebrate:

Sing (Melody) unto the Lord with the harp;
with the harp,
and the voice of a psalm. Psalm 98:5
Let the floods clap their hands:
let the hills be joyful together. Psalm 98:8

This is clearly symbolic and does not describe a worship service however the instrument is included by specific name.

Sing here is: hohenwald youth, lewis county, instrumental music,

Zamar (h2167) zaw-mar'; a prim. root [perh. ident. with 2168 (meaning to prune a vine) through the idea of striking with the fingers]; prop.

to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, i. e. play upon it; to make music,
accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: - give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

The idea of Zamar is to (1) play a musical instrument which is (2) accompanied by the voice. Paul will reverse the process in spiritual worship. Speaking is the action and the melody is in the heart. In both cases the "instrument" is named and we are not left with "silence" to be filled in with a modern revelation.

A psalm is: hohenwald youth, lewis county, instrumental music,

Zimrah (h2172) zim-raw'; from 2167; a musical piece or song to be accompanied by an instrument: - melody, psalm.

The psalmist's "lexicon" shows that singing or zamar may be accompanied by an instrument it is in metrical or poetic form rather than prose. Singing may or may not be accompanied by an instrument.

Playing a harp is one thing.
Making melody with a psalm is another

God said that as they treated Him, they would treat Ezekiel - like an instrument-playing prostitute:

And, lo, thou art unto them as a very
.......... lovely [rotic] 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. Ezekiel 33:32

Nagan (h5059) to play on a stringed instrument; hence (gen.) to make music: - player on instruments, sing to the stringed instruments, melody, ministrel, play (-er, -ing..

These are "amorous love songs" and playing on the instrument. This was a sign that people treated God and Ezekiel as a prostitute.

The Testimony of the Psalms

Sing (zamar) unto the Lord
with the harp;
with the harp, and
the voice of a psalm (Zimrah). Psalm 98:5

If the harp was inherent in the word PSALM then this passage would be very redundant. It would read about like Ephesians 5:19 if you make both psalm and psallo include an instrument:

Sing (with a harp) unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm (sung to a harp). Psalm 98:5

If the harp was inherent in the word "psalm" then the Psalmist could have saved space by just writing:

sing a psalm

If Paul meant sing to the accompaniment of an instrument then the same Spirit of Christ who inspired the Old Testament would have had him write:

sing a psalm and make melody on a harp.

To say otherwise is to accuse Christ the Spirit of being less precise than Arndt-Gingrich!

In the following table Sing is Zamar or Shir, Praise is Yadah. , psallo,

There is no "melody" because melody is usually reserved for Lucifer's agents or prostitutes.

When an instrument is involved it is named. The singers would be seen only in a procession so that the enemy can "see God coming and going." The heading "To the Chief Musician" was not part of the original poem.

"The enigmatic musical superscriptions... to the psalms constitutes a real musical terminology, which, however, is almost unintelligible... either the original meaning of these musical terms was then generally forgotten, or, on account of the continuous tradition of the temple, it was still understood, but as a secret closely guarded by the priestly class." (International Dictionary of the Bible, p. 459, Abingdon).

"Even the loftiest psalm, a truly spiritual creation of music or literature, served a more or less definable purpose. The functions of music were: merrymaking, dance, minstrelsy, lament, accompaniment of exalted prophetic utterances, mnemonics, magic, theurgy, working songs, military signals and calls, and, of course the liturgical chant of the temple and synagogue." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 461, Abingdon).

A typical vengeance song is: , psallo,

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. Psalm 149:3
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; Psalm 149:6
To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; Psalm 149:7

We are left with promoting songs of vengeance where literal instruments were to panic the enemy before you killed him or this is figurative language. God is evil or God speaks in "parables from the foundation of the worldj" (Matthew 13).

Augustine understood the difference between the Old and New Testament and understood that in "spiritual" worship the Psalms must be allegorized or Christianity is a failed system.

None of these psalms were composed for "congregational worship" but for personal praise. Many of the instruments were not permitted in the temple but were used in processionals on the long roads up to Jerusalem.

There are only a few Psalms which mention an instrument at all. These are called PARADE HYMNS or the Warrior's Panic Songs intended to panic the enemy by boasting about God and making a loud noise called the alarm.

If we remove psalms composed as poems and later sung with instruments and used for secular and even superstitious reasons; or remove songs of personal despair, we are left almost totally with psalms which were sung with no indication of the use of instruments. The church Fathers wrote extensively upon the allegorical use of the harp to represent the human heart and voice as Paul prescribes. For instance, Job makes a distinction between those who sing and dance and refuse to listen to the Word of God and himself:

They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute. Job 21:12

My harp is tuned to mourning, and my flute to the sound of wailing. Job 30:31

The blue text below indicates psalms which are from a person seemingly lost and often calling down God's judgment upon the enemy -- often personal enemies. The bold black text shows that these are redundant. For instance, Psalm 33 includes both the psaltery and timbrel. The timbrel was not allowed in the temple. Other colors indicate a processionals, new moons, symbolic, vengeance, arousal or awakening the harp, fear of being cast off, historical warning, prophetic.

Sing Only

Flutes- pipe



Ps. 137:2
Ps. 81.2
Ps. 98:6
Ps. 149.3
Ps. 150.4


Ps. 47.5
Ps 81.3
Ps. 98:6
Ps 150.3

Ps. 150. 5




Playing the flute was always symbolic of obscenity.

Play the flute, pollute and prostitute come from the same Hebrew word.

It is bound up in the hissing or whistling sound of the serpent in the garden as a symbol of Babylonian soothsaying and enchanting.


Ps. 47.5
Ps. 137:2

"Some of the psalms express a tribalistic hatred of foreign powers; even the beautiful laments of the exiles 'by the waters of Babylon,' for example, concludes with the assurance that the daughter of Babylon will be destroyed. 'Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth the little ones against the stones.'

"But in nearly a third of the collection the 'enemies' whose death the psalmist so confidently prays for and anticipates are not Gentile nations,

but individual Jews who do not share the religious conviction of the Hasidim (Pharisees). In the words of Psalm 58, 'the righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth." (Parkes, Henry Bamford, Gods and Men The Origins of Western Culture, p. 134, Knopf)

Remember that the Hasidim were the early Pharisees. Therefore, while denouncing those who reject the instrumental part and the warrior psalms as being pharisees, the Psalms actually reflect that which Jesus repudiated although He chanted or recited the hallel Psalms at Passover which was a HOME environment and not church.

The Testimony of Psalm 150

It is easy to forget that David as the King or the other Psalm writers were not the prophets who were the critics of the priestly and civil governing class of David and other kings. David was not a priest. Therefore, while some of the psalms speak of private devotion they are not "direct commands" for either Jewish or Christian worship. Of the pipe or organ mention in Psalm 150:

"Its (pipe = to love passionately) was apparently a secular instrument and is never listed in the temple orchestra;

only in Ps. 150:4 it is mentioned in a religious (but not ritual) function.
Its ethos was not blameless at all, ase we see from Genesis Rabbah 50: 'The angels said to Lot: 'There are players of the pipe (
organ) in the country, hence it ought to be destroyed.'" Its rabbinical identification with the aboda, the flute of the notorious Syrian bayaderes, emphasizes the erotic element which already the Hebrew name suggests." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 460, Abingdon).

The pipe was invented and promoted by Jubal and not God.

And his brothers name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. Genesis 4:21

Handle means to manipulate, capture to use without authority (h8610). Job used the pipe to describe the children who sang, played and danced showing that they didn't want to hear from God (Job 21). Job also used the organ in a figurative sense of his mouring and weeping.

Of this harp or kinowr mentioned also in Psalm 150 and used by the king, Laban understood that it was really useful for getting the enemy so drunk that he didn't know which bride he had married. And again, old Laban knew that he coult "take away knowledge" with a musical going-away party:

Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? Ge.31:27

The prophets as God's spokesmen against the kings and priests had another view:

And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. Isa 5:12

Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kir-haresh Isaiah 16:11

Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered. Isa 23:16

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

And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. Isa 30:32

And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. Eze.26:13

And of the shofar:

"Only in Ps 150:3 is it (shophar) mentioned with most of the other really musical instruments. Hence, we must conclude that the function of the shophar was to make noise&emdash;be it of earthly or of eschatological character&emdash;but not to make music.

After the destruction of the temple and the general banishment of all instrumental music,
the shophar alone survived, just because it was not a musical instrument." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 473, Abingdon).

And of the timbrel (related to Topheth, the 'king's music grove' and hell itself).

The timbrel "was aa typical women's instrument. It is mentioned seventimes in the OT; thus it must have been very popular. Although it occurs in the Psalter and in religious hymns (Exod 15; Jer. 31:4),

it was not permitted in the temple. Its function in the Bible was restricted to secular or religious frolicking, cultic dances, or processions (e. g., II Sam. 6:5; 1I Chr. 13:4; Ps. 68:25). Its absence in the temple ritual was possible due to the strong female symbolism, which always accompanied the tambourine, and which made its use so popular at all fertility rites." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 474, Abingdon).

The Testimony of Herodotus , psallo,

Herodotus shows the effeminate connecton and separates harp-playing and singing. It was requested of Cyrus that rather than destroy the enemy, just make them into women:

Grant, then, forgiveness to the Lydians, and to make sure of their never rebelling against thee, or alarming thee more, send and forbid them to keep any weapons of war, command them to wear tunics under their cloaks, and to put buskins upon their legs,

and make them bring up their sons to
..........cithern-playing (Kitharizein),
..........singing (psallein), and
.......... huckstering
So wilt thou soon see them become women instead of men,
and there will be no more fear of their revolting from thee."
Click for context

Herodotus, and most ancient writers, associated musical preoccupation with making males helpless and unable to offer resistance. That is, as the Hebrew chalal means, it polluted or prostituted people.

Musical melody was important in the period of Monarchy because it was a period of rejecting God in favor of a human king.

Like the nations legalistic festivals under the Kingdom of Israel where the people demanded to worship like the nations:

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. Amos 5:23

Spiritual worship in the Kingdom of Christ:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

making melody
in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19

The contrast is powerful:

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual(God's) songs,

for I will not hear the

singing (to the Lord)

melody of thy viols. Amos 5:23

and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19

Israel failed because they listened to their own self-composed "lexicons." If you still need to dig up a human supporter you can find one defending about anything you wish to do.

The Testimony of the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Thanksgiving Hymns (1QH), Hymn 1 reads in part:

It is Thou who hast created breath for the tongue
and Thou knowest its words;
Thou didst establish the fruit of the lips
before ever they were.
Thou dost set words to measure
and the flow of breath from the lips to metre.
Thou bringest forth aounds
according to their mysteries,
and the flow of breath from the lips
according to its reckoning,
that they may tell of Thy glory
and recount Thy wonders
in all Thy works of truth.

Hymn 9, interprets Psalm 41 which was the prophecy that Judas would not triumph over Jesus where triumph meant "musical rejoicing" (Numbers 10:7). The Classical testimony and the witness of artifacts shows that the triumphal song was like that at Mount Sinai: "drunk on wine, playing instruments and mocking the defeated enemy."

All who have eaten by bread
have lifted their heel against me,
and all those joined to my Council
have mocked me with wicked lips...

They have overtaken me in a narrow pass without escape

And there is no rest for me in my trial.
They sound my censure upon a harp
and their murmuring and storming upon a zither." Ps.41:11

However, in hymn 11, Jesus triumphs in the Spirit

They enter my heart and reach into my bones to...
and to meditate in sorrowful meditation.
I will groan with the zither of lamentation
in all grief-stricken mourning and bitter complaint
until iniquity and wickedness are consumed
and the disease-bringing scourge is no more.
Then will I play on the zither of deliverance
and the harp of joy,
on the tabors of prayer and the pipe of praise
without end
Augustine comments on Psalm 41
The Community Rule (1QS) reads in part:
And at the beginning of their weeks
for the season of Jubilee.
All my life the engraved Precept shall be on my tongue
as the fruit of praise
and the portion of my lips.

I will sing with knowledge and all my music

shall be for the glory of God.
(My) lyre (and) my harp shall sound
for His holy order
and I will tune the pipe of my lips
to His right measure.

"Such allegorizing passages contain the nucleuses of the later substance, and perhaps the presage of the future trends of Christian music. The first three centuries of the church witnessed many controversies; some of them concerned themselves directly with music. The most important of these issues were: (a) organized versus spontaneous praying and singing; (b) scriptural versus extrascriptural poems; (c) fusion with Hellenistic music; (d) vocal versus instrumental music; (e) the rise of monasticism and its influence upon ecclesiastical chant." (Interpreter's Dict of the Bible, Music, p. 467).

The Testimony of the Classics

Philodemus of Gadara (c. 100-28 B.C) wrote against Diogenes of Babylon who taught that the gods were worshiped with music.

"Philodemus considered it paradoxical that
.......... music should be regarded as veneration of the gods
musicians were paid for performing this so-called veneration.

Again, Philodemus held as self-deceptive the view that music mediated religious ecstasy. He saw the entire condition induced by the noise of cymbals and tambourines as a disturbance of the spirit. He found it significant that, on the whole,
.......... only women and effeminate men fell into this this folly.
.......... Accordingly, nothing of value could be attributed to music;
.......... it was no more than a slave of the sensation of pleasure,
.......... which it satisfied much the samey way that food and drink did."
.......... (Johannes Quasten, Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 52)

Jesus would have read Amos in the Septuagint to say about the same thing.

In Justin's Dialog with Trypho the Jew he translates Amos 5&emdash;

Who applaud at the sound of the musical instruments;
they reckon them as stable, and not as fleeting.
Who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments,
but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Aristotle Rhetoric1408a] Employ a connecting particle or for conciseness omit it, but avoid destroying the connection; for instance "having gone and having conversed with him," or, "having gone, I conversed with him."Also the practice of Antimachus is useful, that of describing a thing by the qualities it does not possess; thus, in speaking of the hill Teumessus, he says,

There is a little windswept hill;

for in this way amplification may be carried on ad infinitum. This method may be applied to things good and bad, in whichever way it may be useful.

Poets also make use of this in inventing words,
as a melody "without strings" or "without the lyre"

At this point, it is important to note that the Psalms were written as poems and only later assigned a heading to tell how it might be sung to a tune or played to a tune. All poems, by their nature, are making melody without musical instruments.

Plato Georgias: hohenwald youth, lewis county, instrumental music,

Socrates: Pray then, if we strip any kind of poetry of its melody, its rhythm and its meter,
.......... we get mere speeches as the residue, do we not?

Plato in Laws II makes it clear that "melody" is something inherent in the poem which, to be legal, has to come from the Muses or the gods. He condemns those who mix up instruments with the harmony of the song.

Melody was inherent in poetry just as it is inherent in the psalmos Paul demanded that we sing. However, the melody is there all by itself without an instrument in the Greek world. Keep remembering that "melody" is not "harmony."

Strabo Geography 10.3.9

But I must now investigate how it comes about that so many names have been used of one and the same thing, and the theological element contained in their history.

Now this is common both to the Greeks and to the barbarians,

to perform their sacred rites in connection with the relaxation of a festival, these rites being performed sometimes with religious frenzy, sometimes without it; sometimes with music, sometimes not; and sometimes in secret, sometimes openly.

And it is in accordance with the dictates of nature that this should be so, for, in the first place, the relaxation draws the mind away from human occupations and turns the real mind towards that which is divine; and, secondly, the religious frenzy seems to afford a kind of divine inspiration and to be very like that of the soothsayer; and, thirdly, the secrecy with which the sacred rites are concealed induces reverence for the divine,

since it imitates the nature of the divine,
which is to avoid being perceived by our human senses;

and, fourthly, music, which includes dancing as well as rhythm and melody, at the same time,
by the delight it affords and by its
artistic beauty, brings us in touch with the divine,

and this for the following reason; for although it has been well said that

human beings then act most like the gods when they are doing good to others,
yet one might
better say, when they are happy; and such happiness consists of rejoicing, celebrating festivals, pursuing philosophy, and engaging in music..

Just like Job, Amos Isaiah and Ezekiel, Strabo shows the conflict between music which is rejoicing or celebrating, and doing good to others. Music works because it takes the mind away.

Jesus commanded doing good to others; He did not command music or any kind of worship in a "rejoicing" or charismatic frenzy sense.

The Testimony of the Hasadim

While Jesus condemned the Pharisees for not living up to their preaching, it is a fact that the Pharisees abandoned the Temple which was under political control of the Roman ruler and the high priest who bought his office as highest bidder. The Pharisees moved the synagogue worship away from the temple and therefore away from instrumental music:

Historians tend to explain the disappearance of the Hasideans as a gradual merging with the Pharisees. The Hasideans may also have had a doctrinal influence on the Essenes, an early Jewish sect that flourished in Palestine.

The Pharisees emerged as a party of laymen and scribes in contradistinction to the Sadducees, i.e.,
.......... the party of the high priesthood that had traditionally provided the sole leadership of the Jewish people

The Pharisees were not primarily a political party but a society of scholars and pietists. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the New Testament they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the population.

Around 100 BC a long struggle ensued as the Pharisees tried to democratize the Jewish religion and

remove it from the control of the Temple priests.

The Pharisees asserted that God could and should be worshiped even away from the Temple and outside Jerusalem.

To the Pharisees, worship consisted not in bloody sacrifices--the practice of the Temple priests--but in prayer and in the study of God's law.

Hence the Pharisees fostered the synagogue as an institution of religious worship, outside and separate from the Temple. (Britannica Members)

By absolute definition, away from the Temple and outside of Jerusalem meant that there would be no instrumental music which was intimately connected to animal sacrifices.

Jesus attended the outer courts of the Temple in order to preach against it and to turn over the "collection plates." He prophesied that the Temple would again be taken down stone by stone. This shows that the Temple and its worship had no validity.

This passage (1 Cor. 13) cannot be fully understood without some knowledge of the attitude toward music taken by Pharisaic Jewry. Explicitly stated here is the primacy of vocal performance over any instrumental music. Implicit is the contempt of all instrumental music, and the emphatic disparagement of 'gong' and cymbals, two of the temple's percussion instruments... Paul, however, denounced their usage on account of their role in the mystery cults, and thus reflected the views of the orthodox Pharisees as well as some ideas of Philo's philosophy." (Interpreter's Dict of the Bible, Music, p. 466).

Jesus did attend the syngogue where there was no real singing and certainly no instrumental music.

The Testimony and Verification of Paul

The firstfruits was the legalistic sacrifice under the law; firstfruits of the lips is the sacrifice of spiritual worship. This reflects the view of Paul who "sings" --

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Hebrews 13:13

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Hebrews 13:14
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is,
fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:16

The Pseudepigraphical Psalms of Solomon spiritualizes the instruments as does Paul Click for the document. The Odes of Solomon can be seen by Clicking.

XV. A Psalm. Of Solomon. With a Song.

1 When I was in distress I called upon the name of the Lord,
I hoped for the help of the God of Jacob and was saved;
2 For the hope and refuge of the poor art Thou, O God.
3 For who, O God, is strong except to give thanks unto Thee in truth?
4 And wherein is a man powerful except in giving thanks to Thy name?
5 A new psalm with song in gladness of heart,
The fruit of the lips with the
well-tuned instrument of the tongue,
The firstfruits of the lips from a pious and righteous heart

The Testimony of Philo

Philo wrote extensively of a Jewish sect which was more like the synagogue than the temple. On Husbandry 79-82. He understood the male and female choruses as mind and sense perception:

For it is right with both mind and sense to render hymns and sing blessings to the Godhead without delay, and tunefully

to strike each of our instruments,
that of mind and that of sense perception,
in thanksgiving and honor paid to the only Savior.

Philo disparages instrumental in comparison to vocal music:

All the melodious sounds produced by wind and stringed instruments fall as short of the music that comes from nightingales and swans, as a copy and imitation falls short of an original, or a perishable species of an imperishable genus. For we cannot compare the music produced by the human voice with that produced in any other way, since it has no pre-eminent gift of articulation, for which it is prized.


"And indeed though the worshippers bring nothing else, in bringing themselves they offer the best of sacrifices, the full and truly perfect oblation of noble living, as they honor with hymns and thanksgivings their Benefactor and Savior, God, sometimes with the organs of speech, sometimes without tongue or lips,

when within the soul alone their minds recite the tale or utter the cry of praise. These one ear only can apprehend, the ear of God." (Everett Ferguson, A Capella Music, p. 40f)

Philo never mentioned instruments in worship and supports Paul's statement about the melody being in the heart and directed to God:

O Lord and Master, how can one hymn thee? What mouth, what tongue, what else of the instruments of speech, what mind, soul's dominant part, is equal to the task?.

Johannes Quasten, Music and Worship in Pagan andd Christian Antiquity, notes of Philo:

"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 so much as the audible voice sings, but such as are raised and re-echoed by the invisible mind."

Philo saw that the high priest had to lay aside his long flowing robe, set with little bells and colorfully adorned, when he went into the holy of holies. This was an indication that one must not worship God with music and colorful array; owe should rather pour out to him one's soul's blood and offere him one's whole spirit as incense. For

if the soul has opened itself totally in word and deed and is filled with God then the voices of the senses and all other burdensom and hateful noises cease..

"According to what has been said, it can be seen that the doctrine of the 'spiritual sacrifice' not only repudiated bloody sacrifices but alop rejected music, particularly instrumental music, as a means of worshipping God. Although the 'spiritual sacrifice' was originally explained in terms of hymns of praise to God's goodness and majesty, its logical development eventually considered singing unsuitalbe for divine worship." p. 54-55

The 'congregation' never worshiped "inside the camp" but only the king, clergy and representatives of the whole nation went into the temple. Then, only the high priest offered the "act of effective worship." The congregation, outside, fell on their face while the rituals were performed inside.

The Testimony of Josephus In Antiquities 7

Josephus translated 2 Samuel 19:35 by writing: "But Barzillai was so desirous to live at home, that he entreated him to excuse him from attendance on him; and said that his age was too great to enjoy the pleasures of a court, since he was fourscore years old, and was therefore making provision for his death and burial: so he desired him to gratify him in this request, and dismiss him;

for he had no relish of his meat, or his drink, by reason of his age;
and that his ears were too much shut up to hear the sound of pipes,
or the melody of other musical instruments,
such as all those that live with kings delight in.

The Testimony of the Church Fathers

The church Fathers who lived in connection with or close to the early Church and its language, uniformly condemn instrumental music in worship and most of it for social feastivals. None of these writers were tainted by the American frontier. None of them hated music. None of them could have had a natural predisposition against music because even infants will dance to music -- it may be seem that they are back in the womb comforted by the heartbeat. The Fathers understood the pagan connection with music and they understood the Bible. It was their conclusion that Paul did not command "instrumental music" as worship:

"If the casual reader of patristic denunciations of musical instruments is struck by their vehemence, the systematic investigator is surprised by another characteristic: their uniformity. The attitude of opposition to instruments was virtually monolithic even though it was shared by men of diverse temperaments and different regional backgrounds, and even though it extended over a span of at least two centuries of changing fortunes for the church. That there were not widespread exceptions to the general position defies credibility. Accordingly, many musicologists, while acknowledging the early church music was predominantly vocal have tried to find evidence that instrumeent s were employed at various times and places. The result of such attempts has been a history of misinterpretations and mistranslations (James McKinnon, The meaning of the Patristic polemic Against Musical Instruments, p. 70 quoted in Bales p. 138)

I have posted some of the "Fathers" here. External "melody" is not a pleasant thing in their minds.

The Testimony of the Catholic Encyclopedia is one of the best resources on songs, singing and instruments. It uniformely sees singing or chanting Biblical Psalms without instruments as the Biblical ideal and goal.

Catholic Encyclopedia Instrumental Music
Catholic Encyclopedia Singing
Catholic Encyclopedia Congregational Singing
Catholic Encyclopedia Ecclesiastical Music No Instruments for the Pope
Catholic Encyclopedia The Mass - Restoration of Levitical Music
Musical Minister - Catholic Precentor - First Heresy

The Testimony of Medical Science

Some of the Classical writers and church "Fathers" were aware of and commented on the nature of instrumental music which is related to "grinding into powder." External melody includes only stringed instruments. The psallo melody in the heart is a much stronger form of:

Psocho (g5567) pso'-kho; prol. from the same base as 5567; to triturate, i.e. (by anal.) to rub out (kernels from husks with the fingers or hand): - rub. (triturate means to grind to powder. This was the purpose of external melody. It is what Jesus did when He fed Judas sop)

Chemists and Musicologists understand the chemical basis of the "thrill" we experience when we are "abraded" with modern harmony (which is not related to melody). It produces endorphins or a morphine-like drug which produces a "high." That is why music is so addictive and destructive to our children. However, the "high" wears off and we often feel dissapointed on Monday morning. That is why Jesus put worship in the spirit (mind) devoted to truth (His Word) and not into that which appeals to the body.

Conclusions: hohenwald youth, lewis county, instrumental music,

We can take the word of those seeing "psallo" as including instruments by appealing to Arndt/Gingrich, really strange translations or the rare Greek scholar who will allow that a song can be sung with an instrument.

Or we can see that credible translators rendered psallo without mechanical instruments but with the human instrument the majority of scholarship which rejects the psallo argument, the testimony of the Old Testament where "melody" includes the instrument, the literature of the time of Christ which made the instruments figurative of "the human voice and heart," the Dead Seee Scrolls which makes instruments figurative, the testimony of the church Fathers and the history of the church forcenturies.

All the while we should remember that no scholar has a first-century Greek-English or English-Greek lexicon or dictionary. We all define words by how they are used in the Bible and in secular literature. We saw from Old Testament examples that melody with instruments always specifies the kind of instrument. We also saw that such singing (noise) with instruments are symbolic of pollution, prostitution or saying "we ill not listen to the word of God." In the case of David we see the poems of a shepherd who would not try to soothe the sheep with an orchestra and four-part harmony.

"One Davidic psalm that proves this point in Psalm 144. The musician writes, "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight..." (Ps. 144:1). The most intense instrumentalist would be hard-pressed to harmonize this scripture with Matt. 5:44. Jesus flatly declares,

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

"Even more incompatible with the doctrine of Christ (Mat. 18:1-6) is a psalm of vengeance against Israel's bitter, political enemy. The psalmist proclaims, "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against stones" (Ps. 137:9).

This may have worked for David the warrior King, but what religious group would want that in their hymnal? The confusion over the psalms should be remedied by Paul's repeated writings on the covenants. A sampling could include Rom. 7:1-7; Gal. 3:10-25; Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 8:6-

13. These and other passages warn Christians not to rely on the Old Testament to justify their practices.

"Paul's most concise clarification if in Gal. 5:4. He writes, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace (NKJV)," This pointed scripture also unarms those who expect God's grace to overlook willful disobedience. by Brett Hickey

Ken Sublett

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