Augustine Psalm 150 Psalm CL.

1. Although the arrangement of the Psalms, which seems to me to contain the secret of a mighty mystery, hath not yet been revealed unto me, yet, by the fact that they in all amount to one hundred and fifty,
they suggest somewhat even to us, who have not as yet pierced with the eye of our mind the depth of their entire arrangement, whereon we may without being over-bold, so far as God giveth, be able to speak. Firstly, the number fifteen, whereof it is a multiple this number fifteen, I say, signifieth the agreement of the two Testaments. For in the former is observed the Sabbath, which signifieth rest; in the latter the Lord's Day, which signifieth resurrection.

The Sabbath is the seventh day, but the Lord's Day, coming after the seventh, must needs be the eighth, and is also to be reckoned the first.

For it is called the first day of the week, and so from it are reckoned the second, third, fourth, and so on to the seventh day of the week, which is the Sabbath.

But from Lord's Day to Lord's Day is eight days, wherein is declared the revelation of the New Testament, which in the Old was as it were veiled under earthly promises. Further, seven and eight make fifteen. Of the same number too are the Psalms which are called "of the steps," because that was the number of the steps of the Temple. Further too, the number fifty in itself also containeth a great mystery. For it consisteth of a week of weeks, with the addition of one as an eighth to complete the number of fifty. For seven times seven make forty-nine, whereto one is added to make fifty.

And this number fifty is of so great meaning, that it was after the completion of that number of days from the Lord's Resurrection, that, on the fiftieth day exactly, the Holy Spirit came upon those who were gathered together in Christ.

And this Holy Spirit is in Scripture especially spoken of by the number seven, whether in Isaiah or in the Apocalypse, where the seven Spirits of God are most directly mentioned, on account of the sevenfold operation of one and the self-same Spirit.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Lu.8:2

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; Re.1:4

AND unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Re.3:1

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Re.4:5

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. Re.5:6

And this sevenfold operation is mentioned in Isaiah. ...Hence also the Holy Spirit is spoken of under the number seven. But this period of fifty the Lord divided into forty and ten: for on the fortieth day after His Resurrection He ascended into heaven, and then after ten days were completed He sent the Holy Spirit: under the number forty setting forth to us the period of temporal sojourn in this world. For the number four prevaileth in forty; and the world and the year have each four parts; and by the addition of the number ten, as a sort of reward added for the fulfilment of the law in good works, eternity itself is figured. This fifty the number one hundred and fifty containeth three times, as though it were multiplied by the Trinity. Wherefore for this reason too we make out that this number of the Psalm is not unsuitable.

"The absence of instrumental music from the services of the tabernacle continued not only during the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, but after their entrance into the promised land, throughout the protracted period of the Judges, the reign of Saul, and a part of David's. This is a noteworthy fact.

Although David was a lover of instrumental music, and himself a performer upon the harp,

it was not until some time after his reign had begun that this order of things was changed." (Girardeau, George, Instrumental Music, p. 29).

It is important to understand that the Monarchy, king, sacrificial system and Temple were added as part of God turning them over to worship the starry hosts (Acts 7).  The Levitical Warrior Musicians were under the king and the commanders of the army. They were used as "cheer leaders" to drive the enemy into panic as in the case of Gideon.  Because the Temple did not exit in David's days, he never lead the "worship services."  I have added a table in my review of Terry Rush which proves that no "citizen" could even come near any of the sacrificial system: both in the Bible and all known scholarship we understand that whatever they did under king and monarchy was the result of firing God: God gave them kings in His anger and took the away in his anger.

At the same time the Spirit OF Christ spoke through the prophets to condemn all of the national religion including marking musical instruments as proof that people would not listen to the Word of God.  All of those trying to restore the curse of the Law list John Chrysostom to prove that the church fathers did not condemn instruments.  Here is a paper which proves that nothing they want to use as legalism was approved by God but was a curse.

"The book of Psalms contain new doctrine after the Law of Moses. And after the writing of Moses, it is the second book of doctrine... (David) first gave to the Hebrews a new style of psalmody, by which he abrogates the ordinances established by Moses with respect to sacrifices, and introduces the new hymn and a new style of jubilant praise in the worship of God; and throughout his whole ministry he teaches very many other things that went beyond the law of Moses." (Fragment of Commentary by Hippolytus, bishop of Rome, Ante-Nicene, V, p. 170) 

2. Now in that some have believed that the Psalms are divided into five books, they have been led by the fact, that so often at the end of Psalms are the words, "so be it, so be it." But when I endeavoured to make out the principle of this division, I was not able; for neither are the five parts equal one to another, neither in quantity of contents, nor yet even in number of Psalms, so as for each to contain thirty. And if each book end with, "so be it, so be it," we may reasonably ask, why the fifth and last book hath not the same conclusion. We however, following the authority of canonical Scripture, where it is said, "For it is written in the book of Psalms," know that there is but one book of Psalms. And I see indeed how this can be true, and yet the other be true also, without contravening it. For it may be that there was some custom in Hebrew literature, whereby that is called one book which yet consists of more than one, just as of many churches one church consisteth, and of many heavens one heaven, ...and one land of many lands. For it is our everyday habit to say, "the globe of the earth," and "the globe of the lands." And when it is said, "It is written in the book of Psalms," though the customary way of speaking is such that he seem to have wished to suggest that there is but one book, yet to this it may be answered, that the words mean "in a book of the Psalms," that is, "in any one of those five books." And this is in common language so unprecedented, or at least so rare, that we are only convinced that the twelve Prophets made one book, because we read in like manner, "As it is written in the book of the Prophets." There are some too who call all the canonical Scriptures together one book, because they agree in a very wondrous and divine unity. ...

3. Whichever then of these is understood, this book, in its parts of fifty Psalms each, gives an answer important and very worthy of consideration. For it seems to me not without significance, that the fiftieth is of penitence, the hundredth of mercy and judgment, the hundred and fiftieth of the praise of God in His saints. For thus do we advance to an everlasting life of happiness, first by condemning our own sins, then by living aright, that, having condemned our ill life, and lived a good life, we may attain to everlasting life. Our predestination is not wrought in ourselves, but in secret with Him, in His foreknowledge. But we are called by the preaching of repentance. We are justified in the calling of mercy and fear of judgment. He feareth not judgment, who hath previously attained salvation. Being called, we renounce the devil by repentance, that we may not continue under his yoke: being justified, we are healed by mercy, that we may not fear judgment: being glorified, we pass into everlasting life, where we praise God without end. ...The verse wherewith this Psalm concludeth is the voice of life everlasting.

4. "Praise the Lord in His saints," that is, in those whom He hath glorified: "praise Him in the firmament of His power" (ver. 1). "Praise Him in His deeds of strength;" or, as others have explained it, "in His deeds of power: praise Him according to the multitude of His greatness" (ver. 2). All these His saints are; as the Apostle saith, "But we may be the righteousness of God in Him." If then they be the righteousness of God, which He hath wrought in them, why are they not also the strength of Christ which He hath wrought in them, that they should rise again from the dead? For in Christ's resurrection, "strength" is especially set forth to us, for in His Passion was weakness, as the Apostle saith. And well doth it say, "the firmament of His power." For it is the "firmament of His power" that He "dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over Him." Why should not they also be called "the works of" God's "strength," which He hath done in them: yea rather, they themselves are the works of His strength; just as it is said, "We are the righteousness of God in Him." For what more powerful than that He should reign for ever, with all His enemies put under His feet? Why should not they also be "the multitude of His greatness"? not that whereby He is great, but whereby He hath made them great, many as they are, that is, thousands of thousands. Just as righteousness too is understood in two ways, that whereby He is righteous, and that which He worketh in us, so as to make us His righteousness. These same saints are signified by all the musical instruments in succession, to praise God in. For what the Psalmist began with, saying, "Praise the Lord in His saints," that he carrieth out, signifying in various ways these same saints of His.

5. "Praise Him in the sound of the trumpet" (ver. 3): on account of the surpassing clearness of note of their praise.

PRAISE WAS A FORM OF MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELVES TO PANIC THE ENEMY:

Halal (g1984) haw-lal'; a prim. root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causat. to celebrate; also to stultify: - (make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool (- ish, -ly), glory, give [light], be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, [sing, be worthy of] praise, rage, renowned, shine.

The history proves that this kind of praise began with LUCIFER who came equipped with string, wind and percussion instruments. Therefore,

Heylel (h1966) hay-lale'; from 1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star: - lucifer.

Chalal (h2490) khaw-lal'; a prim. root [comp. 2470]; prop. to bore, i. e. (by impl.) to wound, to dissolve; fig. to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word), to begin (as if by an "opening wedge"); denom. (from 2485) to play (the flute): - begin (* men began), defile, * break, defile, * eat (as common things), * first, * gather the grape thereof, * take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.

Hebrew Dictionary linked to Strong Numbers Chalal (h2490) an instructor/ of distance/space, start, commence; to redeem, to desecrate, make void, to create a cavity, vacuum, hollow, an empty space; a hollow/vacuum as a means to trap or bring together, nature; a vault, to make hollow: to wound, pierce, define, violate, make vulgar, wounded, slain, dead, the action of resisting: to break, disregard; violating instruction, to arrange/ an order of instruction; to assign, to pipe, play pipes

Sound: H8629 teqaa tay-kah' From H8628 ; a blast of a trumpet:.. sound.

H8628 Taqa taw-kah' A primitive root; to clatter, that is, slap (the hands together), clang (an instrument); by analogy to drive (a nail or tent pin, a dart, etc.); by implication to become bondsman (by handclasping):--blow ([a trumpet]), cast, clap, fasten, pitch [tent], smite, sound, strike, X suretiship, thrust.

Click to hear the Teqa: Just one long clear blast

H7782 sh˘phar From H8231 in the original sense of incising; a cornet (as giving a clear sound) or curved horn: cornet,

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--be it of earthly or of eschatological character--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).

"Praise Him in the psaltery and harp." The psaltery praiseth God from things above, the harp praiseth God from things below;

"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 http://www.s-hamilton.k12.ia.us/antiqua/psaltery.htm

NEBUCHADNEZZAR the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits (60), and the breadth thereof six (6) cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura (circle), in the province of Babylon. Dan 3:1

That at what time ye hear the sound of the (1) cornet, (2) flute, (3) harp, (4) sackbut, (5) psaltery, (6) dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: Dan 3:5

Nebel (h5035) neh'-bel; or nebel nay'-bel; from 5034; a skin- bag for liquids (from collapsing when empty); hence a vase (as similar in shape when full); also a lyre (as having a body of like form): - bottle, pitcher, psaltery, vessel, viol

Nabel (h5034) naw-bale'; a prim. root; to wilt; gen. to fall away, fail, faint; fig. to be foolish or (mor.) wicked; causat. to despise, disgrace: - disgrace, dishonour, lightly esteem, fade (away, - ing), fall (down, -ling, off), do foolishly, come to nought, * surely, make vile, wither..

Nabal (h5036) naw-bawl'; from 5034; stupid; wicked (espec. impious): - fool (-ish, -ish man, -ish woman), vile person.

I mean, from things in heaven, and things in earth, as He who made heaven and earth.

We have already in another Psalm, explained that the psaltery hath that board, whereon the series of strings rests that it may give a better sound, above, whereas the harp has it below. "Praise Him in the timbrel and choir" (ver. 4).

The "timbrel" praiseth God when the flesh is now changed, so that there is in it no weakness of earthly corruption. For the timbrel is made of leather dried and strengthened.

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 "choir" praiseth God when society made peaceful praiseth Him.

"Praise Him on the strings and organ."

Both psaltery and harp, which have been mentioned above, have strings.

But "organ" is a general name for all instruments of music, although usage has now obtained that those are specially called organ which are inflated with bellows: but I do not think that this kind is meant here. For since organ is a Greek word, applied generally, as I have said, to all musical instruments, this instrument, to which bellows are applied, is called by the Greeks by another name: but it being called organ is rather a Latin and conversational usage. When then he saith, "on the strings and organ," he seemeth to me to have intended to signify some instrument which hath strings. For it is not psalteries and harps only that have strings: but, because in the psaltery, and harp, on account of the sound from things below and things above, somewhat has been found which can be understood after this distinction, he hath suggested to us to seek some other meaning in the strings themselves: for they too are flesh, but flesh now set free from corruption. And to those, it may be, he added the organ, to signify that they sound not each separately, but sound together in most harmonious diversity, just as they are arranged in a musical instrument. For even then the saints of God will have their differences, accordant, not discordant, that is, agreeing, not disagreeing, just as sweetest harmony arises from sounds differing indeed, but not opposed to one another.

"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

6. "Praise Him on the well-sounding cymbals, praise Him on cymbals of jubilation" (ver. 5).

H6767 tsela tsal tsel-aw-tsal'From H6750 reduplicated; a clatter, that is, (abstractly) whirring (of wings); (concretely) a cricket; also a harpoon (as rattling), a cymbal (as clanging): cymbal, locust, shadowing, spear.

H6750 tsalal tsaw-lal' A primitive root (rather identical with H6749 through the idea of vibration); to tinkle, that is, rattle together (as the ears in reddening with shame, or the teeth in chattering with fear): quiver, tingle.

H6749 tsalal tsaw-lal' A primitive root; properly to tumble down, that is, settle by a waving motion: sink. Compare H6750 , H675

Cymbals touch one another in order to sound, and therefore are by some compared to our lips.
But I think it better to understand that God is in a manner praised on the cymbal,
when each is honoured by his neighbour, not by himself,
and then honouring one another, they give praise to God.

But lest any should under stand such cymbals as sound without life, therefore I think he added, "on cymbals of jubilation."

For "jubilation" that is, unspeakable praise, proceedeth not, save from life.

Nor do I think that I should pass over what musicians say,

that there are three kinds of sounds,
by
voice, by breath, by striking:
by voice, uttered by throat and windpipe,

when man singeth without any instrument; by breath, as by pipe, or anything of that sort:
by striking, as by harp, or anything of that kind. None then of these kinds is omitted here:

for there is voice in the choir, breath in the trumpet, striking in the harp,
representing
mind, spirit, body,

but by similitudes, not in the proper sense of the words.

When then he proposed, "Praise God in His saints,"

to whom said he this, save to themselves? And in whom are they to praise God, save in themselves?

For ye, saith he, are "His saints;" ye are "His strength," but that which He wrought in you; ye are "His mighty works, an d the multitude of His greatness," which He hath wrought and set forth in you.

Ye are "trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, choir, strings, and organ, cymbals of jubilation sounding well,"

because sounding in harmony. All these are ye: let nought that is vile, nought that is transitory, nought that is ludicrous, be here thought of. And since to savour of the flesh is death, "let every spirit praise the Lord" (ver. 6).

Kenneth Sublett Comments welcome

Musical Worship Index

Church Fathers Index

Home Page

Counter added 11.22.04 2049 9.01.07 126 1.07.07 150   6.14.09 4000