Psalm 150, Psalm 149, Musical Worship

The Timbrel or Tambourine was an instrument of the prostitute or used to panic the enemy in battle. It was not permitted in the temple. Psalm 149 and Psalm 150 are not for Christian praise.

E-mail: Please help me understand Psalm 149 and 150. Thanks, Ray.

God gave them kings in His anger when they "fired" Him and wanted to fight and worship like the nations around them.  This violated the probation God Imposed at Mount Sinai because of "rising up to play."  The kings would enslave them and Amos and Isaiah 5 has Christ telling them that it was because of the wine, women and musical instruments that the people hungered and thirsted for the Word of God but starved and were taken captive.  Christ the Spirit spoke only through the prophets and later apostles: in Samuel God warns that the nation was doomed because they wanted to be a nation just like everyone.  Therefore, the Monarchy period and until Jesus Came the people lived in darkness and had "a covenant with death." The Godly people attended synagogue from the wilderness onward and did not go to worship services at the Temple.

See First Samuel Eight

For the "short version" I see two words used in Psalm 149 for "praise." One of them, "halal" from Strong's Concordance and Dictionary, means "to shine, rave, boast or make a show. To be foolish, to make a fool of self." It is the root word for "lucifer" which means self-shining. This is something you do when you are threatening the enemy with Psalms many of which are boast songs.

Psalm 149 and Psalm 150 correspond to Deuteronomy or "the Second Law" which was given to govern an already-largely-lost people who fell into musical idolatry at Mount Sinai.

Canto Neutr., to produce melodious sounds (by the voice or an instrument), to sound, sing, play (class. in prose and poetry; rare in Cic.).
III. In the language of religion, as v. n. or a., to use enchantments, charms, incantations, to enchant, to charm, Cato, R. R. 160, 1; Varr. R. R. 1, 2, 27: “frigidus in pratis cantando rumpitur anguis,Verg. E. 8, 71: “cantata Luna,exorcised by magic, Prop. 4 (5), 5, 13.falx,Ov. H. 6, 84: “
id. M. 7, 98: “ignis,Sil. 1, 430: “tum quoque cantato densetur carmine caelum,an incantation, Ov. M. 14, 369.—
B.To call forth, produce by charms:et chelydris [fetid serpent] cantare soporem,Sil. 8, 498: “cantata umbra,Luc. 6, 767.
Sŏpor ,
1. cum suavi devinxit membra sopore Somnus,Lucr. 4, 453; 4, 765;
2. Pregn., the sleep of death, death: “in soporem conlocastis nudos,Plaut. Am. 1, 1, 148; 1, 1, 150: “aeternus,Lucr. 3, 466: “perpetuus,Hor. C. 1, 24, 5.—
II. Transf.
A. Stupefaction , lethargy, stupor: neque dormire excitatus, neque vigilare ebrius poterat, sed semisomno sopore ... jactabatur, Cael. ap. Quint. 4, 2, 124: “temulento sopore profligatus,id. ib. § 123. —
Tēmŭlentus , a, um, adj. [root tem, whence temetum; formed in analogy with vinolentus.
I. Lit., drunk, drunken, intoxicated (syn.: ebrius, vinosus): agite, exite, temulentum tollite,
2. Esp., of bad or stormy weather, a storm, tempest (cf.: “procella, hiemps): turbida tempestas heri fuit,Plaut. Rud. 4, 3, 3; so, “turbida,

In First Corinthians, Paul used the Greek "mainomai" which means "insensate craving, rave as a maniac, be beside self." This was always the key to the belief in Corinth and elsewhere that one had "made contact" with God or "hath a devil" (John 10:20) which, for some, was considered proof of inspiration. Of course, this was all "let's pretend" by the professional prophet/priestess who would cast out the "flu" demon for a price -- always for a price.

To denounce the professionals, Jesus performed a sign of His Deity by simply speaking to the demons -- no singing, dancing, or sexual ecstasy. This was identical to the Jezebel/Elijah event. Remember that the professional demon-casters were the prophets of Baal and of Asherah under control of the Effeminate-Change-Agentry destroying legitimate -- not-for-hire prophets like Elijah. John stood in the office of Elijah who was found not to be soft which was universally true of the for-hire exorcisers. Jesus was God Who simply spoke like Elijah and the power of God was felt. The message to us is that the demons of spiritual blindness and other "demons" can be cast out by speaking prayerfully.

Boasting was what you did when you went into battle. The songs were really self-boasting (such as David claiming that he was sinless) and all musical terms are derived from ideas such as "panic, grind to bits, or pollute the enemy." This, as in the case of Gideon, caused the enemy to panic and run and you gave God the credit for the victory. Paul, in First Corinthians 13 and 14 uses the same instruments to show that worship in Corinth was similar to literal warfare. And "your assemblies do more harm than good" (First Corinthians 11:17).

In short, musical worship "to bring the worshippers into the presence of God" was boastful blather. If you can, through show and tell, convince the "audience" who buy a ticked through their "contributions" to hear the preacher and musicians perform, then you don't have to speak softly like Elijah and John and Jesus. If you wear soft clothing and have soft manners then your percentage of the take can exceed, many fold, the take for "benevolence."

Remember that David was one of the kings whom God prophesied would lead Israel into captivity because they trusted their own power more than God. This "hindering" was couched in effeminate terms.

Israel clearly demanded a "new dispensation" in order to worship like the nations.

This was a "side-track" or deviation and not part of God's original Book of the Covenant made and broken at Mount Sinai.

God promised that the kings would oppress and destroy the people. Therefore, we have it clearly stated that David made inovations for the Temple-State as more civil than religious ceremonies with the Levitical Musical teams "under the commanders of the army."

And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Eze 20:11

(I gave them Sabbaths...

But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. Eze 20:13 Pollute is:

Chalal (h2490) khaw-lal'; a prim. root ... 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):.. defile, ... eat (as common things), ... gather the grape thereof,.., take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.

Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. Exod 32:25NIV

"Praise" with musical instruments was often the word from which "Lucifer" is derived:

Halal (h1984) 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.

God gave Canaan to Israel as their promised land only if and when they lived according to the Book of the Covenant of the Spirit Christ Who was the Pillar and Rock Who followed them.

Because of their sin in musical idolatry, the promised land which had spiritual dimensions including the immediate with-dwelling of Christ was lost like the city in Brigadoon. God would not personally go with them back into a Garden of Eden-like environment:

But I wrought for my names sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Eze 20:14

Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Eze 20:15

Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols (a long log, i.e., an Asherah pole). Eze 20:16

As late as A.D. 1815 in a liberal synagogue, it would have been polluting for a Jew to play musical instruments on the Sabbath as worship. Therefore, they hired a Gentile musician - a legal way to get around the clearly-understood Law.

God spared them in the wilderness to protect His own name...

Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers idols. Eze 20:24

Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; Eze 20:25

Sirach. 48 or Ecclesiasticus:

1. Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.
. He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number.
. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire.
. How glorious you were, O Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! And who has the right to boast which you have?
. You who raised a corpse from death and from Hades, by the word of the Most High;
. who brought kings down to destruction, and famous men from their beds;
. who heard rebuke at Sinai and judgments of vengeance at Horeb;
. who anointed kings to inflict retribution,

and prophets to succeed you.

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Hosea 13:9

I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? Hosea 13:10

I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. Hosea 13:11

This "paradigm" is repeated three times in the Old and New Covenants.

This validates many scholars who note that David added musical worship to go along with the temple state rituals added when Israel fired God in order to worship like the nations.

"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)

The truly greak kings always sought to restore the worship commanded by God through Moses. This musical worship would have been private devotion and:

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

The rest of Psalm 146 shows the true heart of David who often directed his "praise" (halal) at his own personal enemies for even speaking bad things about him:

Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. (In Amos, the clergy took him up on his offer and led Israel to destruction for drying up the Word of God ch. 8) Psalm 149:5

May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, Psalm 149:6

to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, Psalm 149:7

The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. Psalm 118:7

While God has always inflicted vengeance upon those who were truly His enemies, and you might do some wishful praying each night upon your bed, this is probably not what Jesus meant by demanding worship in spirit (in the mind) and according to truth.

As another good example, look at Psalm 109. Remember that David was a God-replacing king and, in the case of Saul, had no real religious authority except that which he usurped from the priests. David had to leave Gibeon and establish an alternate altar at Jerusalem with the musical Levites under the commanders of the army because he was so afraid of God that he could never return to Gibeon to "enquire of the Lord."

You can see how easy it is to take a "proof-text" which seems to support what the church has already chosen to do but fail to use the Psalm to teach what it teaches in its own historical context connected to the prose Words of God.

Psalm 150 Summary

Remember that David was king of a Goyim or Gentile-like monarchy. God promised that the kings would destroy th enation and carry out the captivity and death sentence imposed at Mount Sinai.

David would take their girls and their boys would be taken to run before the king and blow the trumpets. He would enforce the tithe and confiscate whole farms and give to his military commanders.

David tried to AWAKEN his lyre so that he could awaken the dawn. Why should anyone expect the KING who would AFFLICT the people to give commands for CHRISTIAN WORSHIP? The word HALAL means to make self vile: that was the purpose of panic music to drive the enemy into panic. However, notice that it has the same basic meaning of CHALAL which defines Lucifer being CAST AS PROFANE OUT OF HEAVEN.

Notice the connections between David's PRAISE word and Chalal and LUCIFER who was the "singing and harp playing prostitute" in the garden of Eden

Halal h1984

cHalal h2490 [the same basic word]

  1. to shine
    1. (Qal) to shine [seeking God's favor]
    2. (Hiphil) to flash forth light
  2. to praise, boast, be boastful
    1. (Qal)
      1. to be boastful
      2. boastful ones, boasters (participle)
    2. (Piel)
      1. to praise
      2. to boast, make a boast
    3. (Pual)
      1. to be praised, be made praiseworthy, be commended, be worthy of praise
    4. (Hithpael) to boast, glory, make one's boast
    5. (Poel) to make a fool of, make into a fool
    6. (Hithpoel) to act madly, act like a madman



  1. to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin
  2. (Niphal)
    1. to profane oneself, defile oneself, pollute oneself 1a
  3. ritually 1a
  4. sexually
    1. to be polluted, be defiled
  5. (Piel)
    1. to profane, make common, defile, pollute
    2. to violate the honour of, dishonour
    3. to violate (a covenant)
    4. to treat as common
  6. (Pual) to profane (name of God)
  7. (Hiphil)
    1. to let be profaned
    2. to begin
  8. (Hophal) to be begun
  9. to wound (fatally), bore through, pierce, bore
  10. (Qal) to pierce
  11. (Pual) to be slain
  12. (Poel) to wound, pierce
  13. (Poal) to be wounded
  14. (Piel) to play the flute or pipe

Heylel (h1966) hay-lale'; from h1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star: - lucifer.

Lucifer is identical to ZOE in many respects and SHE is engaged in trafficing and merchandising: the Temples were "houses of merchandise, den of thieves." Go thou and do likewise.

Merchandise is:

Rekullah (h7404) rek-ool-law'; fem. pass. part. of 7402; trade (as peddled): - merchandise, traffic.

Nophek (h5306) no'-fek; from an unused root mean. to glisten; shining; a gem, prob. the garnet: - emerald.

Thou hast BEEN in EDEN the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy TABRETS and of thy PIPES was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Ezekiel 28:13

By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane [cHalal] out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Eze.28:16

As the king/queen of Babylon she was cast into Sheol with her harps and still breathing harpists. In Revelation 18, the PRESENT musicators work for the same HARLOT and perform SORCERY to decieve and MARKET your flesh. Hee Haw. "War is Hell: so help me I LOVE IT."

Ps 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Ps 150:2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Ps 150:3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

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):&emdash;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 shôphar From H8231 in the original sense of incising; a cornet (as giving a clear sound) or curved horn: cornet,

The same LAW prevented any holes so that ALL of them blew a single note. NO music.

Ps 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Ps 150:5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

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

Ps 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.


Don't forget that POEMS TEND TO BE POETIC. in verse one, the sanctuary is not the temple but by the use of parallelism, the sanctuary is the firmament of God's power. Furthermore, god had turned the Israelites over to worship the starry host.  The abandonment to worship the astrial deities (sun, moon "wandering stars" or planets) was EXACTLY what the elders wanted and God granted the after warning that the kings would lead them into slaver, captivity and death:

PRAISE ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary:

praise him in the firmament (visible arch) of his power. Psa 150:1

God is not worshiped in temples or by anything the human hand can make. Therefore, this agrees with Jesus insistance that God is ONLY worshiped IN SPIRIT or in the human mind as it is devoted to TRUTH or the Word of God.

Paul said that we have to GO OUTSIDE THE CAMP to find and worship Jesus.

Psalm 150 had David praising God with anything which would make a noise but some of these instruments could not be used in the Temple. God didn't "live" in the sancturary or in the Ark of the Covenant contrary to what David believed. Therefore, the Psalms are poetic records of Israel's history. While historical in revealing the actual words men spoke to God, the Jews used only about 1/3 of the Psalms for any form of singing which, according to Josephus, had been silenced among the Levites.

Psalm 151, in the apocrypha, has David again attributing God's selecting him to his own values. Historically accurate and therefore inspired but just David's side of the story. By comparison, the reason David could not build a temple has three different accounts in the Bible. David said that it was because he "had" shed blood. Solomon said that it was because David hadn't "finished" shedding blood. However, God's account was that He didn't need a temple, hadn't commanded a temple and couldn't live in one if He had it. God never permitted the temple to be anything but a place toward which the people could direct their prayers. However, in the dedication by Solomon, the people prayed from outside the temple area and God heard from heaven. At the same time, the temple was filled with darkness and "the priests could not minister."

Psalms were also used for personal or group singing. As in the case of Miriam and later synagogue, this was often "at the places of watering" or the oasis and not "congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment." For instance, David probably composed many of this Psalms or got the idea while shepherding sheep during dark nights.

Speaking of Miriam's instrument it is said that it--

"was a typical woman's instrument... Although it occurs in the Psalter and in religious hymns (Exod. 15; Jer. 31:4), it was not permitted in the temple. Its functions in the bible was restricted to secular or religious frolicking, cultic dances, or processions (e.g., II Sam. 6:5; I Chr. 13:8; Ps. 68:25-26). Its absence in the temple ritual was possibly due to its strong female symbolism, which always accompanied the tambourine, and which made its use so popular at all fertility rites." (The Int. Std. Bible Dict., p. 474).

"This membranophone, translated in the AV as 'timbrel' and 'tabret,' was not permitted in the Temple, although it was mentioned in the Psalter and in religious hymns" (Ps 150:4; Jer. 31:4) Harrison, Into to OT, p. 988).

See the Babylonian story of Job and instruments such as the ORGAN.

Edersheim makes it clear that the pipe was played only in the procession to Jerusalem from the far cities.

Isaiah 30 compares the Assyrians procession to the "place of burning" with the Timbrels and harps. In the LXX or Septuagint version, God asks, "Must you always go in procession to the temple with music." This was a common practice when they marched to the Temple and then to Topheth which was the place where innocent children were burned in the red-hot arms of Molech as they played loud instruments to drown out the evil sounds of sacrificed children and to help the priest get a message from the idol:

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

"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, as 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." (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 460, Abingdon).

"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." (International Diction6ary of the Bible, p. 473, Abingdon).

Therefore, I get out of this a strong warning not to look at proof texts without trying to understand what was going on. God allowed the temple to be destroyed three times and we should learn something from this. We are now God's holy Temple and according to Habakkuk:

Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. Habakkuk 2:19

But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." Habakkuk 2:20

Most ancient people believed that the "gods" or "demons" lived inside their musical instruments, sounding planks and poles. The oldest harp ever discovered came from Ur and it was in the form of a bull. When they struck (abraded or "wounded") the strings, the message was assumed to come from the gods or demons living inside. The Witch of Endor used a hollow-sounding, old wineskin to get the musically-echoing sound which she usually sold as a voice from the gods.

"The girl (buried alive) harpists' skeleton hands were still resting on the harp strings--or where the harp strings once had been. And the instruments themselves suggested in form the body of a bull, with its beautiful golden bull's head bearing a rich lapis-lazuli beard. For this was a mythological bull: the divine lunar bull whose song of destiny had summoned these two willing companies--first of the buried king, then of his lady--to rebirth through death. And we know the name of the god of whom this bull was the animal vehicle (mount). It was the great Near Eastern legendary, god-king and universal savior Tammuz (worshiped by the women in Jerusalem, Ezekiel 8), the dates of whose annual death-and-resurrection festival are now assigned in our own mythic and ritual calendar, by the Synagogue to Passover, and by the Church to Good Friday and Easter." (Campbell, Joseph, Myths to Live By, p. 62-63)

Phythagoras, who studied in Babylon, gave the world the science of stretched strings and taught that the music came from heaven. When the church adopted music after about 1250 in a general sense it was in imitation of the Greeks and others.

The message to me, and I hear it loud and clear even within a non-instrumental church, is that loud music drives most people closer to the depression and anxiety so common today. Our preacher complains publically about the ineffectiveness of his sermons but my "Behavioral Scientist" who wrote recently could tell him that he shuts down the rational side of the brain and just appeals to short-term emotion. God told Elijah that His message comes in "the voice of a whispered silence" (Karen Armstrong, In A History of God.)

While this will not change those already committed to masking God's Word with musical "worship" it is, I believe, what these Psalms teach.

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Kenneth Sublett

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