The Golden Calf Egypt 2

Egyptian worship and music: The Golden Calf Egypt 2, the Egyptian Bull Cult: nonliterate peoples, music often serves purposes other than entertainment or aesthetic enjoyment

The golden calf and worship in Egypt Number One

The golden calf and worship in Egypt Number Two

The golden calf at Mount Sinai
The interpretation of the golden calf throughout the Bible

Interpreted in the Kabbalah

In Part One we noted that after Israel's fatal sin at Mount Sinai Moses warned that they had gone through the worship of Osiris under the image of Apis the bull. However, they made a fatal mistake because he wrote:

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden (in the nether world) from thee, neither is it far off. Deuteronomy 30:11

It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Deuteronomy 30:12

Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Deuteronomy 30:13

But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. Deuteronomy 30:14

Some other goods which help fill in the blanks are:


Lord of Upper Egypt, Seth was the brother of Osiris, whom he slew, and the uncle of Horus, who slew him. Seth was represented as a huge dog.


One of the Egyptian gods of the dead,who related the tales of the recently deceased to Osiris, who then judged them as he saw fit.


The son of Osiris, in Egyptian mythos, Horus was a god of the sun,seen as the avenger of his father,and he had the head of a hawk. He lost an eye in his battle with Seth, who had killed his father, and although he defeated Seth, and regained the lost eye, he gave it to Osiris,

keeping in its place a serpent.


In Egyptian mythology,the watcher over the dead. Anubis is depicted as having a jackal's head, and his task was to supervise the passage of souls to their abode in the next world. He presides over tombs, and in this capacity, he is often depicted as standing over a bier on which a corpse is deposited. He was the son of Osiris and Nephthys, a sister of Isis, who, fearing the envy of Isis,hid the child by the seashore. Human priests were known to entice women into the temple for an overnight stay by pretending that he was Anubis!

All pagans believe that they have to carry their gods. For instance, the word "burden" which Jesus died to relieve as gospel or good news was "spiritual anxiety created by religious ceremonial." Jesus replaced that with "rest" which means take your ease with Me beside still waters.

Jameson, Fawcett, Brown note that:


1. Bel--the same as the Phoenician Baal, that is, lord, the chief god of Babylon; to it was dedicated the celebrated tower of Babylon, in the center of one of the two parts into which the city was divided, the palace being in the center of the other. Identical with the sun, worshipped on turrets, housetops, and other high places, so as to be nearer the heavenly hosts (Saba) (Jer 19:13 32:29 Zep 1:5). GESENIUS identifies Bel with the planet Jupiter, which, with the planet Venus (under the name Astarte or Astaroth), was worshipped in the East as the god of fortune, the most propitious star to be born under (see on Isa 65:11). According to the Apocryphal book, Bel and the Dragon, Bel was cast down by Cyrus.

boweth . . . stoopeth--falleth prostrate (Isa 10:4 1Sa 5:3,4 Ps 20:8).

Nebo--the planet Mercury or Hermes, in astrology. The scribe of heaven, answering to the Egyptian Anubis. The extensive worship of it is shown by the many proper names compounded of it: Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuzar-adan, Nabonassar, &c.;

were upon--that is, were a burden (supplied from the following clause) upon. It was customary to transport the gods of the vanquished to the land of the conquerors,

who thought thereby the more effectually to keep down the subject people (1Sa 5:1, &c.; Jer 48:7 49:3 Da 11:8).

carriages--in the Old English sense of the things carried, the images borne by you: the lading (Ac 21:15), "carriages," not the vehicles, but the baggage. Or, the images which used to be carried by you formerly in your solemn processions [MAURER].

were heavy loaden--rather, are put as a load on the beasts of burden [MAURER]. HORSLEY translates,

"They who should have been your carriers (as Jehovah is to His people, Isa 46:3,4)
are become burdens" (see on Isa 46:4).

      2. deliver--from the enemies' hands.
burden--their images laid on the beasts (Isa 46:1).
themselves--the gods, here also distinguished from their images.

      3. in contrast to what precedes: Babylon's idols, so far from bearing its people safely are themselves borne off, a burden to the laden beast;

but Jehovah bears His people in safety even from the womb to old age (Isa 63:9 De 32:11 Ps 71:6,18). God compares Himself to a nurse tenderly carrying a child; contrast Moses' language (Nu 11:12)


Mother of both Isis and Osiris, and in that regard, seen in Egyptian mythology as the mother of the gods.

ISIS - Sending Across the Sea

"Egyptian goddess of death, Isis was the wife of Osiris. She was usually depicted as a woman suckling Horus, her son. She was also identified with the cow goddess, Hathor. A legend tells how Isis discovered the ineffable name of Ra, The sun god. Weary of wordly affairs, she decided to become a goddess by using the name of Ra, who was already in his dotage.

She collected some of his spittle, mixed it with earth and thereby created a serpent, which she placed in Ra's path. Bitten and poisoned, Ra was advised by Isis to utter his own name, since the name of the sun god conferred life on whoever spoke it. He did so, and some of his power passed to Isis, who rose in the Egyptian pantheon.

The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in the course of the year. Of these the chief, which is better attended than any other,

is held at the city of Bubastis in honour of Diana.

The next in importance is that which takes place at Busiris, a city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek tongue Demiter (Ceres).

There is a third great festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Heliopolis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and a sixth in Papremis to Mars.

The following are the proceedings on occasion of the assembly at Bubastis:-

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

male and female, sing the while, and make a clapping with their hands.
When they arrive opposite any of the towns upon the banks of the stream,
they approach the shore, and, while some of the
women continue to play and sing,
others call aloud to the
females of the place and load them with abuse,

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

while a certain number dance, and some standing up uncover themselves.

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

More grape-wine is consumed at this festival than in all the rest of the year besides. The number of those who attend, counting only the men and women and omitting the children, amounts, according to the native reports, to seven hundred thousand.

Note: This was the worship of Israel while in Egypt. They did not worship Yahweh. It was also the worship of Israel when they repudiated God's covenant and Word at Mount Sinai. David also "played" in this form and actually stripped off his clothes to make himself vile (praise, he believed) while separating the Ark of the Covenant from the place of meeting God to his own new tent and finally the temple in Jerusalem. David is not an approved example for Christian worship.

The ceremonies at the feast of Isis in the city of Busiris have been already spoken of. It is there that the whole multitude, both of men and women, many thousands in number,

beat themselves at the close of the sacrifice, in honour of a god, whose name a religious scruple forbids me to mention. The Carian dwellers in Egypt proceed on this occasion to still greater lengths, even cutting their faces with their knives, whereby they let it been seen that they are not Egyptians but foreigners.

Clement in Pedagogue 3 notes of the Carian muses:

For we have heard of stags being charmed by the pipe , and seduced by music into the toils , when hunted by the huntsmen.

And when mares are being covered, a tune is played on the flute -a nuptial song, as it were.

And every improper sight and sound, to speak in a word, and every shameful sensation of licentiousnes"-which, in truth, is privation of sensation-must by all means be excluded;

and we must be on our guard against whatever pleasure titillates eye and ea , and effeminates. For the various spells of the broken strains and plaintive numbers of the Carian muse corrupt men's morals , drawing to perturbation of mind, by the licentious and mischievous art of music . 101

Ovid in Metamorphoses 9.1093

And now the expected time of birth was near,
        when in the middle of the night she seemed
        to see the goddess Isis, standing by
        her bed, in company of serious spirit forms;
        Isis had crescent horns upon her forehead,
and a bright garland made of golden grain
encircled her fair brow. It was a crown
of regal beauty: and beside her stood
        the dog Anubis, and Bubastis, there
        the sacred, dappled Apis, and the God
of silence with pressed finger on his lips;
the sacred rattles (Miriam's sistrum) were there,
and Osiris, known
the constant object of his worshippers' desire,
        and there the Egyptian serpent whose quick sting
        gives long-enduring sleep. She seemed to see
them all, and even to hear the goddess say
to her, "O Telethusa, one of my
remembered worshippers, forget your grief;
        your husband's orders need not be obeyed;
        and when Lucina has delivered you,
save and bring up your child, if either boy
or girl. I am the goddess who brings help
to all who call upon me; and you shall
        never complain of me--that you adored
        a thankless deity." So she advised
by vision the sad mother, and left her.
The Cretan woman joyfully arose
from her sad bed, and supplicating,
        raised ecstatic hands up towards the listening stars,
        and prayed to them her vision might come true.

At the Red Sea Moses and the men recited the victory song because real men simply did not attempt to worship god with music. However, Miriam caused the woemn to "break loose" and go out in musical procession exactly as she might have in Egypt. She presumed to be a spokesperson from God rather than a poetic prophetess and was condemned by God.


The cow goddess of Egypt, she was a fertility goddess, and attended at childbirth. She was regarded as the tutelary goddess of beauty, love and marriage. A legend relates how Re used Hathor to try to destroy mankind.

Nervous and uncertain of his power, Re sent his Eye, in the form of the cow goddess, to destroy the impious. However,

he was unwilling to watch fields of blood spread across the earth, and so he sent beer to flood the land, so that it resembled blood. Hathor, though, distracted by the sight, as well as her own reflection,
forgot her
grisly mission and instead became intoxicated. Thus mankind was saved.

Hathor's symbology included such items as sistra (a type of rattle), the horns-and-sundisk headdress (in much later times incorporated into the attire of Isis), the menat (a type of ritual necklace that may have been used for percussive music), and mirrors. Many ancient mirrors and sistra decorated with smiling, often nude Hathors on them have been uncovered over the years, and Hathor's visage (with cow ears) commonly appeared at the top of stone columns in Egyptian temples, many of which can still be seen today. Her cult flourished in Ta-Netjer ("Land of God" -- modern day Dendera) in Upper Egypt and her priests included both men and women, many of whom were dancers, singers, or musicians as the arts fell under Hathor's domain. Priests of Hathor were also oracles and midwives, and people could go to some temples of Hathor to have their dreams interpreted by her priests. Hathor's protection was invoked over children and pregnant women.


The sky goddess of Egypt,she was the mother of Osiris, Seth, Isis and Nepthys. She was usually depicted as a huge, naked woman whose arched back, supported by Shu, contained the heavens.


Mother of both Isis and Osiris, and in that regard, seen in Egyptian mythology as the mother of the gods.


One of the primeval Egyptian gods, Shu was the god of the air, and fathered Nut, who in turn bore the gods of the Egyptian pantheon.

"In simple oval-shaped pits the body was interred in a contracted position surrounded by the objects of life. The harpoons, knives, sickles, maces, razors, arrows, beads, hooks, pins, and pottery which the deceased familiarly used in his everyday enterprises were placed with him in his grave... Probably the objects were endowed with magical propertyies in order that they might continue their functions in the next world." (Fairservis, Waltar A, Jr., The Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, p. 76).

Of course, none of the musical rituals ever brought the dead god back and even with this promise, poor Adonis will not get to return next year either. Scholars believe that the Israelites were continuing this worship in the Isaiah account--

"His (Cyril of Alexandria) reading of the Septuagint version of Isaiah 18:2 was as follows: 'sending hostages over the sea and epistolas bublinas over the water.' His commentary on these epistolas bublinas is quite surprising. He first of all recounts the legend of Adonis as it is found in the Greek writers and points out that in his own time the sorrow of Aphrodite weeping for her lover

was still mimed in the temples of Alexandria as was her joy at his return from Hell. He recalls (referring to Ezekiel 8:14) that the Israelites had succombed to this idolatry and finally he describes one of the customs of the pagans of Alexandria." (Roland de de Vaux, The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Doubleday, p. 222). (See Article on Tammuz - Ishtar, the phallic kind of girl)

To say "magician" or magic was almost the same as saying "musician" to many of the pagan religions. They used these magicians, conjurers or musicians to go through "the gates of hell" to get Tammuz (and other gods). If the god could be "resurrected" through the gates he was to "play the flute" to do what they thought the true God could not accomplish to "meet their needs."

We have clear evidence that Jewish scholars do not believe that music was used on the Sabbath. In addition, other scholars hold that some of the instruments which David prescribes could not be used in the temple.

"The... Akkadian tables" mention the double clarinet. .. "This instrument was popular in the ancient Near East for purposes of celebrating secular occasions of joy or sorrow, and most probably did not have nay liturgical function.... This instrument was popular during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods of ancient Egypt, and was employed exclusively for secular purposes... (Harrison, p. 988)


Old religions never die. Therefore, we note that:

Alexander the Great has a naos within the enclosure of the Luxor Temple. The granite sanctuary at Karnak commemorates the coronation of Philip Arhidaeus by the Egyptian gods in the presence of Amun Ra.

The Temple of Ptah--identified with the Greek Hephaistos, and Hathor, identified with Aphrodite--has gateways which were added during the Ptolemaic period. The fine granite gateway which lies in front of the temple of the war god Mont was built by Ptolemy Philadelphos.

The small chapel to the West of the temple is also a work of the Ptolemies.
gateway of the Temple of Mut was erected by Ptolemy I Soter.

Here the king is represented shaking the sistrum, the queen plays the harp, and a princess beats a tamborine before Mut and Sekhmet.

In Thebes West, across the river, there still stand the two colossi representing Amenhotep III seated upon a throne of which the figure to the North was thought by the Greeks to be that of Memnon

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, R. K., Introduction to the Old Testament, Eerdmans, p. 988).

Worship in Egypt

Music, as a tool to arouse or awaken a god or to "get self up" to feel their god's presence, probably had its origin in Babylon, moved into Canaan, and was adopted by Egypt. Therefore, the evidence for music in Egypt is often based upon Canaanite musicians. This evidence shows clearly that music was a dominant method of worship in the three main arenas of Israelite life.

"In the New Kingdom of Egypt (1580-1085 B.C.) inscriptions and reliefs deal with a series of themes connected with Canaanite musicians and instruments.

Canaan was an inexhaustible treasure house of musicians, from which court chamberlains and seneschals obtained singers and even orchestras to provide entertainment for their masters on the Nile, the Euphrates, and the Tigres.

Above all ladies' bands and dancers were in great demand.

Artists with international engagements were by no means a rarity. And King Hezekiah of Judah knew very well what he was doing when, in 701 B.C., he sent men and women singers to Sennacherib, the formidable king of Assyria." Keller, p. 181).

When the Israelites demanded a king like the other nations it was specifically so that they could win wars and life like the surrounding nations. Therefore, when God allowed them to have Saul as a king He warned that the king would introduce false practices which would bring the nation into captivity. If God has predicted it, we should not be surprized that Israel gradually introduced worship practices exactly like the Canaanites and others. Therefore, we should not see the music as proof of God's pleasure but of their pagan-like worship.

"The tradition that associated music and psalmody with the Davidic age generally has been verified by archaeological discoveries, which show decisively that for centuries previously the people of Palestine had been renowned for their musical interests.

Palestinian nomads on a visit to Egypt were depicted in the Beni Hasan tableau as walking behind their animals to the accompaniment of music.

Other Egyptian sources from 1550 B.C. refer to examples of Canaanite music, while Ugaritic texts are replete with religious poetry, some of it being distinctly parallel in phraseology to the Hebrew Psalter.

From the same sources come references to a class of temple personnel known as 'sarim,' who closely resembled the Hebrew singers of the monarchy and later periods." (Harrison, R. K., Introduction to the Old Testament, Eerdmans, p. 411).

We can be certain that the religious practices and even songs were often pagan practices when, by the time of Solomon (David's son), the worship of idols was officially permitted and the king even built idol temples. No wonder then that David's psalms begged God not to take His Spirit away and, at the same time, begged God to smash his enemies in their teeth. This was not according to the standards of a God who demanded personal righteousness and social justice.

"The ritual dance was probably widespread in the ancient East. David's performance has Egyptian parallels. Seti I, the father of Rameses II, and three other Pharaohs are said to have danced before a deity, and Asiatic monuments attest the custom elsewhere... The description of David's dance: he 'danced before Jehovah with all his might... leaping and dancing before Jeh' (2 S 6: 14-16) suggests three features that particular display and the mode of dancing which it represented: violent exertion, leaping (Mephassez) and whirling round (mekharker) . Perhaps the whirling dance of Islam is a modern parallel to the last." (Int Std Bible Ency., Games, p. 1170).

Both Joshua (24:14) and Ezekiel (20:7, 8) warned Israel that their present worship was a result of failing to rid themselves of the idols or gods their fathers had worshipped in Egypt.

Ezekiel also warned of a continuing trend in that-

Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother: Ezek 23:2

"They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. Ezek 23:3

And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity. Ezek 23:3

And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah. Ezek 23:4

Ezekiel had earler noted that:

In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: Eze 20:6

Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Eze 20:7

But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my Eze 20:8

But I wrought for my names sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Eze 20:9

And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. Eze 20:32

Women's singing was a vital part of all pagan worship. In very early times women became priestly singers of the gods in the temple.

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

This meant that they engaged in the worship rituals we have described of the Babylonians, Hittites, Canaanites and Egyptians in which sexual promiscuity was the natural result of the celebrative rituals of the worship of the dead--

"they could not fail to become acquainted with forms of religios worship hitherto utterly unknown to them. Now, for the first time, could they witness the gorgeous and mysterous ceremonies that attended the worship of Ra, the 'Sun-God,' or of Isis and osiris. Now, for the first time, they might behold the incense burnt three times every day, and the solemn sacrifice offered once a month

to the sacred black calf Mnevis at On (Heliopolis),
or to his rival the bull
Apis at Memphis.

Now they saw, as they could scarcely have seen elswhere, the adoration of the creature rather than the Creator carried to its furthest point, and divine honours paid not only to the mighty Pharaoh, the Child, the representative of the Sun-God, but to almost everything in the heaven above, and earth beneith, and the waters under the earth." (MaClear, p. 79).

While there are ancient records which tell us about pagan worship, much of the evidence does not have the original "autographs" or records of the writers. Therefore, we have to depend on later scholars whose writing rest on the ancient documents or practices still in existance. In the entire Fertile Cresent and the area around the Medeterranian Sea there are many common religious practices even when the names of the "gods" differ.

Israel did not worship Yahweh during the four hundred years in Egypt and when they came out they just continued their same old forms of worship. It is important, therefore, to see some of these worship practices. The following description of pagan worship could just as easily describe many practices introduced into the church. However, it is important in understanding what happened to the Israelites as they ignored God's Word and reverted to the worship they had observed for hundreds of years in Egypt.


Egyptian goddess of death, Isis was the wife of Osiris. She was usually depicted as a woman suckling Horus, her son. She was also identified with the cow goddess, Hathor. A legend tells how Isis discovered the ineffable name of Ra, The sun god. Weary of wordly affairs, she decided to become a goddess by using the name of Ra, who was already in his dotage. Again, we quote

She collected some of his spittle, mixed it with earth and thereby created a serpent, which she placed in Ra's path. Bitten and poisoned, Ra was advised by Isis to utter his own name, since the name of the sun god conferred life on whoever spoke it. He did so, and some of his power passed to Isis, who rose in the Egyptian pantheon.

The temple on the island of Philae in the Nile became very popular about the same time that Israel rejected Jerusalem and worshipped the same bull deity as the Egyptians. Amos makes the Egyptian connection of which it is said--

"The worship of Isis, and common with her, was daily, and began before dawn.
On festivals the main service took the form of a
drama of divine sacrifice, the passion of Osiris. Priests carefully trained in mystic theology, liturgies, and symbolism, accompanied by attendants, all clad in appropriate vestiments,

came into the presence of the deities. Osiris and or Seraphis, Isis, Horus, and others, the faithful being in front of the sanctuary. The first great sacred act consisted in the exposing to the view of the assembled congregation the sacred image of Isis. Before the image libations of holy Nile water were poured out, and the faithful were sprinkled with it. The sacred fire (incense) was kindled, after which the high priest awakened the goddess in an address uttered in the sacred Egyptian language.

"A burnt offering was then presented,

accompanied by singing and music; and finally the goddess was ceremoniously clothed, adorned, and adored. The second service took place in the afternoon, which consisted chiefly of prayer and meditations before the images and symbols of the gods and

which closed with music and antiphonal singing.

A third service, quite brief... left Isis unclothed in her quiet temple... The two great autumn and spring festivals featured the death and resurrection of Osiris... and it was expressed with all the symbolism, mystery, music, singing, ritual, and pagentry...

it was calculated to stimulate the deepest religious emotions, and fan the flames of ecstatic joy." (Fairservice, Walter A., Jr, The Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, p. 171-172, Mentor).

As in the case of Amos' warning to Israel, the worship with music "was calculated to stimulate the deepest religious emotions and fan the flames of ecstatic joy." The result, of course, was not increased spirituality but a downward spiral of emotions leading to social degeneration. In the ancient religions there was no clear distinction between the religious, civil and entertainment of plays and music. Therefore, a nation's total religious impact is a product of church, state and entertainment world. In fact, the entertainment world provides the overwhelming level of "religious" music. The result of modern social decay, therefore, is a product of church which does not teach Biblical truth and so-called "religious" and secular music which does provide the values

In the wisdom literature there are teachings by the sage called Ipuwer. During times of great distress he wished for an ideal king to save the people. The description could easily describe the problems of later Israel--

"Noble ladies suffer like slave girls. Musicians are in the chambers within the halls. What they sing to the goddess Mert is dirges... Forsooth, all female slaves are free with their tongues... Forsooth, the hot-headed man says: 'If I knew where God is, then would I make offerings unto him.' However, the poem ends: "Where is he today? Is he sleeping? Beyond, his might is not seen." (Barton, p. 529-30). (I think This is Near Eastern Texts)

We may be deceived into believing that David's "praise God with the harp" psalms are the expression of spiritual joy but a closer look will show that they usually ask the question: "Where is he today? Is he sleeping?" These rituals evoke great pity for those who lived under a law they did not intend to keep but it does not appeal to us as a "legal pattern" for modern worship.

Worship of Hathor (look up Hathor on Altavista)

Although Gebal was known as the original home of the Canaanite (later Israelite) father god El, it was more famous as The City of the Goddess. We might ask just which goddess this was, but the answer is somewhat unclear. Most scholars identify her as the Canaanite Astarte and the Mesopotamian Ishtar, but her origins probably go directly back to the Stone Age Mother Goddess of Syria, Asia Minor and southern Europe. Like Hathor she was the state goddess and was called by her title (Baalat) rather than by her name; and like Hathor she never fully developed into being the wife of the high male god.

Baalat resided in a famous Gebal temple built at about the same time that Egypt was coming together in two separate kingdoms. While that temple was likely only the latest in a series of prehistoric goddess shrines at the site, it was the first of those holy places to make it into the ancient equivalent of "the history books." And it did so as the first temple of Hathor outside of the Nile Valley. Old Kingdom Egyptians seriously believed that their goddess lived on the Phoenician coast in this remarkable Byblos temple!

Hathor was "the Egyptian goddes of love, mirth, and joy, usually represented as a woman having the ears of a cow." While the "golden calf" which Israel worshipped musically at Mount Sinai was probably the male bull, Apis, the influence of Hathor was always felt. Some scholars in fact believe that they were worshipping Hathor.

Amos continues a common theme that the "noble ladies" are usually the cause of religious decay and promote elements such as music. He called the noble ladies of Israel "cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria" because they oppressed the poor (more collection plates passed) so that they could add social fun and games to their religious festivals which were more and more frequent. However, the time would come when the "noble" would look just like the slave girls and, like cows, would be "taken away with hooks."

The path of worship seems to flow from Babylon, to Canaan, to Egypt and the Medeterranian and then back into Canaan with the Israelites. Therefore, as we have noted, the worship of all of the surrounding nations used music and the common theme of arousing, awaking or calling their god into his/her temple. Often the instrument is in the form of an idol. At other times the connection between the idol and his instrument is seen in inscriptions:

Music played an important role in Ancient Egyptian Religious Ceremonies. The sistrum is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a hand held rattle with metal disks strung on to metal rods. It was usually made of wood and metal. The sistrum can't be tuned.

Egyptian, Greek and Roman traditions used the sistrum for warding off evil spirits. It was also used in honor of Hathor, goddess of love, joy and beauty and in Thebes, death. The Temple of Dendara in Ancient Egypt was known as (Castle of the Sistrum), (Pr Hathor)- House of Hathor. The shoulder harp was the most highly prized instrument of Ancient Egypt.

In the New Kingdom it was played mostly by women. The shoulder harp rests on the lap of a seated player with strings facing outward. The players arms were gracefully lifted.

The god Iby was the patron of musical instruments. No written music from Ancient Egypt has ever been found. The harps mostly played love songs.

In Babylonia, Ea was the patron god of music.

Many tomb paintings showed banquets where musicans played harps, lutes and other stringed instruments. Instruments were never played alone they were always accompied by singers or dancers. Music gave Egyptions much pleasure. Musical groups would play at festivals and parties. At parties the guests were enterained by female musicans and dancing girls. During the parties the music started out slow and proper and ended wild and exciting.

"Among the ancient musical instruments that were uncovered during processes of archaeological excavation in Mesopotamia was the sistrum, which was found in Sumerian levels at Ur and Kish. This instrument made its way from Palestine to Egypt, where it was frequently depicted in connection with the worship of Hathor.

It was included among the instruments on which David played, and was described by "to shake" (2 Sam. 6:5), incorrectly rendered 'cornets' by the AV, but accurately by the Vulgate as sistra. A sistrum was unearthed at Bethel in 1934, and was dated by Albright in the pre-Israelite period." (Harrison, Int. OT, p. 988).

Pfeiffer says that the "oldest sistrums were discovered at Ur, Kish, and other Sumerian sites. They came from Mesopotamia, by way of Palestine, to Egypt" (p. 399).

Hathor at:

One day, Ra, the sun god, looked down in horror to see his children were deep in sin. Ra decided it was time to punish humankind and choose the goddess Hathor to help him. Ra explained to Hathor she had three days in which to teach humankind a lesson in respect to their creator. Hathor assumed the form of leopard and went to earth. Ra went to bed.

The next day, he looked down and was in complete shock to see Hathor had killed almost everyone on earth. He realized he needed to act quickly or there would not be anyone left to worship him. That night, Ra took on human shape and went to earth. He found blood as high as a man's chest running through the streets. Thinking quickly, he added barley and dates to the blood and then left the scene.

Before killing the remaining people, Hathor smelled the fermented beer and began to lap it up.

She staggered into the shadows and fell asleep for two days and nights. When she woke, her time for killing had passed.

The human race was saved. Beer had been born.

Extracted from The Importance of Goddesses in Brewing Beer

While this does not condemn instruments in the worship of Israel, it does show that the watching world might not be able to tell whether Yawheh or idols were being worshipped. This natural confusion led the Israelites at Mount Sinai to look for their "lost god" Who to them appeared in Moses.

Worship of Apis

While God was giving Israel the "written covenant" Israel was down in the dark valley singing, playing music, eating, drinking, dancing, and praising a small wooden model of a calf covered with gold. Scholars agree that they were worshipping Apis or some form of a bull deity.

King (Philip J., Biblical Archaeology Review, The Marzeah Amos Denounces) identified the Marazeh, which was identical to Israel's worship as condemned by Amos, as a feast with or for the dead. Consistent with the Apocalyptic tradition, Satan in the form of the bull idol was enticing the people to sin while Moses was on the holy mountain listening to the Word of God.

The Battle of Baal and Yahm
  1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2. Aloud they [summon the assembly of the gods/ do cry to those near]. They invite
  3. the distant ones/ those far away, to the assembly of `El
  4. they summon/do cry: "`El remains seated
    [in his
    marzeah/banqueting hall//among his cult-guests (dM)] . . .
  5. The shame of the Eternal One/The shameful conduct of the usurper . . .
  6. O gods, (to) the house of your lord . . .
  7. [Who surely travels (S)/lest he go (D/G) quickly/the Runner will not walk (dM)] through the land, . . .
  8. who goes in the dust (of) destruction/a mess of mud on the ground . . .
Comments: Smith believes lines 7-8 should be interpreted "Either literally, as `El walking through the underworld, or an allusion to `El being "dead drunk," or both metaphorical, and ironic, as the marzeah serves as the setting for feasts for the dead and for the living mourning the dead (p. 145).

Instrumental music was believed to have a magic function: play the music and perhaps the golden calf will "just jump out of the fire." Clearly the Israelites were discontent with the message from the "near" God and wanted Aaron to summon their old god from the dead or from "across the sea." To summon this god always demanded music and this is defined in the literature as essential to necromancy.

It is significant in light of this quotation that Aaron said in effect: "I just threw the gold into the fire and out jumped this idol." They had summoned their god and believed that he was resurrected to take credit for their rescue from Egypt. In this case, the musical worship kept the Word of Yahweh from reaching their ears because their priest was involved in the idolatry. Their summoned god was to guide them and tell them what to do and it is defined by the word necromancy which "is the practice of claiming to foretell the future by alleged communication with the dead."

It also agrees with the Apocalyptic record where Satan is first said to have given Genun (Jubal) musical instruments but had to add on "companies" of musicians in order to be more effective.

The sin of Israel in the wilderness also sheds light on the worship of Apis--

"And the people celebrated this feast with burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, with eating and drinking, i.e. with sacrificial meals and sports, or with loud rejoicing, shouting, antiphonal songs, and dances, in the same manner in which the Egyptians celebrated their feast of Apis (Herod. 2, 60, and 3, 27)." (Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II, p. 222).

Click for Apis in Heredotus

Because, according to Keil and Delitzsch and others, its source was Egyptian it is reasonable to inquire into the nature of Egyptian worship of Apis. The following quote shows that Israel's music and the Egyptian practice was much like the marzeah.

"In the early Old Testament history it was the women who played a major part in... Egyptian tomb paintings depict choruses of dancing women entertaining on festive occasions." ( Pfeiffer, Charles F., Between the Testaments, Baker Book House, p. 397-8).

We know from the prophets that Israel had not worshiped Yahweh in Egypt and, therefore, did not deserve to be saved. We also know that when they came to Mount Sinai and demanded a bull image to worship and then worshipped it with music they had not received any command, example, or hint that God wanted such worship. Because, according to Keil and Delitzsch and others, its source was Egyptian it is reasonable to inquire into the nature of Egyptian worship of Apis. The following quote shows that Israel's music and the Egyptian practice was much like the marzeah.

"the testimonies of neighboring civilizations are of little value, as they concern chiefly the music of courts or temples, which in Sumer, Babylon, and Canaan was then in the hands of professional priests-musicians. We have only a few remarks of Herodotus about Egyptian practices, which were similar to those of ancient Hebrew popular singing. He refers to the 'lament for Linos,' also to women's chants in procession of the cult of Osiris and the Diana of Bubastis. In Phonicia and Syria almost all popular music reflected the worship of Ishtar, the goddess of fertility." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 461, Abingdon).

Ezekiel, of course, identifies and condemns the same form of Tammuz worship by the women in the Temple. Other sources clearly connect Tammuz and other dead god worship with instrumental music.

Shishak, who took all of Solomon's gold back to Egypt, made Bubastis his capital and used the wealth to enlarge the Bast temple.

It is said that up to 700,000 people assembled at Bubastis (Pi-beseth) for the worship of Bast, a cat-headed lioness. Of Egypt and Bubastis Ezekiel warned--

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

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

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

We noted above that this was the "burden laded" on the backs of the people. The civil and clergy leaders and "gods" were carried by the people rather than the gods carrying the burden of the people.

In some versions of the bible Bubastis is referred to as "Pi Beseth", "Pi-Beseth" or "Pibeseth". Ezekiel 30:17 (KJV) states, "The young men of Aven [On] and of Pibeseth [Bubastis] shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity." Herodotus described the "journey across the sea" to Bubastis and said--

"Now when they are being conveyed to the city of Bubastis, they act as follows: for men and women embark together, and great number of both sexes in evey barge: some of the women have castinets on which they play, and the men play on the flute during the whole voyage; the rest of the women and men sing and clap their hands together at the same time." (Pfeiffer, Charles F., The Biblical World, A Dict. of Biblical Archaeology, p. 152, Baker Book House."

On their journey, the musical women mocked the women at each place their boat stopped. This is consistent with the notion that the Israelites "became a laughingstock" and later prophets who associate Israel's worship with "mocking God." It was the "elite" and lazy women who ridiculed and oppressed the "common" women. Their singing, music, dancing, and hand clapping were symbols that "they were not grieved" over the poverty on the Nile.

Of course, they were not spiritually improved but when they arrived at Bubastis, they celebrated with wine and sexual immorality. (Note: Linos is available on the same Heredotus file as above)

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

Ezekiel, of course, identifies and condemns the same form of Tammuz worship by the women in the Temple. Other sources clearly connect Tammuz and other dead god worship

Worship of Joseph

14) Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities 2.91 (Whiston)

[2.91] JOSEPH was now grown up to thirty years of age, and enjoyed great honors from the king, who called him Psothom Phanech, out of regard to his prodigious degree of wisdom; for that name denotes the revealer of secrets. He also married a wife of very high quality; for he married the daughter of Petephres, 49 one of the priests of Heliopolis; she was a virgin, and her name was Asenath. By her he had children before the scarcity came on; Manasseh, the elder, which signifies forgetful, because his present happiness made him forget his former misfortunes; and Ephraim, the younger, which signifies restored, because he was restored to the freedom of his forefathers. Now after Egypt had happily passed over seven years, according to Joseph's interpretation of the dreams, the famine came upon them in the eighth year; and because this misfortune fell upon them when they had no sense of it beforehand, 50 they were all sorely afflicted by it, and came running to the king's gates; and he called upon Joseph, who sold the corn to them, being become confessedly a savior to the whole multitude of the Egyptians. Nor did he open this market of corn for the people of that country only, but strangers had liberty to buy also; Joseph being willing that all men, who are naturally akin to one another, should have assistance from those that lived in happiness.

See Joseph and Asenath in Egypt.

2,n49. This Potiphar, or, as Josephus, Petephres, who was now a priest of On, or Heliopolis, is the same name in Josephus, and perhaps in Moses also, with him who is before called head cook or captain of the guard, and to whom Joseph was sold. See Genesis 37:36; 39:1, with 41:50. They are also affirmed to be one and the same person in the Testament of Joseph, sect. 18, for he is there said to have married the daughter of his master and mistress. Nor is this a notion peculiar to that Testament, but, as Dr. Bernard confesses, note on Antiq. B. II. ch. 4. sect. 1, common to Josephus, to the Septuagint interpreters, and to other learned Jews of old time.

2,n50. This entire ignorance of the Egyptians of these years of famine before they came, told us before, as well as here, ch. 5. sect. 7, by Josephus, seems to me almost incredible. It is in no other copy that I know of.

When Joseph found favor with Pharaoh he was elevated almost to the position of a god.

Later generations may have identified him with Serapis.
He rode in the second chariot and
heralds went before him forcing people to Bow the knee or worship him.

Pharaoh changed Joseph's name to Zaphnathpaaneah or "the preserver of the world." or

"the Revealer of Secrets."
He was given Asenath as a wife and her name meant that she was "the servant of
Neth or the Egyptian Minerva." Her father was Poti-pherah which means "devoted to Ra, or the Sun" and he was a priest of On or Heliopolis the religious capital of Egypt.

When Joseph was brought to Egypt he was sold to Potiphar (the gift of Re) or the Egyptian sun god of On (or Greek Heliopolis) which meant

"The City of the Sun." Potiphera was the priest of On and he gave his daughter, Asenath, as a wife to Joseph (Gen. 41:45). Jeremiah will call the place Beth-Shemesh or "House of the Sun" (Jer. 43:13).

An obelisk (collumn) still stands to celebrate "the jubilee of Pharaoh" and it marked the entrance to the temple. It was here that Philo studied for thirteen years and described the musical worship of later Jews.

It is significant that Joseph planted a cup in the grain intended for his father in Canaan. Later, he had his soldiers overtake them in order to force his younger brother to return. This was a divining cup because the servant asked--

"Isn't this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.'" -- Gen 44:5

In 44:15 Joseph admitted that he could "find out things by divining." The method which he undoubtedly learned in Egypt is described by Maclear--

"Divining out of cups was practiced in Egypt. The soothsayer drew his auguries either from the rays of light which played upon the water in the cup, or threw in pieces of gold and silver with jewels, and then pretended to see signs of future events from the figures which appeared on the surface, after an incantation had been pronounced." (Maclear, p. 67). (I think in All the Trades of the Bible)

However, the record is clear that Joseph received his information directly from God in the beginning.

His half-Egyptian sons, Ephraim and Manassesh would later be charged with the sins of Israel and the "mixed multitude" who troubled Israel as they went into Canaan may have been their friends.

This should not be troubling because we noted above that the Israelites did not worship God during their stay in Egypt. His rescue of them from slavery was in the face of His wish to allow them to destroy themselves for their idolatry. However, He had prophesied that they would be rescued and He followed through to vindicate His own Name and not because they deserved it.

Sending for god in Egypt

When Israel worshiped Apis while God was giving them the written Book of the Covenant, Moses later ridiculed them by saying that God's righteousness is "not beyond the sea" so that someone has to ask: "Who will cross the sea and get it and proclaim it?" Using the same warning, Paul to the Romans said that Jesus had descended to give the Word and they should not repeat the pagan rituals of "ascending" and "descending." Both are illustrated by Egyptian idolatry which ignored God and sought meaning by magical rituals.

The Babylonian church-state religion worshipped Tammuz and most of the nations surrounding the "Very Green" or Mediterranean sea held that their god had been sent to sheol or sent on a voyage on the Sea and the women lamented for him as a magical act to bring him back. The ritual drama was a play which was an attempt to make contact with the dead god.

In Egypt Plutarch says that "during a banquet Osiris was invited by his enemy Seth to a party game" where he was to lie down in a rich chest as a party demonstration. However, Seth locked him in and cast him into the river. He was carried down the Nile to the Mediteranean Sea and was lost. However--

"there is a Greek Magical Papyrus in London: 'I shall shout the name of him who stayed three days and three nights in the river--of him who was drowned, carred by the river current, flung into the sea, and swallowed up by the waves of the sea and the clouds of the air'." ( de Vaux, Roland, The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Doubleday, p. 218, note 43)

These "dead" gods were never resurrected even though the entire worship was composed of "children playing musical games" to force people to sing, laugh or lament. In contrast to this, Jesus died and after three days was self-resurrected: "I have the power to lay my life down and the power to take it up."

In other models Osiris' body was "broken" or cut into may pieces and these relics were worshipped. In contrast to this, the body of Jesus was not separated or broken.

In Egypt, the Israelites might know of Isis and Nephthys mourning for Osiris who will return on a boat using oars made by Hathor, the Lady of Byblos. Others held that the Syrian sea was the "Sea of Osiris." The evidence shows that there was a connection between Egyptian and Syrian religion.

Later when Isaiah condemned Tyre as a Satan-type or a musical prostitute, he compared them to a tall ship because of her commercial dominance of the time. In order to "wind up" many of the gods so that they could continue to do their work, the worshippers reenacted these commercial trips in the belief that the act was magic--If the "god" was successful in his real life then he can be recalled to exert a magical effect. Israel knew this from their old play in Egypt-

"In the course of the feasts of Osiris it was usual to mime the 'deed' of the god.

To this end his adventures by sea were re-enacted since a part of the spectacle,
of the 'mysteries' one might say, was acted out
on water.

At Sais, according to Herodotus, the action took place upon a lake, where no doubt people took part in the search for the coffin or the remains of Osiris cast into the river by Seth and his accomplices." (de Vaux, p. 220)

This false worship was adopted by by the Greeks and in the second century, Lucian, in De syria dea 6 wrote:

"I saw in Byblos a great temple of Aphrodite of Byblos, in which they perform ceremonies in memory of Adonis, and I was told about the ceremonies. They say that the story of Adonis and the boar actually took place in their country, and in memory of this unhappy incident, they beat their breasts each year and wail and perform certain rites, and hold a great funeral ceremony throughout the whole land. When they have given their breasts a good beating and done enough weeping,

they first bring presents to Adonis as though to a dead man; but then, the morning after, they say that he is alive and up in the air.

Then they shave their heads as the Egyptians do at the death of Apis. As for the women, all those who do not wish to be shaved pay the following forfeit: for one day, they must put their beauty on sale, but the market is open only to strangers, and the price is used for a sacrifice to Aphrodite." (de Vaux, p. 224-225)

The worship of Tammuz continued--and may continue-- for hundreds of years but it was not until about the fifth century that trying to merge paganism and Christianity that the traditions were changed and these gods were actually resurrected.

Gaza will shave her head in mourning; Ashkelon will be silenced. O remnant on the plain, how long will you cut yourselves? Jer 47:5 (NIV)

"'Ah, sword of the LORD,' {you cry}, 'how long till you rest? Return to your scabbard; cease and be still.' Jer 47:6 (NIV)

Origin (185-154) said that "men weep when they sow the seeds, but the seeds grow, and by their growth, give joy." St Jerome (A.D. 340-420) shows that the women weep and sing for Tammuz or Adonis. Because we know that Tammuz was lamented with musical instruments these references show that throughout church history such worship was common.

Marrying and giving in marriage

"There is certainly a day of rejoicing but it comes right at the beginning of the solemnities and celebrates the union of Cypris and Adonis. Moreover this text is the only reference we have to this nuptial feast. Even so on the day after this feast the women came out bare-breasted, hair awry, with their girdles unloosed so that their garments caught their heels, to sing the lament and to carry the image of Adonis to the sea. There the rites came to an end, and the fragment of text ends with a 'farewell until next year.'" (de Vaux, p. 232).

However, like Ishtar's decent through the gates of hell to find Tammuz, the magic never worked--

"it is the custom at Alexandria during the rites of Adonis to adorn an image of Adonis and carry it to the sea with all its ornaments. There is however an awareness that Adonis must return from Acheron, though this return will only take place a year later." (de Vaux, p. 233).

However, like modern "prophets," they simply said: "better luck next year." Therefore, by "rolling forward" the return of their god those who paid the bills were happy.

Wen Amon

Isaiah compares Tyre to a "harp playing prostitute" because she used music, purple dye, ship building, iron working and other arts to attract customers and strip them of their money. Solomon accepted materials and temple designers from Tyre and in exchange had to sell whole cities into Tyrian bondage. There is an ancient story of an Egyptian who helps explain how they ignored righteousness and justice.

About a hundred years before Wen Amon, the Egyptians had expelled the Sea People from Egypt and now Egypt was in trouble. The Sea people had settled in Phoenicia. The Wen Amon event occurs within a few years of Saul. Within another hundred years Shishak would invade Palestine and remove the wealth from the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 14:25-26) and return it to the temple in Egypt.

Wen Amon was sent to Byblos to buy wood for the sacred boat of Amon. He "carried along" a portable idol of Amon-of-the road. He landed in Dor and had his money stolen by a member of the crew. Wen Amon blamed the local government and therefore stole some money from a local ship when he arrived in Byblos.

The ruler refused to see Wen Amon for twenty-nine days and finally one of Zakar-Baals had a frenzy of "prophesying" and demanded that they 'listen" to the idol and Wen Amon.

Not only did they try to deceive Wen Amon with music but Wen Amon's idol got some help from a local charismatic prophet who was like the charismatic prophets in Canaan who "prophesied" ecstatically or in the sense of "singing with instrumental music."

"Lastly, the way one of the noble youths became frenzied and prophesied, is quite parallel to the way in which Saul 'stripped off his clothes and prophesied... and lay down naked all that day and all that night' (1 Sam. 19:24). The heed which Zakar-Baal gave to this youth shows that at Gebal, as in Israel, such ecstatic or frenzied utterances were thought to be of divine origin. Later in Israel this sort of prophecy became a kind of profession, or trade. The members of these prophetic guilds were called "sons of the prophets.' The great literaty prophets of Israel had nothing to do with them. Amos is careful to say that he is not a 'son of a prophet' (Amos 7:14)." (Barton, George A., Archaeology and the Bible, p. 453, American Sunday-school Union).

After a token shipment of wood and the return of money they began to listen to Wen Amon.

He paid money in exchange for the promise that cedar timbers would be loaded on a boat. However, he found the people of the region very treacherous. His ships were loaded but the harbormaster would not permit him to sail for Egypt and planned to arrest him. Wen Amon began to weep and the Letter-Scribe of the prince asked about his problems.

When the Scribe reported back, the prince could have corrected the problem but he knew that he could soothe the tears without having to give up the cedar which Wen Amon had already purchased. Therefore, the report says that--

"He went and told it to the prince. The prince began to weep at the evil words which they spoke to him. He sent out his letter-scribe to me and brought me two jars of wine and a ram. He sent to me, Tento, an Egyptian singer (feminine), who was with him, saying: 'Sing for him; let not his heart feel apprehension.' He sent to me, saying: 'Eat, drink, and let not they heart feel apprehension. Thou shalt hear all that I have to say unto thee in the morning." (Barton, George A., Archaeology and the Bible, p. 452)

This repeats the common model: "Let us sing and eat" so that we feel comfortable. Never, mind, we will speak the truth some other day!

This was the model of the practices of Tyre which used the "song of the prostitute" defined as singing with the harp to get money from others. In the morning, men come to the prince and demand that he arrest Wen Amon and not permit him to leave with his own property. The prince responded: "I cannot arrest the messenger of Amon in my land. Let me send him away, and ye shall pursue him, to arrest him."

The phrase "eat, drink, and be merry" was part of a religious ritual common throughout the region--

"The traditional founder of Tarsus was Sardanapalus, who was worshipped, along with Semiramis, with licentious rites which resembled those of the Feast of Tabernacles. Paul had probably witnessed this feastival, and had seen, at the neighboring town of Anchiale, the statue of Sardanapalus, represented as snapping his fingers, and with the inscription upon the pedestal, 'Eat, drink, enjoy thyself. The rest is nothing." (Vincent, New Testament Word Studies, p. 278)

The phrase, like many examples of music, show disrespect for the will of God--

And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." Luke 12:19

Wen Amon was allowed to leave and landed on Cyprus where the people came forth to slay him. He pleaded for his life but the story ends and perhaps with it poor Wenamon.

The feminine Egyptian music was to sooth Wen Amon so that he would lose his concern about his property while the prince could delay any truth-telling until later. This was identical to Laban who also wanted to steal Jacob's property during a feast with music but Jacob choose to obey God's command and not stay around for the going-away party with music.

We know something of the Egyptian music through Ffeiffer who says that: "The harp was the favorite instrument of the Egyptians. In the temple of Hatshepsut at Karnak there is a relief of a blind harper." During the Twelfth Dynasty society existed much as it did in Israel when Amos warned the people about their false worship and disregard for the social ill. For instance, in Egypt The Song of the Harper says--

"Increase still more the good things which you possess, and stop worrying.

Do what you feel inclined to do and will give you pleasure.
Enjoy yourself while you are here, and don't worry until the end comes. Enjoy each day to the fullest.

For be sure no one can take what he possesses with him, and no one who has passed can return." (Fairservis, p. 118)

This even occurred in the region of Tyre and it explains the sentiment of the leaders who were commercial-religious prostitutes. In order to lull merchants into a bad deal and Israel into slavery she used music. Her song went--

"Take up a harp, walk through the city, O prostitute forgotten; play the harp well, sing many a song, so that you will be remembered." Isa 23:16

Paul quotes this common theme when he showed that if the dead are not raised then he might as well live like the pagans. In First Corinthians twelve he warned against the charismatic practice of the pagans, in chapter thirteen he compared this ecstatic speech to instrumental music as "noise" and "clang" and urges faithfulness because of the resurrection. However, if there is no resurrection then he might as well sing "the song of the Harper"--

"If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." 1 Cor 15:32

In discussing how the believer should conduct themselves "Out of Church" Clement wrote that those who imitated Paul in hymning immortality could just as easily leave the Word in Church and engage in the music of idolatry--

"After having paid reverence to the discourse about God, they leave within [at church] what ehy have heard. And outside they foolishly amuse themselves with impious playing, and amatory quavering (feminine vibrato), occupied with flute-playing, and dancing, and intoxication, and all kinds of trash. They who sing thus, and sing in response, are those who before hymned immortality, -- found at last wicked and wickedly singing this most pernicious palinode, 'Let us eat and drink, for tommorrow we die.' But not tommorrow in truth, but already, are these dead to God; buring their dead, that is, sinking themselves down to death. The appostle firmly assails them." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, p. 290).

Having given no command, example or inference that He wanted or needed music to "appease" Him or give him pleasure "today," perhaps the secular records have been preserved to show us how and why pagans "forgot today" through the use of music and other sense stimulants.

The Egyptian Worship Team--The Arousers

We noted that in Babylon the musicians as "clergy" were also members of the civil government. That is, Babylon worship always connected the "business world" to the "religious world" so that one has to be a member of the ruling class to be able to perform clergy roles. This was repeated in every false system of worship including Egypt.

Throughout Israel's experience in Canaan we will see men trying to arouse or awaken their gods. The arouser was a member of the clergy in Babylon, Canaan, Rome and in Egypt. He was the god's "alarm clock" or "time clock" to get him to work on time. In fact, many of the psalms treat God as the Canaanites treated Baal. However, they knew of this practice before they left Egypt.

We noted earlier that the people of Egypt had a detailed ceremony by which they aroused or awakened their god every morning. This is ridiculed later by Arnobius as a way to condemn the musical worship of the Greeks--

"The priest stands on the threshold (of the temple) and awakens the god calling to him in the Egyptian language." This is how Arnobius mocks the ritual of Isis:

'Why these revels you sing each morning to awaken him, accompanying your songs on the flute?
Do the gods go to sleep, then, that they need to be awakened?'

At Delphi the Thyads went to waken the young Dionysus, just as at Rhodes Bacchus woke gently from his sleep to the sound of the hydraulic organ." (de Vaux, p. 246).

Later, Elijah will remind us that Israel was plagued by these same worshippers who were ridiculed by asking if they had to arouse their god--or perhaps he was just off on a business trip.

The editors of the Ante-Nicene Fathers note that the priests of Isis (and others) had to be the "alarm clock" to force their goddess to get out of bed and get on the job--

"At daybreak on opening, and at night on closing the temple, the priests of Isis sang hymns in praise of the goddess; and to these Aronbius refers sarcastically as though they had been calls to awake, and lullabies to sing her asleep." (Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 531 editor's note).

Well, their gods got hungry, thirsty, and tired and they therefore had trouble (like all of us) getting to sleep after such a tiring day. The priests, therefore, had to "sooth the savage beast" and get her some sleep. The result was that the common people who could never aspire to being "clergy" were so impressesed that they continued to support the civil-religious leaders defend their "civic pride" with the biggest temples ever seen on earth.

The Plagues

All of the plagues was a slap in the face of every god the Egyptians worshipped. For instance of the fifth plauge it is said that:

"A grievous Murrain broke out among the horses, the asses, the camels, the oxen, the sheep of the Egyptians, so that all the cattle of Egypt, including not only the useful beasts, but probably 'the sacred goat of Mendes, the ram of Ammon, the calf of Heliopolis, the bull Apis,' died, while in the land of Goshen." (Maclear, p. 91).

When their animals died at the hands of a foreign people the Egyptian worshippers could no longer believe that all of that money spent on temples, priests and musicians had appeased their own "gods" enough to continue the natural processes. This and the passage of the Red Sea branded the entire region with the knowledge that the True God is not a bull or a dead hero. He is the God who works in human history and not just one of their gods whom they controlled by magic which never worked.

Musical Worship In Egypt Part One

Musical Worship Index


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