In Daniel chapter 3 verse 5, making reference to “horn, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music”. I would assume that the horn, harp, lyre, and psaltery were the instruments used in worship to God and it was King Nebuchadnezzer’s agenda to mix together the instruments used in worship to God and the secular, as a means to unite the people by deception to worship the golden image. What is your take on this phrase in quotations above?
Daniel 3:4-6 says, “Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the CORNET, FLUTE, HARP, SACKBUT, PSALTERY, DULCIMER, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
The CORNET, at least today, is just a shortened version of the trumpet. God’s people used the trumpet and the cornet. I Chronicles 15:28 says, “Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the CORNET, and with TRUMPETS, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.” Psalm 98:6 says, “With TRUMPETS and sound of CORNET make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.”
In fact, God Himself has ordained that instrument to be used on more than one important occasion. God used it at the time when the Ten Commandments were to be given. Exodus 19:11-19 says, “And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: WHEN THE TRUMPET SOUNDETH long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of THE TRUMPET exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of THE TRUMPET sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.”
The Lord has also ordained that the trumpet be used at another very important occasion — the Rapture of the Church. I Thessalonians 4:16,17 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:51,52 says, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
The next instrument mentioned is the FLUTE. This instrument in mentioned in the Bible four times — all in Daniel chapter 3. I do not personally remember hearing the flute used in playing sensual music, but that does not mean that it has not been used that way. We must remember that a piano and organ are the mainstay instruments used in the church today, but they have also been used for years in dance halls, bars, etc. A piano can be used to play spiritual songs, or it can be played in such a way to make people want to get up and dance. This is NOT to say that music is neutral. Music is NOT neutral. When you arrange notes in a certain way, it sends a certain message. So it is with instruments. As soon as a person begins to play an instrument, it sends a certain message to the hearers. That depends upon what notes are being played, and how they are being played. Two people can play “Amazing Grace.” One person’s playing can lift your heart to God, and the other person’s playing can be Jazz or Blues, and make you feel accordingly.
The next instrument mentioned is the HARP. The harp is a stringed instrument, and probably most associated with David. I Samuel 16:13-23 says, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is A CUNNING PLAYER ON AN HARP: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that DAVID TOOK AN HARP, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
The the harp is but another example of how instruments can be used for the glory of God — or for the world. The first mention of the word harp in the Bible is in context with a worldly family — not a godly one. Genesis 4:19-22 says, “And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was THE FATHER OF ALL SUCH AS HANDLE THE HARP AND ORGAN. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.” In fact, this is the first mention of brass instruments, too. None of these instruments had what we would consider a good or spiritual beginning.
The next instrument mentioned is the SACKBUT. It is also only mentioned four times in the Bible — all in Daniel chapter 3. The dictionary defines that (although in a different time period) as, “the medieval trombone.” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). I am not going to get into a discussion about what these instruments actually were, because I know that different books will vary as to what they think they were. Nonetheless, the trombone’s sound is like all brass instruments, with the sound being lower than that of a trumpet. If the Lord approves of the sound of the trumpet, then it would be hard to make a case against the trombone.
The next instrument is the PSALTERY. It is defined as “an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the zither” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). The zither is defined as “a musical instrument having 30 to 40 strings over a shallow horizontal soundboard, and played with plectrum and fingers” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). The first mention of a psaltery in the Bible is in I Samuel 10:5,6, “After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a PSALTERY, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” You will notice there that it is a company of prophets (God’s prophets) that have these musical instruments with them. Psalm 33:2,3 says, “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” If the 10 strings was in reference to the psaltery, then we know that the psaltery has less strings than does a zither, which the dictionary said has 30 to 40 strings. Psalm 144:9 echoes that same thing, “I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.”
The next instrument mentioned is the DULCIMER. This is defined as “a wire-stringed instrument of trapezoidal shape played with light hammers held in the hands” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). This instrument is only mentioned three times in the Bible, and all in Daniel chapter 3. This instrument is getting more popular today, and sounds somewhat like a harp.
Once again, Daniel 3:5 says, “That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, AND ALL KINDS OF MUSIC, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up.” The phrase “all kinds of music” could be taken two different ways. It could mean that even more instruments were used, which were not mentioned in the list. Or it could refer to the music that those mentioned instruments were playing.
I cannot really comment on the nature of the other instruments used (if there were more), because it does not give the names of them. As to the type of music being played, I cannot say if it was a mixture of religious and worldly music, but it may very well have been. That is normally Satan’s way, to mix a little truth with error, and so thereby deceive the people. When it says, “ALL KINDS OF MUSIC,” it sounds like the world’s recipe — a little of everything.
There is one “specific” interpretation of a passage of Scripture, but many “applications.” We can certainly use this passage and “apply it” to the mass confusion today in music, and how it is leading people astray.