The service at [the burial of] the dead requires the presence of ten men; the service at a circumcision requires the presence of ten men; the blessing of the Lord requires the presence of ten men; Chalishah requires the presence of ten men; the marriage service requires the presence of ten men, for it is said And he took ten men of the elders of the city Ruth The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I desire from Israel not music of the harp but the solemn utterance of their mouth, as is said For Me a solemn sound, more than a harp Ps.
They belonged to the tabernacle and the Temple, especially the latter; but were never in the congregational assemblies of God's people. The levitical guilds were now gone and instrumental music was forbidden in the synagogue, leaving vocal music to evolve in a new way. Thus the writers of the NT and the founders of the new Christian movement very likely adopted what they knew of synagogue music to their own worship. The Jews had developed an alternative form of worship independent of the Temple and animal sacrifice. It was the rational worship of prayer and Scripture instruction practiced in the synagogue.
The synagogue had arisen as an independent institution in pre-Christian times. Its organization and procedures were well developed by the first century. Before the destruction of the Temple the synagogue functioned as a complementary institution; after its destruction the synagogue continued as the permanent focus of Jewish religious life.
The temple emphasized ritual, and it did have instrumental music. Our Lord Jesus attended and participated in the synagogue Luke It did not use instrumental music. Prayers as well as the Psalms were performed responsively bTaanith 16b. Rabbinic literature preserves several accounts of controversy among Jewish teachers whether the essential part of Temple music was instrumental or vocal.
Simeon b. Jose said the essential feature of the music was the instrument, but Rab Judah held that the principal music at the temple was vocal bTaanith 27a. For instance, it was ruled that one might tie the string of an instrument in the Temple but not outside the Temple on the Sabbath Erubin X; bErubin a. Hence it would seem that one consideration in the discussion of what was essential in temple music was to justify the place of instruments in the temple worship. Only if they were integral to the sacrifice could their use override the Sabbath law.
In the absence of sacrifice there was nothing to permit the instrument to override the Sabbath law. Therefore, synagogue music was vocal. I venture to suggest that the discussion over instrumental music among the Rabbis was to justify its overriding the Sabbath in temple practice; but since their own music in the synagogue was vocal, they wanted vocal music to have been central and so insisted that the essential music of the temple also had been vocal. The Rabbis gave definite expression to the view that vocal music was superior to instrumental. The latter passage also allegorizes the ten strings as the ten men required at religious services.
There were some efforts by the Rabbis to eliminate instrumental music from other phases of Jewish life. Abstention from instruments was to be observed in mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem.
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This abolition from entertainments, of course, was not uniformly maintained. These are later developments and discussions. They do coincide with the absence of any evidence for instrumental music in the early synagogue. There remains no evidence that instrumental music was used in the synagogue service; indeed this holds true until comparatively recent times. The real reason for this absence is probably that advanced by McKinnon, namely that the instrument was simply irrelevant to the type of worship developed in the synagogue.
It was a non-sacrificial worship and a rational service to which, as an extension either of prayer or of reading the Scriptures, had been added the chanting of the Psalms. Since a special vocal use of psallo is first and most clearly attested in Jewish religious literature, and since the Psalms were recited without instrumental accompaniment in the synagogue services, a reasonable hypothesis may be suggested for the change in the usage of the word. Christians derived their use of the word from the Jewish circles in which the church began, not from classical Greek usage.
Moreover, Christian worship in many of its practices seems to have followed the worship of the synagogue.
A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church
Jehudah says: Whoever has not seen the basilica-synagogue of Alexandria … And the Levites with their harps and lyres and cymbals and all manner of musical instruments without number were there, saying, Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord. Some were saying, Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless ye the Lord.
When they parted they said to one another, The Lord bless thee out of Sion, and see thou the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life ; yea, thou shalt see thy children's children. The basilica style synagogue dates to the early first century AD before 38 AD and this is a departure from the triclinium style synagogues that date back to the very beginning in BC. Even though we have no excavated site top plans for any synagogue in Egypt, we do have many in both and outside Judea that are all triclinium style.
The very first synagogue was the great Basilica synagogue of Alexandria in BC. It is reasonably certain, considering the known widespread ban of instrumental music in synagogues throughout the world, that this was a later innovation. Why did this synagogue use musical instruments? Most important, notice that the instrumental music was associated directly with Levites from the Jerusalem temple.
This indicates a likely agreement that instruments were allowed in the Alexandria synagogue when those who officiated at the Jerusalem temple visited. Being the first, the biggest and most famous in the world, it was a classic target of unavoidable liberalization while other synagogues continued to be non-instrumental. The change to basilica may have ushered in the instrumental music, but this is speculative. Responsive worship and singing dates back to BC at Shechem with the blessings and curses at Mt.
Gerizim and Ebal: Deut Israel crossed the Jordan and defeated Jericho and Ai. Then they took the tabernacle tent to Shechem where the congregation was divided into two, one half on the slopes of Mt.
Gerizim and the other on Mt. Ebal with the Ark of the Covenant in the middle.
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Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel. Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.
Then the group of Levite priests would speak the blessings to those on Mt. Gerizim and they would repeat it back in responsive style and the curses to those on Mt.
It is interesting that each Levite priest must have had a written copy and because of the size and distance meters between the ark where the priests stood and the people, many priests speaking together would ensure all would hear. The leader Levite would speak the words to half the congregation, who would then respond to the other side who sat silently until the leader spoke words for them to say.
From what we know of Hebrew music and the structure of Hebrew poetry, we may conjecture the song to have been in unison and in responsive strains. The heavenly host had shouted for joy at the creation Job , and had ministered at the giving of the law Deut.
A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church
Owen, Luke , AD. Synagogue worship was responsive:. It is the same whether there are many or few present. Berakot , AD. Blessed is he who remembers what has been forgotten. Under what circumstances does this procedure apply? In the provinces.
But in the sanctuary, that is not how it was done. Might one suppose that there is only one form of praise after all the blessings? Blessed be the Redeemer of Israel. E—L, AD. They bring down before the ark an experienced elder, who has children, and whose cupboard [house] is empty, so that his heart should be wholly in the prayer: Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority: When they arise for reciting the Prayer, even if there is present an elder and sage, they do not bring him down before the ark, but a man who is fluent in his prayer. A—C, AD. Responsive poetry and singing in scripture:.
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion! May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable! We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord , our God. They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright.
Save, O Lord ; May the King answer us in the day we call. For your love is better than wine.
A Capella Music in the Public Worship of the Church by Everett Ferguson
The king has brought me into his chambers. Rightly do they love you. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.