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&c. came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation : And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehosaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, be not afraid nor dismayed, by reason of this great mnltitude; for the battle is not your's, but God's. And when he (Jehosaphat) had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD, for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Chron. xx. 14 -21. He and his people, after the affair was actually accomplished, assembled together in or near the place where their enemies were slaugtered, to praise the LORD, and afterwards went in solemn procession to Jerusalem, with joy it is said, with psalteries, and harps, and trumpets unto the house of the LORD, ver. 26, 27, 28. And as no account is given of any new formulary of thanksgiving, probably the same was made use of as in their first outset : Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever.
These sounds of joy and gladness might as well be heard in the other cities of Judea, as in Jerusalem, as well as those accompanying nuptial solemnities. Jehosaphat seems to have passed through the cities of his country with music and with hymns to Jerusalem, So the women went out from their several cities to meet king Saul, when he returned from the slaughter of Goliath, with singing and dancing, with tabrets, with joy, and instruments of music, I Sam. xviii. 6. But could the third sort, relating to the bringing the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord, be heard in the cities of Judah, as well as in the streets of Jerusalem!
9 The temple: which God honoured, as the place where he was found to be a present help in time of trouble, and which holy place was remarkable for its beauty.
Such a supposition, I would answer, is not necessary. It was sufficient if the sounds of joy in general were heard from time to time through the country, without supposing that every species of gladness should appear in every town.
However it is not at all improbable, that the music and the hymns attending the bringing the sacrifice of praise to the Temple were heard in other cities, as well as in the streets of Jerusalem, and that the gladness of the heart mentioned by Isaiah, when people went with a pipe, to go into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty one of Israel,' might be heard in the town from whence they set out, and in the cities through which they passed, as well as when they entered the holy city..
I do not remember that Lightfoot has given any account of the music attending them, at any other time when they carried their oblations to the Temple, but when they passed along the streets of Jerusalem : but when we consider how common the use of music is now in the East, and what in particular is practised there . See rer. 10. of Jer. xxxiii. Chap. xxxii. 29.
in their sacred journies, I should suppose music and hymns attended their setting out with oblations to the house of God, and that the like sounds of joy and gladness attended them as they passed through their towns, more especially if it was the sacrifice of some more eminent personage, or of some considerable body of people.
So Pitts tells us, that into whatsoever town of Barbary the caravan for Mecca enters, the leader is received with a great deal of joy, because he his going about so religious a work. He goes attended with flags; kettle-drums, and · loud acclamations, do, as it were rend the skies."
Music and Singing used in honouring Superiors.
The music of great men in civil life, has been sometimes directed to persons of a sacred character, as an expression of respect, in the East : perhaps the playing of the minstrel before the Prophet Elisha is to be understood, in part, at least, in something of the same manner.
When Dr. Richard Chandler was at Athens, the Archbishop of that city was upon ill terms with its Vaiwode, and the Greeks in general siding with the Vaiwode, the Archbishop was
obliged to withdraw for a time ; but some time after, when Chandler and his fellow-travellers were at Corinth, they were informed that the Archbishop was returned to Athens; that the Bey or Vaiwode had received him kindly, and ordered his musicians to attend him at his palace; and that a complete revolution had happened in his favour.“
Here we see a civil magistrate, who had been displeased with a great ecclesiastic, sent his mucicians to play at his archiepiscopal palace, in honour of him to whom this magistrate was now reconciled. Elisha might require that a like honour should be done to him, and through him to the God whom he served, who had been sadly neglected and affronted in former times by the king of Israel. The propriety of it will appear in a still stronger light, if we should suppose, that Elisha commanded the minstrel to sing, along with his music, a hymn to Jehovah, setting forth his being a God that gave rain, that preserved such as were ready to perish, the giver of victory, and whose power was neither limited to his Temple, nor to the Jewish country sacred to him, but equally operative in every place.
The coming of the spirit of prophecy upon Elisha, enabling him to declare a speedy copious fall of rain in that neighbourhood, and a complete victory over their enemies, immediately upon the submissive compliance of this idolatrous prince with the requisition of the
u Travels in Greece, p. 244.
Prophet, and such a hymn in praise of the God of Israel, seems to me full as natural an interpretation, as the supposing he desired the minstrel to come in order to play some soft composing tune, to calm his ruffled spirits, and to qualify him for the reception of the influences of the spirit of prophecy.
Was a warm, and pungent zeal against the idolatries of Jehoram à disqualifying disposition of soul ? * and if it were, was mere music the happiest mode of inviting the divine influences ? Yet after this manner, I think, it has been commonly explained.
Singing was, and is so frequently joined with the sound of musical instruments in the East, that I apprehend no one will think it strange, that I suppose the minstrel sung as well as played in the presence of Elisha :' and when it is recollected that their songs are very frequently extemporaneous, it is natural to supé pose the Prophet required something to be sung, suitable both to his character and to the occasion.
* The anger of Elisha, occasioned by the profane mockery of some unhappy youths, did not prevent his pro. phetically declaring the vengeance of God upon then, which effectually took place, 2 Kings ji. 23, 24.
See Bishop Patrick on the place.
1 Sam. xxiii. 6. 7. Is. exiji, 15, 16. Ps. xcviij. 5, &c. Shaw tome 1, part 3, § 4.