Music of Biblical Times

DID YOU KNOW? In the bible book of Acts 16, Paul and Silas sang to God in prison. A sudden earthquake shook the prison violently. The doors flew open and they were freed.


We're still in the ancient world but things are slowly progressing. Musicians were now learning instead of just making noise. Lots of musical discovery took place during these times. The best was surely yet to come. Practice practice practice.

Superstition or Supernatural?

Was there music in Biblical days? While the music of ancients was mostly vocal and religious, there are references to performers as well as dancers throughout bible scripture; but what did it sound like? It sounded just like the instruments and how the players felt at the time. Music was alive the world over in everything from the ancient snake charmers pipes in India to the trumpets and drummers of the ancient orient. In the middle east there were pan flutes, drums, and singers. The majority of people were likely preoccupied with the struggle of a hard daily life. Music and musical performers were a rare happenstance and amazement among the common peoples. Royalty on the other hand, kept performers on hand, usually slaves themselves, for mood swings or visiting dignitaries.

Was there organized music during biblical times? Yes, a beginning to some extent but I doubt it was anything close to modern Gospel. Most music of ancient times came through the church and was filled with singers. Among the common folk, music was no more than a few getting together and each doing his own thing and every once in a while, actually sounding good enough together to entertain someone else. Most musicians of ancient times were soloists I would think, occasionally accompanied.

Does music possess any supernatural powers? Sure. I can make you laugh, cry, jump and dance with mine and once in a while create a cloud or even bring on the rain. We like to call it love but I suspect there is much more to it. We're humans. We can't help ourselves. There were kings and courts to be entertained and slaves too singing for the lack of freedom or self expression. It started at birth and ended with death. Mothers made up songs for their children. Fathers cried out in sorrows.

We've been singing in churches, synagogues, and temples since the beginning of religion. The musical styles of biblical days was actually Ancient music. It was there but its sound has mostly faded into a mystery for modern man. The people of biblical times drank wine, danced and sang. Music was indeed a happy part of daily life for many during biblical days. King David, a renowned multi-instrumental musician of biblical times, created many songs of praise and worship as well as songs of suffering and sorrow whose lyrics are written in the bible. In fact, not only does the bible contain a book composed of one long song called 'The Song of Solomon,' which King Solomon dedicated to his wife, it also carries an entire book of Psalms or 'songs of praise.' I'll take that as proof. For a more detailed outline of biblical and religious music see the article on Hymns.   Right: "King David plays the harp" (courtesy Wikipedia)