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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Musician, Chief

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(מְנִצֵּח, menatstse'ach, i.e., the most conspicuous, i.q. leader), an officer indicated in the titles of many (53) of the Psalms and in Habakkuk 3:10, and to be interpreted, according to Kimehi, Rashi, Aben-Ezra, and many other authorities, the precentor of the Levitical choir or orchestra in the Temple. In one late instance the name of this officer seems to be indicated (1 Chronicles 15:21); but the first who held it appears to have been Jeduthun, in connection with his three brothers (1 Chronicles 16:41, etc.); and the office seems to have been hereditary in the family (1 Chronicles 16:1; 1 Chronicles 16:3), or else the name Jeduthun became a patronymic title for the incumbents afterwards (2 Chronicles 35:15). In this capacity Jeduthun's "office was generally to preside over the music of the Temple service, consisting of the nebel, or nablium, the kinnor, or harp, and the cymbals. together with the human voice (the trumpets being confined to the priests). But his peculiar part, as well as that of his two colleagues. Heman and Asaph, was 'to sound with cymbals of brass,' while the others played on the nablium and the harp. This appointment to the office was by election of the chiefs of the Levites (שָׂרַים ) at David's command, each of the three divisions probably choosing one. The first occasion of Jeduthun's ministering was when David brought up the ark to Jerusalem. He then took his place in the procession, and played on the cymbals. But when the division of the Levitical services took place, owing to the tabernacle being at Gibeon and the ark at Jerusalem, while Asaph and his brethren were appointed to minister before the ark, it fell to Jeduthun and Heman to be located with Zadok the priest, to give thanks 'before the tabernacle of the Lord in the highplace that was at Gibeon,' still by playing the cymbals in accompaniment to the other musical instruments (comp. Psalms 150:5). In the account of Josiah's Passover in 2 Chronicles 35 reference is made to the singing as conducted in accordance with the arrangements made by David, and by persons representing Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king's seer (חֹזְה הִמֶּלֶךְ ). (See HEMAN).

Perhaps the phrase rather means the king's adviser in matters connected with the musical service. The triple division of the Levitical musicians seems to have lasted as long as the Temple, and each appears to have been called after its respective leader. At the dedication of Solomon's Temple, 'the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun,' performed their proper part. In the reign of Hezekiah, again, we find the sons of Asaph, the sons of Heman, and the sons of Jeduthun, taking their part in purifying the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:13-14); they are mentioned in Josiah's reign, and so late as in Nehemiah's time we still find descendants of Jeduthun employed about the singing (Nehemiah 11:17)." (See JEDUTHUN).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Musician, Chief'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/m/musician-chief.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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