Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
OFFICE OF THE
1. David and the captains of the host--that is, the princes
(1Ch 23:2; 24:6).
It is probable that the king was attended on the occasion of arranging
the singers by the same parties that are mentioned as having assisted
him in regulating the order of the priests and Levites.
2. according to the order of the king--Hebrew, "by the hands of
the king," that is, "according to the king's order," under the personal
superintendence of Asaph and his colleagues.
which prophesied--that is, in this connection, played with
instruments. This metaphorical application of the term "prophecy" most
probably originated in the practice of the prophets, who endeavored to
rouse their prophetic spirit by the animating influence of music
It is said that Asaph did this "according to David's order," because by
royal appointment he officiated in the tabernacle on Zion
while other leaders of the sacred music were stationed at Gibeon.
5. Heman the king's seer--The title of "seer" or "prophet of David"
is also given to Gad
and to Jeduthun
(2Ch 29:14, 15),
in the words (Margin, "matters") of God.
to lift up the horn--that is, to blow loudly in the worship of God;
or perhaps it means nothing more than that he presided over the wind
instruments, as Jeduthun over the harp. Heman had been appointed at
first to serve at Gibeon
But his destination seems to have been changed at a subsequent period.
God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters--The daughters
are mentioned, solely because from their musical taste and talents they
formed part of the choir
6, 7. All these were under the hands of their father--Asaph had four
sons, Jeduthun six, and Heman fourteen, equal to twenty-four; making
the musicians with their brethren the singers, an amount of two hundred
eighty-eight. For, like the priests and Levites, they were divided into
twenty-four courses of twelve men each, equal to two hundred
eighty-eight, who served a week in rotation; and these, half of whom
officiated every week with a proportionate number of assistants, were
skilful and experienced musicians, capable of leading and instructing
the general musical corps, which comprised no less than four thousand
8. they cast lots, ward against ward--"Ward" is an old English word
for "division" or "company." The lot was cast to determine the
precedence of the classes or divisions over which the musical leaders
presided; and, in order to secure an impartial arrangement of their
order, the master and his assistants, the teacher and his scholars, in
each class or company took part in this solemn casting of lots. In the
first catalogue given in this chapter the courses are classed according
to their employment as musicians. In the second, they are arranged in
the order of their service.