Why do the books of Chronicles regard the performance of choral music as an integral part of the sacrificial ritual at the temple, despite the lack of sanction for it in the Pentateuch? And why do they stress that it must be synchronized with the presentation of the regular public burnt offering at the temple? These and other questions are answered in this challenging new volume. After an introductory chapter defining the scope of the study as an analysis of the ritual function and theological significance of sacred song, the author examines the divine institution and royal establishment of the Levitical choir in Jerusalem.
This is followed by an examination of the components of the Lord's song in terms of its contents, location, times, instruments and performers. A chapter on the function of sacred song as determined by its place within the sacrificial ritual follows, and the fifth chapter deals with its theological significance as the proclamation of the Lord's presence with his people.
“First I shall investigate the location and function of sacred song within the sacrificial ritual. Secondly, I shall investigate the Chronicler’s understanding of its theological significance as shown by its interpretation in the light of the priestly ritual system as codified in the Pentateuch. The purpose of this investigation is to discover why the Chronicler insists that the performance of sacred song was synchronized with the presentation of the regular public burnt offering as prescribed in the law of Moses.” (Page 14)
“The people of Israel could not worship the Lord as they pleased but only with the rituals ordained by him. That is the first and perhaps most fixed principle of worship in Chronicles.” (Page 30)
“This authorization of sacred song through two prophets gave the decree added significance and weight; it was, in fact, the only aspect of the ritual at the temple which had been ordained through the prophets. They not only authorized choral music but also prescribed the location of the musicians in the temple, the instruments for it, and its performance by the Levites during the presentation of the burnt offering.” (Page 33)
“The Levites were to ‘minister’ regularly to the Lord before the ark of the covenant (1 Chron. 16:4, 37) as well as at the tabernacle in Gibeon (1 Chron. 6:32). This was accomplished by ‘proclaiming’, ‘thanking’ and ‘praising’ him (1 Chron. 16:4; cf. 2 Chron. 8:14; 31:2). Their ministry to the Lord was therefore the ministry of song (1 Chron. 6:32).” (Page 34)
“The choral rite was thus not offered for the Lord’s benefit but for the benefit of the congregation. It was the means by which the Lord’s people were granted an audience with their heavenly King.” (Page 66)