Is Exodus 32:17-18 divine revelation about worship music?

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

In a recently concluded thread on SI that did not go very well, I raised the question of how does God wants Christians to profit concerning worship from these verses. One person in that thread commented that many of the people on SI do not believe that these verses are about worship music.

I would like to get objective evidence about how widespread the differing views about this question may be. For what it is worth, I believe that these verses are for sure divine revelation about worship music.
 

Yes, for sure
9% (2 votes)
Probably
5% (1 vote)
Maybe
0% (0 votes)
Not sure
0% (0 votes)
Probably not
9% (2 votes)
No
14% (3 votes)
Absolutely not
64% (14 votes)
Total votes: 22
2155 reads

There are 29 Comments

RajeshG's picture

I should have included verse 19 because it is the verse that mentions the dancing.

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

Ron Bean's picture

Be prepared.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Kevin Miller's picture

I said probably not, since it is certainly not the main point of the passage, and we don't have any information musically regarding what the actual sound of the music was. Can we guess that perhaps timbrals and trumpets were involved? I suppose those are valid guesses, but the Israelites had other instruments as well, so any other instrument would also be a valid guess. We just don't have the info.

Is it divine revelation that music was happening? Sure. But it is not revelation ABOUT that music, other than that it was singing that was hard to distinguish from a distance? No. But since it is revelation that music was happening, I added the "probably" to my "not."

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Be prepared.

This is strictly a poll. It is not a discussion. I am not asking anyone to comment. If people choose to comment, that is their choice, but this is a poll.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

Be prepared.

 

 

This is strictly a poll. It is not a discussion. I am not asking anyone to comment. If people choose to comment, that is their choice, but this is a poll.

I just explained my answer. You don't have to respond.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I said probably not, since it is certainly not the main point of the passage, and we don't have any information musically regarding what the actual sound of the music was. Can we guess that perhaps timbrals and trumpets were involved? I suppose those are valid guesses, but the Israelites had other instruments as well, so any other instrument would also be a valid guess. We just don't have the info.

Is it divine revelation that music was happening? Sure. But it is not revelation ABOUT that music, other than that it was singing that was hard to distinguish from a distance? No. But since it is revelation that music was happening, I added the "probably" to my "not."

 

I do not see a vote for "probably not" from anyone so far.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

Be prepared.

 

 

This is strictly a poll. It is not a discussion. I am not asking anyone to comment. If people choose to comment, that is their choice, but this is a poll.

 

I just explained my answer. You don't have to respond.

No problem, Kevin. I am glad to hear your thoughts. I am just not going to get involved in discussion unless the Lord directs me otherwise in specific cases. If people choose to make this into an un-Christlike thread, that will reflect poorly on their testimony. I am seeking objective information specifically about the prevalence of the differing views.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

I do not see a vote for "probably not" from anyone so far.

Thanks for letting me know. I checked the circle but forgot  to hit "vote."

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

I do not see a vote for "probably not" from anyone so far.

 

Thanks for letting me know. I checked the circle but forgot  to hit "vote."

You are welcome.

josh p's picture

I voted absolutely not. If you would have worded the question something like, “Can legitimate application regarding worship in the church be made from...” I would have said maybe. Of course the passage is not ABOUT worship music in the church. That would be anachronistic in the extreme since the church did not exist at that point (sorry covenantal guys!). I sympathize with the traditional music position and will even grant the point that the passage seems to imply that there is a sound of music that sounded like war but anything beyond that seems to me to be a strained interpretation.

RajeshG's picture

josh p wrote:

I voted absolutely not. If you would have worded the question something like, “Can legitimate application regarding worship in the church be made from...” I would have said maybe. Of course the passage is not ABOUT worship music in the church. That would be anachronistic in the extreme since the church did not exist at that point (sorry covenantal guys!). I sympathize with the traditional music position and will even grant the point that the passage seems to imply that there is a sound of music that sounded like war but anything beyond that seems to me to be a strained interpretation.

Hmm. The question does not ask whether it is about worship music in the church. It only asks whether the passage is about worship music. I am not sure that I can modify my description to make that clear.

RajeshG's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

I voted absolutely not. If you would have worded the question something like, “Can legitimate application regarding worship in the church be made from...” I would have said maybe. Of course the passage is not ABOUT worship music in the church. That would be anachronistic in the extreme since the church did not exist at that point (sorry covenantal guys!). I sympathize with the traditional music position and will even grant the point that the passage seems to imply that there is a sound of music that sounded like war but anything beyond that seems to me to be a strained interpretation.

 

 

Hmm. The question does not ask whether it is about worship music in the church. It only asks whether the passage is about worship music. I am not sure that I can modify my description to make that clear.

After rereading my post, I do not think that I need to make any changes anyway. It is clear that I only asked whether the passage is about worship music.

Bert Perry's picture

Even if the passage said something absolutely clear about musical styles--it really does not IMO--I am at a loss as to which genre would have the sounds of war.  Screams and moans of the dying, curses, shouts, thuds of weapons hitting shields and bodies....I'll be honest; I hate most CCM, but thanks be to God, it does not sound like close quarters combat!  Even thrash metal doesn't get anywhere near there; quite frankly, the closest I can think of coming to actual combat is the close of the 1812 Overture.   Yet somehow I don't see the FBFI and related groups coming out against Tchiakovsky, although arguably they ought to if they want to be consistent.  After all, even most heavy metal and rap bands have never incited a riot such as accompanied the debut of Rite of Spring.

Plus, you've got the exegetical/heremeneutical problem of using narrative (which is what this passage is) as if it were a didactic passage intended for teaching.  You've also got the question of whether the issue is actual sounds of war, or whether (as Moses' correction of Joshua would indicate) it was an error on Joshua's part.

Put gently, if we're going to use a likely error on Joshua's part in narrative to make a case about music, we're likely to make a whole bunch of other big errors in our doctrine.  It's simply bad exegesis and hermeneutics to try and shoehorn this meaning into this passage.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

josh p wrote:

 

I voted absolutely not. If you would have worded the question something like, “Can legitimate application regarding worship in the church be made from...” I would have said maybe. Of course the passage is not ABOUT worship music in the church. That would be anachronistic in the extreme since the church did not exist at that point (sorry covenantal guys!). I sympathize with the traditional music position and will even grant the point that the passage seems to imply that there is a sound of music that sounded like war but anything beyond that seems to me to be a strained interpretation.

 

 

Hmm. The question does not ask whether it is about worship music in the church. It only asks whether the passage is about worship music. I am not sure that I can modify my description to make that clear.

 

 

After rereading my post, I do not think that I need to make any changes anyway. It is clear that I only asked whether the passage is about worship music.

So your asking if it’s about worship music for ancient Israel? Now I see why you hesitate to draw conclusions for the church. Maybe I’m dumb but based on your previous thread it was pretty clear to me that you were asking how God wants us to profit from it. It’s still not about worship music but as I said you might be able to make an application from it.

Ron Bean's picture

Because SI is a  relatively limited group, would you consider sharing this question in other forums? There are some of us who are in fundamental pastor's groups outside of SI. You could also run it by people like the faculty at the BJU Seminary.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

This is strictly a poll. It is not a discussion. I am not asking anyone to comment. If people choose to comment, that is their choice, but this is a poll.

If this is strictly a poll, then maybe the mods can close comments and move the poll to the main page?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

Jay wrote:

This is strictly a poll. It is not a discussion. I am not asking anyone to comment. If people choose to comment, that is their choice, but this is a poll.

If this is strictly a poll, then maybe the mods can close comments and move the poll to the main page?

No because:

  • Doesn't need to be on the main page. Easily found by "new posts"
  • We typically don't close comments for polls
  • This poll, like all threads do, will go through the typical lifecycle of interest
RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Because SI is a  relatively limited group, would you consider sharing this question in other forums? There are some of us who are in fundamental pastor's groups outside of SI. You could also run it by people like the faculty at the BJU Seminary.

Mr. Bean,

If you want to share this question in other forums, feel free to do so.

Ron Bean's picture

On December 22nd I posted Rajesh's poll in a Facebook group that is closed to fundamentalist pastors. I posted it as it is here with no personal comments. None of those expressing an opinion participated in this SI poll. Here are the results:

Yes. For sure - 0

Probably - 2

Maybe - 3

Not Sure - 0

Probably Not -1

No - 24

Absolutely Not - 0

 

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

On December 22nd I posted Rajesh's poll in a Facebook group that is closed to fundamentalist pastors. I posted it as it is here with no personal comments. None of those expressing an opinion participated in this SI poll. Here are the results:

Yes. For sure - 0

Probably - 2

Maybe - 3

Not Sure - 0

Probably Not -1

No - 24

Absolutely Not - 0

Interesting results. Thanks for this information, Mr. Bean. I am also compiling results for this poll in another location, but have gotten very little participation so far. Of 4 respondents, 1 said "absolutely not," but then deleted his response. The other three have said, "Yes, for sure."

Bert Perry's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

On December 22nd I posted Rajesh's poll in a Facebook group that is closed to fundamentalist pastors. I posted it as it is here with no personal comments. None of those expressing an opinion participated in this SI poll. Here are the results:

Yes. For sure - 0

Probably - 2

Maybe - 3

Not Sure - 0

Probably Not -1

No - 24

Absolutely Not - 0

 

 

Interesting results. Thanks for this information, Mr. Bean. I am also compiling results for this poll in another location, but have gotten very little participation so far. Of 4 respondents, 1 said "absolutely not," but then deleted his response. The other three have said, "Yes, for sure."

OK, that would be the fallacies of "appeal to authority" and "appeal to popularity."  The question that is relevant here is whether anyone with any degree of evidence could go from that passage to "modern music is wrong" without committing a serious "guilt by association" fallacy.  

And if the entire argument relies on logical fallacies that used to be understood by incoming college freshmen, I'd have to suggest it ought to be jettisoned in toto.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Ok, that would be the fallacies of "appeal to authority" and "appeal to popularity."  The question that is relevant here is whether anyone with any degree of evidence could go from that passage to "modern music is wrong" without committing a serious "guilt by association" fallacy.  

And if the entire argument relies on logical fallacies that used to be understood by incoming college freshmen, I'd have to suggest it ought to be jettisoned in toto.

Bert, perhaps some people find value in asking questions of others on a forum. I happen to know that a lot of people on this forum have more education that me, so I might be willing to risk valuing their authority. I also might get some insight if more than one person answers the same way, even if that answer becomes, horrors, the most popular one I receive. Also, I'm not that worried about "guilt by association" as a fallacy because sometimes associations can be extremely, extremely strong, and it is wise to use the strength of an association as a factor in making personal spiritual decisions rather than just dismissing the association because I wouldn't win a debate with it.

Ron Bean's picture

A common comment made in the FB forum as well as here is whether making music the or a principle point of the passage is eisegesis or exegesis.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

On December 22nd I posted Rajesh's poll in a Facebook group that is closed to fundamentalist pastors. I posted it as it is here with no personal comments. None of those expressing an opinion participated in this SI poll. Here are the results:

Yes. For sure - 0

Probably - 2

Maybe - 3

Not Sure - 0

Probably Not -1

No - 24

Absolutely Not - 0

 

 

Interesting results. Thanks for this information, Mr. Bean. I am also compiling results for this poll in another location, but have gotten very little participation so far. Of 4 respondents, 1 said "absolutely not," but then deleted his response. The other three have said, "Yes, for sure."

 

 

OK, that would be the fallacies of "appeal to authority" and "appeal to popularity."  The question that is relevant here is whether anyone with any degree of evidence could go from that passage to "modern music is wrong" without committing a serious "guilt by association" fallacy.  

And if the entire argument relies on logical fallacies that used to be understood by incoming college freshmen, I'd have to suggest it ought to be jettisoned in toto.

No, this poll is about a very basic and fundamental aspect of exegesis. It is not about appeal to authority, popularity, or whatever. It is simply gathering objective data about how people are reading the Bible and saying what specific verses are about.

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

A common comment made in the FB forum as well as here is whether making music the or a principle point of the passage is eisegesis or exegesis.

Who said anything about "making music the or a principle point of the passage"? The question in this poll is simple and straightforward and is asking what these specific verses are about.

RajeshG's picture

No, it's people who have an agenda who are seeking to continue a conversation. I'm simply seeking objective data about the prevalence of differing views about a passage. I have already said that this is not a discussion, but people keep on trying to make it into a discussion.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

No, it's people who have an agenda who are seeking to continue a conversation. I'm simply seeking objective data about the prevalence of differing views about a passage. I have already said that this is not a discussion, but people keep on trying to make it into a discussion.

Rajesh, no one is expecting you to discuss the passage in this thread. You've already made it clear that that wasn't your intention, but some of us wanted to explain our answers. If others, like Bert, want to question the validity of the question itself, that still doesn't require you to be involved in the discussion. Once a thread is started, it might become a discussion even if the thread author has no desire for that. Besides, a question about the "validity of the opening question" is not likely to kick off a long discussion anyway.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

No, it's people who have an agenda who are seeking to continue a conversation. I'm simply seeking objective data about the prevalence of differing views about a passage. I have already said that this is not a discussion, but people keep on trying to make it into a discussion.

 

Rajesh, no one is expecting you to discuss the passage in this thread. You've already made it clear that that wasn't your intention, but some of us wanted to explain our answers. If others, like Bert, want to question the validity of the question itself, that still doesn't require you to be involved in the discussion. Once a thread is started, it might become a discussion even if the thread author has no desire for that. Besides, a question about the "validity of the opening question" is not likely to kick off a long discussion anyway.

Thanks for these comments, Kevin. I have no problem with people explaining their answers, if they want to. Although I would really prefer that there not be a lot of comments, if people want to discuss this question and not direct any comments toward me and leave me, my views, etc. completely out of their comments . . .