1 Chronicles 15:20
And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
THE ARK.

V. Two warders of the Ark.

VI. The king, with the heads of the nation.

(20) The eight harpers. Perhaps Maaseiah or Benaiah belongs to the next verse. This would give seven (comp. 1Chronicles 15:24) in each band.

Aziel should be Jaaziel, as in 1Chronicles 15:18.

Jehiel.God liveth. Jeiel=Jeuel (1Chronicles 9:6; 1Chronicles 9:35), Remembered of God.

With psalteries on Alamoth.—“With harps after the mode of maidens:” that is, probably, of soprano compass or pitch. The same expression occurs in the heading of Psalms 46

1 Chronicles 15:20. With psalteries on Alamoth — Or, with Alamoth, which is thought by many to be the name of an instrument of music; or of a certain tune, or note, or part in music. Houbigant renders the words with psalteries, of a deeper sound. The certain signification of the expression is not now known.

15:1-24 Wise and good men may be guilty of oversights, which they will correct, as soon as they are aware of them. David does not try to justify what had been done amiss, nor to lay the blame on others; but he owns himself guilty, with others, of not seeking God in due orderPsalteries on Alamoth - Probably, psalteries whose tone resembled the voices of girls (עלמות ‛ălâmôth). Compare the "female flutes" of the Lydians. 16-24. David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint … the singers with instruments—These eminent Levites were instructed to train the musicians and singers who were under them, for the solemn procession. The performers were ranged in three choirs or bands, and the names of the principal leaders are given (1Ch 15:17, 18, 21), with the instruments respectively used by each. "Ben" (1Ch 15:18) is omitted (1Ch 15:20). Either it was used merely as a common noun, to intimate that Zechariah was the son of Jaaziel or Aziel, or Ben is the same as Azaziah [1Ch 15:21]. In this catalogue Ben is omitted, who was mentioned 1 Chronicles 15:18. Yet others think him to be the same who is called Azaziah, 1 Chronicles 15:21. But Ben might be some other person, who was indeed appointed for this work, as is related, 1 Chronicles 15:17,18; and yet he might be taken off by death or sickness, or some sudden and extraordinary accident which hindered his execution of the place and work allotted for him, which might force the chief of the Levites to appoint some other in his stead, when they came to put their institution in practice, as here they did.

On Alamoth, or, with (as that particle is elsewhere used) Alamoth, which is thought to be the name of an instrument of music; or of a certain tune, or note, or part in music. The certain signification of it is not now known, nor is it necessary for us to know it. And the like may be said of Sheminith, 1 Chronicles 15:21.

And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah,.... Who were eight of the second degree; Aziel is the same with Jaaziel, 1 Chronicles 15:18 and Ben is left out, in whose room Azaziah, in the next verse, seems to be put; Ben is thought to be sick or dead before they came to execute their office, and whom the father of Kimchi takes to be the same with him who is expressed in the title of Psalm 9:1 which title is, "on Muthlabben", or the death of Ben: these were appointed to sound

with psalteries on Alamoth; psalteries were another kind of instruments of music; and Alamoth was either the beginning of a song, to the tune of which those instruments played, or the tune itself, and the note of it; either the treble or counter tenor, a shrill sound, like that of organs, which this word sometimes signifies, see Psalm 46:1.

And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on {i} Alamoth;

(i) This was an instrument of music or a certain tune, to which they sang psalms.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. on Alamoth] R.V. set to Alamoth; cp. Psalms 46 (title) R.V.

1 Chronicles 15:20These singers formed three choirs, according to the instruments they played. Heman, Asaph, and Ethan played brazen cymbals להשׁמיע (1 Chronicles 15:19); Benaiah and the seven who follow played nablia (psalteria) עלמות על (1 Chronicles 15:20); while the last six played lutes (harps) לנצּח השּׁמינית על (1 Chronicles 15:21). These three Hebrew words plainly denote different keys in singing, but are, owing to our small acquaintance with the music of the Hebrews, obscure, and cannot be interpreted with certainty. נצּח, going over from the fundamental signification glitter, shine, into the idea of outshining and superior capacity, overwhelming ability, might also, as a musical term, denote the conducting of the playing and singing as well as the leading of them. The signification to direct is here, however, excluded by the context, for the conductors were without doubt the three chief musicians or bandmasters (Capellenmeister), Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, with the cymbals, not the psaltery and lute players belonging to the second rank. The conducting must therefore be expressed by להשׁמיע, and this word must mean "in order to give a clear tone," i.e., to regulate the tune and the tone of the singing, while לנצּח signifies "to take the lead in playing;" cf. Del. on Psalm 4:1. This word, moreover, is probably not to be restricted to the singers with the lutes, the third choir, but must be held to refer also to the second choir. The meaning then will be, that Heman, Asaph, and Ethan had cymbals to direct the song, while the other singers had partly psalteries, partly lutes, in order to play the accompaniment to the singing. The song of these two choirs is moreover distinguished and defined by עלמות על and השּׁמינית על. These words specify the kind of voices; עלמות על after the manner of virgins, i.e., in the soprano; השּׁמינית על, after the octave, i.e., in bass - al ottava bassa. See Del. on Psalm 6:1; Psalm 46:1. In 1 Chronicles 15:22-24 the still remaining priests who were engaged in the solemn procession are enumerated.
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