2 Chronicles 34:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The workers labored faithfully. Over them to direct them were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites descended from Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, descended from Kohath. The Levites--all who were skilled in playing musical instruments--

King James Bible
And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.

Darby Bible Translation
And the men did the work faithfully. And over them were appointed Jahath and Obadiah, Levites, of the children of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the children of the Kohathites, for the oversight; and all these Levites were skilled in instruments of music.

World English Bible
The men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and [others of] the Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music.

Young's Literal Translation
And the men are working faithfully in the business, and over them are appointed Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathite, to overlook; and of the Levites, every one understanding about instruments of song,

2 Chronicles 34:12 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

All that could skill of instruments of music - Did the musicians play on their several instruments to encourage and enliven the workmen? Is not this a probable case from their mention here? If this were really the case, instrumental music was never better applied in any thing that refers to the worship of God. It is fabled of Orpheus, a most celebrated musician, that such was the enchanting harmony of his lyre, that he built the city of Thebes by it: the stones and timbers danced to his melody; and by the power of his harmony rose up, and took their respective places in the different parts of the wall that was to defend the city! This is fable; but as all fable is a representation of truth, where is the truth and fact to which this refers? How long has this question lain unanswered! But have we not the answer now? It is known in general, that the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii were overwhelmed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, about the seventy-ninth year of the Christian era. It is also known that, in sinking for wells, the workmen of the king of Naples lighted on houses, etc., of those overwhelmed cities; that excavations have been carried on, and are now in the act of being carried on, which are bringing daily to view various utensils, pictures, and books, which have escaped the influence of the burning lava; and that some of those parchment volumes have been unrolled, and facsimiles of them engraved and published; and that our late Prince Regent, afterwards George IV., king of Great Britain, expended considerable sums of money annually in searching for, unrolling, and deciphering those rolls. This I record to his great credit as the lover of science and literature. Now, among the books that have been unrolled and published, is a Greek Treatise on Music, by Philodemus; and here we have the truth represented which lay hidden under the fables of Orpheus and Amphion. This latter was a skillful harper, who was frequently employed by the Theban workmen to play to them while engaged in their labor, and for which they rewarded him out of the proceeds of that labor. So powerful and pleasing was his music, that they went lightly and comfortably through their work; and time and labor passed on without tedium or fatigue; and the walls and towers were speedily raised. This, by a metaphor, was attributed to the dulcet sounds of his harp; and poetry seized on and embellished it, and mythology incorporated it with her fabulous system. Orpheus is the same. By his skill in music he drew stones and trees after him, i.e., he presided over and encouraged the workmen by his skill in music. Yet how simple and natural is the representation given by this ancient Greek writer of such matters! See Philodemus, Colossians 8.and ix. Orpheus, and Amphion, by their music, moved the workmen to diligence and activity, and lessened and alleviated their toil. May we not suppose, then, that skillful musicians among the Levites did exercise their art among the workmen who were employed in the repairs of the house of the Lord? May I be allowed a gentle transition? Is it not the power and harmony of the grace of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, that convert, change, and purify the souls of men, and prepare them for and place them in that part of the house of God, the New Jerusalem? A most beautiful and chaste allusion to this fact and fable is made by an eminent poet, while praying for his own success as a Christian minister, who uses all his skill as a poet and musician for the glory of God: -

Thy own musician, Lord, inspire,

And may my consecrated lyre

Repeat the psalmist's part!

His Son and thine reveal in me,

And fill with sacred melody

The fibres of my heart.

So shall I charm the listening throng,

And draw the Living Stones along

By Jesus' tuneful name.

The living stones shall dance, shall rise,

And Form a City in the skies,

The New Jerusalem.

Charles Wesley.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


2 Chronicles 31:12 And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler...

2 Kings 12:15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.

2 Kings 22:7 However, there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

Nehemiah 7:2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man...

Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that makes haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.


1 Chronicles 6:31 And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.

1 Chronicles 15:16-22 And David spoke to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brothers to be the singers with instruments of music...

1 Chronicles 16:4,5,41 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record...

1 Chronicles 23:5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David...

1 Chronicles 25:1 Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun...

skill The verb {skill} is now obsolete: the meaning is, `every one who is skilful, maiveen, on instruments of music.'

'Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. 2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. 3. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Book of the Law
The silent yet powerful influences set in operation by the messages of the prophets regarding the Babylonian Captivity did much to prepare the way for a reformation that took place in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign. This reform movement, by which threatened judgments were averted for a season, was brought about in a wholly unexpected manner through the discovery and study of a portion of Holy Scripture that for many years had been strangely misplaced and lost. Nearly a century before, during
Ellen Gould White—The Story of Prophets and Kings

Cross References
Genesis 46:11
The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

Numbers 3:27
To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites; these were the Kohathite clans.

2 Kings 12:15
They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.

1 Chronicles 25:1
David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service:

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