Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Dictionaries

Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters


Additional Links


THE Bible has a way of its own of setting the solitary in families. Over and above, and sometimes entirely superseding the original and natural order of father and son, the Bible sets up an intellectual, a moral, and a spiritual order of fatherhood and sonship. As, for instance, thus: In the natural order, according to the flesh, as the Bible would say, Adam was the father of Cain, and Cain was Adam's first-born son. But, in the moral order, Cain was Satan's first-born son. Cain was of his father the devil. The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and Cain took, at his deepest, of his father in hell, for he hated his brother in his heart till he fell upon his brother at an unawares in the field and slew him. Cain was of that wicked one and slew his brother. And that deep and quick principle of family life runs through the whole of the Bible till it comes to a head, and to its fullest and clearest and most commanding expression in the other direction, in that house in Israel when the Son of God stretches forth His hand toward His disciples, and says, Behold My mother and My brethren!

Now, Jubal would seem to have been a solitary man so far as sons and daughters were concerned. Jubal had a brother, Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. But the Bible is silent as to any children begotten of his own body that Jubal had. The only children that Jubal had in his image and after his likeness were his harp and his organ. For children's shouts and laughter all up and down bis solitary house Jubal had only now the sound of his harp and now the sound of his organ. Jubal took to inventing and perfecting his harp and his organ because he had no other children with whom to play and to whom to sing. Or, perhaps, it was that the melodious soul of Jubal was so hurt within him at the way that

disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord,

that at last he rose up and said, Go to, I will make melody to God with a stringed instrument and with a praise-breathing pipe if men and women will so forget God. And it was so. And Jubal did so. As for me and my house, Jubal said, we shall make melody in our hearts to God. And he made that melody along with those two children of his, till his harp and his organ were more to him than sons and daughters; far more than Cain and Abel were to Adam, and far more than Shem and Ham and Japheth were to Noah. These same, he said, as he knit a new string into his harp, and hollowed out a new pipe for his organ-these same shall comfort me concerning my work and the toil of my hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. And Jubal walked with God after he begat his harp and his organ. And Jubal lived and added string to string in his harp, and pipe to pipe in his organ, till God's angels came and took Jubal home to his harp of gold.

By the time of Moses and Aaron Jubal had a whole tribe to himself of sons and daughters in those melodious men and women who rose up and called him their very and true father, and blessed his honoured name. Do you suppose that Jubal's great name was ungratefully forgotten on the shore of the Red Sea that morning? Do not think it. Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 'Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?' And after the schools of the prophets arose in Israel, Jubal's name would be written in letters of gold upon the lintels and the door-posts of those ancient homes of religion and learning and art. 'And Samuel kissed the Lord's anointed, and he said to the Lord's anointed, After that thou hast come to the hill of God it shall come to pass that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place, with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp before them, and they shall prophesy. And the Spirit of the Lord shall come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and thou shalt be turned into another man.' And still, if you would hear sacred music at its best, and see sacred spectacle at its best, do not go either to the Sistine chapel in Rome, or to the Bayreuth theatre in Bavaria, but come to the temple of Solomon, the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. If you would see Jubal's children in their multitudes and at their highest honours, come up to Jerusalem at one of the great feasts. And if you would never be a niggard again in your contributions to the worship of God, read over and over again the two Books of The Chronicles in your so musical Bible. 'So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. And he gathered all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. Now, the number of the Levites, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. Of which, four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made (said David) to praise therewith.' And again, 'He set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet, for so was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets. And the Levites stood with instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Moreover, the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praises unto the Lord with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer; and they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped. The temple in Jerusalem was the earthly palace of Israel's heavenly King; and for riches, and for beauty, and for melody of voices, and for instruments of music God gave commandment that His earthly temple should be made as near to the pattern of His heavenly temple as the hands of His people Israel could make it. 'Behold‚ bless ye the Lord‚ all ye servants of the Lord, which day and night stand before God in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in His sanctuary and bless the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth, bless thee out of Zion.'

The experts in that kind of history tell us that all the evidence that is forthcoming goes to prove that the apostolic and post-apostolic churches did not make much use of musical instruments in public worship. And the reasons they give for that state of things-a state of things so unlike the Church in Israel in ancient times, and the Church Catholic in modern times-are such as these: The poverty of the people; their persecuted and unsettled condition; and the fact that all the musical instruments then attainable had become incurably tainted with the theatrical and other immoral associations of that dissolute day. But it is pointed out that, as time went on, and when the Christian faith and the Christian worship became the faith and the worship of the empire, then Jubal came back again; till, as we know, in some parts of Christendom today he takes up the whole time and performs the whole service. In the Life of St. Philip Neri, Dr. Newman's patron saint, there is a beautiful chapter on Music. It was written in dear old Philip's rule for his spiritual children that they should all study to rouse themselves to the contemplation of heavenly things by means of musical harmony. And we are told that the sweet old saint was profoundly convinced that there is in music and in song a mysterious and a mighty power to stir the heart with high and noble emotions; as also an especial fitness to raise the heart above time and sense to the love and pursuit of heavenly things. And it was his own exquisite sensitiveness to all harmony that gave him that extraordinary sweetness of expression, of speech, and of gesture which made him so dear to all.

As to the Reformers, we find Luther in his Table Talk full of his best heart-eloquence about music. 'The fairest and most glorious gift of God,' he exclaims, 'is music. Kings and princes and great lords should give their support to music. Music is a discipline; it is an instructress; it makes people milder and gentler, more moral, and more reasonable.' 'Music,' he says in another place, 'is a fair and glorious gift of God, and takes its place next to theology. I would not part with my small skill in music for much.' And yet again: 'Music is a fair and sweet gift of God. Music has often given me new life, and inspired me with a desire to preach. Saint Augustine had a conscientious scruple about music. He was, however, a noble and a pious man and if he lived now he would be on our side.' As to the use of instrumental music in the services of the Church of England, it is most interesting and most instructive to find Taylor, with his resounding style, leaning, if anything, against it; while Hooker, with his magnificent sober-mindedness, stands up stoutly for it. Hooker, as his contention with the Puritans goes on, becomes all for instrumental music. That is to say, if Hooker can ever be said to be all for anything but height, and depth, and a superb sober-mindedness.

Those who, like St. Augustine, are noble and pious men, and who like him have a conscientious scruple about instrumental music, if they are determined to fight for their scruple, they will find an all-but-unanswerable arsenal of fighting materials in Jeremy Taylor. Yes, in Jeremy Taylor, of all men in the world. And lest they should not possess the incomparable preacher and debater, I will, in fairness to the truth, supply them with a stone or two for their sling out of that great genius. 'The use of musical instruments,' says Taylor in his Ductor Dubitantium, 'may also add some little advantage to singing; but such instruments are more apt to change religion into airs and fancies, and to take off some of its simplicity. Organs are not so fitted as sermons and psalms are for edification. The music of instruments of itself does not make a man wiser; it does not instruct him in anything. At the same time, I cannot condemn it if it be employed as an aid to true psalmody. And yet, at its best, music must not be called so much as a circumstance of divine service, for that is the best that can be said even of the voice itself.' And then the omnivorously bookish bishop goes on to fortify his cautious position out of all the apostolic fathers, as his way is. And his way is a right learned, able, and eloquent way, as you will see if you will buy or borrow his Ductor Dubitantium, and will redeem enough time to read it. Which you must all do before you root your mind and your heart and your will irrevocably either for or against instrumental music. Read the best that has been written both for and against every subject whatsoever, before you root your temper either for or against the subject in question. And if you are still deep in your reading when the debate is hot, and the votes are being canvassed for, just say to the canvasser that you are not yet half through your reading, and that he must go and enlist those whose reading is finished, and whose enlightened and enfranchised minds are ready for him. And if your too much reading holds you in from making a speech or even from recording a silent vote, you will have lost nothing. You know, and we all know, how you lost your temper, your self-command, and the respect and love of some of your fellow-worshippers, by the way you spoke so often and so long, and voted so ostentatiously, before you had begun to read, or to listen to those who had read, on a former occasion.

And then, reading, and listening to those who have read, and all,-before we either open our mouth on this question of music, or cast our vote, a little imagination rightly directed, a very little imagination, will save us from making fools of ourselves, and it will keep us back from offering to God the sacrifice of a fool. Just imagine Almighty God, with this universe of angels and men in His heart and on His hands, and engaged day and night in steering it into an everlasting harbour of harmony and peace, and truth, and wisdom, and love. Take in something of the magnificence and the wisdom and the love of God. And then imagine Him looking down and listening to one of our debates with all our passions in a flame as to whether we are to worship our Maker with a psalm or with a hymn or with a sentence; with an American organ, or with a real, home-built, and high-priced English organ; and, in another place, whether the line is to be given out by the precentor, or the whole psalm read once for all by the minister-and so on to an adjourned meeting on the question. Imagine Gabriel who stands before God, with twain of his burning wings covering his face, and with twain covering his feet, and with twain wherewith to fly-imagine that seraph, full to a flame of the majesty and the glory of God, looking down on the church of God on earth and seeing a minister of Jesus Christ sewing up the paraphrases with needle and thread on a Sabbath morning in terror and in anger lest a neighbour minister should come and give out, 'O God of Bethel' to be sung to the God of Bethel; or 'Twas on that night'; or, 'How bright these glorious spirits shine.' You have heard about the angels weeping, have you not? If you were where Jubal now is you would see their head waters over the way that we quarrel, fall out, and hate one another about our worship of God. Why, very Baal himself would be ashamed of such worshippers, with such ideas and with such passions as we have. The fly-god himself would cast us and our vain oblations out of his presence. 'God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.' Only be at peace among yourselves, He says to us. Only give place to one another. Only be of one mind. Only please one another to edification, and you will best please Me. Only agree about it among yourselves first, and then come into My house with a psalm, or with a hymn, or with a spiritual song, or with a harp, or with an organ, or with what you will. Call in Jubal, My servant, to assist you, if you feel you need his assistance, and if you are unanimous in your call. Or, sit still as you are till you are unanimous, and let your neighbours call him in who are already unanimous. Only, My little children, have peace among yourselves, and love one another, and so shall ye be Mine accepted worshippers. 'The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. Whose offereth praise glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.'

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Whyte, Alexander. Entry for 'Jubal'. Alexander Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters. 1901.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse:
Prev Entry
Next Entry
King Agrippa