As a musician, over the past couple of years I have taken a keen interest on David and the Psalms. Did you know that all of the people involved in music in the courts and service of King David were from the tribe of Levi? This includes the chief musician under the king, Asaph.
You might recognize the name. He is recorded in many of the middle books of the Psalms as leading the choir. You might not have known that Asaphites is a common term in defining the temple singers, too. That Asaph actually wrote the psalms is under dispute, though. Because some Bible translations introduce the psalms, Psalm 73-83 for example, as “for Asaph” and other say “of Aspah” or a “testimony to Asaph”. The scholars leave it that this Levite either wrote or transcribed these psalms.
It is of much interest to take a closer look into this man and what we know about it life. Does it surprise you to learn that he penned more of the Bible than James, Peter or Jude? And that we know more about his life than those men?
Let’s learn more!
There are actually three Asaph’s mentioned in the Bible, and the one we are looking at is associated with the King’s court of musicians during the reign of David around 1000BC. To simplify his duties would be to call him a music director. His father, Berekiah, was appointed by King David as the Doorkeeper of the Ark. Apparently, the king thought the young man, Asaph, extremely talented and put him in command of the music for the Ark.
As the senior directors, priests and Levites would have been at the headquarters of David’s kingdom in Gibeon, Asaph served the King in Jerusalem, where the Ark was housed. Along with this, Asaph saw many things during his service to the king across his forty years under the throne. This would include the death of the king, the succession of Solomon and the plan to build the temple there in Jerusalem.
During his old age, after the death of Solomon, the kingdom was torn in two. Al the promises of God and the goodness He showed Israel was lost; the chosen nation began to play the harlot at once. It did not take long at all for the nation to forsake their covenant with Yahweh and commit idolatry. There was David, the man after God’s own heart. There was Solomon, the wisest man that has ever lived. And then his sons. So, there were only two generations of righteous kings before the wicked grabbed ahold of the throne for selfish gain and led the nation into evil deeds.
Asaph saw it all.
Watch this space for Part 2…
Written by Jori Sams