The Composer of 1,005 Songs

Monday, May 11, 2009

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Here is a quick test of your knowledge of music in the Bible. What Bible character wrote 1,005 original music compositions?

Perhaps you think it must be King David, "the sweet psalmist of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1). After all, didn't he write most of the psalms found in the book of Psalms? Well, that is true, but there are only 150 songs total included in the book of Psalms. Some of the other psalm authors are listed below:
  • Sons of Korah - 10 Psalms (42, 44-49, 84-85, 87)

  • Asaph - 12 Psalms (50, 73-83)

  • Heman - 1 Psalm (88)

  • Ethan - 1 Psalm (89)

  • Moses - 1 Psalm (90)

  • Hezekiah - 11 Psalms (120-123, 128-130, 132, 134-136)

  • Solomon - 2 Psalms (72, 127)
Maybe, then, it was Moses that wrote those 1,005 songs? Did he not write the first five books of the Bible? Did he not sing after crossing the Red Sea with the children of Israel (Exodus 15:1)? Did he not teach the Jewish people a special song of remembrance that God gave to him (Deuteronomy 31:22)? These are all true, but adding his two songs to Psalm 90 only makes 3 songs.

The answer may surprise you. The person mentioned as having written 1,005 songs is better known for other achievements.
  • He is known for being wisest man who ever lived.

  • He is known for building the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

  • He is known for his great wealth.

  • He is known for his friendship with the Queen of Sheba.

  • He is known for his proverbs, or wise sayings.

  • He is known for his three books in the Bible, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
By now you have guessed it. Our mystery song-writer is none other than Solomon!
    "And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five." (1 Kings 4:29-32)
Likely, his love of songs and song-writing came from his father David. He must have spent countless hours hearing his father sing and compose new music.

If he wrote one new song a month, it would have taken 83 years. If he wrote one new song a week, it would have taken him over 19 years. At any rate, 1,005 songs is a great achievement, and took a great amount of discipline and effort over an extended period of time.

More of us need to consider composing new songs. Just study the concept of the "new song" in the Scriptures, and you will find that God expects us to praise Him with personal, fresh songs.

Consider the hymn writer Isaac Watts, who authored well over 600 hymns, apparently by writing a new one each week.

Consider Johann Sebastian Bach, considered by many to be the greatest composer who ever lived, who, for many years, wrote new music each week to be performed in his church services.

We need to encourage the writing of new music in our churches. Many times, it is difficult to find music that is appropriate to use in our services. The majority of "Christian" music being published today is either worldly, doctrinally incorrect, silly, sensual, un-Biblical, unmusical, or just inappropriate.

As an encouragement to you, let me share one of my songs with you. If nothing else, perhaps it will inspire you that you could do better than that!

I woke up one snowy morning to a day off of work as a Christian school teacher. I had been meditating that week on Lamentations 3:22-23:
    "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new e


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Curtis Hollembeak


Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.

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  Oh, Lord, Make Me More Like Asaph!
  Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs
  Habakkuk - The Musical Prophet
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