Being a musician, the introductory comments prefacing Psalm 67 immediately catch my attention.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
What I am looking here are song lyrics, with a long lost melody and instrumentation.
Music is referenced many times throughout the Scriptures. Over 1150 verses in the Bible reference music. The bible is replete with songs which were always accompanied by musical instruments. To see and hear what some of these instruments look and sound like click here.
Having been blessed with enough musical ability to be able play a number of stringed instruments – I wonder how this song would have sounded?
How would Psalm 67 musically have stacked up against some of the classic guitar (stringed instrument) songs that I have grown up listening to – the likes of the Beattles, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana or Led Zepplin to name a few that influenced a generation?
There can be no doubt that even without their original music the Psalms stand unique in their ability to touch generation after generation.
Maybe the structure and repetition of the lyrical themes give us some clue to the musical arrangement!
These are my humble thoughts based on the way our modern worship songs are arranged.
The song begins quietly on a harp or lyre with a request for God to be “gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us” (show us favour or benevolence). But it is not about us – the focus is elsewhere – these requests a meanly signposts to someone, somewhere else as punctuated by the words “Selah” and “So that” (NIV) – verse 2 and again in verse 7.
At which point the song builds as other instruments join in, leading into the chorus (v3) – May all peoples and nations praise you.
It is hard to imagine that the feel of the song is anything but uplifting and joyous in verses 3 and 4 as it speaks of gladness and joy.
The chorus is repeated in verse 5. Before returning again to the theme of God’s blessing that opened the song – perhaps musically more reflective at this point – again the reason for God’s benevolence is clearly spelt out – so that the peoples of the ends of the earth “will fear him!”
Here is a link to the Sons of Korah’s interpretation of Psalm 67 to further reflect upon.