The Shofar, Battle Signals

The Shofar and the silver trumpets were intended to signal movements especially in battle. They produced panic in the enemy or gloated over them when they were defeated.

E-mail: Iam interested in finding out when the 4 different sounds on the shofar are used and what they mean.

See that MUSIC is the laded burden which God in Christ died to eleminate.

See how becoming a baptized disciple frees us from anxiety-creating rituals and gives us REST.

See that in the Greek world the word REST relates almost totally to rest from rhetoricians or speakers, singers and musicians.


The answer is too big for an e-mail so, being lazy, I will post it for general reading and add to it as I find more information. This is a quick response but it is interesting to see how the Christian writers compared perhaps the most common worship as an imitation of their old paganism and Paul compares it to the use of music in warfare. For instance:

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 1 Corinthians 14:6

And even things without life (lifeless instruments) giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 1 Corinthians 14:7

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 1 Corinthians 14:8

So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 1 Corinthians 14:9

In additional to "lifeless instruments" Paul also spoke of "carnal weapons" where both weapon and musical instrument are the same Greek word. As he warned the Romans (ch 9) and Corinthians (ch 10) of the Mount Sinai event and identified speaking and singing their own messages to warfare, Paul clearly understood God Who in Numbers 10:7 outlawed music as an attempt to worship when the collective congregation came together.

However, the silver trumpets were not musical instruments; they were to send signals during march or battle and to panic the enemy into cowardice. As a result of Israel's return to Egyptian bull worship just as God was giving them a covenant by which they would live by His grace in a land which they had not bought with trees and vines they had not planted, God prevented their entry into Canaan. As a result, they lived their old nomadic life for a total of 40 years.

To enable this huge tribal confederacy to communicate:

AND the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Numbers 10:1

Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. Numbers 10: 2

And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 10: 3

And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. Numbers 10: 4

When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. Numbers 10: 5

When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. Numbers 10: 6

However, it was loud musical rejoices which was both a cause and a symptom of Israel's rejection of God's effort to educate them in a collective assembly. As a result, God demanded that the trumpets could be used to call the people into congregational assembly but they could not be used for musical rejoicing:

But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. Numbers 10: 7

To blow the trumpet was the Hebrew:

Taqa (h8628) taw-kah'; a prim. root; to clatter, i. e. slap (the hands together), clang (an instrument); by anal. to drive (a nail or tent-pin, a dart, etc.); by impl. to become bondsman (by hand-clasping): - blow ([a trumpet]), cast, clap, fasten, pitch [tent], smite, sound, strike, * suretiship, thrust

The alarm was:

Ruwa (h7321) roo-ah'; a prim. root; to mar (espec. by breaking); fig. to split the ears (with sound), i. e. shout for alarm or joy: - blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.

Ask any professional musician in the form of an ugly, effeminate boy-man and he will tell you that he uses his music to triumph over the rational nature of others so that they will direct their worship to him and put their money in his "collection plate." Ask the female professional musicians, in the tavern or in the church, and she will tell you that she falls into rapture (rape) when all eyes are upon her as she steals some of God's right to worship. This was the meaning of the halal form of praise which is related to Lucifer whose total "religious" life was to get people to look at her instead of God.

In fairness to David, it was a common belief that God couldn't or wouldn't punish a mad man. Therefore, his "halal" praise often with instruments led to musical prophesying which we would identify with speaking in tongues. I never worked on rational people.

In the Gnostic story of creation, Sophia (wisdom in Proverbs) and her daughter Zoe, triumphed over men and forced them to organize musical worship teams to signal female or effeminate-male domination. Jesus hinted that the clergy came out to see John the Baptist hoping that he wore "soft" clothing like the kings. This would identify him as a catamite, dog or male prostitutes.

Jesus also identified the Jewish clergy as "children in a marketplace" environment blowing their alarm which was supposed to panic you into the female or effeminate dance of Dionysus. And the Judas Bag was, in the classical writers and vases, always attached to the flute case and was designed to "carry the mouthpieces of wind instruments." It derived its name from "speaking in tongues" and "of the world." Paul also identified speaking in tongues and musical praise (1 Cor 13, 14).

However, it was prophesied that Judas along with his flute and trumpet-playing clergy co-conspiritators would not "triumph over" or panic Jesus

By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. Psalm 41:11

Before David changed the Mosaic system to fit the new secular or "like the nations" civil state which Israel demanded when they "fired" God, only the priests could blow these instruments. The Levites were "ministers" and could not lead but serve. Ezekiel 40 in describing the "idealized temple" removes the Levites from the clergy role and Josephus insisted that it was the Levites who assumed the role of musical performers who lead Israel into destruction and that they were doing it again in his time. In many nations only males could be priests but they were often very effeminate men. The Levites wanted to wear the linen ephod which was adopted by the priests from a woman's garment. They seduced the leadership into the obscene practices by telling them that it would bring honor (and seekers) to them and the temple. It did not.

Moses continues to define the silver trumpets:

And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. Numbers 10: 8

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Numbers 10: 9

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God. Numbers 10:10

(The Jews understood that the music which was added to the worship of the priests {the congregation did not participate except as occasional spectators} was only in Jerusalem or the area and during animal sacrifices. When they lost Jerusalem and the temple the use of musical instruments to "alarm" people ceased until about 1815 in a liberal German synagogue. Then, only Gentiles could play on the Sabbath).

"Only in Ps 150:3 is it (shophar) mentioned with most of the other really musical instruments. Hence, we must conclude that the function of the shophar was to make noise--be it of earthly or of eschatological character--but not to make music. After the destruction of the temple and the general banishment of all instrumental music, the shophar alone survived, just because it was not a musical instrument."(International Dictionary of the Bible, p. 473, Abingdon).

And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. Numbers 10: 11

And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran. Numbers 10: 12

And they first took their journeyaccording to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. Numbers 10: 13

The Jews would never be so stupid as to play a trumpet quartet with performing, stand over (non-sedantary) women performing the sexual attraction when the enemy was present:

"the trumpets were assigned a number of complicated signals, which implied their ability of blowing legato, staccato, and trills, and tonguing, all in unison, not 'simultaneously,' but 'as with one mouth.' Moreover, these apocalyptical trumpets bear different names: trumpets of assembly, of battle, of the slain, of ambush, etc. In generally, they were used to terrorize the enemy into panic (Judges 7:19-20). This function was, for all practical purposes, identical with that of the trumpets of Revelation. In the temple the signals of the trumpet introduced every ceremony and every sacrifice." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 472-3, Abingdon).

Consistent with this, if we accept Paul's use of the word "melody" as literal and external then we should know that melody in the modern sense is the unison singing of single notes one after the other.

WE then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Rom 15:1

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Rom 15: 2

For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. Rom 15: 3

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Rom 15: 4

Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: Rom 15: 5

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 15: 6

Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Rom 15: 7

Therefore, there is not a hint of sanity attached to singing our own songs or "signals" using complex harmony when the enemy is being disabled with the teaching of the Words of Christ or the revealed Word. In fact, a non-unison form of singing what people thought of as a personal revelation in Corinth was identified as madness -- insanity.

"In addition to the sacred trumpets of the Temple, whose use was restricted, even in war and in battle, to the priests, there were others used by the Hebrew generals. Ehud sounded the trumpet to assemble Israel against the Moabites, whose king, Eglon, he had slain (Judg. 3:17-30). Gideon took a trumpet in his hand, and gave each of his followers one, when he assaulted the Midianites (7:2, 16). Joab sounded the trumpet as a signal of retreat to his soldiers, in the battle against Abner (II Sa. 2:28), in that against Absalom 18:16), and in the pursuit of Sheba, son of Bichri (20:22)." (Book, Hist. Digest., p. 321).

This Biblical use of the trumpet will be used when Messiah comes again where the "trumpet" is the voice of the Lord. What will we do if we are singing our own songs, dancing, girl-watching or blowing loud trumpets when that happens.

"the shophar can be viewed under one category: that of a signalling instrument. It sounded all signals in war and peace; it announced the new moon, the beginning of the sabbath, the death of a notable; it warned of approaching danger; it heraled excommunication; it was instrumental in exorcisms and magic healing." (International Dictionary of the Bible, p. 473, Abingdon).

The Dead Sea Scrolls gives us a view of how these signals were used in battle. From The War Scroll 1QM, 4Q49l-496

The ministry of the priests and Levites.

When the battle line are arrayed against the enemy battle line against battle line there shall go forth from the middle opening into the gap between the battle lines seven priests of the sons of Aaron, dressed in fine white linen garments: a linen tunic and linen breeches, and girded with a linen sash of twined fine linen, violet, '"purple, and crimson, and a varicolored Sign, the work of a skillful workman, and decorated caps on their heads; the garments for battle, and they shall not take them into the sanctuary. The one priest shall walk before all the men of the battle line to encourage them for battle. In the hands of the remaining six shall be the trumpets of assembly' the trumpets of memorial, the trumpets of the alarm, the trumpets of pursuit, and the trumpets of reassembly.When the priests go out into the gap between the battle lines, seven Levites shall go out with them. In their hands shall be seven trumpets of rams' horns. Three officers from among the Levites shall walk before the priests and the Levites. The priests shall blow the two trumpets of assem[bly . . . of ba]ttle upon fifty shields, and fifty infantrymen shall go out from the one gate and [ . . . ] Levites, officers. With each battle line they shall go out according to all [this] o[rder.... men of the] infantry from the gates [and they shall take positi]on between the two battle lines, and [ . . . ] the battle ] [,, . ] the trumpets shall blow continually to direct the slingmen until they have completed hurling seven times. Afterwards the priests shall blow on the trumpets of return, and they shall go along the side of the first battle line to take their position. The priests shall blow on the trumpets of assembly, and the three divisions of infantry shall go out from the gates and stand between the battle lines, and beside them the cavalrymen, Sat the right and at the left. The priests shall blow on their trumpets a level note, signals for the order of battle. And the columns shall be deployed into their formations, each to his position.When they have positioned themselves in three formations, the priests shall blow for them a second signal, a low legato note, signals for advance, until they draw near to the battle line of the enemy and take hold of their weapons. Then the priests shall blow on the six trumpets of the slain a sharp staccato note to direct the battle, and the Levites and all the people with rams' horns shall blow '¡a great battle alarm together in order to melt the heart of the enemy.With the sound of the alarm, the battle darts shall fly out to bring down the slain. Then the sound of the rams' horns shall quiet, but on the tru[m]pets the priests shall continue to blow a sharp staccato note to direct the signals of battle until they have hurled into the battle line of the enemy seven times. Afterwards, the priests shall blow for them the trumpets of retreat, a low note, level and legato. According to this rule the [pr]iests shall blow for the three divisions.When the first division throws, the ~riests and the Levites and all the people with rams'] horns shall blow a great alarm to direct the bat[tle until they have hurled seven times. Afterwards,] the priests [shall blow] for them on the trumpe[ts of retreat . . . and they shall take their stan]d in their positions in the battle line, [ . ] and shall take up position [ . . . the slain, [and all the people with rams' horns shall blow a very loud battle alarm, and as the sound goes out Col. 9 their hands shall begin to bring down the slain, and all the people shall quiet the sound of alarm, but the priests shall continue sounding on the trumpets off the slain to direct the fighting, until the enemy is defeated and turns in retreat. The priests shall blow the alarm to direct the battle, and when they have been defeated before them, the priests shall blow the trumpets of assembly, and all the infantry shall go out to them from the midst of the front battle lines and stand, six divisions in addition to the division which is engaged in battle: altogether, seven battle lines, twenty-eight thousand soldiers, and six thousand horsemen. All these shall pursue in order to destroy the enemy in God's battle; a total annihilation. The priests shall blow for them the trumpets of pursuit, and they shall divide themselves for a pursuit of annihilation against all the enemy. The cavalry shall push the enemy back at the flanks of the battle until they are destroyed.When the slain have fallen, the priests shall continue blowing from afar and shall not enter into the midst of the slain so as to be defiled by their unclean blood, for they are holy. They shall not allow the oil of their priestly anointment to be profaned with the blood 90f the vainglorious nations.

The description of the maneuvers of the battle divisions.

Rule for changing the order of the battle divisions, in order to arrange their position against [ . . . ] a pincer movement and towers, lien arc and towers, and as it draws slowly forward, then the columns and the flanks go out from the [t]wow sides of the battle line [that] ' 2 the enemy might become discouraged. The shields of the soldiers of the towers shall be three cubits long, and their lances eight cubits l[on]g. The towers '3 shall go out from the battle line with one hundred shields on a side. F[or] they shall surround the tower on the three frontal sides, 4 three hundred shields in all. There shall be three gates to a tower, one on [the right and] one on the left. Upon all the shields of the tower soldiers 5 they shall write: on the first, "My[chat]l," [on the second,"Gabriel," on the third,] "Cyril," and on the fourth "Raphael." 6 "Michael" and"Gabriel" on [the right, and "Raphael" and"Raphael" on the left. And [ . . . ] for to the four [ . . . They] shall establish an ambush for the [battle line] Of [ . . . ] and [ . . . they shall fal]1 on the s[lain . . . ]

For the entire War Rule

You might check back later. If I think of any other material I will add it.

Kenneth Sublett

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