Thursday, March 13, 2008

Who is Asaph?

Book III (of Psalms) – 11 out of 17 psalms in this portion are written by Asaph (Ps73-83)

Who was Asaph? (

We can read about Asaph in two books of the *Old Testament, Chronicles and Nehemiah. From them we learn 4 things about Asaph:
· his father was Berechiah (1 Chronicles 6:39)
· he was a music leader (1 Chronicles 15:17 ... this verse also calls Heman and Ethan music leaders)
· he was a *seer (2 Chronicles 29:30) ... a *seer can "see what will happen", it is another word for "*prophet"
· he lived at the same time as King David (Nehemiah 12:46)

In 1 Chronicles 25:1 - 2 we read this:
v1 David and the leaders of the army made these people separate. They were the sons of Asaph, the sons of Heman and the sons of Jeduthun. Their job was to *prophesy. They had to make music with *harps, *lyres and *cymbals.
v2 Here is a list of the men that did this work. From the sons of Asaph (there are) Jaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. Asaph told the sons of Asaph what to do. Asaph *prophesied with help from the king.

"To *prophesy" means "to tell people what God thinks and what he is going to do". They did this with music. Maybe this means that they sang what they *prophesied.

Asaph was the leader of "the sons of Asaph". They were his family. When he died the family continued to do this work. For many centuries they were "the sons of Asaph". It became the name of a music group. Ezra 3:10 tells us that they sang when they built the *temple in Jerusalem again. This was 500 years after Asaph died! Maybe the family wrote a book of psalms called "Psalms of the Sons of Asaph". We do not know. But, when the *Israelites made our Book of Psalms, they put into it some of the Psalms of Asaph. Bible students think that Asaph made a book of psalms, and some (or all?) of them are in our Book of Psalms. They are Psalm 50 (in Book 2 of "The Psalms of David") and Psalms 73-83 (here in Book 3).

The psalms from Asaph’s book do this:
· they describe the world round us in a clear way
· they tells us that God cares for people
· they make what has happened teach us things
· they tell us that God is very great
· they are good *poetry (poetry is using words in a beautiful way)


Xiomara. said...

Hello, I did a google search on who is Asaph and found this. I was reading my favorite Psalm which is Psalm 73 and it was a last minute thing but the lord has allowed me to teach a short Bible study and I needed a short compact way of telling students who Asaph was and this was great help. Thank you so much for posting this. May the Lord continue to grow you.

Anonymous said...

I too did a search for who is Asaph and this is the second reference I have read. I teach a mens Sunday School class and this really helps me other background references. God is amazing and reveals himself to us in his own time. The study of Asaph has opened my eyes to how great God really is. Thank you for postng "Who is Asaph?" I am sure others like myself will benefit.

Anonymous said...

I will say as well... Thanks for posting this. I have mostly just always assumed David wrote most all the Psalms then while studying Psalm 73 more I noticed that it was a Psalm of Asaph. Made me wonder. I am a worship leader... Thought it was cool he lead praise music. Thanks again!

In Christ