Matthew Henry’s Commentary Notes on 1 Chronicles 25:1-7:
Observe, I. Singing the praises of God is here called prophesying (1Ch_25:1-3), not that all those who were employed in this service were honoured with the visions of God, or could foretel things to come. Heman indeed is said to be the king's seer in the words of God (1Ch_25:5); but the psalms they sang were composed by the prophets, and many of them were prophetical; and the edification of the church was intended in it, as well as the glory of God. In Samuel's time singing the praises of God went by the name of prophesying (1Sa_10:5; 1Sa_19:20), and perhaps that is intended in what St. Paul calls prophesying, 1Co_11:4; 1Co_14:24.
II. This is here called a service, and the persons employed in it workmen, 1Ch_25:1. Not but that it is the greatest liberty and pleasure to be employed in praising God: what is heaven but that? But it intimates that it is our duty to make a business of it, and stir up all that is within us to it; and that, in our present state of corruption and infirmity, it will not be done as it should be done without labour and struggle. We must take pains with our hearts to bring them, and keep them, to this work, and to engage all that is within us.
III. Here were, in compliance with the temper of that dispensation, a great variety of musical instruments used, harps, psalteries, cymbals (1Ch_25:1, 1Ch_25:6), and here was one that lifted up the horn (1Ch_25:5), that is, used wind-music. The bringing of such concerts of music into the worship of God now is what none pretend to. But those who use such concerts for their own entertainment should feel themselves obliged to preserve them always free from any thing that savours of immorality or profaneness, by this consideration, that time was when they were sacred; and then those were justly condemned who brought them into common use, Amo_6:5. They invented to themselves instruments of music like David.
IV. The glory and honour of God were principally intended in all this temple-music, whether vocal or instrumental. It was to give thanks, and praise the Lord, that the singers were employed, 1Ch_25:3. It was in the songs of the Lord that they were instructed (1Ch_25:7), that is, for songs in the house of the Lord, 1Ch_25:6. This agrees with the intention of the perpetuating of psalmody in the gospel-church, which is to make melody with the heart, in conjunction with the voice, unto the Lord, Eph_5:19.
This good work of singing God's praises Samuel revived, and set on foot, but lived not to see it brought to the perfection it appears in here. Solomon perfects what David began, so David perfects what Samuel began. Let all, in their day, do what they can for God and his church, though they cannot carry it so far as they would; when they are gone God can out of stones raise up others who shall build upon their foundation and bring forth the top-stone.