Asaph, a Levite, was the son of Berechiah the Gershonite []. Asaph was the Chief Musician who ministered to the Ark of the Covenant when it was moved from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem []. He sounded cymbals for the Ark, and also wrote many Psalms, many of which are recorded in the Book of Psalms. Asaph's family became one of the three families given responsibility for music and song in the Temple [].


Early Life

Asaph was born in the Tribe of Levi to Berechiah the Gershonite []. At some point Asaph was put into Levitical Priesthood where he was trained to be a musician, particularly on the cymbals. Asaph also had two sons, Heman and Jeduthun who had the ability to prophesy like himself []. In addition he had four other sons, Zakkur, Joseph, Nethaniah before he was a musician for the Ark [].

Cymbal Player for the Ark

After David had constructed buildings for his residence and administration, the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem. While moving the Ark from the house Obed-Edom to Jerusalem, a procession of musicians followed immediately behind. David requested Levite leaders select musicians to provide music, and Asaph was one of the selected; perhaps because he was known for his cymbal skills [].

Musician of the Ark

Once the Ark of the Covenant was set up in the Tabernacle, David appointed several Levites to lead musical praise of God in His presence at the Ark. Asaph was appointed as the Chief Musician to the music ministry of the Ark by David. While leading the music, Asaph sounded cymbals []. Music was necessary before the Ark of the Covenant, as the very prescence of God dwelled in it.

Then Asaph was commissioned to praise God, reciting and following the model of the one-hundred and fifth Psalm (in the Book of Psalms)[]. Now Asaph was to manage the music on a daily basis, playing music according to a day's needs, over sixty-seven other musicians [].

Temple Musician

On the advice of military commanders, David designated Asaph's two sons to be musicians and prophets for the Temple []. Four of Asaph's sons: Zakkur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asrelah were all designated under Asaph's own management. Asaph himself reported to the King ( Solomon) and also did prophesying [].

Asaph along with all of his family members and descendants who were musicians, stood east of the altar dressed in linen [].

Writer of Psalms

Sometime before the reign of King Hezekiah, Asaph wrote many Psalms and was recognized as a seer for his great prophetic abilities []. Asaph wrote Psalm 50, and 73-83; this was eleven Psalms he authored []


Following the captivity, 128 singers from this family returned from Babylon and conducted the singing when the foundations of Zerubbabel's Temple were laid;[] 3:10).