Although there are many ways that Divine spirit and prophesy are expressed and manifest themselves, it is significant that music is considered one of those channels. We see this clearly in another story involving Saul, who was also anointed by Samuel. At first, Saul was quite taken back by being chosen the first king of Israel, but Samuel assured him that it was ordained on High and gave him a number of signs of things that would happen to him in order that he would know that in deed he was meant to be king. Among those signs he was told that “you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place with a lute and a timbrel, and a pipe and a lyre before them, and they shall prophesy and the spirit of God will come upon you and you will prophesy with them and you shall be turned into another man” (Samuel I 10:5-6). Saul in fact does meet the band of prophets and he too begins to prophesy.
It is explained that the band of prophets used music as the means to create the proper spiritual atmosphere in which the Divine spirit could rest upon them. Later in history, Elisha, one of the greatest miracle worker in the Bible, is asked by three kings to inquire of God what to do. He told them: “…now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass when the minstrel played, the hand of God came upon him” (Kings 2; 3:15).
It is clear that Jewish mystics in all ages knew the unique quality of music as a means for creating a spiritual experience and to enter a deep meditative state of consciousness. A state of prophesy only comes through joy and that is the essential connection between prophesy and music, for nothing awakens, fuels and expresses joy more than music.
For this reason we are taught that Jacob lost the spirit of prophesy during the twenty- two years he thought his son Joseph was dead. His state of mourning prevented any real joy to enter his soul, thereby cutting off the conditions for Divine inspiration.
Immediately upon hearing that Joseph was in fact alive the Torah states: “the spirit of Jacob their father was revived” (Genesis 48:27). The Targum Onkeles, the Aramaic translation, writes that at that moment the spirit of prophesy was revived in Jacob. As soon as his mourning stopped and joy returned to his heart, so too did the spirit of prophesy.