Question: Was Satan a worship leader in heaven? Ezekiel 28:12-19 does speak about Satan, right? Doesn’t pipes refer to Satan’s instrument? The King James Bible says, “12Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.  13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.  14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”

Answer: There is no evidence that Satan was a worship leader in heaven.

A person should always examine the context of Biblical passages. Ezekiel 26:1-28:19 contains a collection of prophetic oracles against Tyre, and many statements speak of Tyre’s pride, especially because they were an economic powerhouse in the ancient world because of their seaport. Ezek 28:12-19 does not speak about Satan, but about the king of Tyre. This lament against the king of Tyre uses elevated, mocking language to make a point. (Verses 16, 18 speak about Tyre’s trade.)

Further, this passage is followed by a prophetic oracle concerning Sidon (Tyre and Sidon are often paired in the Bible), and thus Ezekiel is speaking of human kings and kingdoms, not Satan.

As for pipes, the Hebrew word neqeb in Ezek 28:13 means “subterranean passage, mine” [W. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 244], and is not a reference to a musical instrument.

Similarly, Isaiah 14:3-23 speaks of the king of Babylon, not Satan.

William P. Griffin, Ph.D.

Addendum by Wave Nunnally, Ph.D.: Similarly, later Jewish literature NEVER used this term to refer to musical instruments, applying it instead to things like "hole, perforation, incision, channel" and even a reference to a private part (Marcus Jastrow, DICTIONARY OF THE TARGUMIM, TALMUD BABLI, YERUSHALMI, AND THE MIDRASHIC LITERATURE.  NY: Judiaca Press, 1971,  p. 930).