HEMAN (Heb. הֵימָן), orchestral leader in Israel in biblical times. According to the Book of Chronicles, Heman was related, through the prophet Samuel, to the levite family of Korah and Kohath (i Chron. 6:18). The affiliation of Heman with Samuel indicates the increasing prestige of Heman's house. At first he worshiped together with Jeduthun (ibid. 16:41–42; cf. ii Chron. 29:14–15) on the high places of Gibeon where the remains of the *Tabernacle were preserved. In taking the Ark up to Jerusalem (i Chron. 15:2–3), David participated together with the two families of singers, Asaph and Ethan; when the Temple was built by Solomon (ibid. 6:16ff.), David had already arranged to transfer Heman to Jerusalem (ibid. 25:1), where, together with the families mentioned, he could make music in the Temple, directing his sons (cf. ibid. 25:4–6). Heman and his sons, dressed in linen, made music (ii Chron. 5:12), and performed their rites at the east of the altar. In one instance (i Chron. 25:5) Heman is called "the king's [David's] seer." i Chronicles 25 reflects the rise of the Hemanites at the expense of the Asaphites during Second Temple times.
Heman the Ezrahite
In the superscription of Psalm 88 the name Heman the Ezrahite is mentioned (similarly, the singer of Psalm 89 is called: Ethan the Ezrahite). "Ezrathite," the native, may indicate continuity with older Canaanite psalmody. According to this genealogy, which relates Heman to "sons of Korah," it appears that the writer establishes a relationship between Heman the Ezrahite and "the sons of Korah," such as exists between them and Heman in Chronicles (see above). But contrary to this i Kings 5:11 mentions Ethan the Ezrahite as well as Heman, Calcol, and Darda, "the sons of Mahol," as great sages who were surpassed in wisdom only by Solomon; and in i Chronicles 2:6 these four are taken as belonging to the family of Zerah b. Judah ("the sons of Zerah: Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara"). Various theories have been advanced to reconcile these discrepancies, but it seems that the most probable view is that Ezrahite is identical with Zarhi (agreeing with i Chron. 2:6); Heman the Ezrahite is to be regarded as the father of the singers and related to the "sons of Korah." In ancient Israel singing and wisdom were associated. See, e.g., Psalm 49:4–5.
The Sons of Heman
According to i Chronicles 25:5 Heman had "fourteen sons," all of whom assisted "their father in song in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps." Since i Chronicles 6:18 establishes Heman's relationship to Korah, the sons of Heman are to be identified (see Abraham ibn Ezra to Ps. 42:1) with the sons of Korah, to whom Psalms 42–49 and 84–88 have been ascribed and who also are described as singers in the war chronicle dating from the days of Jehoshaphat (ii Chron. 20:18). The sons of Heman are spoken of in the days of Hezekiah (ii Chron. 29:12); they are not mentioned in the days of Josiah (ibid. 35:15); nor is anything said of them (and "the sons of Korah") in the genealogical lists of Ezra and Nehemiah. Perhaps this reflects a tradition that they were removed from office during the days of Josiah.
S. Japhet, i & ii Chronicles (1993), 156–58.
[Yehoshua M. Grintz]