What Does the Bible Say about David's Harp?

by Melinda Ferrari (The Open Bible Harpist)

What did David's harp look like?

The first instrument that is mentioned in the original version of the King James Bible is the Harp. "And his brother’s name was Jubal he was the father of all such the handle the harp and organ". Genesis 4:21. The year in which Jubal was born was not mentioned in the Bible, however, doing some mathematical calculations, based on the birth of the genealogy of the descendants of Adam, I determined that the estimated time of his birth is between 500-600 A.M. Jubal was the 7th generation of Adam through Cain. His birth would have then occurred about 250-300 years before Egypt was established. Historians record that Egypt was established about 3150 BC.

Archeologists have discovered paintings of the harp in Egyptian graves. These artifacts dated back to as early as 2800 B.C. - 3000 B.C. and they are reported to be the earliest artifacts of harps discovered anywhere in the world. Images of these harps resemble a bow with strings. In fact, it is believed that the first harp was made from a hunting bow. Over the years a third side was added to the harp, giving it its triangular shape.

Now, which one of the images above could be protrating David's harp? We will eliminate image four (4). Why? It is a pedal harp. The pedal harp was invented in the eighteenth century, only four centuries ago, and about thirty centuries after David died.

Let us look at number three(3), a kinnor. The Hebrew word kinnor referred to any stringed instrument. A kinnor is also a type of harp that has 3-12 strings. Hebrew harp, however, had 22 strings, one string for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Psalm 33:2 says: “Praise the LORD with harp, sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.” It mentions the harp and it also mentions an instrument that has ten strings. Is that a kinnor?

Number two (2) is a lyre and a lyre comes in many forms. Some versions of the Bible use the word lyre in the Old Testament instead harp that the King James version uses. Both words, however, share the same Hebrew root.

The lyre is a musical instrument of ancient Greece. Early Greek civilization started about 900 BC. David was born about 1000 BC and he lived for 70 years. Therefore, he did not see the Greek invention of the lyre.

Upon reading the Bible, especially the Psalms, Chronicles and the Books of Samuel, we find that David was a master musiacian, particularly on stringed instruments. Since the harp was the first stringed instrument to be invented, by lgical reasoning, all other stringed instruments evolved from the harp. This creates similarities between the instruments, as we see in the pictures, making it easier for a musician who plays one of these stringed instrument to play another.

Based on my research, I conclude that David played the harp as in number one (1). In addition, he must have also played the kinnor along with other stringed instruments that are mentioned in the Psalms that he wrote.

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http://www.biblesearchers.com/temples/jeremiah11.shtml https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harp https://www.britannica.com/art/harp-musical-instrument