Brief History of Biblical Musical Instruments the Children Craft in our Program

"Psalm" translates the Hebrew word mizmowr -- number 4210 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Mizmowr literally means MUSIC and comes from Strong's 2167, zamar -- "to touch the strings of a musical instrument... to make music accompanied by the voice."

History of Biblical instruments

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Bible Reference to Music Bible References to Music Bible Reference to Music
Bible References to Music Bible References to Music Bible References to MusicBible References to Music
References to Music and Musical Instruments in the Bible. Click on Bible above

God invented music. The music He invented is very mysterious

Music is simply vibrations.

VibrationsVibrations are music

To make music, we simply... vibrate the air.

  • We vibrate the air by such means as plucking a string, or blowing across a reed.
  • We sing by expelling the breath from our lungs to vibrate two bits of flesh (vocal chords) that vibrate the air around us.
  • Vibrations in the air generate sympathetic movements in the bits of flesh and bone inside our ears. These bits of flesh and bone send "messages" to auditory nerves in our bodies. The auditory nerves send electrical impulses to our brains and we perceive this as SOUND! Very mysterious!
  • Fast air vibrations produce high notes. Slow vibrations produce low notes. When two different notes are sounded at the same time they can produce either harmony or confusion (dissonance).
  • Air that is vibrated with order and pattern produces music. Air that is vibrated with disorder and lack of pattern produces noise. And God ordained it to be so, for God is not the author of confusion but of harmony and peace.

It is not a matter of translation, not a matter of what your denomination believes, simply put Music created by GOD for his glory, honor, and praise. From the fields of the Shepherd to the Tabernacle and Temple worship, 1Chr. 6:31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. 32They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. 33Here are the men who served, together with their sons: From the Kohathites: Heman, the musician, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, . . 6All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. 7Along with their relatives --all of them trained and skilled in music for the LORD --they numbered 288.

1Chr. 9:33 Those who were musicians, heads of Levite families, stayed in the rooms of the temple and were exempt from other duties because they were responsible for the work day and night. 34All these were heads of Levite families, chiefs as listed in their genealogy, and they lived in Jerusalem.

1Chr. 13:7 They moved the ark of God from Abinadab's house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. To the calming of a kings heart, to the moving of the Ark of the Covenant 1Chr. 15:15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD. 16David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

From The first book in the Bible to the Last Music and Musical Instruments were created not by man but by God for His glory. We are truly blessed with such a gift.

Musical Words used in the Bible
Instruments Highlighted in Yellow are the instruments the children handcraft

choir(s)
cymbal(s)
flute(s)
gong
harp(ist, ists, s)
horn, ram's horns
hymn(s)
instruments,
stringed instruments
music of the strings
the strings
lutes
lyre(s)

music(al, ian, ians) Flute
pipes rattle
players
psalm(s)
sang
sing(er, ers, ing, s)
sistrums[double cymbal]
song(s)
sung
tambourine(s)
trumpet(s)
trumpeters
zither

Dan. 3:4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
1Sam. 10:5 [Samuel said to Saul] "After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. 6The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
1Sam. 18:5 Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul's officers as well. 6When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.
2Sam. 6:3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.
1Chr. 13:7 They moved the ark of God from Abinadab's house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.

The flute or shepherds fluteJer. 48:35 In Moab I will put an end to those who make offerings on the high places and burn incense to their gods," declares the LORD. 36"So my heart laments for Moab like a flute; it laments like a flute for the men of Kir Hareseth. The wealth they acquired is gone. Flutes in ancient Israel, they were the end-blown type still used today in the Near East, Middle East, parts of Asia, and North Africa. The Flute was used by many prophets and to be Kings. From Moses to David. Equipment typically carried by Biblical shepherds included:

  • a bag made of a full goat's skin, with legs tied, in which was carried food or other items.
  • a sling for defending himself and the flock against wild animals.
  • a flute for entertaining himself and the sheep.
  • a cloak that was also used for night-time bedding.
  • a stick (rod) about a yard/meter long with a knob on one end.
  • a staff, or "shepherd's crook," that looked somewhat like a modern cane.

Lets look at the insturments

Bells

Bells are mentioned only in the Old Testament. The priest wore gold bells (Paamon, pha-am-one') alternating with pomegranates when in the Holy Place of the temple (Exodus 28:31-35, and 39:25-26). Exodus 28:33 On its skirts you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet stuff, around its skirts, with bells of gold between them, Exodus 39:25 They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the skirts of the robe round about, between the pomegranates;Zechariah 14:20 mentions bells (metsillah, mets-il-law') on horses after the Second Coming.
On that day, Holy to the LORD, will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.

The Clarinet or Oboe

The Hebrew word 'chaliyl' (khaw-leel') occurs in six Old Testament references. It was translated 'pipe' or 'pipes' in the King James Version, and 'flute' in the NIV. Some now think from archaeology work by Nelson Glueck, that this instrument was a primitive clarinet, a chalumeau. The chalumeau is a single reed pipe. However, others think the 'chaliyl' was a Hebrew 'shawm'. Most references say a shawm is a double reed instrument that is the ancestor of the oboe.

Flute

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There are seven different words that have been translated as Flute or Pipe in the Bible. It is not entirely certain what all these instruments were. Part of the problem is, of course, that these are from two to four thousand years ago. Another problem is that the Hebrews were forbidden from making pictures of any of the instruments. There are some pictures from other cultures in near by regions. One word translated as flute is 'haliyl'. This is now thought to have been a primitive clarinet.

Another word is 'nehiylot' and is found only in Psalms 5:1, and is translated "For Flutes". To the choirmaster: for the flutes. A Psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my groaning.The third word 'ugab' is found in these following verses. In the RVS, it was translated 'pipe'.

Genesis 4:21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.Job 21:12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre, and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.Job 30:31 My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.Psalms 150:4 Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. I Chr. 15:16

Cymbals

The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; I Chr. 15:19

So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams' horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps. I Chr. 15:28

He [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel: Asaph was the chief, Zechariah second, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel. They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. I Chr. 16:4-6

David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. I Chr. 25:1

He [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel: Asaph was the chief, Zechariah second, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel. They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. I Chr. 16:4-6

Herman and Jeduthun were responsible for the sounding of the trumpets and cymbals and for the playing of the other instruments for sacred song. I Chr. 16:42

All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. I Chr. 25:6

All the Levites who were musicians-Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives-stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:
"He is good; his love endures forever."
Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. II Chr. 5:12-14

He [King Hezekiah] stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the kin's seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the LORD through his prophets. II Chr. 29:25

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praises the Lord, as prescribed by David King of Israel. Ezra 3:10

At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. Neh. 12:27

Sistrums are mentioned only once in the Old Testament. This reference was the first time David tried to bring up the ark of God from Baalah of Judah to Jerusalem. II Samuel 6:5 says "David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums, and cymbals."

Sistrum is the translation of the Hebrew word 'mena'an'iym'. It is a rattler, in the shape of a 'Y' with strings of beads across the top part of the 'Y'. This word was translated at 'Castanets' in the RSV and 'Cornet' in the KJV.

Trumpet (Sophar)

There are two quite different instruments translated as trumpet or trumpets. The 'Sopar', or 'Sophar', a ram's horn, is translated trumpet (singular), except for in Joshua and Judges. It is not really a musical instrument. It sounds only the second and third harmonic. It was used for signaling in battle and in the Temple. The 'sophar' is mentioned 72 times in the OT 1Cor. 14:6 Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?

Tambourine

Jer. 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. 4I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. The Tambourine is mentioned seventeen times in the Old Testament. It was played by women. It wasn't used in temple ritual, but it was used to praise God. The Hebrew word 'toph' is translated tambourine or timbrel. Genesis 31:27 Why did you flee secretly, and cheat me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre?1 Samuel 10:5 After that you shall come to Gibeathelohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines; and there, as you come to the city, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying.Job 21:12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre, and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.2 Samuel 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the LORD with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.1 Chronicles 13:8 And David and all Israel were making merry before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets. Timbrel in the KJ and RSV

Exodus 15:20 Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing.Psalms 81:2 Raise a song, sound the timbrel, the sweet lyre with the harp.Psalms 149:3 Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with timbrel and lyre!Psalms 150:4 Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!Isaiah 5:12 They have lyre and harp, timbrel and flute and wine at their feasts; but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands.Exodus 15:20 Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing.Judges 11:34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances; she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.1 Samuel 18:6 � As they were coming home, when David returned from slaying the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with timbrels, with songs of joy, and with instruments of music.Psalms 68:25 the singers in front, the minstrels last, between them maidens playing timbrels:Isaiah 24:8 The mirth of the timbrels is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled.Isaiah 30:32 And every stroke of the staff of punishment which the LORD lays upon them will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with them. Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with timbrels, and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers

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