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The lyre, from the Hebrew word pronounced kin-nor, was a stringed musical instrument known from very ancient times. It was invented by Jubal, from whom the word jubilation is derived, in the seventh generation after creation. It was widely used by the Hebrew people for worship and pleasure. Although somewhat similar, and variously translated as such, the harp and lyre were technically different instruments. The harp was larger, with a resonant body, and according to the Jewish historian Josephus, the lyre had ten strings which were picked with a plectrum, while the harp had twelve strings which were played with fingers alone. A lyre is shown on an ancient coin in the illustration below.

"Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ"

Stringed instruments were known through Bible History from the very most ancient times:


"And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ." (Genesis 4:20-21 KJV)

"And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?" (Genesis 31:26-27 KJV) (see Jacob and Laban)

"And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." (1 Samuel 16:22-23 KJV)

"And the king [i.e. Solomon] made of the almug trees pillars for the house of The Lord, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day." (1 Kings 10:12 KJV) "And he set the Levites in the house of The Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of The Lord by His prophets." (2 Chronicles 29:25 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is the Sea Of Galilee also named after a harp (because of the shape of the coastline)?
See The Sea Of Galilee

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