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The Hebrew word pronounced tofe is variously translated as either tabret, timbrel or tambourine - the King James Version uses both tabret and timbrel.

The English "tabret" is derived from an Old French and Spanish word, tabor (or tabour), which was a small hand-held drum, often highly-ornamented, beaten with a single stick, and usually played in accompaniment to one or more of singing and string or wind instruments. That definition agrees with the usual Biblical references to a "tabret" e.g.

"with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them" (1 Samuel 10:5 KJV)

"Thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets"

When Jacob fled Laban (see Jacob and Laban; also Jacob's Ringstreaked, Speckled And Spotted), Laban's anger included that "I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp."


"31:26 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? 31:27 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)

Prophets used music "before them," including the tabret.

"10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 10:6 And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." (1 Samuel 10:5-6 KJV)

Music was frequently used in victory celebrations, although in this example, Saul felt defeated by David's greater success in battle (see also Israelite Monarchy - The Origin and The Civil War).

"18:5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants.

18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 18:7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

18:8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?" (1 Samuel 18:5-8 KJV)

Music can be good, provided that it is used within the Truth, not as a replacement for Truth. Very often, when the Gospel message is weak, false or unenlightened teachers will try to fill the gaps with nice-sounding music. In effect, music becomes a distraction, rather than an enhancement.

"5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 5:15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled" (Isaiah 5:12-15 KJV)

Eventually, all of those who make beautiful music, while preaching lies, will be silenced.

"24:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 24:6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. 24:7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. 24:8 The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth." (Isaiah 24:5-8 KJV)

When the Kingdom of God comes upon the earth, music will be heard as a celebration of the LORD.

"31:4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. 31:5 Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. 31:6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.

31:7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. 31:8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither." (Jeremiah 31:4-8 KJV)

Fact Finder: The verses in Jeremiah, quoted above, refer to "a great company shall return thither." What does that mean?
See Spiritual and Physical Gatherings

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