The actual Hebrew word of the Scriptures, translated as Psalms, is (pronounced) miz-more. It means music, or a poem set to music, while the actual Hebrew word of the Psalms, translated as psaltery, is (pronounced) nay-bel and means a bottle, or pitcher - apparently the ancient psaltery was at least in part so-shaped (see also Jeduthun's Music).
In the Book of Daniel (see the entire study series for Daniel, beginning with The Prophet Daniel: A Child Of The Exile), the Chaldean word translated as "psaltery" is actually a transliteration (writing a word in one language the way it sounds in another language) of the Greek word for psaltery. The Greek word psalmoi means playing of harp strings.
Stringed musical instruments were routinely used for royal and worship occasions (which in Israel's case, was intended to be the same thing; see The Patriotism Prophecy).
"6:5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals." (2 Samuel 6:5 KJV)
"10:11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.
10:12 And the king 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 10:11-12 KJV)
The people of Judah did not lose their propensity for stringed instruments during the Babylonian captivity. Upon their return in the time of Ezra (see Ezra: The Return Of The Levites To Jerusalem) and Nehemiah (see Nehemiah: The Return Of The Governor), the "psalteries and harps" were still evident:
"12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps." (Nehemiah 12:27 KJV)
With the heritage of stringed instruments, the "Psalms" were an inevitable form of worship in Israel. Even in times of trouble, "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God."
"43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
43:2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
43:4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." (Psalm 43:1-5 KJV)
Fact Finder: Was the Sea of Galilee also know as "Harp Lake"?
This Day In History, January 3
323: Jin Yuandi, emperor of China's Jin Dynasty, died at age 47.
616: Aethelberht I, king of Kent 560-616, died. He issued the first code extant (i.e. a copy of which is still in existence) of Anglo-Saxon laws.
1322: Philip V of France died and was succeeded by his brother, Charles IV.
1496: Leonardo da Vinci tested his "flying machine."
1521: Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X for his opposing the Roman Catholic leadership of the time, not the core doctrines of the Church of Rome. Luther, and most "Protestant" churches ever since, have maintained most of Rome's false and erroneous anti-Biblical teachings (see also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1543: Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo died. He is regarded as "the conqueror of Central America" and "the discoverer of California."
1857: In France, Sebour, the Archbishop of Paris, was assassinated by a priest.
1919: The Soviet army seized Riga, the capital of Latvia, during the Baltic War of Liberation (1918-1920) in which Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania successfully defended their independence against attacks from both Russia and Germany.
1919: Emir Faisal I of Iraq signed an agreement with Jewish leader Chaim Weizmann for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in "Palestine" and an Arab nation in a large part of the Middle East. Both were later created by means of the British Mandate (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1924: Howard Carter, British Egyptologist, found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor.
1925: Benito Mussolini declared himself to be the dictator of Italy.
1932: Martial law was declared in Honduras to stop a revolt by banana workers who had been fired by United Fruit Company.
1946: William Joyce, known as "Lord Haw Haw," who broadcast Nazi propaganda (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) to Britain during the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), was hanged for treason in London.
1956: Fire damaged the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
1961: U.S. President Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba, two years after communist forces led by Fidel Castro overthrew the Mafia and CIA-supported puppet regime of Fulgencio Batista (after which the people of Cuba went from being ruled by a fascist dictator to being ruled by a communist dictator). Despite the political and economic embargo by the U.S., numerous efforts to overthrow and/or assassinate him, as well as being excommunicated by Pope John XXIII on January 3 1962 (exactly a year after Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba), Fidel Castro remained in power through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.
1967: Jack Ruby (actual name Jacob Rubenstein; the son of Polish-immigrant Jewish parents, he grew up in Chicago where, as a boy, he ran errands for the gangster Al Capone), who shot Lee Harvey Oswald before he could be tried for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer at age 56 while in prison.
1977: Apple Computer was incorporated.
1990: In Panama, President Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces after spending 10 days under siege at the Vatican embassy.
2004: Flash Airlines Flight 604 crashed into the Red Sea. 148 people were killed, making it the deadliest aviation accident in Egyptian history.