Tabret; Timbrel

Concise Bible Dictionary:

A musical instrument with loose pieces of metal attached, similar to the modern tambourine. This instrument is still a favorite in the East. It is tapped with the fingers (Gen. 31:2727Wherefore 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 31:27); Ex. 15:2020And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. (Exodus 15:20); Judg. 11:3434And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. (Judges 11:34); 1 Sam. 10:55After 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: (1 Samuel 10:5); 2 Sam. 6:55And 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); Psa. 68:2525The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. (Psalm 68:25); Psa. 81:22Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. (Psalm 81:2); Psa. 149:33Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. (Psalm 149:3); Psa. 150:44Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. (Psalm 150:4): Isa. 30:3232And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. (Isaiah 30:32); etc.).

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

1. The word toph, here and in other places rendered “tabret,” and in a number of texts translated “timbrel,” represents a very ancient musical instrument of percussion. There are three varieties depicted on the Egyptian monuments: one circular, another square or oblong, and a third consisting of two squares separated by a bar. Over these frames parchment was stretched, and in the rim were small bells or pieces of tinkling brass. The toph was used on occasions of joy, and was generally played by women, and often accompanied by dancing. It is reproduced in the “tambourine” which is occasionally seen in the streets of our large cities in the hands of itinerant musicians as an accompaniment to the barrel-organ.
2. The word kinnor, which frequently occurs in the Old Testament, and is translated “harp,” has given rise to considerable discussion. It was undoubtedly the earliest musical instrument made (Gen. 4:2121And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. (Genesis 4:21)), though some suppose that the text referred to is meant to show that Jubal was the inventor of stringed instruments generally, without referring to any particular kind. As to the shape of this ancient instrument there is no certainty. It has been variously represented by different writers as shaped like the lyre, the Greek letter 4, the guitar, and the modern harp. There is equal variety of opinion as to the number of strings. Seven, ten, twenty-four, and forty-seven have been named. It has also been asserted by some that it was played by means of a plectrum, while others assert that it was played by hand. These conflicting statements may all be harmonized by supposing that the shape varied at different times, or that the word kinnor was the generic term for all instruments of the lyre kind; that the number of strings varied at different periods, or with the size of the instrument; that the instruments were of different sizes; and that they were sometimes played with a plectrum and sometimes by hand. The kinnor was a very popular instrument with the Hebrews, and was used at jubilees and festivals. Its use was also practiced by other nations.

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