The Ancient Harp

The Harp in the Ancient World

The harp has always been known to be a beautiful sounding stringed instrument. The above painted sketch is from an actual harp in ancient Biblical times.

In ancient times the harp was played with the hand while walking. It had multiple strings and sometimes a sounding board.

"And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well."
1 Samuel 16:15-16

"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

"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: 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

Relevant Bible Verses The Bible mentions the "harp" many times:

1 Samuel 16:23 - 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 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:

Daniel 3:15 - Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; [well]: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who [is] that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

Psalms 57:8 - Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I [myself] will awake early.

Daniel 3:7 - Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down [and] worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

1 Chronicles 25:3 - Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD.

Psalms 108:2 - Awake, psaltery and harp: I [myself] will awake early.

1 Samuel 16:16 - Let our lord now command thy servants, [which are] before thee, to seek out a man, [who is] a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

Daniel 3:10 - Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:

Isaiah 23:16 - Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

Daniel 3:5 - [That] at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

Psalms 147:7 - Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Psalms 150:3 - Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

Genesis 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?

Psalms 71:22 - I will also praise thee with the psaltery, [even] thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 24:8 - The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.

Isaiah 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.

1 Corinthians 14:7 - And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

Isaiah 16:11 - Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.

Psalms 33:2 - Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings.

Genesis 4:21 - And his brother's name [was] Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

Job 30:31 - My harp also is [turned] to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.

Psalms 49:4 - I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

Psalms 81:2 - Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Psalms 92:3 - Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

Psalms 149:3 - Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

Job 21:12 - They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.

Psalms 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.

Psalms 98:5 - Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
 

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