Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Dictionaries

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Psaltery

Additional Links

Psaltery. This was a stringed instrument of music to accompany the voice. The Hebrew, nabel or nebel is so rendered, in the Authorized Version, in all passages where if occurs, except in Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 22:24, marg.; Amos 5:23; Amos 6:6, where it is translated viol. The ancient viol was a six-stringed guitar. In the Prayer Book version of the Psalms, the Hebrew word is rendered "lute."

This instrument resembled the guitar, but was superior in tone, being larger, and having a convex back, somewhat like the vertical section of a gourd, or more nearly resembling that of a pear. These three instruments, the psaltery or sautry, the viol and lute, are frequently associated in the old English poets and were clearly instruments resembling each other though still different. The Greek psalterium (psalterion), from which our word is derived, denotes an instrument played with the fingers instead of a plectrum or quill, the verb being used of twanging the bow-string.

It is impossible to say positively with what instrument the nebel of the Hebrew exactly corresponded, From the fact that nebel in Hebrew also signifies a wine-bottle or skin, it has been conjectured that the term, when applied to a musical instrument, denotes a kind of bagpipe. The psalteries of David were made of cypress, 2 Samuel 6:5, those of Solomon of algum or almug trees. 2 Chronicles 9:11. Among the instruments of the band, which played before Nebuchadnezzar's golden image on the plains of Dura, we again meet with the psaltery. Daniel 3:6; Daniel 3:10; Daniel 3:15, Chaldaic, pesanterin.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. Entry for 'Psaltery'. Smith's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/sbd/p/psaltery.html. 1901.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
Next Entry
Ptolemaeus