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Ancient Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos

Mosaic of a Woman
Playing the Harp
AO 26169
Sully Levant room 16
Floor covering panel: harpist
Around 260 AD
Iran, ‘palace’ of Shapur I at Bishapur

Mosaic of a Woman Playing the Harp

The first biblical allusion to music concerns Jubal, “the founder of all those who handle the harp”. (Genesis 4:21). In 1 Chronicles 15:20, 21, it concerns “stringed instruments (nevalim) tuned to Al´a·moth” and “harps (kinnorôth) tuned to Shem´i·nith”.

The Bible however provides very little information about the dozen or so instruments it mentions. The nevel was a wooden instrument on which sacred as well as secular music was played (2 Samuel 6:5; Amos 6:5) whereas the kinnor, which was relatively light and, like the nevel, portable, was above all a ‘pleasant’, joyful instrument. - Psalm 81:2; Isaiah 24:9.

The first biblical allusion to the music concerns Jubal

Both the Scriptures and non-biblical manuscripts
bear witness to the ability of Israelite musicians
and to the quality of the poetry of the Hebrew Scriptures. The choirs (male) and orchestras
attached to the Temple of Jerusalem bore witness, musically, to a high level of instruction and
undeniable skill. A245
The account of the inauguration of Solomon's Temple shows that there was no discord in the music. It is interesting to note that, based on an Assyrian low relief, King Sennacherib requested male and female singers as a tribute to King Hezekiah. A246

“The trumpeters and the singers were as one in causing one sound to be heard in praising.”

 2 Chronicles 5:13 
“Singing and accompanying yourselves with music”
Ephesians 5:19.
Sistrums         E 678, E 681
Sully   Egyptian Antiquities
room 10 showcase 4
The name of this musical instrument features just
once in the Scriptures.
 It is said to derive from
the root meaning “to tremble,
to be shaken” - 2 Samuel 6:5.
This sort of rattle is still used
in Ethiopia during church services.

 Sistrums :

Once in The Bible

Instrumental music is only mentioned figuratively in the Greek Scriptures (Revelation 14:2). What the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:15 suggest that song was by no means an unusual aspect of Christian worship. He furthermore exhorts that God be praised by “spiritual songs, singing and accompanying yourselves with music”. - Ephesians 5:19.


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