In the Bible, what is a…

Hebrew: כִּנּוֹר —transliteration: kinnor

Kinnor (harp)
Artist’s impression of a Hebrew kinnor (harp) in Old Testament times. Illustration by Aaron Walden, based on ancient artifacts and artistic representations (CC).

This word appears 42 times in Scripture. The harp was the national musical instrument of the Hebrews. It appears to be the type of harp we call a lyre, although a minority think the word kinnor refers to the whole class of biblical stringed instruments.

The harp was invented in the pre-Flood world, not long after Earth’s creation, by a man named Jubal.

…he was the father of all those who play the harp and flute (pipe). (Genesis 4:21b).

Apparently Noah’s family carried the harp to the post-Flood world, as it appears in very early times.

The harp was used as an accompaniment to songs of cheerfulness, as well as of praise to God (Genesis 31:27; 1 Samuel 16:23; 2 Chronicles 20:28; Psalm 33:2; 137:2).

In Solomon’s time, harps were made from almug-trees (1 Kings 10:11-12).

1 Chronicles 15:21 mentions “harps on the Sheminith;” Revised King James Version, “harps set to the Sheminith”—better perhaps “harps of 8 strings” or octave harps.

The soothing effect of the music of the harp is referred to 1 Samuel 16:16, 23; 18:10; 19:9.

Great voice in prophecy with a harp-like sound

The Apostle John reports that in his vision of the Church in Heaven celebrating the triumphs of the Redeemer, he heard a voice…

“I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.” —Revelation 14:2 NASB

KJV: “…harping with their harps.”

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Article Version: September 28, 2017