on Isaiah 5 :12
on Isaiah 5 :12
The prophet proceeds to state still further the extent of their crimes. This verse contains an account of their dissipated habits, and their consequent forgetfulness of God. That they commonly had musical instruments in their feasts, is evident from many passages of the Old Testament; see Amos 6:5-6. Their feasts, also, were attended with songs; Isaiah 24:8-9.
The harp - - כנור kinnôr. This is a well-known stringed instrument, employed commonly in sacred music. It is often mentioned as having been used to express the pious feelings of David; Psalm 32:2; Psalm 43:4; Psalm 49:5. It is early mentioned as having been invented by Jubal; Genesis 4:21. It is supposed usually to have had ten strings (Josephus, "Ant." B. x. ch. xii. Section 3). It was played by the hand; 1 Samuel 16:23; 1 Samuel 18:9. The "root" of the word כנור kinnôr, is unknown. The word "kinnor" is used in all the languages cognate to the Hebrew, and is recognized even in the Persian. It is probable that the instrument here referred to was common in all the oriental nations, as it seems to have been known before the Flood, and of course the knowledge of it would be extended far. It is an oriental name and instrument, and from this word the Greeks derived their word κινύρα kinura. The Septuagint renders it κιθάρα kithara and κινύρα kinura.
Once they substitute for it ὄργανον organon, Psalm 136:2; and five times ψαλτήριον psaltērion, Genesis 4:20; Psalm 48:4; Psalm 80:2; Psalm 149:3; Ezekiel 26:13. The harp - כנור kinnôr - is not only mentioned as having been invented by Jubal, but it is also mentioned by Laban in the description which be gives of various solemnities, in regard to which he assures the fleeing Jacob that it had been his wish to accompany him with all the testimonials of joy - 'with music - תף tôph and כנור kinnôr;' Genesis 31:27. In the first age it was consecrated to joy and exultation. Hence, it is referred to as the instrument employed by David to drive away the melancholy of Saul 1 Samuel 16:16-22, and is the instrument usually employed to celebrate the praises of God; Psalm 33:1-2; Psalm 43:4; Psalm 49:5; Psalm 71:22-23. But the harp was not only used on sacred occasions. Isaiah also mentions it as carried about by courtezans Isaiah 23:16, and also refers to it as used on occasions of gathering in the vintage, and of increasing the joy of the festival occasion.
So also it was used in military triumphs. Under the reign of Jehoshaphat, after a victory which had been gained over the Moabites, they returned in triumph to Jerusalem, accompanied with playing on the כנור kinnôr;" 2 Chronicles 20:27-28. The harp was generally used on occasions of joy. Only in one place, in Isaiah Isa 16:11, is it referred to as having been employed in times of mourning. There is no ancient figure of the כנור kinnôr that can be relied on as genuine. We can only say that it was an instrument made of sounding wood, and furnished with strings. Josephus says that it was furnished with ten strings, and was played with the plectrum ("Ant." B. viii. ch. x.) Suidas, in his explanation of it, makes express mention of strings or sinews (p. 318); and Pollux speaks of goats' claws as being used for the plectrum. David made it out of the ברושׁ berôsh, or fir, and Solomon out of the almug. Pfeiffer supposes, that the strings were drawn over the belly of a hollow piece of wood, and that it had some resemblance to our violin. But it is more probable that the common representation of the harp as nearly in the form of a triangle, with one side or the front part missing, is the correct one. For a full discussion of the subject, see Pfeiffer on the Music of the ancient Hebrews, "Bib. Repos." vol. vi. pp. 366-373. Montfaucon has furnished a drawing of what was supposed to be the ancient כנור kinnôr, which is represented in the book. But, after all, the usual form is not quite certain.
Bruce found a sculpture of a harp resembling that usually put into the hands of David, or nearly in the form of a triangle, and under circumstances which led him to suppose that it was as old as the times of Sesostris.
And the viol - נבל nebel. From this word is derived the Greek word νάβλα nabla, and the Latin nablium and nabla. But it is not very easy to form a correct idea of this instrument. The derivation would lead us to suppose that it was something in the shape of a "bottle," and it is probable that it had a form in the shape of a leather bottle, such as is used in the East, or at least a vessel in which wine was preserved; 1 Samuel 10:3; 1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 16:1. It was at first made of the ברושׁ berôsh or fir; afterward it was made of the almug tree, and occasionally it seems to have been made of metal; 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 13:8. The external parts of the instrument were of wood, over which strings were drawn in various ways. Josephus says it had twelve strings ("Ant." B. viii. ch. x.) He says also that it was played with the fingers. - "Ibid." Hesychius and Pollux reckon it among stringed instruments. The resonance had its origin in the vessel or the bottom part of the instrument, upon which the strings were drawn. According to Ovid, this instrument was played on with both hands:
Quaravis mutus erat, voci favisse putatur
Piscis, Aroniae fabula nora lyrae.
Disce etiam duplice genialia palma
De Arte Amandi, lib. iii.327.
According to Jerome, Isodorus, and Cassiodorus, it had the form of an inverted Greek Delta δ d. Pfeiffer supposes that this instrument was probably the same as is found represented on ancient monument. The belly of the instrument is a wooden bowl, having a small hole in the under part, and is covered over with a stretched skin, which is higher in the middle than at the sides. Two posts, which are fastened together at the top by a cross piece, pass obliquely through this skin. Five strings pass over this skin, having a bridge for their support on the cross piece. The instrument has no pins or screws, but every string is fastened by means of some linen wound with it around this cross piece. The description of this instrument is furnished by Niebuhr ("Thess." i. p. 179). It is played on in two ways, either by being struck with the finger, or by a piece of leather, or perhaps a quill hung at its side and drawn across the strings. It cannot with certainty be determined when this instrument was invented, or when it came into use among the Hebrews. It is first mentioned in the time of Saul 1 Samuel 10:5, and from this time onward it is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. It was used particularly in the public worship of God; 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Kings 10:12; 2 Chronicles 20:28; 2 Chronicles 29:25; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 16:5. It was usually accompanied with other instruments, and was also used in festivals and entertainments; see "Bib. Repos." vol. vi. pp. 357-365. The usual form of representing it is shown in the preceding cut, and is the form in which the lyre appears on ancient monuments, in connection with the statues of Apollo.
The drawing in the book is a representation of a lyre from a Jewish shekel of the time of Simon Maccabeus, and may have been, not improbably, a form in frequent use among the Jews.
on Isaiah 5 :12
5:12 The harp - They give up themselves wholly to luxury. The work - What God hath lately done, and is yet doing, and about to do among them; his grievous judgments, partly inflicted, and partly threatened, which required another course of life.