See HARP, and MUSIC.
a musical instrument, supposed to have been a kind of lyre, or a harp with twelve strings. The Hebrew word nebhel, so rendered, is translated "viol" in Isa 5:12 (R.V., "lute"); Isa 14:11. In Da 3:5,7,10,15, the word thus rendered is Chaldaic, pesanterin, which is supposed to be a word of Greek origin denoting an instrument of the harp kind.
A stringed instrument played by the hand to accompany the voice, Hebrew nebel. In Ps 33:2 omit "and," translated "sing with the psaltery an instrument of ten strings." Josephus (Ant. 7:12, sec. 3) mentions that ordinarily it had 12 strings; nebel means literally, a leather bottle, the psaltery was named so from its shape (Ps 92:3; 144:9). The king, or, "lyre," had ten strings, but was played with a quill, not with the hand.
The principal word used is nebel, and it is supposed to refer to some unknown form of stringed instrument used to accompany the voice. It is at times mentioned along with the harp. 1Sa 10:5; Ps 33:2; 144:9; 150:3; etc. The same word is also translated VIOL in Isa 5:12; 14:11; Am 5:23; 6:5. In Da 3:5-15 the word is pesanterin.
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
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,
those of Solomon of algum Or almug trees.
Among the instruments of the band which played before Nebuchadnezzar's golden image on the plains of Dura, we again meet with the psaltery.
PSALTERY. See MUSIC.