David and Music

David the boy musician. Through the centuries Israel shepherd boys have played their simple dual-piped flutes made of reed, in the presence of their flocks. The strains of the music are minor, but it appeals to both the shepherd and the sheep. No doubt David's musical experience began with this instrument, when he cared for the family flock. But in addition to playing on this shepherd's instrument, young David became famed for his ability to use what our Bible versions have called "a harp." Now the instrument was not large enough to be like what Westerners today would call a harp. It would be more appropriate to call it "a lyre." Such an instrument is actually a modified form of harp, being portable. The sound-chest forms the base of it. "From the end of this arise two rods curved or straight connected above by a crosspiece, and the strings are stretched upward from the base to the crosspiece." When Saul's servants were asked to look for someone who could play on this instrument with ability, one of their number said: "I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing" (I Samuel 16:18). And thus David came to play for King Saul when he had one of his fits of sadness, in order to refresh him. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

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