Easton's Bible Dictionary
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 Isaiah 5:12
(RSV, "lute"); Isaiah 14:11 . In Daniel 3:5 , 3:7 , 3:10 , 3:15 , the word thus
rendered is Chaldaic, pesanterin, which is supposed to be a word of Greek origin
denoting an instrument of the harp kind.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
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 ( Isaiah 5:12 ; 14:11 ; 22:24 ), marg.; ( Amos 5:23 ; 6:6 ) 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, ( 2 Samuel 6:5
) those of Solomon of algum Or almug trees. ( 2 Chronicles 9:11 ) Among the instruments
of the band which played before Nebuchadnezzars golden image on the plains of
Dura, we again meet with the psaltery. ( Daniel 3:6 , 3:10 , 3:15 ) pesanterin.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, musical instrument, pesanterin, psalterion, psaltery