Verse 2. Take a psalm. Select a sacred song, and then raise it with your hearty voices.
And bring hither the timbrel. Beat on your tambourines, ye damsels, let the sound be loud and inspiriting. "Sound the trumpets, beat the drums." God is not to be served with misery but with mirthful music, sound ye then the loud timbrel, as of old ye smote it by "Egypt's dark sea."
The pleasant harp with the psaltery. The timbrel for sound, must be joined by the harp for sweetness, and this by other stringed instruments for variety. Let the full compass of music be holiness unto the Lord.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. Timbrel. The toph, English version tabret, timbrel, LXX., tumpanon, once yalthrion. It was what would now be called a tambourine, being played by the hand; and was specially used by women. It is thrice mentioned in the Ps 81:2 Psalms 149:3 150:4. Joseph Francis Thrupp.
Verse 2. The Psaltery. It is probably impossible to be sure as to what is intended by a psaltery. The Genevan version translates it viol, and the ancient viol was a six stringed guitar. In the Prayer book version, the Hebrew word is rendered lute, which instrument resembled the guitar, but was superior in tone. The Greek word "psalterion" denotes a stringed instrument played with the fingers. Cassidorus says that the psaltery was triangular in shape, and that it was played with a bow. Aben Ezra evidently considered it to be a kind of pipe, but the mass of authorities make it a stringed instrument. It was long in use, for we read of it in David's time as made of fir wood ( 2 Samuel 6:55 ), and in Solomon's reign, of algum trees ( 2 Chronicles 9:11 ), and it was still in use in the days of Nebuchadnezzar.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1-3. See Psalms on "Psalms 81:1" for further information.