2 Samuel 6:5
And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on tambourines, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Played.—This word means dancing accompanied by music. (See 1Samuel 18:7; 1Samuel 21:11, 1Chronicles 13:8; 1Chronicles 15:29, &c.)

On all manner of instruments made of fir wood.—Instead of this strange expression, the parallel passage in 1Chronicles 13:8 has “with all their might and with songs.” The difference between the two is very slight in the Hebrew, and it is generally thought that the latter is the correct reading. The variation, however, mast have been ancient, since the LXX. combines the two.

Cornets.—This word occurs only here, and is thought from its etymology to mean some kind of metal instrument with bells or rings, which gave forth its sound on being shaken. The Vulg. translates sistra. Instead of it Chronicles has “trumpets.”

6:1-5 God is present with the souls of his people, when they want the outward tokens of his presence; but now David is settled in the throne, the honour of the ark begins to revive. Let us learn hence, to think and to speak highly of God; and to think and speak honourably of holy ordinances, which are to us as the ark was unto Israel, the tokens of God's presence, Mt 28:20. Christ is our Ark; in and by him God manifests his favour, and accepts our prayers and praises. The ark especially typified Christ and his mediation, in which the name of Jehovah and all his glories are displayed. The priests should have carried the ark upon their shoulders. Philistines may carry the ark in a cart without suffering for it; but if Israelites do so, it is at their peril, because this was not what God appointed.Played - i. e. danced to music vocal and instrumental (see Judges 16:25 note).

Cornets - Rather, from the etymology of the Hebrew word (to shake), and their being coupled with the cymbals, and being rendered sistra in the Vulgate, some kind of instrument with bells or rings, which gave a sound by being shaken.

3. they set the ark of God upon a new cart—or a covered wagon (see on [262]1Sa 6:7). This was a hasty and inconsiderate procedure, in violation of an express statute (see on [263]Nu 4:15 and see Nu 7:9; 18:3). No text from Poole on this verse. And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord,.... That is, before the ark, which was a symbol of the presence of the Lord:

on all manner of instruments made of fir wood: which is a general expression, the particulars follow; though instruments of different sorts are mentioned, and even some of metal, as cymbals, which were vessels of brass, they struck one against another, and gave a very acute sound, being hollow (g):

even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals; harps, psalteries, and timbrels, are frequently met with; cornets, according to Kimchi, are such sort of instruments, that in playing upon them it required an agitation of the whole body. Now it was that David penned the sixty eighth psalm, which begins, "let God arise", &c. Psalm 68:1, words used by Moses when the ark set forward, Numbers 10:35.

(g) Suidas in voce

And David and all the house of Israel {c} played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

(c) Praised God, and sang Psalms.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. played] The word denotes a dance accompanied by music, such as frequently formed part of a religious festival. Cp. 1 Samuel 18:7.

on all manner of instruments made of fir wood] The expression is a strange one, and the text seems to be corrupt. Probably we should adopt the reading of the parallel passage in 1 Chron., with all their might and with songs. The Hebrew words are very similar, and the Sept. text here, though interpolated in its present form, supports the change.

even on harps, &c.] The harp (Heb. kinnôr) and psaltery (Heb. nebel) were stringed instruments, the exact form of which is unknown; the timbrel, also called the tabret, (Heb. tôph) was a tambourine or hand drum. The etymology of the word translated cornet, which occurs here only, shews that it denotes some kind of instrument which was played by being shaken, perhaps similar to the sistrum of the Egyptians, which consisted of rings hung loosely on iron rods, so as to make a tinkling sound when shaken. See the engravings in Wilkinson’s Ancient Egyptians, Vol. 1. p. 497 ff. Chron. reads “trumpets” which probably suggested the misrendering of the E. V. Cymbals were plates of metal, held in each hand, and played by being clashed together.Verse 5. - Played. The word does not mean "played on a musical instrument," but "danced and rejoiced." On all manner... of fir wood. The Hebrew literally is, with all cypress woods. In 1 Chronicles 13:8 we find "with all their might, even with songs," etc. Gesenius, in his 'History of the Hebrew Language,' describes this as a mere guess at a misunderstood text, and Maurer ridicules it as a stupid emendation. More sensibly Thenius regards it as the right reading, and the words here as a corruption of it, caused by some scribe misspelling the words, which are nearly identical. In our version the ambiguous meaning of the word "played" makes the passage less startling. For "they danced with all cypress woods" is unintelligible. The musical instruments mentioned here are the harp, Hebrew chinnor, a guitar; the psaltery, Hebrew nebel, a kind of harp of a triangular shape, with the point downwards; the timbrel, Hebrew tof, a tambourine or small drum; the cornet, Hebrew mena'na', a bar on which were a number of loose metal rings, which were shaken in time to the music, but others think that "castanets" are meant, which are pieces of wood beaten in time. The Revised Version adopts this rendering. And finally cymbals. For "cornets" we find in the parallel place "trumpets," whence the translators of the Authorized Version took their rendering; but the Hebrew word means "things to shake." "And when thou hearest the rush of a going in the tops of the baca-shrubs, then bestir thyself," or hasten; "for Jehovah has gone out before thee, to smite the army of the Philistines." "The sound of a going," i.e., of the advance of an army, was a significant sign of the approach of an army of God, which would smite the enemies of Jehovah and of His servant David; like the visions of Jacob (Genesis 32:2-3) and Elisha (2 Kings 6:17). "Then thou shalt bestir thyself," lit. be sharp, i.e., active, quick: this is paraphrased in the Chronicles by "then thou shalt go out to battle."
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