Psalm 150:5
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
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(5) Cymbals.—Heb., tseltselîm (2Samuel 6:5), a word evidently formed to express the sound of the instrument. Two kinds are evidently indicated in this verse, the “loud” cymbals (literally, cymbals of hearing), and “high-sounding” (literally, of tumult). As the Arabs use at present a larger and smaller instrument (see Bible Educator, 2, 211, 311), it is possible that the same distinction is made here, but which would be the larger instrument it is impossible from the Hebrew to determine.

150:1-6 A psalm of praise. - We are here stirred up to praise God. Praise God for his sanctuary, and the privileges we enjoy by having it among us; praise him because of his power and glory in the firmament. Those who praise the Lord in heaven, behold displays of his power and glory which we cannot now conceive. But the greatest of all his mighty acts is known in his earthly sanctuary. The holiness and the love of our God are more displayed in man's redemption, than in all his other works. Let us praise our God and Saviour for it. We need not care to know what instruments of music are mentioned. Hereby is meant that in serving God we should spare no cost or pains. Praise God with strong faith; praise him with holy love and delight; praise him with entire confidence in Christ; praise him with believing triumph over the powers of darkness; praise him by universal respect to all his commands; praise him by cheerful submission to all his disposals; praise him by rejoicing in his love, and comforting ourselves in his goodness; praise him by promoting the interests of the kingdom of his grace; praise him by lively hope and expectation of the kingdom of his glory. Since we must shortly breathe our last, while we have breath let us praise the Lord; then we shall breathe our last with comfort. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. Such is the very suitable end of a book inspired by the Spirit of God, written for the work of praise; a book which has supplied the songs of the church for more than three thousand years; a book which is quoted more frequently than any other by Christ and his apostles; a book which presents the loftiest ideas of God and his government, which is fitted to every state of human life, which sets forth every state of religious experience, and which bears simple and clear marks of its Divine origin.Praise him upon the loud cymbals - literally, "the cymbals of sound" or hearing. That is, Let there be audibly expressed joy. The allusion here is to an instrument of music that was most distinctly heard in union with other instruments. The sound of the cymbal would be most clearly audible in its accompaniment of the other instruments referred to, as the sound of cymbals, or as the "triangle" would be now. The Hebrew word rendered cymbal means a tinkling, clanging, ringing, as of metal, or of arms; then, a whirring, as of wings (compare the notes at Isaiah 18:1); then, any tinkling or clanging instrument, as a fish-spear or harpoon; then, cymbals, instruments of music. The cymbal, as now used, is an instrument of brass, in a circular form, like a dish, producing, when two are struck gether, a sharp, ringing sound - Webster. An instrument of this kind is evidently referred to here. The word occurs in the Bible in the following places only: Deuteronomy 28:42, rendered locust; 2 Samuel 6:5, rendered, as here, cymbal; Job 41:7, rendered fish-spears; and Isaiah 18:1, rendered shadowing with.

Praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals - The cymbals of joyful voice. On the word teruah, rendered high, see the notes at Psalm 89:16. A loud, lofty sound or shout, as on the reception of a conqueror, is the idea here; and the sense is, that the praise of God was to be celebrated with that which would in the highest sense express joy and triumph.

5. cymbals—suited to loud praise (Ne 12:27). No text from Poole on this verse.

Praise him upon the loud cymbals,.... Or "cymbals of hearing" (x); that were heard with pleasure and delight, and afar off: the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it, "well sounding cymbals", which give a grateful sound to the ear; these were made of brass, 1 Chronicles 15:19; to which the apostle alludes, 1 Corinthians 13:1;

praise him upon the high sounding, cymbals; or "cymbals of shouting" (y), ovation or triumph; which were used on joyful occasions, as victories, deliverances, and the like; and were used also in the temple service, see 1 Chronicles 16:5; according to the Targum and Septuagint version, these were three stringed instruments; for so they render the word them in 1 Samuel 18:6. Now these several instruments of music are named, not as to be used in Gospel times; but, being expressive of the highest praise and joy shown in former times, are mentioned to set forth the highest strains and notes of praise in New Testament saints; as well as to denote their heartiness, agreement, and unanimity in this service, Romans 15:6.

(x) "in cymbalis auditus", Montanus, Vatablus. (y) "in cymbalis jubilationis", V. L. Musculus, Cocceius; "in cymbalis ovationis", Montanus.

Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
5. the loud cytubals … the high sounding cymbals] The clear sounding cymbals … the clanging cymbals. Two kinds of cymbals are obviously meant: the first, lit. cymbals of hearing, may have been a smaller kind, producing a sharp, clear sound, possibly castanets: the second may have been a larger kind, producing a clanging, booming sound. “The Arabs have two distinct varieties, large and small.… They use their large cymbals in religious ceremonies, but the smaller kind seem to be almost limited to the accompaniment of dancers.” Stainer, p. 137. For cymbals of hearing cp. 1 Chronicles 15:19, “with cymbals of bronze, to sound aloud,” lit. to cause to hear; Psalm 16:5, “Asaph with cymbals, sounding aloud,” lit. causing to hear. With the Sept. of the second phrase, ἐν κυμβάλοις ἀλαλαγμοῦ, cp. κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον ‘a clanging cymbal’ (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Verse 5. - Praise him upon the loud cymbals; praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals. "We can hardly," says Professor Cheyne, "venture to distinguish two kinds of cymbals on the ground of these two epithet" The mention of "cymbals" is reserved to the last, as being the instrument of music most expressive of joy and jubilation. It completes the musical climax, as ver. 6 completes the ideal one. Psalm 150:5The Synagogue reckons up thirteen divine attributes according to ex. Psa 34:6. (שׁלשׁ עשׂרה מדּות), to which, according to an observation of Kimchi, correspond the thirteen הלּל of this Psalm. It is, however, more probable that in the mind of the poet the tenfold halaluw encompassed by Hallelujah's is significative; for ten is the number of rounding off, completeness, exclusiveness, and of the extreme of exhaustibleness. The local definitions in Psalm 150:1 are related attributively to God, and designate that which is heavenly, belonging to the other world, as an object of praise. קדשוּ (the possible local meaning of which is proved by the קדשׁ and קדשׁ קדשׁים of the Tabernacle and of the Temple) is in this passage the heavenly היכל; and רקיע עזּו is the firmament spread out by God's omnipotence and testifying of God's omnipotence (Psalm 68:35), not according to its front side, which is turned towards the earth, but according to the reverse or inner side, which is turned towards the celestial world, and which marks it off from the earthly world. The third and fourth hălalu give as the object of the praise that which is at the same time the ground of the praise: the tokens of His גּבוּרה, i.e., of His all-subduing strength, and the plenitude of His greatness (גּדלו equals גּדלו), i.e., His absolute, infinite greatness. The fifth and sixth hălalu bring into the concert in praise of God the ram's horn, שׁופר, the name of which came to be improperly used as the name also of the metallic חצצרה (vid., on Psalm 81:4), and the two kinds of stringed instruments (vid., Psalm 33:2), viz., the nabla (i.e., the harp and lyre) and the kinnor (the cithern), the ψαλτήριον and the κιθάρα (κινύρα). The seventh hălalu invites to the festive dance, of which the chief instrumental accompaniment is the תּף (Arabic duff, Spanish adufe, derived from the Moorish) or tambourine. The eighth hălalu brings on the stringed instruments in their widest compass, מנּים (cf. Psalm 45:9) from מן, Syriac menı̂n, and the shepherd's pipe, עגב (with the Gimel raphe equals עוּגב); and the ninth and tenth, the two kinds of castanets (צלצלי, construct form of צלצלים, singular צלצל), viz., the smaller clear-sounding, and the larger deeper-toned, more noisy kinds (cf. κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον, 1 Corinthians 13:1), as צלצלי שׁמע (pausal form of שׁמע equals שׁמע, like סתר in Deuteronomy 27:15, and frequently, from סתר equals סתר) and צלצלי תרוּעה are, with Schlultens, Pfeifer, Burk, Kster, and others, to be distinguished.
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