Psalm 33:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 33:2, NIV: Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.

Psalm 33:2, ESV: Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!

Psalm 33:2, KJV: Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Psalm 33:2, NASB: Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.

Psalm 33:2, NLT: Praise the LORD with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp.

Psalm 33:2, CSB: Praise the Lord with the lyre; make music to him with a ten-stringed harp.

What does Psalm 33:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Music has always been an integral part of worshipping God. Here, the psalmist, likely David, calls upon musicians to join in the congregation's giving of thanks to the Lord. David had organized the sons of Asaph to offer music in the worship of the Lord in the sanctuary. The music David calls for here is to be melodic. That included the use of instruments. Musical talent is among the God-given gifts which should be dedicated to the Lord.

First Chronicles notes that "David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals" (1 Chronicles 25:1). Cymbals, then as now, were metal disks of assorted sizes usually played by striking pairs against each other.

A lyre's strings were made from animal intestines dried and stretched, then mounted to a U-shaped frame. The strings spanned an open space between the base of the "U" and a cross bar between the arms. Modern persons would probably refer to a biblical lyre as a "small harp;" modern harps are much larger and have a relatively small body. The instrument David mentions here seems to be one of his favorites. David was well-acquainted with this type of lyre. First Samuel 16:23 reports that he played it to restore Saul's troubled spirit.

The biblical "harp" was often referred to as a psaltery. It had more and longer strings than the lyre, was narrower, and did not have the same open space.