Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 33:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Praise the Lord with harp - כנור kinnor ; probably something like our harp: but Calmet thinks it the ancient testudo, or lyre with three strings.

The psalter - נבל nebel . Our translation seems to make a third instrument in this place, by rendering עשור asor, an instrument of ten strings; whereas they should both be joined together, for עשור נבל nebel -asor signifies the nebal, or nabla, with ten strings, or holes. Calmet supposes this to have resembled our harp. In one of Kennicott's MSS., this Psalm begins with the second verse.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Praise the Lord with harp - For a description of the “harp,” see the notes at Isaiah 5:12.

Sing unto him with the psaltery - For the meaning of this word, also, see the notes at Isaiah 5:12, where the word is rendered “viol.”

And an instrument of ten strings - The word “and” is supplied here by the translators as if, in this place, a third instrument was referred to, distinct from the harp and the psaltery. The more correct rendering, however, would be, “a psaltery (or lyre) of ten strings.” The same construction occurs in Psalm 144:9. In Psalm 92:3, however, the two words are separately used as denoting different instruments. The “lyre” or psaltery was probably not always made with the same number of strings, and it would seem that the one that was made of “ten” strings had something special about it as an instrument of uncommon sweetness or power. Hence, it is particularly designated here; and the idea is that the instruments of especial power and sweetness should be on this occasion employed in the service of God.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Holy joy is the heart and soul of praise, and that is here pressed upon the righteous. Thankful praise is the breath and language of holy joy. Religious songs are proper expressions of thankful praise. Every endowment we possess, should be employed with all our skill and earnestness in God's service. His promises are all wise and good. His word is right, and therefore we are only in the right when we agree with it. His works are all done in truth. He is the righteous Lord, therefore loveth righteousness. What a pity it is that this earth, which is so full of the proofs and instances of God's goodness, should be so empty of his praises; and that of the multitudes who live upon his bounty, there are so few who live to his glory! What the Lord does, he does to purpose; it stands fast. He overrules all the counsels of men, and makes them serve his counsels; even that is fulfilled, which to us is most surprising, the eternal counsel of God, nor can any thing prevent its coming to pass.