|Other names||Kinnor David, harp of David|
Kinnor (Hebrew: ?) is an ancient Israelite musical instrument, the exact identification of which is unclear, but in the modern day is generally translated as "harp" or "lyre",:440 and associated with a type of lyre depicted in Israelite imagery, particular the Bar Kochba coins.:440 It has been referred to as the "national instrument" of the Jewish people, and modern luthiers have created reproduction lyres of the "kinnor" based on this imagery.
The kinnor is generally agreed to be a stringed instrument, and thus the stringed instrument most commonly mentioned in the Old Testament.:440 The kinnor is also the first string instrument to be mentioned in the Bible, appearing in Genesis 4:21.
Josephus describes the kinnor as having 10 strings, made from a sheep's small intestine,:442 and played with a plectrum (pick),:441 though the Book of Samuel notes that David played the kinnor "with his hand". The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia also notes that the early church fathers agreed the cithara (kinnor) had its resonator in the lower parts of its body.:442 Like the nevel, the kinnor likely consisted of a soundboard with two arms extending parallel to the body, with the arms crossed by a yoke from which the strings extend down to the body.:43
One etymology of Kinneret, the Hebrew name of the Sea of Galilee, is that it derives from kinnor, on account of the shape of the lake resembling that of the instrument. If this etymology is correct it may be relevant to the question of the shape of the instrument.
The kinnor is mentioned 42 times in the Old Testament, in relation to "divine worship... prophecy... secular festivals... and prostitution." The kinnor is sometimes mentioned in conjunction with the nevel, which is also presumed to be a lyre but larger and louder than the kinnor.:43 The Mishna states that the minimum number of kinnor to be played in the Temple is nine, with no maximum limit.