Franklin, John Curtis. 2016. Kinyras: The Divine Lyre. Hellenic Studies Series 70. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_FranklinJ.Kinyras.2016.
8. David and the Divine Lyre
David, Solomon, and the Ideals of Great Kingship
It is clear from the pairing of “the east country” with “Egypt” that this Solomonic portrait asserts a new cultural eminence in the Levant, formerly caught between empires. Yet the range of learning sketched here “echoes mainstream Babylonian texts studied by scribes in Mesopotamia and beyond.”  Solomon’s combined achievements, while conceivable perhaps for a single man of leisure, become incredible given the demands of kingship. This portrait is therefore best taken to symbolize the cultural efflorescence claimed for Solomon’s reign.
That this vision is no mere deduction by Josephus, but a traditional Syro-Levantine image, is shown by several monuments from the Aramaean sphere. First are two ninth-century orthostat reliefs from Guzana (Tell Halaf), capital of Bit Bachiani during the reign of Kapara, before it came under Assyrian control (by the eighth century).  Each shows a slightly different group of animals dancing and playing instruments before a lion, who sits upon a rock—evidently enthroned—and plays a tall rectangular lyre (Figure 12 = Figure 5.1v).  This is an image of political stability and lyric control. The same idea is found, in negative form, in the eighth-century Sefire steles, to be examined in Chapter 12. 
According to Rabbinic tradition, Solomon’s marriage transpired on the very day the temple was consecrated, which was thereby overshadowed: the delights of Pharaoh’s daughter caused Solomon to oversleep, so that the morning sacrifice could not be carried out. From that day forward, it was said, God determined to overthrow Jerusalem. The tale must be related to the Rabbinic rejection of instrumental music following the city’s destruction in 70 CE, with an ‘original musical sin’ traced back to the very founding of the First Temple.  Nevertheless, given the evidence from Mari, the legend is doubtless encrusted upon some genuine reminiscence of purposeful musical diversity in the monarchic period, very probably going back to Solomon himself.
Musical Management in the First Temple
The phenomenon of musical prophecy will be discussed below.  Here I would emphasize that the ensemble’s make-up is not dissimilar to what David’s musical ‘families’ will offer, and which one must posit for Ugarit.  This array has been called a ‘Canaanite (temple) orchestra’,  although the Ugaritian texts and north Syrian ivories show that ‘Syro-Levantine’ would be the better term.  The famous cult-stand with musicians from Ashdod is a happy parallel here, given the Bible’s statement that there was a Philistine garrison at Gibeath-elohim.  The stand’s players match 1 Samuel closely: lyre, double-pipes, frame-drum, and perhaps cymbals. (But note that the lyre is round-based, probably reflecting the Philistines’ Aegean background.  ) Similar ensembles are often represented, with minor variations, in the corpus of Cypro-Phoenician bowls (phiálai), ranging from the tenth century to the sixth (see further Chapter 11).
The Kinnōr and the Divine Lyre
both low and high,rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdomand the care of my heart understanding.
I shall incline my ears to a parable (māšāl);and in/on the lyre I shall disclose my dark saying (ḥîdāh). 
The psalmist goes on to deliver a universalizing meditation on the fragility of life and inevitability of death. But the prelude is readily detached: it is an introductory formula, like the many exhortations to song in other psalms, or the psalmists’ repeated invocations of Yahweh to “incline” to their song and so lend them his voice.  Psalm 49, however, strikes an unusual note as a singer’s glancing self-portrait. He trumpets his public role and ability to command universal attention, before turning inwards to describe his prophetic process through the lyre. What exactly is involved is clarified by a cognate passage in Psalm 78, which, after an almost identical beginning, carries on:
things that we have heard and known,that our ancestors have told us. 
Even if Psalm 49 is relatively late, perhaps post-monarchic,  the parallel formulae in Psalm 78 indicate that the lyre-singer is assuming a traditional stance as custodian of an ancient lyric art of prophecy. He both reproduces the often obscure lore of his predecessors, and recasts it in his own terms. While he presents interpretations of the “dark sayings,” he equally re-riddles what he has received to “disclose” admonitory puzzles of his own.
In support of Palmer’s view that as the invocation progresses the psalmodist’s voice becomes that of Yahweh, note that it is normally the latter to whom the expression “incline the ears” is applied in the Psalms.  If this is right, it places the phrase “in the lyre” in a rather more startling light. The emphasis would be less on the psalmodist using the lyre and its music to communicate with Yahweh, than on Yahweh placing his message into the lyre, from which the singer must attempt to extract it. In doing so, however, Yahweh himself becomes a kind of lyrist, so that the human lyre-prophet is attempting to replicate the song and message that God has devised for him. We are reminded of the balang-god of Ningirsu, visualized as a singer, with his communication to the human realm enabled precisely by the instrument of which he is the spirit.
Awake, O kinnōr and nēbel!I will awake the dawn.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;I will sing praises to you among the nations.
King, Kinnōr, and the “Spirit of God”
On one narratological level, David has already been chosen by God. But from Saul’s perspective it is merely a professional type that is needed. Evidently, the desired cathartic power was made possible by the kinnōr itself, a kind of potential energy that would be released by a “skillful player.”  David is so qualified, because, as Saul is advised, “the Lord is with him.”  To us, the phrase clearly implies the transfer of Yahweh’s favor to David; to Saul, however, it means only that here was an inspired kinnōr-healer. This brilliant ambiguity may go beyond its narratological appeal. For the two planes of meaning neatly intersect, if being an ‘inspired kinyrist’ was considered a royal virtue—an idea well paralleled by Shulgi, and vital for the question of Kinyras. 
Performing the Divine Lyre
More interesting still is his account of the parade’s resumption:
These details are not purely Josephus’ own invention. He is clearly interpreting the Septuagint version, on which he mainly relied, and which here certainly preserves an old form of the tradition.  The LXX also has seven choruses, carrying the Ark.  The statement that “David struck up (anekroúeto) the music” was rightly interpreted by Josephus to mean that he led the procession with his ‘kinýra,’ for the verb clearly implies a stringed-instrument.  The idea is further supported by the king’s position “among harmonized/tuned-up instruments” (en orgánois hērmosménois), an expression that foregrounds the ensemble’s chordophones.  Eusebios espouses the same interpretation, and draws attention to David’s position as musical leader of his own musical leaders. 
Sweet Psalmist of Israel: David’s Lyric Legacy
Oracle of him whom ʾĒl exalted,
Anointed of the God of Jacob,
Favorite of the Mighty One of Israel (nĕʿîm zimrat yiśrā’ēl),
The spirit of Yahweh spoke through me
His word was upon my tongue. 
Scholars have dated this song variously between David’s demise and the late Judaean monarchy, with a strong case for an early origin on the grounds of diction and content.  But an absolute date is less vital here than how David is represented. According to the traditional reading of the MT, zmrt is to be vocalized as zĕmīrôt, ‘songs’ (< P-S √zmr, ‘sing/play’  ), while nĕʿîm comes from the root n‘m (‘sweet, pleasant, gracious’)—whence “Sweet Psalmist of Israel” in the King James Version and its adherents. Now a musical interpretation goes back at least to the Hellenistic period, being reflected in the Septuagint translation, the importance of which to the tradition we have seen.  But with modern appreciation of parallelism, it has become clear that the phrase should be equivalent to the description of David as “Anointed of the God of Jacob.” Hence, most scholars now abandon a musical reading to vocalize zmrt as zimrāt and connect it with Semitic cognates relating to ‘power’ and ‘protection’ (< P-S √d mr).  Similarly, nĕʿîm is interpreted in terms of the n‘m which we saw applied to gods and heroes in Ugaritian texts.  Therefore, nĕʿîm zimrat yiśrā’ēl can be well rendered as ‘Favorite of the Mighty One of Israel’, ‘Favorite of the Defense of Israel’, or the like. 
break forth into joyous song and sing praises,
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord. 
The universal glorification of Yahweh is itemized in greater detail in Psalm 148, where the kinnōr, though not explicitly mentioned, is implied by the parallel of Psalm 98 and the genre itself:
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds! 
These Psalms show that the praise-singing lyrist, while but one instantiation of a more cosmic exultation that also included every form of musical celebration,  nevertheless plays a privileged role, occupying an intermediate, focusing position between the natural world and the divine object of its praise. It is this power which eventually facilitated David’s absorption of Orphic qualities in the Byzantine period. 
A similar portrait of Solomon is found in the Targum Sheni of Esther, which reached its present form ca. 700 CE: