(Heb. chalil). The Hebrew word so rendered is derived from a root signifying "to bore, perforate" and is represented with sufficient correctness by the English "pipe" or "flute," as in the margin of (1 Kings 1:40) The pipe was the type of perforated wind instruments, as the harp was of stringed instruments. It was made of reed, bronze or copper. It is one of the simplest, and therefore probably one of the oldest, of musical Instruments. It is associated with the tabret as an instrument of a peaceful and social character. The pipe and tabret were used at the banquets of the Hebrews, (Isaiah 5:12) and accompanied the simpler religious services when the young prophets, returning from the high place, caught their inspiration from the harmony, (1 Samuel 10:5) or the pilgrims, on their way to the great festivals of their ritual, beguiled the weariness of the march with psalms sung to the simple music of the pipe, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (Isaiah 30:29) The sound of the pipe was apparently a soft wailing note, which made it appropriate to be used in mourning and at funerals (Matthew 9:23) and in the lament of the prophet over the destruction of Moab. (Jeremiah 48:36) It was even used in the temple choir, as appears from (Psalms 87:7) In later times the funeral and death-bed were never without the professional pipers or flute-players, (Matthew 9:23) a custom which still exists. In the social and festive life of the Egyptians the pipe played as prominent a part as among the Hebrews.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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