TIMBREL, or TABRET (the tof of the ancient Hebrews, the deff of Islam, the adufe of the Moors of Spain), the principal musical instrument of percussion of the Israelites, identical with the modern tambourine. The word timbrel is used in the Old Testament in both singular and plural form, so as to suggest that the former referred to a hoop of wood or metal over which was stretched a parchment head; while the plural was perhaps used to designate the tambourine with bells or jangles fixed at intervals in hoops. The Israelites learnt to use the timbrel during their sojourn in Egypt, and it has been suggested that as the Egyptians used it to scare away their evil spirit Typhon, the word tof is derived from the latter. The tabret or timbrel was a favourite instrument of the women, and was used with dances, as by Miriam, to accompany songs of victory, or with the harp at banquets and processions; it was one of the instruments used by King David and his musicians when he danced before the Ark. It was also used in the valley of Hinnom at the sacrificial rites, when human victims were "passed through the fire" to Moloch. (K. S.)
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