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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Mahalath Maschil

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occurs in the title of Psalms 53, and MA'HALATH LEAN'NOTH MAS'CHIL in the title of Psalms 88. For these latter names, see each in its alphabetical order. The term MAHALATH (Heb. Machalath', מִחֲלִת , Sept. Μαελέθ,Vulg. Maeleth, Maheleth) is thought by Gesenius (Thesaur. Heb. p. 476) to be for מִחֲלָה, from חָלָה, to be sweet, spoken of musical sounds; hence signifying a stringed instrument, e.g. a lute or yuitar, accompanied by the voice. Furst however, denies (Heb. Lex. s.v.) that it denotes an instrument at all, and maintains that it was the title of an old air to which the psalms in question were to be sung. Ludolph (p. 272) compares the equivalent AEthiopic, signifying a song or hymn. The use of Leannoth in the same connection would perhaps favor the reference to some kind of instrument; but the versions render no assistance as to the meaning of either word, and most interpreters resort either to vague conjecture or mystical allusions. The use of the particle עִל, "s upon," before "Mahalath," in each case, seems to indicate some kind of instrument. (See PSALMS).


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Mahalath Maschil'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/m/mahalath-maschil.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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