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Harps of Heaven and Biblical Hyssop Uses
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Harp Sounds from Heaven

And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. [Revelation 14:2 - English Standard Version, 2001]

If the heaven-harps had metal-pedals - a quite modern invention - they were ahead of time, or "out of character" one may say.

The three musicians, Tomb of Nakht, Thebes. Wall painting. Section. c. 1422-1411 BCE. Harpist to the right
Musicians of ancient Egypt, c. 1422-1411 BCE. A harp is to the right. Click to enlarge.

The Revelation passage

On the whole, here on earth harp sounds may not be terribly hard on the hearing, and the sight of harpists may be pleasant too.

If you are not much used to harp music and want to prepare yourself for "that kind of thing of heaven" to get an imagined advantage, there are many recordings of harp music today. If you play some of them and keep a sound measure of sane variation in mind too, you could eventually come to appreciate harp music by the finest harpists.

Many are taught from they are tots that heaven is a place for harpists playing delicate music, much rooted in the Revelation passage. However, note that the Revelation passage does not say whether its harpists are good, female, or well trained. You are free to believe heavenly harp sounds are sweet, but the harp sounds from heaven were "like a loud peal of thunder [NIV]". Too many seem to overlook that loud sounds may not be good for your hearing, and interpret it in conformity with many other high-flown hopes too. There could be dangers into all too much wishful thinking, apart from ensnaring but devious interpretations of what takes place on the other side, also called "Within".

Ask yourself the sooner the better: "Is it good for my hearing and wellbeing to be subjected to offensively loud peals of harping again and again for as long as I live her and in heaven? Must I endure such a lot? And as to harps, what are the actual kinds of harp in question?"

Good questions. Try to determine if you want cascades of loud harping over and over for as long as you have to endure.

Ministers, or "harpers on harps of heaven"

Freakish: "In heaven, due appreciation of heaven's loud music will be provided too."

Maybe. But since the Revelation passage was accepted and put into the Bible long before the modern pedal harp, maybe you should ask the minister: "The harps of heaven today, are they modern pedal harps? Are heaven's harps updated? Do they include electric harps? How is it?"

If the minister has no first-hand experience of it and no fair harp documentation either, how is it fit to react and respond to faith with a plot for its foundation? Take a step in advance and figure out for your yourself what best could serve the man of faith you ask, and compare how much the answer you get swerves from your first guess. That could be educative.

If we do not ask for quality evidence the sooner the better, we may be taken in for the lack of it and end up sore and finding that being discarded is not good - and that there is not much true relief in "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

There is much foolery around. Just check that you do not become the victim of it. For starts, maybe you want to update your knowledge of harps.

Modern harps and much older ones

To attune yourself to modern harp music, listen to harp music. There are many recordings of harp music today. If you play some of them and keep a sound measure of sane variation in mind too, you may also come to appreciate harp music by eminent harpists.

Harps were played in ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptian harps varied greatly in form, size, and the number of their strings. They are represented in the ancient paintings with 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 20, 21 and 22 strings. There were small, portable (shoulder) harps and larger, arched (bow) harps (angular harp). The wall painting of three musicians on the top of the page is from 1422-11 BCE. Other depictions include one from the tomb of Amenemhet from about 1850 BCE. [Source: Egyptian Musical Instruments]

Harps may have been independently invented in many parts of the world in remote prehistory. Leaving the question of origins aside, various types of harps are found in Africa, Europe, North and South America and in Asia. In fact, in antiquity, harps and the closely related lyres were very prominent in nearly all cultures.

The first primitive form of pedal harps was developed in the Tyrol region of Austria. The concert harp is a pedal harp. Modern harps include electric harps and laser harps.

Baroque and classical composers like Händel and Mozart wrote harp music, and there is a prominent harp part in "She's Leaving Home" by The Beatles in their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

There are differing schools of technique for playing the harp. And as it is said, beginner harp can sound a lot better than beginner violin.

"People become house builders through building houses, harp players through playing the harp. We grow to be just by doing things which are just." [Aristotle]

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Ritual Uses of Hyssop

After king David of the Bible had committed adultery, a prophet named Nathan came to him and told a story of a poor man who had only one lamb, which he cared for until another stole it. King David was a former sheperd. He said with consternation - and note it well: "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay . . . because he did such a thing and had no pity."

The prophet Nathan said to David, "You are the man! You struck down Uriah . . . with the sword of the Ammonites. [2 Samuel 12:6-9, passim] The "sheep" that Uriah had owned, was his wife. David took her from him, and made arrangements so that Uriah would fall in war. After the prophet visit, David trusted more in ritual magic than paying and dying. He sang, "Have mercy on me, God, . . . Cleanse me with hyssop, and I'll be clean; wash me, and I'll be whiter than snow." [Psalm 51, excerpt]

Whiter than snow is very white. Did he become an albino king after hyssop use? And David did not deserve to live after that, he should pay! on his own word. Instead he took to ritual-magical use of hyssop to live on by, and begged for mercy instead. Among the ways to shame his word and his God, he found one, but did not sing "God is dead! As surely as . . ." [Cf. Psalm 51:7]

Hyssop in the Bible, illustration
Hyssop in the Bible Ritual uses of herbs occur [Exodus 12: 21-24]. The Bible tells Yahweh himself instituted ritual uses of hyssop through Moses. Such old uses were in part to form non-dispensable, integral parts of lasting ordinances which are largely defunct today anyway. [Leviticus 14: 1-4, 33-49; Numbers 19:1-10]

Hyssop according to Maude Grieve

Mrs. Grieve's online book A Modern Herbal was first published in 1931, and contains folklore of herbs among other things. Below are excerpts:

Tradition identifies the Hyssop of Scripture with the familiar herb, Marjoram (origanum). Dr. J. F. Royle disagrees, and identifies the Hyssop of the Bible with the Caper-plant (Capparis spinosa). This view is supported by Canon Tristram and others. The Arabs call it azaf.

The best-known species of hyssop today is the herb Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis). The healing virtues of hyssop are due to a particular volatile oil, which is stimulative, carminative and sudorific.

The leaves, stems and flowers of Hyssopus officinalis possess a highly aromatic odour and yield by distillation an essential oil of exceedingly fine odour which is much appreciated by perfumers. Its value is even greater than Oil of Lavender, says Mrs. Grieve in A Modern Herbal.


Bible Harp Sounds from Heaven, Hyssop for inadequate ritual cleansing, Literature  

Egyptian Musical Instruments.


Chevallier, Andrew. 2016. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: DK Publishing.

Grieve, Maude. A Modern Herbal, Vol 1. New York: Dover, 1972.

Grieve, Maude. A Modern Herbal, Vol 2. New York: Dover, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Mrs. Grieves's work is also online at 1995-2010. Her work was first published in 1931, and contains medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and economic properties, cultivation and folklore of herbs, reflecting the knowledge at that time, as well as the lack of it.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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