Dagon Archaeological Museum of Grain Storage and Handling, Haifa, Israel

Kind David may have improvised on a lyre like this one, depicted on a seventh-century B.C. brown jasper seal from Jerusalem.

The elegantly curved arms of the lyre are connected by an oblique crossbar to which 12 strings are attached. The sound box, rounded on the left and carinated on the right, is decorated with a line of “pearls” along its outer edge and a rosette at its center. The Hebrew inscription on the bottom of the seal appears as a mirror image. When the seal was imprinted into a lump of wet clay, the inscription could be read: “Belonging to Ma’adanah, the King’s daughter.” We cannot identify Ma’adanah or her father, but we can be confident that, like King David four centuries earlier, the princess loved music and played the lyre.