The Old Testament talks about ladies using tabrets. For example, when Miriam and the ladies danced as they rejoiced after being able to cross the Red Sea and escape from their enemies, they used tabrets. The Hebrew word is often taken to mean a small circular drum. There is evidence that such drums had brass pieces in the side which makes them look like primitive tambourines.
Other people think a tabret was like a tambour which is a small drum with one head, that is a tambourine without jingles. In fact most of the places where the word tabret is used in the Hebrew, it is translated as timbrel or tambourine. However, according to the Chambers 21st Century dictionary the word tambour also refers to a frame for embroidery consisting of two hoops which hold the fabric taut. Strange thing is that most praise rings start life as embroidery hoops.
One of the things that struck me as I was reading round was the instructions for Jewish men to put tassels on their garments, particularly prayer shawls to remind them to keep the commandments of the Lord. Matthew 23:7 talks about people making much of long tassels on their garments. Now if tassels were to remind them of God and His commandments, then could having tassels (ribbons) on drums or tambourines or praise rings have anything to do with reminding people of the requirements of holiness that would be met by keeping the commandments of God. It is an interesting possibility, isn’t it?
In Jeremiah 31:4, it says that God will rebuild Israel and that the tabrets (often translated tambourines) will be taken up again. This is often understood to mean that in the last days tabrets will reappear. Some say the things we currently call praise rings are the same as the original tabrets. Others say that when the time is right God will bring forth something that is more like the original tabret and that the experience of using praise hoops will make it easier for people to accept the new style of tabret. Time will tell who is right in this respect.
In the scriptures there are a number of occasions when tabrets were used. One is while celebrating what God has done for us, however there were also warnings given about the risk of not being thankful (Genesis 31:27, Isaiah 5:12, Isaiah 24:8) . Another is to change the spiritual atmosphere (1 Samuel 10:5-6). This passage backs up the idea that if you have a number of worshippers with he right resources that will bring about a corporate anointing that will make it possible for people to prophesy as the spirit of prophesy comes on them. Later, in 1 Samuel 18:6, the ladies with the tabrets were prophetically inspired to say that David would be victorious over ten thousands compared to Saul’s thousands when David had only killed one man!
Job mentions the tabret and it is described as an object of beauty as well as an instrument of praise. Another clue to the way it is used comes from Isaiah 30:32. This verse talks of God’s swinging and menacing arms moving as the timbrels and lyres make sounds. In those moving arms is the staff of punishment and doom. Many people find that using such items with swinging and menacing arms reminds them of what God is going to do in terms of bringing judgment and may even be encouraging God to bring about such judgment.
Given the confusion whether a tabret is a tambourine or a praise ring, it is interesting to note that there are quite few similarities between their appearance. They are similar sized circularobjects although, because the main component of a praise hoop (an embroidery hoop) is shallower than a tambourine, the finished item is shallower. Both of them normally have covers that can have an image on them. Tambourines can have ribbons attached to them whereas praise hoops always have ribbons on them, though there is often a difference in the width and colour of the ribbons. The biggest difference is the sound of them, as a tambourine is expected to make a noise and a praise ring is not. However, given the example of a musical praise ring seen on the other names page, even this distinction can be removed.