The exact identification of the musical instrument termed in Hebrew ʽu·ghavʹ is uncertain, since the Bible does not describe it; however, modern Bible translations generally render the Hebrew word “pipe.” (Job 21:12; 30:31; Ps 150:4; AS, Da, NW, RS) The pipe is thus the first wind instrument (likely, woodwind) mentioned in the Scriptures. Jubal, the seventh generation from Adam, is identified as “the founder [literally, father] of all those who handle . . . the pipe [or, flute].” (Ge 4:21, ftn) This possibly indicates the establishment of a profession, either of craftsmen making the instruments or of those playing them.
Although the ʽu·ghavʹ was never listed as one of the temple instruments, some scholars believe that this name became a general term, designating any woodwind. Originally, though, it may have been a specific instrument, perhaps the flute or possibly a series of multitoned pipes all closed at one end and blown across the open ends. The instrument in Nebuchadnezzar’s orchestra specified by the Aramaic word mash·roh·qiʹ (“pipe,” Da 3:5, 7, 10, 15; AT, Da, Mo, NW, RS) may correspond to the Hebrew ʽu·ghavʹ.