Psalm 35:16
With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.
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(16) With hypocritical mockers in feasts.—This clause is full of difficulty. The LXX. and Vulg. have, “they tempted me, they mocked me with a mocking”; Symmachus, “in hypocrisy, with feigned words”; Chaldee, “with derisive words of flattery.” All these take the word rendered in the Authorised Version, “feasts,” as a cognate of a word in Isaiah 28:11, translated “stammering,” but which means rather, “barbarisms.” (Comp. Isaiah 33:19.) The word rendered “hypocritical” more properly means “profane” or “impious.” With these meanings we get a very good sense (with evident reference to the malicious attacks of foreigners, or of the anti-national party that affected foreign ways) in the manner of profane barbaric barbarisms, or with profanity and barbarism.

As to the rendering “feasts,” it comes from treating the word as the same used (1Kings 17:13) for a “cake.” “Cake-mockers” are explained to be parasites who hang about the tables of the rich, getting their dinner in return for their buffooneries. (Comp. the Greek ψωμοκόλακεις; Latin, bucellarii.)

35:11-16 Call a man ungrateful, and you can call him no worse: this was the character of David's enemies. Herein he was a type of Christ. David shows how tenderly he had behaved towards them in afflictions. We ought to mourn for the sins of those who do not mourn for themselves. We shall not lose by the good offices we do to any, how ungrateful soever they may be. Let us learn to possess our souls in patience and meekness like David, or rather after Christ's example.With hypocritical mockers in feasts - The word rendered hypocritical here - חנף chânêph - properly means people "profane, impious, abandoned." It refers to such persons as are commonly found in scenes of revelry. The words rendered "mockers at feasts," it is scarcely possible to render literally. The word translated, "mockers," - לעג lâ‛êg - means properly one who stammers, or who speaks a foreign language; then, a jester, mocker, buffoon. The word rendered "feasts" - מעוג mâ‛ôg - means "a cake of bread;" and the whole phrase would denote "cake-jesters;" "table-buffoons" - those, perhaps, who act the part of jesters at the tables of the rich for the sake of good eating. "Gesenius." - The meaning is, that he was exposed to the ribaldry or jesting of that low class of people; that those with whom he had formerly been on friendly terms, and whom he had admitted to his own table, and for whom he had wept in their troubles, now drew around themselves that low and common class of parasites and buffoons for the purpose of ridiculing or deriding him.

They gnashed upon me with their teeth - The act of gnashing with the teeth is expressive of anger or wrath. See the notes at Job 16:9; compare Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:42, Matthew 13:50; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 24:51; Matthew 25:30; Luke 13:28. The meaning here is that they connected the expressions of auger or wrath with those of derision and scorn. The one is commonly not far from the other.

16. mockers—who were hired to make sport at feasts (Pr 28:21). Hypocritical, or profane, as this word signifies, Job 8:13 13:16 15:34 17:8, and, as some add, in all other places.

Mockers; whose common practice it is to scoff at and deride others, and me in particular.

In feasts; or, of or for a cake; or, a morsel of bread, as this word signifies, 1 Kings 17:12,13 19:6; by which he further shows what vile and worthless persons these were, that would

transgress for a morsel of bread, as it is said, Proverbs 28:21. They made themselves buffoons and jesters, and accustomed themselves to mock and deride David, that thereby they might gain admittance to the acquaintance and tables of great men, where they might fill their bellies; which was all that they sought for, or got by it.

They gnashed upon me with their teeth; they used all expressions of rage and hatred against me, among which this was one, Job 16:9 Lamentations 2:16. This they did to curry favour with my great and potent adversaries.

With hypocritical mockers in feasts,.... That is, the abjects gathered, themselves together with such; these may design Saul's courtiers, his parasites and flatterers, and who were hypocrites in religion also, and made it their business at Saul's table, and in their banquetings and revellings, to mock at David; and who were "hypocritical mockers of" or "for a piece of bread" (y), as it may be rendered; the same word is used for a pastry, or cake, and for flatterers; and they used at their feasts to throw a pastry baked with honey to parasites (z), for the word signifies a cake, or a piece of bread, 1 Kings 17:12; and the sense may be, that they mocked at David as wanting a piece of bread, and that he had brought himself to one; or else those, and they that gathered with them especially, mocked at David for the sake of a meal; or for a piece of bread; see Proverbs 28:27; and such sort of men were the enemies of Christ, the Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites to God, flatterers of men, who loved feasts, and the uppermost places there, and whose god was their belly; and who were mockers of Christ, derided his doctrine, and scoffed at his person, especially when he hung upon the cross;

they gnashed upon me with their teeth; in indignation and contempt; as Stephen's enemies did on him, Acts 7:54.

(y) "subsannatoribus subcineritii panis", Vatablus; "subsanmantes propter placentam", Piscator; "scoffers for a cake of bread", Ainsworth; hence a "parasite", a "table companion", or "trencher friend", is used for a "flatterer", vid. Suidam in voce (z) Weemse's Christ. Synag. l. 1. c. 6. s. 8. p. 209. of the Moral Law, l. 2. c. 9. p. 310.

With hypocritical mockers in {o} feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

(o) The word signifies cakes: meaning that the proud courtiers at their dainty feasts scoff, rail, and conspire his death.

16. Like (less probably, among) the profanest of mocking parasites they gnash &c.; a gesture of rage, as though they would devour their victim (Psalm 35:25). The obscure phrase in the first line is generally explained to mean mockers for a cake, buffoons who purchase entertainment for themselves by scurrilous jests (Gr. κνισσοκόλακες, ψωμοκόλακες, Lat. buccellarii). Another explanation is, like (or, among) the profanest of perverse mockers.

Verse 16. - With hypocritical mockers in feasts; literally, profane jesters of cakes; i.e. ribald parasites at a great man's table, whose coarse buffoonery entitles them to a share of the dainties; they made me their butt, their jest, and their byword (cf. Job 30:9). They gnashed upon me with their teeth; i.e. spoke fiercely and angrily against me, like dogs that snarl and show their teeth (comp. Job 16:9; Psalm 37:12). Psalm 35:16The second part begins with two strophes of sorrowful description of the wickedness of the enemy. The futures in Psalm 35:11, Psalm 35:12 describe that which at present takes place. עדי חמס are μάρτυρες ἄδικοι (lxx). They demand from him a confession of acts and things which lie entirely outside his consciousness and his way of acting (cf. Psalm 69:5): they would gladly brand him as a perjurer, as an usurper, and as a plunderer. What David complains of in Psalm 35:12, we hear Saul confess in 1 Samuel 24:18; the charge of ingratitude is therefore well-grounded. שׁכול לנפשׁי is not dependent on ישׁלּמוּני, in which case one would have looked for כּשׁול rather than שׁכול, but a substantival clause: "bereavement is to my soul," its condition is that of being forsaken by all those who formerly showed me marks of affection; all these have, as it were, died off so far as I am concerned. Not only had David been obliged to save his parents by causing them to flee to Moab, but Michal was also torn from him, Jonathan removed, and all those at the court of Saul, who had hitherto sought the favour and friendship of the highly-gifted and highly-honoured son-in-law of the king, were alienated from him. And how sincerely and sympathisingly had he reciprocated their leanings towards himself! By ואני in Psalm 35:13, he contrasts himself with the ungrateful and unfeeling ones. Instead of לבשׁתּי שׁק, the expression is לבוּשׁי שׁק; the tendency of poetry for the use of the substantival clause is closely allied to its fondness for well-conceived brevity and pictorial definition. He manifested towards them a love which knew no distinction between the ego and tu, which regarded their sorrow and their guilt as his own, and joined with them in their expiation for it; his head was lowered upon his breast, or he cowered, like Elijah (1 Kings 18:42), upon the ground with his head hanging down upon his breast even to his knees, so that that which came forth from the inmost depths of his nature returned again as it were in broken accents into his bosom. Riehm's rendering, "at their ungodliness and hostility my prayer for things not executed came back," is contrary to the connection, and makes one look for אלי instead of אל־חיקי. Perret-Gentil correctly renders it, Je priai la tte penche sur la poitrine.

The Psalmist goes on to say in Psalm 35:14, I went about as for a friend, for a brother to me, i.e., as if the sufferer had been such to me. With התחלּך, used of the solemn slowness of gait, which corresponds to the sacredness of pain, alternates שׁחח used of the being bowed down very low, in which the heavy weight of pain finds expression. כּאבל־אם, not: like the mourning (from אבל, like הבל from הבל) of a mother (Hitzig), but, since a personal אבל is more natural, and next to the mourning for an only child the loss of a mother (cf. Genesis 24:67) strikes the deepest wound: like one who mourns (אבל־,

(Note: According to the old Babylonian reading (belonging to a period when Pathach and Segol were as yet not distinguished from one another), כּאבל (with the sign of Pathach and the stroke for Raphe below equals ); vid., Pinsker, Zur Geschichte des Karaismus, S. 141, and Einleitung, S. 118.)

like לבן־, Genesis 49:12, from אבל, construct state, like טמא) for a mother (the objective genitive, as in Genesis 27:41; Deuteronomy 34:8; Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 6:26). קדר signifies the colours, outward appearance, and attire of mourning: with dark clothes, with tearful unwashed face, and with neglected beard. But as for them - how do they act at the present time, when he finds himself in צלע (Psalm 38:17; Job 18:12), a sideway direction, i.e., likely to fall (from צלע, Arab. ḍl‛, to incline towards the side)? They rejoice and gather themselves together, and this assemblage of ungrateful friends rejoicing over another's misfortune, is augmented by the lowest rabble that attach themselves to them. The verb נכה means to smite; Niph. נכּא, Job 30:6, to be driven forth with a whip, after which the lxx renders it μάστιγες, Symm. πλῆκται, and the Targum conterentes me verbis suis; cf. הכּה בּלשׂון, Jeremiah 18:18. But נכים cannot by itself mean smiters with the tongue. The adjective נכה signifies elsewhere with רגלים, one who is smitten in the feet, i.e., one who limps or halts, and with רוּח, but also without any addition, in Isaiah 16:7, one smitten in spirit, i.e., one deeply troubled or sorrowful. Thus, therefore, נכים from נכה, like גּאים from גּאה, may mean smitten, men, i.e., men who are brought low or reduced (Hengstenberg). It might also, after the Arabic nawika, to be injured in mind, anwak, stupid, silly (from the same root נך, to prick, smite, wound, cf. ichtalla, to be pierced through equals mad), be understood as those mentally deranged, enraged at nothing or without cause. But the former definition of the notion of the word is favoured by the continuation of the idea of the verbal adjective נכים by ולא ידעתּי, persons of whom I have hitherto taken no notice because they were far removed from me, i.e., men belonging to the dregs of the people (cf. Job 19:18; Job 30:1). The addition of ולא ידעתי certainly makes Olshausen's conjecture that we should read נכרים somewhat natural; but the expression then becomes tautological, and there are other instances also in which psalm-poesy goes beyond the ordinary range of words, in order to find language to describe that which is loathsome, in the most glaring way. פרע, to tear, rend in pieces, viz., with abusive and slanderous words (like Arab. qr‛ II) also does not occur anywhere else.

And what remarkable language we now meet with in Psalm 35:16! מעוג does not mean scorn or buffoonery, as Bttcher and Hitzig imagine,

(Note: The Talmudic עגה (לשׁון), B. Sanhedrin 101b, which is said to mean "a jesting way of speaking," has all the less place here, as the reading wavers between עגה (עגא) and אגא.)

but according to 1 Kings 17:12, a cake of a round formation (like the Talmudic עגּה, a circle); לעג, jeering, jesting. Therefore לעגי מעוג means: mockers for a cake, i.e., those who for a delicate morsel, for the sake of dainty fare, make scornful jokes, viz., about me, the persecuted one, vile parasites; German Tellerlecker, Bratenriecher, Greek κνισσοκόλακες, ψωμοκόλακες, Mediaeval Latin buccellarii. This לעגי מלוג, which even Rashi interprets in substantially the same manner, stands either in a logical co-ordinate relation (vid., on Isaiah 19:11) or in a logical as well as grammatical subordinate relation to its regens חנפי. In the former case, it would be equivalent to: the profane, viz., the cake-jesters; in the latter, which is the more natural, and quite suitable: the profane ( equals the profanest, vid., Psalm 45:13; Isaiah 29:19; Ezekiel 7:24) among cake-jesters. The בּ is not the Beth of companionship or fellowship, to express which עם or את (Hosea 7:5) would have been used, but Beth essentiae or the Beth of characterisation: in the character of the most abject examples of this class of men do they gnash upon him with their teeth. The gerund חרק (of the noise of the teeth being pressed together, like Arab. ḥrq, of the crackling of a fire and the grating of a file), which is used according to Ges. 131, 4, b, carries its subject in itself. They gnash upon him with their teeth after the manner of the profanest among those, by whom their neighbour's honour is sold for a delicate morsel.

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