Verse 16. With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. Like professional buffoons who grin around the banquet to make sport, so they made a business of jeering at the good man; not, however, out of mirth, but from violent, insatiable hatred. Like cake scoffers, or men who will jeer for a bit of bread, these hireling miscreants persecuted David in order to get a bellyful for themselves from Saul's table: having moreover an inward grudge against the son of Jesse because he was a better man than themselves. Very forcibly might our Lord have used the words of these verses! Let us not forget to see the Despised and Rejected of men here painted to the life. Calvary and the ribald crew around the cross seem brought before our eyes.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 16. With hypocritical mockers in feasts. Some cannot be merry, but it must be with Scripture; if they want a little diversion, the saints must be the subject of their discourse! they can vent their profane jests upon the word of God; this is their pastime over their cups upon the ale bench. How ready they are with their contumelious reflections; they have learnt their father's dialect, they are accusers of the brethren, their speech betrays them to be Hellians. You know that in ordinary, we can tell what countryman a person is by his speech, every country having almost a peculiar idiom; so it is here, these scoffers at religion by speaking the language of hell, let us understand whence they are. They have, it may be, a little wit, which they set off with a sort of an air in rhetorical raillery, and oh, how quick and sharp when they are upon this subject! These scoffing Ishmaelites are seated in the devil's chair, somewhat above their brethren in iniquity, as most deserving the place; and there is less ground to hope that such persons will be savingly wrought upon who arrive to such a height is sin as to make a mock of it, and to sport with holiness, than of others. Persons are got a great way towards hell when they mock at what is serious, and that with delight. This the Lord will visit for in his due time; for he knows who they are that so dishonour him by reproaching them that are his. Oliver Heywood.
Verse 16. Hypocritical mockers in feasts. (gwam ygal ypnhb) Very difficult. The word (gwcm), in 1 Kings 17:12 , the only other passage where it occurs, means "a cake." Hence (gwam ygal) is interpreted by Gesenius and others to mean, hangers on at the table of the rich (literally "cake mockers"), whose business it was, by witticisms and buffoonery to make entertainment for the guests, and who got their dinner in return, like the qwisokolakez, knisololakes, and the Medieval Lat. buccellarii. Then the words would mean, "Amongst the most profane." J. J. Stewart Perowne. (Would not our word loafers be somewhat analogous to these cake eaters of antiquity!) C. H. S.
Verse 16. Hypocritical mockers. David aggravates the sin of those jeering companions who made him their table talk, and could not taste their cheer except seasoned with some salt jest quibbled out at him, with this, that they were hypocritical mockers; they did it slily, and wrapped up their scoffs, it is like in such language as might make some think, who did not well observe them, that they applauded him. There is a way of commending which some have learned to use when they mean to cast the greatest scorn upon those they hate bitterly, and these hypocritical mockers deserve the chair to be given them from all other scorners. William Gurnall.
Verse 16. Mockers in feasts. If it were known at a feast that there was any one present or absent, whom the host disliked, it was customary for the guests to "make fun of them," and use sarcastic language respecting them. These are the hypocritical mockers in feasts. John Gadsby.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS