Verse 21. Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me. As if they would swallow him. Uttering great lies which needed wide mouths. They set no bounds to their infamous charges, but poured out wholesale abuse, trusting that if all did not stick, some of it would. And said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it. Glad to find out a fault or a misfortune, or to swear they had seen evil where there was none. Malice has but one eye; it is blind to all virtue in its enemy. Eyes can generally see what hearts wish. A man with a mote in his eye sees a spot in the sun. How like a man is to an ass when he brays over another's misfortunes! how like to a devil when he laughs a hyaena laugh over a good man's slip! Malice is folly, and when it holds a festival its tones and gestures far exceed all the freaks and mummeries of the lord of misrule.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 21. Our eye hath seen. Eye for eyes, unless we would say that all the wicked are so conjoined, that they may seem to have but one eye, heart, head. John Trapp.
Verse 21. Yet, O ye saints, divulge not these things to wicked men; whisper them softly one to another, with fear and trembling, lest some profane wretch or other overhear you, and take that for encouragement that was only meant for caution. What is more common than for the vilest sinners to plead for their excuse, or warrant rather, the foul miscarriages of God's dearest saints? Thus the drunkard looks upon holy Noah as a pot companion, whereby he discovers his nakedness in a worse sense than ever Cham did; and thus the unclean sensualist quotes David, and calls him in to be the patron of his debauchery. Certainly, if their be any grief that can overcast the perfect joys of the saints in heaven, it is that their names and examples should, to the great dishonour of God, be produced by wicked and sinful men, to countenance their grossest sins and wickedness. But let such know, that God hath set up these in his church to be monuments of his mercy, to declare to humble and penitent sinners how great sins he can pardon; yet if any hereupon embolden themselves in sin, instead of being set up as monuments of mercy, God will set them up as pillars of salt. Ezekiel Hopkins (Bishop).
Verse 21. He who rejoices in another's fall rejoices in the devil's victory. Ambrose, quoted in Nichol's Proverbs.
They gape and draw their mouths in scornful wise.
And cry, fie, fie, we saw it with our eyes.
But thou their deed, (O Lord!) dost also see;
Then be not silent so, nor far from me.
Sir John Davies.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS