The flute-players (tou aulhta). The girl was just dead, but already a crowd "making a tumult" (qoruboumenon) with wild wailing and screaming had gathered in the outer court, "brought together by various motives, sympathy, money, desire to share in the meat and drink going at such a time" (Bruce). Besides the several flute-players (voluntary or hired) there were probably "some hired mourning women ( Jeremiah 9:17 ) praeficae, whose duty it was to sing naenia in praise of the dead" (Bruce). These when put out by Jesus, "laughed him to scorn" (kategelwn), in a sort of loud and repeated (imperfect) guffaw of scorn. Jesus overcame all this repellent environment.