My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
15 But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered; they gathered together against me; wretches whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing;
16 like profane mockers at a feast, they gnash at me with their teeth.
Here we see David’s undeserved enemies rejoicing and gathering around the saint in trouble, the saint who stumbles. There is nothing that unites the evil ones like the apparent weakness of the saint.
As an example of this principle, notice that when the Christ was brought low, when He appeared to be weak, both Pilate and Herod became friends. But they hated each other before this!
12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. – Luke 23:12 ESV
Nothing brings the lowest of the wretches together like the appearance of the saint ready to be devoured, to be destroyed and to be overcome.
The stumbling of the saint, that is referred to may be translated as a limping, or halting, or even imply a sudden slip.
How can we describe this “stumbling” in regard to the Messiah, for surely he committed no sin, neither was their guile in his mouth. He was the sinless One, and yet, He took the position of the guilty. He spoke the truth of His person, and those who were His enemies (without cause), used the truth to condemn the guiltless One.
Although His enemies knew it not, they had One ally, One helper in this upside down mystery. The Son allowed this injustice to occur. Could He not have called upon His Father for assistance, for twelve legions of angels to deliver Him?
Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? – Mat 26:53 ESV
And yet He stood down, He entered into this circus of contradiction with one purpose, one goal. He knew what was in the heart of men, He knew the trial before Him, and He allowed them to gather in unison against Him, to tear at His life, to mock and deride, and finally, even beyond any description of the passage we are in, to enter into death for His very enemies.
Not only did they gather together, they rejoiced in this rejection of truth, their utter hatred of the Son. For they knew this was the Messiah. The leaders knew. And the Lord had told them they knew. (Consider Parable Surprises – Wicked Servants). There was no hiding behind ignorance, this was blind hatred for God and His Messiah.
What power hungry, insane hearts dwelled in those who sought the Saviors life. What utter confidence in the will of God for the Savior to accept this lot, this trial, to work out this act of obedience!
These wretches tore at Him without ceasing, gnashing at Him with their teeth. Slander was slung upon the righteous One, upon the guiltless One. The One who made no false statement, suffered under the false statements hurled at Him. Not only false statements cast upon His spotless character and His Royal Person, but to the extent of His death, the death of the cross.
All the while as those enemies rejoiced over His (voluntary) stumbling!
Gnashing of Teeth
They gnashed at Him.
Gnashing is not a term I often use, but in the providence of God, I had just finished a quick study in the New Testament on this very term (See Parable Surprises – Wedding Banquet)
I found that gnashing of teeth, at least in the New Testament, referred to rage, anger and fury. Of course I was looking only at the New Testament use of the Greek terms used. This morning, let us venture into a short study, discovering the Old Testament usage of this term, and its related emotions.
The Hebrew word for gnashing is ḥāraq and is used four other times beyond our passage in Psalm 35.
He has torn me in his wrath and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me. – Job 16:9 ESV
Gnashing of teeth is associated with wrath and hatred in this verse, and also, quite interestingly, of wicked devices against the victim, of the sharpening of the eyes! This may come up again in one of our next verses!
The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, – Psa 37:12 ESV
Again, this passage speaks of plotting, planning against the righteous.
The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish! – Psa 112:10 ESV
Gnashing of teeth is the result of the anger the wicked man experiences.
All your enemies rail against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry: “We have swallowed her! Ah, this is the day we longed for; now we have it; we see it!” – Lam 2:16 ESV
Gnashing of teeth in this passage is associated with railing against the victim, of protesting or criticizing against Him. Anger may be a part of this experience, but there is also an apparent victory in this instance, of a longing accomplished, of the plotting realized, and yet the gnashing of teeth is still spoken of. No peace, even in the midst of their long desired victory!
This gnashing of teeth is associated with anger and rage. Blind fury of those against the Son, resulted in the gnashing of teeth. The wicked experience no peace, even in attaining the very thing they sought for. No peace for the wicked in their evil devices!
“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” – Isa 48:22 ESV
How utterly contradictory is the desire of the wicked and the associated results of their plots.
Be careful Christian, in finding delight in the fall of a believer. You may be joining with a bad crowd!
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.