Dainties

DAINTIES, DAINTY (MEATS). Three Heb. words referring to tasty, delightful food are so tr. Each occurs only in the pl. מַטְעַמּוֹת “tasty, savory food” is built on the root טעם “to taste.” Six times in Genesis 27 mat’amôt refers to the “savory food” which Rebekah and Jacob used to deceive Isaac. Rebekah made this favorite dish out of two kids of the goats (KJV v. 9). In Proverbs 23:3 “dainties” (RSV “delicacies”) of the ruler are described as “deceptive food.” Verse 6 warns about the dainties and bread of one with an evil eye.

מַטְעַמִּ֜ים “delicacies, dainties,” from נָעֵם, H5838, “be pleasant, delightful” occurs only in Psalm 141:4. The psalmist prays that Jehovah will preserve his heart from evil deeds and from partaking of their “dainties.” The food is clearly portrayed as a lure to unrighteous fellowship.

מַנְעַמִּים, H4982, “dainty (food), delight,” can have a good connotation. Proverbs 29:17 speaks of the delight which a disciplined son brings his father. Food does not seem to be involved. When Jacob blesses Asher, he predicts that he will “yield royal dainties” (Gen 49:20). This same identification of royalty and ma’ădannîm occurs in Lamentations 4:5, where “wearers of scarlet” are mentioned.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Jacob is represented as predicting of Asher, "He shall yield royal dainties" (Ge 49:20; compare parallel clause, "His bread shall be fat," and De 33:24, "Let him dip his foot in oil"). David, praying to be delivered from the ways of "men that work inquiry," cries, "Let me not eat of their dainties" (Ps 141:4). The man who sitteth "to eat with a ruler" (Pr 23:1-3) is counseled, "If thou be a man given to appetite, be not desirous of his dainties; seeing they are deceitful food" (compare John’s words in the woes upon Babylon (Re 18:14), "All things that were dainties and sumptuous are perished from thee," and Homer’s Iliad (Pope). xviii.456). "Dainties," then, are luxuries, costly, delicate and rare. This idea is common to all the words thus rendered; naturally associated with kings’ tables, and with the lives of those who are lovers of pleasure and luxury. By their associations and their softening effects they are to be abstained from or indulged in moderately as "deceitful food" by those who would live the simple and righteous life which wisdom sanctions. They are also "offered not from genuine hospitality, but with some by-ends." He should also shun the dainties of the niggard (Pr 23:6), who counts the cost (Pr 23:7 the Revised Version, margin) of every morsel that his guest eats.

See Delicate; Food, etc.

George B. Eager