Psalm 75:8-10

8. For in the hand of Jehovah there is a cup, and the wine is turbid, [or full of dregs:1] it is full of mixture, and he shall pour forth of it: surely they shall wring out the dregs of it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drink of it. 9. But I will publish for ever, and will sing praise to the God of Jacob. 10. And I will break all the horns of the wicked: but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.


8. For in the hand of Jehovah there is a cup.2 The Psalmist here applies more directly to the use of the godly that judgment of which he has just now spoken. He affirms, that the object for which God reigns is, that no iniquity may remain unpunished; but that when wicked men have broken through all restraint and abandoned themselves to wickedness, he may drag them to deserved punishment. From this we again learn what estimate we ought to form of the providence of God -- that we ought to regard it as exercising its control by an ever-present energy over every part of our life. It is therefore asserted that God has in his hand a cup with which to make the wicked drunk. The word rmx, chamar, signifies full of dregs, and also red. As red wine among the Jews was the strongest and sharpest, we may suppose that it is here referred to; and the similitude is very appropriate, which represents God as having in his hand wine of a highly intoxicating character, with which to make the ungodly drunk even to death. It is implied, that the swiftness of divine vengeance is incredible, resembling the rapidity and power with which strong wine penetrates to the brain, and either produces madness or kindles a fever. It is on this account said, that the wine in God's cup is of a red color; as it is said in Proverbs 23:31,

"Look not upon the wine when it is red in the cup."

Nor is it any objection to this that it is described a little after as full of mixture. These two things do not ill agree with each other; first, that the wicked are suddenly made drunk with the vengeance of God; and, secondly, that they drink it out even to the dregs, until they perish. Some give a different explanation of the term mixture, considering, but without any just ground, the allusion to be to the custom which prevails in warm climates of diluting wine with water. This expression, it is full of mixture, was rather added to give additional force to the statement of the prophet; his object being to compare the vehemence and fury of God's wrath to spiced wine.3 By these figures he intimates that it will be impossible for the ungodly to escape drinking the cup which God will put into their hands, and that they will be compelled to drain it to the last drop.

9. and 10. But I will publish for ever. This conclusion of the psalm evinces the joy which God's people felt from having experienced that He was their deliverer in adversity; for it seems to be their own experience which they engage to publish, and on account of which they resolve to sing praise to God. Whence also they gather, that by the divine aid they will overcome all the power of the reprobate; and that being themselves possessed of righteousness and equity, they will be sufficiently armed for their own preservation and defense. The expression, the horns of the righteous shall be exalted,4 implies, that the children of God, by a blameless and holy life, acquire greater strength, and more effectually protect themselves than if it were their endeavor to advance their own interests by every species of wickedness.

1 "Here there seems to be an allusion to the cup of malediction, as the Jews called that 'mixed cup of wine' and frankincense, which used to be given to condemned criminals before their execution, in order to take away their senses. So the Chaldee Targum paraphrases the passage; 'Because a cup of malediction is in the hand of the Lord, and strong wine full of a mixture of bitterness, to take away the understanding of the wicked.'" -- Parkhurst quoted by Mant.

2 Mixed wine, naturally suggests to us the idea of wine weaker than in its pure state. Accordingly, Green, instead of "full of mixture," translates "unmixed," by which he means wine unmixed with water. He perceived, what is evident at first sight, that wine of the strongest quality is intended, and having apparently no idea of any other mixture than that of water, which would weaken the wine, he took the liberty of rendering the words, Kom alm, male mesech, by "unmixed." The Greeks and Latins, in like manner by "mixed wine," understood wine diluted and weakened with water. But the phrase among the Hebrews generally denotes wine made stronger, by the addition of higher and more powerful ingredients. In the East, wines are much mixed with drugs of a stimulating and intoxicating kind; so that commonly when drawn from the vessels in which they are preserved, they are strained for use. What remains is the thick sediment of the strong and stimulating ingredients with which they had been mixed. This the wicked are doomed to drink. "The introduction of this circumstance," says Mant, "forms a fine climax, and carries the idea of God's indignation to the highest point." Some interpreters have explained the passage as meaning that God would pour out the pure and clear wine for his friends, while he would compel his enemies to drink the dregs. But the reference is entirely to his enemies, who were wholly to exhaust this cup of his fury. This, with the prophets, is a very common image of divine wrath. See volume 2, page 399, note.

3 "By the horns of the wicked is signified pride; by the horns of the righteous, on the other hand, is meant their power. Basil has remarked, that the horn is more exalted and more solid than any other part of the body to which it belongs; and that, at the same time, it supplies ornament to the head, and is also a weapon of defense. Hence it is put metaphorically both for strength and power, and also for pride." -- Cresswell. Here it is threatened that the power and honor of the wicked, which had been employed as the instruments of cruel wrong and oppression, would be destroyed, and their pride effectually humbled; while the righteous would be exalted to power and dignity.

4 "Et bien equippez de toutes choses requises a la guerre." -- Fr.