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75. Psalm 75

Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

2When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.

3The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.

4I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:

5Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.

6For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

7But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

8For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

9But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

10All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

8. For in the hand of Jehovah there is a cup. 261261     “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. 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 חמר, 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. 262262     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, מלא מסך, 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. 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.

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