The cup of blessing, which we bless
Meaning the cup of wine used in the Lord's supper, which being set apart for that service, is taken up, and the name of the Lord called upon over it; and he is blessed and praised for his wondrous love and grace, in the gift and mission of his Son, to shed his precious blood for us, for the remission of our sins; the whole church joining with the administrator, both in the act of blessing and praise over the cup, and in the participation of it. This cup is so called in allusion to the cup of wine used at common meals, or at the passover among the Jews, which they used to take and bless God with, and give him thanks for their mercies, and was commonly called (hkrb lv owk) , "the cup of blessing" F3.
``Three things (says R. Judah F4) shorten a man's days and years; when they give him the book of the law to read, and he does not read, (Krbl hkrb lv owk) , "the cup of blessing to bless with", and he does not bless, and when he accustoms himself to government.''Again, so they comment on ( Genesis 21:8 ) F5
``what is the meaning "of the day that Isaac was weaned?" the holy blessed God will make a feast for the righteous, in the day that he weans the people of the seed of Isaac, and after they eat and drink, they give to Abraham (Krbl hkrb lv owk) , "the cup of blessing to bless with"; he says to them, I will not bless, because Ishmael sprung from me; they give it to Isaac, he says to them, I am not fit to bless, for Esau came from me; they give it to Jacob, he says unto them I will not bless, for I married two sisters in their lifetime, which the law forbids me; they say to Moses, take it and bless, he says to them I will not bless, for I was not worthy to enter into the land of Israel, neither in life nor in death; they say to Joshua, take it and bless, he says I cannot bless, for I am not worthy of a son, as it is written, Nun his son, Joshua his son; they say to David, take thou it and bless, he saith unto them I will bless, and it is comely for me to bless; as it is said, "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord".''Once more they ask F6,
``what is a beautiful cup? (hkrb lv owk) , "the cup of blessing";''and which, they F7 observe, ought to hold the fourth part of a log of wine. These instances clearly show from whence the apostle borrowed this expression, and which he chooses to make use of because well known to the Jews, and as being very appropriate to the cup in the Lord's supper, he is speaking of:
is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
it is; that is, it is a sign, symbol, and token of fellowship with Christ in his death; it is a means of having communion with him, and of enjoying the blessings of grace which come through his blood; such as righteousness, peace, pardon, and atonement; all which true believers are made partakers of; and this part of the Lord's supper, the cup being drank of, is a testimony and an indication of the same: "the bread which we break"; which is the other part of the ordinance, which, though performed first, is mentioned last, because of the argument the apostle pursues upon it. The act of breaking the bread does not only design the distribution and eating of it, but the manner also in which it is prepared for distribution and eating, namely by breaking it into pieces; and which is aptly expressive of the body of Christ, which was wounded, bruised, and broken for us:
is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
it is; for not only believers by this act have communion with his mystical body, the church, but with his natural body, which was broken for them they in a spiritual sense and by faith eat his flesh, as well as drink his blood, and partake of him, of his sufferings and death, endured in his body, and of all the blessings of grace consequent thereon. The apostle's view in this instance, and his argument upon it, is this, that if believers, by eating the bread and drinking the wine in the Lord's supper, spiritually partake of Christ, of his body and of his blood, and have communion with him; then such who eat of things sacrificed unto idols, have in so doing communion with them, and partake of the table of devils, and so are guilty of idolatry, which he would have them avoid.
F3 T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 11. 3, 4. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 51. 1, 2. & 52. 1. Pesachim, fol. 105. 2. 106. 1. 109. 2.
F4 T. Bab. Berncot, fol. 55. 1.
F5 Capthor, fol. 47. 1.
F6 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 76. 2. & Erubin, fol. 29. 2.
F7 Piske Tosephot in Sabbat, art. 287. & Erubin, art. 46. 157. Vid. Zohar in Exod. fol. 57. 3. & 59. 2, 3. & 65. 1.