And he took the cup and gave thanks
For the Jews blessed, or gave thanks for their wine, as well as for their food, and generally did it in this form F23:
``Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, the king of the world, who hast created the "fruit of the vine".''Hence the phrase, "the fruit of the vine", in ( Matthew 26:29 ) , not that we are to suppose, that Christ used or confined himself to this form of words: and it is to be observed, that they not only gave thanks for their wine before food, and whilst they were eating F24, but also after meat; and as this relates to the blessing of the cup after eating, or as the Apostle Paul says, "when he had supped", ( 1 Corinthians 11:25 ) . I shall only transcribe what the Jews say F25 concerning that:
``When wine is brought to them after food, if there is but that cup there, the house of Shammai say, (Nyyh le Krbm) , "he blesses", or gives thanks "for the wine", and after that gives thanks for the food: the house of Hillell say, he gives thanks for the food, and after that gives thanks for the wine.''And as this was usual at ordinary meals, to bless or give thanks for the wine, so at the passover; and which our Lord continued in his supper, and is to be practised by us. It should be further known, that the wine at the passover, and so what Christ used at his supper, was red.
``Says R. Jeremiah F26 it is commanded to perform this duty, (Mwda Nyyb) "with red wine".''And elsewhere it is said F1,
``that it is necessary, that there should be in it (the wine) taste and look.''The gloss on it is, (Mwda ahyv) , "that it should be red": and which, as it most fitly represented the blood sprinkled on the door posts of the Israelites, when the Lord passed over their houses; so the blood of Christ, shed for the remission of the sins of his people. It is scarcely worth observing the measure of one of the cups, that was used at such a time: they say F2, that the four cups which were drank at this feast, held an, Italian quart of wine, so that one cup contained half a pint. More particularly, they ask how much is the measure of a cup? the answer is, two fingers square, and a finger and a half and the third part of a finger deep; or as it is elsewhere F3, the fifth part of a finger:
and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it;
for this is not to be restrained from one sort of communicants, and only partook of by another; but all are to drink of the cup, as well as eat of the bread: whether here is not an allusion to the custom of the Jews at the passover, when they obliged all to drink four cups of wine, men, women, and children, and even the poorest man in Israel, who was maintained out of the alms dish F4, may be considered.
F23 Haggadah Shel Pesach. fol. 241. 1.
F24 Vid. Misn. Beracot, c. 6. sect. 1. 6.
F25 Ib. c. 8. sect. 8.
F26 T. Hieros. Pesach. fol. 37. 3. & Sabbat, fol. 11. 1.
F1 T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 108. 2. & R. Samuel ben Meir in ib.
F2 T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 11. 1.
F3 T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 109. 1.
F4 Misn. Pesach. c. 10. sect. 1. T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 108. 1. Mitzvot Torah, pr. affirm. 41.