Verse 3. Thou hast showed thy people hard things. Hardships had been heaped upon them, and the psalmist traces these rigorous providences to their fountainhead. Nothing had happened by chance, but all had come by divine design and with a purpose, yet for all that things had gone hard with Israel. The psalmist claims that they were still the Lord's own people, though in the first verse he had said, "thou hast cast us off." The language of complaint is usually confused, and faith in time of trouble ere long contradicts the desponding statements of the flesh.
Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Our afflictions have made us like men drunken with some potent and bitter wine; we are in amazement, confusion, delirium; our steps reel, and we stagger as those about to fall. The great physician gives his patients potent potions to purge out their abounding and deep seated diseases. Astonishing evils bring with them astonishing results. The grapes of the vineyard of sin produce a wine which fills the most hardened with anguish when justice compels them to quaff the cup. There is a fire water of anguish of soul which even to the righteous makes a cup of trembling, which causes them to be exceeding sorrowful almost unto death. When grief becomes so habitual as to be our drink, and to take the place of our joys, becoming our only wine, then are we in an evil case indeed.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. Thou hast showed thy people hard things. God will be sure to plough his own ground, whatsoever becometh of the waste; and to weed his own garden, though the rest of the world should be let alone to grow wild. John Trapp.
Verse 3. Thou hast given us to drink infatuation, or bewilderment, as men drink wine. So Hupfeld explains the constructions, referring to Psalms 80:5 , "Thou hast made them feed upon weeping like bread;" 1 Kings 22:27 , "Feed him with affliction as bread, and with affliction as water" cxl mymw; Isaiah 30:20 . But the apposition is capable of being explained in another way, for the second noun may in fact be a predicate further defining the first: "Thou hast given us wine to drink which is (not wine, but) bewilderment." J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 3. The wine of astonishment. "Intoxicating wine." Hebrew, "Wine of staggering," that is, which causeth staggering, or, in other words, intoxicating. Some render, "wine of stupor," or stupefying. Symmachus, "wine of agitation," and this sense I have adopted which is also that of the Syriac. Benjamin Boothroyd.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. That God does afflict his people severely, and that he has good reason for the same.
Verse 3. The wine of astonishment. A purgative, a tonic. Astonishing sin followed by astonishing chastisements, discoveries of corruption, of the spirituality of the law, of the terrors of divine wrath, and by astonishing depressions, temptations, and conflicts.