Verse 8. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup. The punishment of the wicked is prepared, God himself holds it in readiness; he has collected and concocted woes most dread, and in the chalice of his wrath he holds it. They scoffed his feast of love; they shall be dragged to his table of justice, and made to drink their due deserts.
And the wine is red. The retribution is terrible, it is blood for blood, foaming vengeance for foaming malice. The very colour of divine wrath is terrible; what must the taste be?
It is full of mixture. Spices of anger, justice, and incensed mercy are there. Their misdeeds, their blasphemies, their persecutions have strengthened the liquor as with potent drugs;
"Mingled, strong, and mantling high;
Behold the wrath divine."
Ten thousand woes are burning in the depths of that fiery cup, which to the brim is filled with indignation.
And he poureth out of the same. The full cup must be quaffed, the wicked cannot refuse the terrible draught, for God himself pours it out for them and into them. Vain are their cries and entreaties. They could once defy him, but that hour is over, and the time to requite them if fully come.
But the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them. Even to the bitter end must wrath proceed. They must drink on and on for ever, even to the bottom where lie the lees of deep damnation; these they must suck up, and still must they drain the cup. Oh the anguish and the heart break of the day of wrath! Mark well, it is for all the wicked; all hell for all the ungodly; the dregs for the dregs; bitters for the bitter; wrath for the heirs of wrath. Righteousness is conspicuous, but over all terror spreads a tenfold night, cheerless, without a star. Oh happy they who drink the cup of godly sorrow, and the cup of salvation: these, though now despised, will then be envied by the very men who trod them under foot.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6-10. See Psalms on "Psalms 75:6" for further information.
Verse 8. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red (which notes fierce wrath); and it is full of mixture. This mixture is of judgments, plagues, and punishments; "this is the portion of their cup" (Psalm 11). But what will the Lord do with this mixed cup? Who shall sip at the top of the cup he tells us not; but he is express whose the bottom is: he poureth out of the same -- some drops are spilt here and there -- but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them. Alas, they loathe it, their stomachs turn at it; they have not been brought up to drink dregs; they have had their wine well refined, and sparkling with spirits in crystal glasses; and how can they get this down? They who have drunk so willingly and freely of the cup of sin, shall be forced, whether they will or no, to drink the cup of judgment. And it is not a sip or two shall serve their turns; they must drink all, dregs and all, they shall drink it to the bottom and yet they shall never come to the bottom; they have loved long draughts, and now they shall have one long enough; there is eternity to the bottom. If a cup of affliction, which, in the effect, is a cup of salvation, be sometime, or for a time, nauseous to the godly, how deadly sick will the ungodly be, who must for ever, drink a cup of wrath and death. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 8. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, etc. It is a cup: well, there is a cup that David thirsts for: "I will take the cup of salvation." Psalms 116:13 . There is wine in it: better; for wine cheers the hearts, and puts alacrity into the spirits. That wine is red: better still; so it should be; this argues the lustre and goodness of it: "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup," Proverbs 23:31 : the colour adds to the pleasure. But now it is full of mixture: alas, this mixture spoils all. It is compounded, brewed, made unwholesome: this changeth the condition of the cup, of the wine, of the colour, of all. It is mixed with the wrath of God, the malice of Satan, the anguish of soul, the gall of sin, the tears of despair: it is red, that is, of a sanguine colour, the wine of blood. But yet so long as it is in the cup, they need not meddle with it: nay, but the Lord will pour it out; he shall hold their mouths to it, and make them drink it: the rankest poison in the world, the gall of dragons, and venom of asps, is pleasant and healthful to it. Yet be it a little of the top, let them but taste it; nay, they must drink it off, to the very bottom, the sediments, dreg, lees, and all; even the very filth of vengeance. And lest any drops should be left behind, they shall wring them out, and suck them down to their confusion. The cup is all bitter, and full of sorrow, saith Augustine: the godly do often taste the top, and feel the bitterness, but then it is suddenly snatched from them; but the ungodly shall drink the very grounds, and most extreme poison. Thomas Adams.
Verse 8. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; red with wrath, in the day of God's wrath. It is full of mixture: it hath no mixture of good, no sweetness at all in it, but all sorts of evil are mingled in out of the world; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink: they have not only the cup, but the dregs of the cup, that is, the worst of the cup; for as in a good cup, the deeper the sweeter; so in an evil cup, the deeper the worse: the dregs and the worst, the bottom is the bitterest of a bitter cup. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 8. A cup. There seems to be here 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. Richard Mant.
Verse 8. The wine is red, or "the wine foameth," i.e. as it is poured into the cup from the wine jar, as is expressed in the next member of the verse. Mixture, i.e. the aromatic herbs, &c., which were put into the wine to make it more intoxicating. J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 8. The wine is red. The remedy is suitable to the disease, and the punishment to the sin: Sanguinem sitisti sanguinem vitis (as he once says); Thou hast thirsted after blood, and blood thou shalt drink. Because men delight in blood, therefore blood shall be poured out unto them; yea, their own blood shall be poured out. This is the way of God's providence, and the manner of his dealings in the world; which because it is filled with cruelty shall be therefore filled with blood. Thomas Horton.
Verse 8. Red. The Hebrew word rmx rather means turbid: and it probably contains a further allusion to the particulars above mentioned; the wine being rendered turbid by stirring up the lees, and by the mixture of intoxicating drugs. Richard Mant.
Verse 8. Full of mixture. There are some who think that mixture is here named because they rarely drink pure wine in those regions, since they are so warm; and because the wine is there more generous than in these colder quarters. But a different signification is intended; it is that spices are mingled with the wine. Francis Vatablus. 1547.
Verse 8. Mixture. In all the afflictions of God's people there's an intermixture and temperament of love and favour, which shows itself in them. As, first of all, there's a mixture of strength and patience for the bearing of it. Secondly, there's a mixture of comfort and goodness as to the things themselves. God is not altogether in affliction, but he is very much in mercy with it; and as he is pleased to exercise his servants with several troubles, so he does likewise vouchsafe them many blessings together with them, which he does comfort them withal. And then, thirdly, there's another thing also which is much observable in the afflictions of God's people, which makes this mixture complete, and that is, a mixture of improvement and edification. Thomas Horton.
Verse 8. The dregs. (We quote this for its singularity rather than its value. It is a notable instance of the force of party zeal. Thus the Evangelical Anglican, in his ardour against Ritualistic errors, finds aid in a passage which would not ordinarily be understood to relate to the question. Any stick is good enough to beat a dog with.) Now, as the cup of red wine is the Christian doctrine which converts the soul, and in which the true believer spiritually luxuriates, so the dregs thereof are those merely outward, formal, and ceremonious circumstances, which are nothing in themselves more than the dregs and leavings of the signified reality and spiritual substance. And when the text says that the wicked shall wring out the dregs of Christian doctrine, and shall drink of them, we are led to fix our attention upon the main peculiarity of Pharisaical religion. As God satisfies his people with the true spiritual refreshment of genuine Christian doctrine; so does he leave to the unenlightened spirit, who will not seek him as he ought to do, the mere outside formalities, which being indeed to religion necessarily, but of it form no vital part. They are but the refuse of the magnificent heaven realising substance. T. D. Gregg. 1855.
Verse 8. All the wicked. They shall all do it too, we may not omit that: all the wicked of the earth. As there's an universality of the judgment, so there's universality of the sufferers; they shall drink all of it, and they shall all of them drink it, that so no man may favour or flatter himself with hope of escape. Thomas Horton.
Verse 8. Shall wring them out. Here's the necessity also of it; it is unavoidable; They shall drink it, that is, even against their minds, whether they will or no. It is very likely that wicked men would be very loath to come to this condition: they can be content to sin, but they cannot endure to be punished for sin... This cup shall not pass from them, but they shall drink of it, even against their stomachs, where they never so much loath it. Yea, and which is more, they shall suck it up; God will turn the cup up to them, and will make them to take it every jot; he will not spare them one drop of it, which they shall be suffered to leave behind... The Lord himself (as I may say) will stand over them, and see them do it without any favour or indulgence. Thomas Horton.
Verse 8. When God's people have drunk the red wine in the cup, the wicked must drink the dregs: the cup passeth from place to place till all be drank off. William Greenhill.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, etc.
- As to matter of preparation, consider it so, and
thus it is in the hand of the Lord.
- By way of qualification: it is he that tempers
it; it was full of mixture.
- By way of distribution, as giving to every one
his share and portion in it. Thomas Horton.
Verse 8. The cup of wrath. Where it is, what it is, how full it is, who brings it, who must drink it.
Verse 8. Full of mixture. Wrath of God, remorse, memory of lost joy, fear of future, recriminations, despair, shame, etc., all these are ingredients of the mingled cup.
Verse 8. (last clause).
- "The dregs" of the cup: the wrath of wrath, the gall
- The dregs of the people: "all wicked."