15. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me, Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
15. Quia sic dixit Jehova Deus Israel ad me, Sume calicem vini furoris (vel, iracundiae) Sume calicem vini furoris (vel, iracundiae) hujus e manu mea, et propina illum cunctis gentibus, ad quas ego mittam to ad eas (sed hoc secundum redundat.)
Jeremiah now explains more at large what might on account of its brevity have appeared obscure. He had spoken of all nations, but his discourse was abrupt; for he had not yet openly told us that he had been sent by God as a herald to summon all kings and nations before his tribunal, and to declare what was to be. As, then, the Prophet had referred to nothing of this kind, his discourse was ambiguous. But he now declares that a cup from God's hand had been delivered to him, which he was to give to all nations to drink. We hence see that there is here nothing new, but that the Prophet is, as it were, the interpreter of his previous prophecy, which was briefly stated.
Moreover, that what he said might have more weight, he relates a vision, Thus said Jehovah the God of Israel unto me, Take the cup of the wine of this fury from my hand.1 We have said in other places that the fulfillment of prophetic truth was not without reason dwelt upon, and that the servants of God were so armed, as though the execution of all that they alleged was ready at hand. They were said to demolish cities and to overthrow kingdoms even for this reason, because such was the torpidity of men, that they gave no credit to God, except they were brought to see the event as it were before their eyes. But as this subject has been handled more fully elsewhere, I shall only touch upon it here. He then says, that a cup had been delivered to him by God's hand; by which words he intimates, that he did not come forth of his own will to terrify the Jews and other nations, but that he faithfully proclaimed what had been committed to him; and he also intimates, that God spoke nothing now but what he meant shortly to execute; and this is what is to be understood by the word cup.
He calls it the cup of the wine of fury, or of wrath. This metaphor often occurs in the prophets, but in a different sense. For God is said sometimes to inebriate men when he stupifies them, and drives them at one time to madness, and at another time deprives them of common sense and understanding, so that they become like beasts; but he is said also to inebriate them, when, by outward calamities, he fills them with astonishment. So now the Prophet calls calamity the cup of wrath, even that calamity, which like fire was to inflame the minds of all those who received no benefit from chastisements. Madness, indeed, means no other thing than the despair of those who perceive God's hand stretched out against them, and thus rage and clamor, and curse heaven and earth, themselves and God. This is what we are to understand by wrath. He compares this wrath to wine, because they who are thus smitten by God's hand are carried away as it were beyond themselves, and repent not, nor think of their sins with calmness of mind, but abandon themselves to a furious rage. We now then understand why the Prophet says, that the cup of the wine of wrath had been given to him.
Then he adds, An, make all the nations to whom I send thee2 to drink it. Here, again, he confirms what I lately referred to, that his office was farther extended than to teach in the middle of the Church, but that he had also been chosen to proclaim as a herald God's judgments on all nations. He was, indeed, sent to the Jews otherwise than to heathen nations, for he was set over them as a teacher, and that for their salvation, provided they were not irreclaimable; but he was sent to the heathens expressly to threaten them with what was nigh at hand. He was, however, sent both to the Jews and to all other nations, as he will hereafter more distinctly shew in due order.
We now see the design and object of what is here said; -- to add authority to his last prophecy, Jeremiah, in the first place, sets forth the vision which had been presented to him; and then he testifies that he brought nothing of his own, but only obeyed God and faithfully performed his commands; and thirdly, he intimates that he was not only appointed a teacher in the Church of God, but was also a witness of his vengeance on all nations. It follows, --
Take the cup of the wine of fury, even this, from my hand.
So do Gataker and Venema render the sentence, referring "this" to the cup and not to "fury." The word for "fury" is heat; it means hot, boiling, or burning wrath, -- rendered "fury" by the Vulg. and Syr., -- "malediction" by the Targ., and "unmixed" (the cup of this unmixed wine) by the Sept. -- Ed.