27. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.
27. Et dices ad eos, Sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Deus Israel, Bibite et inebriamini, vomite et cadite, et ne surgatis a facie gladii, quem ego mitto inter vos.
Here the Prophet returns to his former discourse. He had said that a cup was extended to him by God's hand, that he might give it to all nations to drink. He now repeats and confirms the same thing, not indeed that he brought this message to all the nations; for we have said the benefit arising from these predictions belonged only to the Jews. Neither the Tyrians nor the Sidonians ever knew that they were punished by God's hand when they were plundered by their enemies; this never came to their minds, nor had this been ever taught them. The Prophet had not been appointed their teacher; but his duty was only to warn his own nation.
However, the Prophet, that his predictions might have greater authority, is here introduced as God's herald, denouncing ruin on all nations, Thou shalt therefore say to them, Thus saith Jehovah, etc. The true God was unknown to these heathens, except they had heard that God was worshipped in Judea; but at the same time they despised, yea, hated true religion. But, as I have already said, the Prophet addressed his own people, the Jews alone, though he spoke of aliens and distant nations. I cannot advance further now.
Grant, Almighty God, that since there are before our eyes so many evidences of thy judgments and of thy goodness, we may advance in the fear of thy name, and not go on to kindle thy wrath more against us, but that, being touched with true repentance, we may seek to be reconciled to thee, and that, commiserating the many evils, by which the world is at this day afflicted, we may also strive to restore those to the right way who seem to give themselves up to their own ruin, so that by converting those to thee who are now far away and aliens, thy name may be more glorified and proclaimed by us with one consent, through Christ Jesus our Lord. -- Amen.
We began yesterday to explain the verse in which Jeremiah bids all nations to drink of the cup until they were drunken. Of the metaphor of the cup an explanation has already been given: the reason is, because God in his infinite wisdom knew what every one deserved, or how just it was to chastise at one time in a lighter, and at another time in a heavier degree. As then the measure is not the same, the similitude of a cup is most suitable. Further, God sometimes gives a cup to drink, that he who cannot bear a heavier punishment may only taste it. For we know that God deals more severely with the strong and the obstinate: but when any one is weak, he is treated more gently, and is made only to sip or to taste of the cup.
But the Prophet says here that they were to drink until they became drunken, according to what is said in another place, when the heathens are spoken of, "They shall even exhaust the yew dregs." And God makes men drunken, as I have said before, even when he blinds them and gives them the spirit of giddiness or stupor. (<310126>Obadiah 26.) But the word drunkenness refers to external chastisements. Drink ye, then, and be drunken; that is, "think ye not that you have suffered all, when God begins to punish you and has given you one draught only; but the Lord will make you thoroughly drunken." And hence he adds, Vomit ye and fall; for they who indulge in excess and fill themselves, so that they almost burst, must necessarily disgorge themselves. And vomiting disorders the brain, so that the feet can no longer perform their office, and no part of the body retains its power. The meaning then is, that as God had for a long time deferred his judgment, and all nations had hardened themselves when his long-suffering invited them to repentance, the most dreadful vengeance was now nigh them all, a vengeance which would compensate for the delay or the length of endurance.
Some interpreters hence conclude, that the punishment of all the nations of whom the Prophet now speaks, would be of no avail to them: but this seems not to me to be well founded. For he has spoken of the chosen people; and it is certain that some of them repented, however small the number was, and we shall also see that pardon and salvation are promised even to the heathens, after the execution of God's judgments. I therefore thus simply interpret these words, -- that they should not only taste of the cup, but also drink to excess, so as to become like drunken men, wholly stupified, because the heaviness of their punishment would deprive them of reason. In no way more solid is the reason given by Jerome, when he says that the Prophet's discourse refers to the reprobate, because he subjoins, And rise no more. Jerome thought, that by this expression extreme despair is intimated. But the Prophet, in my judgment, meant nothing else than that God's vengeance on all the nations would be so great that vestiges of it would remain after a length of time; as the case is with a drunkard, who cannot get rid of the effects of his excess in a night or in a day, but he remains stupid for some time, or becomes frantic. This is what the Prophet means when he says, and they shall rise no more.1
It now follows, On account of the sword which I send among you. He now expresses without a figure what he had said of drunkenness and vomiting, even that so great a horror would seize their minds, that they would lie down wholly stupified. But God declares that he would send a sword against them, that the Jews might understand, as it has been already stated, that when all things would be in a state of almost entire confusion, yet God's judgment would be within the limits of moderation. It now follows --
27. And say thou to them, thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, Drink ye and be drunken, vomit also and fall; and ye shall not rise up before the sword which I shall send among you.
The representation is, that they would be so drunken as not to keep on their legs, and that having fallen they would not be able to rise to make any resistance to the attack made upon them. -- Ed