28. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to endure drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Ye shall certainly drink.
28. Et erit, si rennerint ad sumendum (hoc est, sumere) calicem e manu tua ad bibendum, tunc dices ad eos (copula enim debetg resolvi in adverbium temporis,) Sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Bibendo bibetis.
In this verse the Prophet intimates, that however refractory the nations might be, yet they could effect no good by their obstinacy, for willing or unwilling they would be constrained to drink of the cup. But in order to render the matter more striking, he introduces them as refusing; If they refuse to take the cup, thou shalt say to them, says God, Drinking ye shall drink. We have before said that the Prophet was not set a teacher over the heathens: hence what he declares here appertained not to aliens; but the whole benefit belonged to God's Church. Therefore what is said was spoken for God's people, even that they might know that as God had determined to punish the wickedness of men, none of all those threatened with judgment could possibly escape. Men indeed are often like unruly horses, who kick and are ferocious, and rage against their rider, and also bite; but the Prophet shews that God possesses a power sufficient to quell such obstinacy. He however reminds us how rebellious most would be, nay, almost all, when chastised by God's hand. It is indeed a rare instance when he who has sinned, willingly and calmly submits to God, and owns that he is justly punished: nay, they who confess that they have deserved some heavy punishment, do yet complain against God; for they dread his vengeance, and apprehend not his mercy, and promise not to themselves any pardon. There is then no wonder that the Prophet ascribes here to wicked men, both Jews and aliens, so hard and rebellious a spirit, that they would resist God, and try to extricate themselves from his hand, in short, that they would by all means attempt to escape his judgment.
This is the reason why he says, If they refuse to take the cup from thy hand. We hence see that we are not to take the words in their literal sense: for the Prophet did not speak to aliens, but what he had in view was the event itself, or rather the disposition of the people. These nations had indeed some power, and doubtless they strenuously defended their own safety; and this was the act of refusing intended by the Prophet. For when the enemy attacked the Moabites, they did not immediately yield; and the same was the case with others. Tyre was almost unassailable, for it was situated in the sea; where it was easy to prevent the approach of enemies. As then they had resolutely opposed their enemies, they are said to have refused the cup from God's hand, for they thought that they could keep off the coming evil. But however inconquerable they thought themselves to be, and how much soever they trusted in their own power, yet God says, that their efforts would be in vain and useless: drinking, he says, ye shall drink.1 The reason follows --
Drink ye, -- ye shall drink.
The first verb is an imperative, and the second is in the future tense, and may be rendered, "ye must drink," for the future may thus be often rendered. -- Ed.