Jeremiah 25:15 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from My hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. 16And they will drink and stagger and go out of their minds, because of the sword that I will send among them.”
17So I took the cup from the LORD’s hand and made all the nations drink from it, each one to whom the LORD had sent me

Was there a physical cup present when Jeremiah spoke these words? Was this just a vision in the mind of Jeremiah?


5 Answers 5


There are several things that make the "cup of fury" metaphoric in Jer 25:15-17 such as:

  • Nations staggering
  • One prophet giving the cup almost immediately to many nations
  • Many nations all drinking from a single cup

As the Pulpit commentary observes:

The wine, up of this fury; or, this wine-cup of fury. The wine with which the cup is filled is the wrath of God. The figure is not an infrequent one with the prophets and the psalmists (comp. Jeremiah 49:12; Jeremiah 51:7; Isaiah 51:17, 22; Ezekiel 23:31-34; Habakkuk 1:16; Psalm 60:3; Psalm 75:8).

Precisely the same Hebrew metaphor is also used in the NT in places like Matt 26:39, 42, Mark 10:39, 14:39, Luke 22:42, John 18:11, 1 Cor 10:21, etc.

The "cup of fury" metaphor is also quoted directly in the highly symbolic prophetic passages of Rev 14:10, 16:19, 17:4, 18:6.


God was talking about his wrath, and destructive sword. The Bible contains many visions and symbols, but you can understand it by context and other parts. And I personally read jw.org, for Bible understanding.


That the 'cup of wrath" is metaphoric is beyond dispute. Further, Jeremiah almost certainly received this message in a highly symbolic vision. The question here about Jer 25, was this an enacted parable or not?

First, we have numerous enacted parables by various prophets, including Jeremiah such as:

  • Jer 13:1-11 - the Linen waist cloth
  • Jer 18:1-10 - the potter
  • Eze 4:1-8 - Jerusalem's siege, sinfulness etc
  • Eze 5:1-4 - Jerusalem's sinfulness
  • 1 Kings 22:11 - horns to illustrate destruction of Arameans

Now, it would have been physically impossible for the prophet Jeremiah to visit all the capitals of the countries listed in Jer 25 to deliver the divine message. However, that is not even necessary. It is entirely possible that Jeremiah simply convened a meeting the international envoys/ambassadors in a room in Jerusalem to deliver this message to each nation's representative. [Compare Isa 39.]


God often commands his prophets to do something physical to symbolize the prophecies. Jeremiah had done also only 2 chapters later.

Jeremiah 27:1 Early in the reign of Zedekiah a son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck.

Back to your question, Was there a physical cup present when Jeremiah spoke these words?

I believe so. It symbolizes the cup of wrath.

Was this just a vision in the mind of Jeremiah?

I believe it was both a vision and physical. The hand of the Lord was invisible in any case.


Jeremiah 25:

17So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it: 18Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn, a curse c —as they are today; 19Pharaoh king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials and all his people, 20and all the foreign people there; all the kings of Uz; all the kings of the Philistines (those of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod); 21Edom, Moab and Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the coastlands across the sea; 23Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in distant places; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the foreign people who live in the wilderness; 25all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media; 26and all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other—all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. And after all of them, the king of Sheshak will drink it too.

Logistically speaking, this was impossible for Jeremiah to literally accomplish all these running around.

Does Jeremiah literally visit the nations and hand them the cup of God's wrath?

No. The whole passage was partly a vision and partly symbolic.

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