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Bible Commentaries
Romans 9

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Romans 9:1

Rom. 9 = Israel’s Past (mercy shown)

Rom 10 = Israel’s Present

Rom 11 = Israel’s Future

I am telling the truth in Christ -- I affirm what I am about to say. Paul frequently made this kind of statement (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:7) or a similar one about God as his witness (cf. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Philippians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10).

in Christ -- Most interpreters regard this as a form of an oath, as equivalent to calling Christ to witness. The word translated “in” ἐν en is used in the form of an oath in Matthew 5:34-36; Revelation 10:6; Ephesians 4:17.

I am not lying -- Paul makes a positive affirmation, then a negative one.

my conscience [testifies with me] also bearing me witness -- Paul affirms that his conscience knows the truthfulness of what he is about to say and is a witness to his integrity.

in the Holy Spirit -- Paul may here be appealing to the inspiration of the Spirit. Others say he is speaking of the Holy Spirit as one who knows what he is claiming and is a witness to the its truth.

He may be simply stating that his mind and heart is influenced by the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 2

Romans 9:2

great sorrow -- A heavy heart, intense grief.

continual grief -- Unceasing anguish. The word “continual” here must be understood in a popular sense, and not that he was literally all the time pressed down with this sorrow. But whenever he thought on this subject it gave him great grief; as we would say it was a painful subject to him.

Not so much that his countrymen are estranged from him, as that they were without the blessing of Christ.

in my heart -- Upon his mind. This affirmation is made so solemn because the Jews charged Paul with having forsaken his race.

Verse 3

Romans 9:3

For I could wish -- Slight division on how this should be translation, while the majority translate it this way, others suggest "I was wishing, had it be possible," or "I did wish" .

Some suggest that implication "I could have prayed if it had been possible" - CambridgeGreek

The object of the apostle seems to state his present attachment to his countrymen and willingness to suffer for them.

myself were accursed from Christ -- This passage has been much controverted. What does the word rendered “accursed” (anathema) properly mean?

"The proper grammatical construction of the word used here is not I did wish, but I could desire; that is, if the thing were possible." -BN

It historically meant something that was devoted to God’s use (as in the temple service) which was taken out of service by men and misused (desecrated) and now was not be used in such service to God.

Some may conclude therefore that Paul is saying his special mission to the Gentiles could be set aside if his countrymen, the Jews, would accept Christ. And not that Paul is saying he is willing to be lost eternally if the Jews could be saved.

Some understand Paul as saying "the apostle evidently means to say that he would be willing to suffer the bitterest evils, to forego all pleasure, to endure any privation and toil, nay, to offer his life, so that he might be wholly devoted to sufferings, as an offering, if he might be the means of benefiting and saving the nation... This does not mean that Paul would be willing to be damned forever."

from Christ -- ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, apo, G575, Usually suggest away from. [A few suggested to translate it "by".]

for my brethren -- Paul often referred to his fellow Jews as brethren to show his connection with them.

my countrymen [kinsmen] according to the flesh -- His countrymen, all of whom he regarded as his kinsmen, or relations, as descended from the same ancestors.

according to the flesh -- By birth. As distinguished from Paul’s Christian brethren which included Gentiles. They were of the same blood and parentage, though not now of the same religious belief.

Verse 4

Romans 9:4

who are Israelites -- Who is the real Israel today?

Romans 2:28-29; Romans 4:12-14; Romans 9:4-8; Galatians 6:16; Galatians 3:27-29; Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9; 1 Corinthians 10:18; (See Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5; Hebrews 11:1)

God’s Israel today is not that nation in Palestine called by that name, but His people who live by faith in Him and His Son Jesus Christ.

He now enumerates some of the glories of the Jewish race. Six high privileges of the chosen people are named in Romans 9:4-5. They were adopted as the chosen people Deuteronomy 7:6.

to whom belongs [pertains] the adoption -- Gal 4.1-3; "Israel" is the one adopted by God, He is their Father!

as sons -- Sonship. "Israel" are the sons of God. (Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 14:1-2; Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1; Malachi 1:6).

the glory -- To Israel belongs the "glory." Perhaps a reference to the Divine Presence of the Lord which rested on the ark in the wilderness and continued to be seen in the temple, and only disappeared when the temple was demolished in A.D. 70. This is what the Jews called the "Shekinah."

(Comp. Exodus 16:10; Exodus 24:16; Exodus 40:34-35; 1 Samuel 4:22; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Psalms 63:2; Ezekiel 1:28; Hebrews 9:5.)

the covenants -- The covenants of promised made to Abraham and the patriarchs and the covenant at Sinai.

the giving of the law -- The Law given at Mount Sinai, and the inclusion of all Old Testament scriptures.

the service of God -- The regulated temple worship.

and the promises -- (see Hebrews 7:6; Galatians 3:16, Galatians 3:21; Acts 26:6-7).

Especially the Messianic promises which were embedded in the covenants mentioned above. Acts 2:39; Ephesians 2:12; Romans 1:3;

The Jews, as such, had such wonderful advantages in the way God had blessed and treated them.

Israel -- The nation called "Israel" today is not the spiritual Israel, or the children of God. Many political decision seem to be made on the belief that the nation of Israel today is still somehow favored by God, while the book of Romans discount that view.

Verse 5

Romans 9:5

of whom are the fathers -- The patriarchs were the fathers to whom God gave the promises before Israel was a nation. The Jews highly valued themselves in this, Matthew 3:9.

and from whom according to the flesh, Christ came -- As far as his human nature was concerned, the long-expected Messiah (Christ, the "Anointed One") came from Israel, and was the hope of the world. He was not exclusively theirs since He is the sovereign eternally blessed God (John 1:1).

Christ came -- He had already come, and it was their high honor that he was one of their nation.

who is over all -- [ESV who is God over all] -- Here Paul called Jesus "God" (cf. Philippians 2:10-11; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:2).

This is an appellation that belongs only to the true God. It implies supreme divinity; and is full proof that the Messiah is divine.

the eternally blessed God -- [RSV who is over all the blessed forever; NIV forever praised!; NASB God blessed forever.] -- This doxology is applied to the Lord Jesus and proves that he is divine.

Note the various translations of this phrase.

Paul does not use Theos for Jesus often, but he does use it (cf. Acts 20:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; Titus 2:13; Philippians 2:6). All the early church Fathers interpreted this text as referring to Jesus. - Utley

Verse 6

Romans 9:6

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect -- God’s promise had not failed just because Israel as a nation did not recognize and rejoice in the Christ’s coming. Many of them had responded to the Messiah’s presence.

the word of God -- In this context this phrase refers to the OT covenantal promises. God’s promises are sure (cf. Numbers 23:19; Joshua 21:45; Joshua 23:14; 2 Kings 10:10; Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 55:11; Isaiah 59:21).

For they are not all Israel -- Why not? Because they are not willing to confess Christ, Romans 10:9-12.

Israel, who are of Israel -- The real Israel is not that physical nation of Jews. cf. note at Romans 9:4

Not all the descendants of Jacob have the true spirit of Israelites, or are Jews in the scriptural sense of the term; see note Romans 2:28-29.- BN

Verse 7

Romans 9:7

nor are they all children of Abraham -- Many of the physical seed of Abraham were adopted into the true family of God. Many of the descendants of Abraham were rejected.

because they are his offspring -- Abraham had other children beside the "children of promise" through Sarah. There were his descendants through Hagar (Genesis 25:12), through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4), and his concubines (Genesis 25:6)

It has been said that Abraham is the most honored man on earth. Because the Jews, Christians, and Moslems all honor him.

but "Through Isaac ..." -- This was the promise, Genesis 21:12. The "Israelite" descendants were through Isaac, the child of promise.

Verse 8

Romans 9:8

not the children of the flesh -- As proof of Paul’s statement he reminds them of other fleshly descendants of Abraham. See note on Romans 9:7.

the children of the promise -- Paul is preparing to argue his point about who are the "real" children of the promise (see the argument developing in Romans 9:24; Romans 9:26-27; Romans 9:30; and especially Romans 9:33)

Israel -- Israel today is not Israel, or the children of God. Many political decision seem to be made on the belief that the nation of Israel today is still somehow favored by God, while the book of Romans discount that view. see note on Romans 9:4.

Verse 9

Romans 9:9

the promise -- The promise made to Abraham.

About this time -- Genesis 18:10, Genesis 18:14.

Verse 10

Romans 9:10

And not only so -- This shows the principle of God making a distinction among the natural descendants of Abraham.

The first argument is that the true seed are children of the promise, a spiritual seed rather than of the flesh. The second argument, now begun, is that God has the right to reject what nation he will, including the Jews, and to choose other races if he will. This is shown by facts from history. He did exercise the right of choice when he chose Jacob as the chosen nation, instead of Esau. The facts are recited to show this. - PNT

but when Rebecca -- The wife of Isaac; see Genesis 25:21, Genesis 25:23.

had conceived children -- The children, yet unborn, were both Isaac’s seed according to the flesh; hence, according to the flesh, of the promised seed, and both equally without works, neither having done good nor evil (Romans 9:11) - PNT

Verse 11

Romans 9:11

not yet born -- God’s choice of Jacob by God was done before either had done good or evil. God’s choice was not made because of the works of either, but on the basis of God sovereignty.

[One of the basic passages for predestination of Christians today.] Various talents and abilities are given according to God, and not according to their works. Some may be born leaders, and some born academics; some with extrovert personalities and others with different personalities. Such decisions are by the unconditional choice of God and "not of works, but of Him who calls." - WG

It might be thought that there was a natural reason for preferring the child of Sarah, as being Abraham’s true and first wife, both to the child of Hagar, Sarah’s maid, and to the children of Keturah, his second wife. But there could be no such reason in the case of Rebecca, Isaac’s only wife; for the choice of her son Jacob was the choice of one of two sons by the same mother and of the younger in preference to the elder, and before either of them was born, and consequently before either had done good or evil to be a ground of preference: and all to show that the sole ground of distinction lay in the unconditional choice of God--"not of works, but of Him that calleth." - JFB

the purpose of God -- Of his own will he chose Jacob, yet unborn, to become the head of the chosen race, rather than Esau. Note that this election was not to eternal salvation, but to become the head of a people. As Moses, Samuel, and John the Baptist were raised up for a great work of God, so was Jacob. - PNT

Verse 12

Romans 9:12

it was said to her -- It was said to Rebecca by God, Genesis 25:23.

the older -- Which was Esau .By the law of primogeniture among the Hebrews, he would have been entitled to special honors and privileges. But it was said that in his case this custom should be reversed, and that he should take the rank of the younger.

shall serve -- Shall be subject to; shall not have the authority and priority, but should be inferior to.

The passage in Genesis Genesis 25:23 shows that this had reference particularly to the posterity of Esau, and not to him as an individual.

The sense is, that the descendants of Esau, who were Edomites, should be inferior to, and subject to the descendants of Jacob. Jacob was to have the priority; the promised land; the promises; and the honor of being regarded as the chosen of God.

If one should ask, Why did God choice Isreal among all the nations of the world, or Why did he not give me "leadership" or give me a mind for "academics", etc. the only reply to such inquiries is "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." Matthew 11:26.

Verse 13

Romans 9:13

As it is written -- Malachi 1:2-3. The language of Malachi in ist context shows that this is spoken of the two nations, Israel and Edom.

This was not true of Esau as a person, but true of his descendants. It is not about individuals, but that God blessed one nations more than another.

There is not the slightest hint of electing some persons to eternal salvation and others to damnation.

Esau -- The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Malachi 1:4.

have I hated -- This does not mean any positive hatred; but that he had preferred Jacob, and had withheld from Esau those privileges and blessings which he had conferred on the descendants of Jacob.

This is explained in Malachi 1:3,” And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness;” compare Jeremiah 49:17-18; Ezekiel 35:6.

It was common among the Hebrews to use the terms “love” and “hatred” in this comparative sense, where the former implied strong positive attachment, and the latter, not positive hatred, but merely a less love, or the withholding of the expressions of affection; compare Genesis 29:30-31; Proverbs 13:24. See Luke 14:26; John 12:25.

Verse 14

Romans 9:14

What shall we say -- What conclusion shall we draw?

Is there unrighteous with God? -- Does God do injustice or wrong in blessing nations indiscriminately? God is sovereign, and He can do exactly as He wishes, and whatever He does is just and right. Romans 9:15.

Certainly not! -- Paul’s answer.

Verse 15

Romans 9:15

For He says to Moses -- Exodus 33:19. Paul is showing that this principle of God’s sovereignty was always taught in the Scriptures.

I will have compassion -- Paul is giving evidence that God can bring the Gentiles into His plans if He wishes to!

God has a right to pardon whom He pleased, and to save people on His own terms and according to His sovereign will and pleasure.

Verse 16

Romans 9:16

So then it is not of him who will -- Man is not the one who will made the decisions of blessings and salvation, etc.

Isaac willed to bestow the blessing on Esau but God had chosen Jacob to become the founder of the Israelites.

not of him who runs -- A man running a race doesn’t declare himself the winner and the crown just because he runs!

Man doesn’t choose his own method of salvation, but must accept and obey God’s way. Jeremiah 10:23; Isaiah 55:8-9; Hebrews 5:9;

but of God who shows mercy -- God makes the decisions and the terms. Exodus 33:19.

See note "What Does God Want From Us?" at Hebrews 11:6.

Verse 17

Romans 9:17

the Scripture says -- Exodus 9:16;

unto Pharaoh -- The haughty and oppressive king of Egypt; thus showing that the most mighty and wicked monarchs are at his control; compare Isaiah 10:5-7.

for this very purpose -- This passage is designed to illustrate the doctrine that God shows mercy according to his sovereign pleasure. God meant to accomplish some great purpose by his existence and conduct.

raised you up -- God had allowed Pharaoh to come to this position of leadership just suited to develop his character.

show my power -- By means of Pharaoh’s decisions (whatever they be) God’s power would be seen in His deliverance of Israel.

my name -- The name of Yahweh, as the only true God.

throughout all the earth -- Or throughout all the land of Egypt, note Luke 2.1.

The nations in Canaan must have heard of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and remember it for years, see Joshua 2:9-11.

Verse 18

Romans 9:18

Therefore has mercy -- This a conclusion stated the apostle the result all the argument.

God has shown that has mercy according his own sense right, not according any human code.

whom wills hardens -- It does not mean exert a positive influence, but leave a sinner his own course, and place him circumstances where the character will more and more developed; see the note John 12:40.

"What must not forgotten, and what appears distinctly, from the whole narrative Exodus, that Pharaoh’s hardening was first his own act. Five times is said him that himself hardened, made heavy his heart (Exodus 7:13; Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:7), before the time when is last said that God hardened him (Exodus 9:12), and even after that is said that hardened himself (Exodus 9:34).

Thus at first closed his own heart God’s appeals; grew harder stubborn resistance under God’s judgments, until last God, a punishment for his obstinate rejection right, gave him over his mad folly and took away his judgment."--Godet.

At first Pharaoh hardened his own heart; God’s judgments only made harder, and then God "gave him over." God only made harder, his judgments and leaving him his folly, one who had already hardened his own heart.

Verse 19

Romans 9:19

You will say to me -- The apostle here refers to an objection that might be made to his argument.

Why does He still find fault? -- Why does he blame people, since their conduct is in accordance with his purpose, and since he bestows mercy according to his sovereign will? This objection has been made by sinners in all ages.

It assumes, what cannot be proved, that a plan or purpose of God must destroy the freedom of man.

who has resisted His will? -- That is, who has “successfully opposed” his will, or frustrated his plan?

resist -- The word translated “resist” is commonly used to denote the resistance offered by soldiers or armed men.

Verse 20

Romans 9:20

But indeed, O man -- Paul is reminding any who would argue with him on this point, that we are just "humans".

who are you to reply against God? -- Man is nothing, God is deity! Shall men charge God with injustice? We have no right to strive with our Maker. He has the right to declare his own conditions upon which he will have mercy.

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? -- To this objection the apostle replies in two ways;

first, by asserting the sovereignty of God, and affirming that he had a right to do it Romans 9:20-21; and

secondly, by showing that he did it according to the principles of justice and mercy, or that it was involved of necessity in his dispensing justice and mercy to mankind; Romans 9:22-24.

Will the thing formed -- God is the Creator, we are the created!

Verse 21

Romans 9:21

the potter -- Paul gives another illustration from the Old Testament, Isaiah 64:8. A potter worked with clay to make earthen vessels.

power -- This word denotes here not merely “physical power,” but authority, right; see Matthew 7:29, translated “authority;” Matthew 21:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24, “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, etc.”

the same lump -- A mass of material of the same consistency and well mixed. (Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 5:6) From the same lump of clay comes vessels for various use.

vessel -- A cup, lamp, jar, or other earthen utensil.

one vessel of honor -- One vessel may be shaped and fitted for honorable use, or designed for a more useful and refined purpose. A vessel used for special occasions and probably viewed or used by guests.

unto dishonor -- An everyday common vessel for meaner service.

The lump here denote the people of the world. The potter illustrates God’s right to create from this mass as it seems good in his sight. God may create one nation that will be honored and receive of his glory, while another does not receive the glory of the other.

People have no right to complain if God bestows his blessings where and when he chooses. Paul is still illustrating it was God’s right to choose Israel over other nations of the world. (Romans 9:7-13).

Verse 22

Romans 9:22

What if God -- This is the second point in the answer to the objection in Romans 9:19.

The answer has respect to the “two classes” of people which actually exist on the earth - the righteous and the wicked.

And the question is, whether “in regard to these two classes does God do wrong?” If he does not, then the doctrine of the apostle is established, and the objection is not valid. It is assumed here that the world is divided into two classes - saints and sinners. The apostle considers the case of sinners in Romans 9:22.

wanting [desiring; willing; choosing] -- Being disposed, having an inclination to do a thing proposed.

wrath -- τὴν ὀργὴν tēn orgēn. This word occurs thirty-five times in the New Testament. Passionate anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.

When used of men, it comes to mean an earnest desire of revenge, or inflicting suffering. Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 2:8.

With God it means a showing of his displeasure for transgression, and punishment for sin. Here it is evidently used to denote God showing "severe displeasure against sin."

to make his power known -- This language is the same as what was used in relation to Pharaoh; Romans 9:17; Exodus 9:16.

God wants to make it know that He hates sin!

endured with much longsuffering -- God is patience with those doing wrong. God’s patience is spoken of often in the scriptures; 2 Peter 3:9. Revelation 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Luke 18:7; as He was in the days of Noah 1 Peter 3:20; (see Genesis 6:3, where God seems to give man 120 years before the flood to repent or suffer his wrath.)

the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction -- Men who choose to do evil and prepared themselves to suffer God’s wrath. James 5:5.

Living and basking in sin one is fattening himself for the day of slaughter. See note at James 5:5.

Verse 23

Romans 9:23

and that He might make known -- That he might manifest or display.

the riches of his glory -- God will show his mercy ("the riches of his glory") on those who are his. (Romans 8:1; Romans 8:17; those adopted into his family, Romans 9:8.)

vessels of mercy -- Those on whom God will show "the riches of his glory," the saints.

which He had prepared beforehand for glory -- God had ordained that those conforming to the image of His Son would be saved, 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Timothy 1:9;

See also Ephesians 1:4-5, Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28-30; Acts 13:48; John 1:13.

unto glory -- To happiness; and especially to the happiness of heaven Hebrews 2:10; Romans 5:2, 2 Corinthians 4:17, 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 5:4.

Heaven is a "prepared" place for a "prepared" people. John 14:2-4.; Matthew 25:34; Amos 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:21;

Verse 24

Romans 9:24

even to us -- "Us" refers to us Christians, both Jews and Gentiles.

To prove that the Gentiles might be called as well as the Jews, was a leading design of the Epistle.

whom He called -- God has called his people to come from the world and be devoted to Him. 2 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4; Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians 1:24, etc.

not of the Jews only -- The first call was to the Jews. Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10.

also of the Gentiles? -- Paul shows that the gospel invitations is to eveyone, as Jesus commanded, Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16.

Verse 25

Romans 9:25

As He says -- Paul proceeds now to confirm by quotations from the writings of the Jews themselves that God planned to call both Jews and Gentiles. So, how could there be any objection?

Hosea -- [Ὡσηὲ, Osee] This is the Greek form of writing the Hebrew word Hosea. It means in the book of Hosea, as “in David” means in the book of David, or by David, Hebrews 4:7. The passage quoted is found in Hosea 2:23.

Verse 26

Romans 9:26

Quote from Hosea 1:10.

You are not my people -- Gentiles. The covenant at Sinai was made with Israel only, Deuteronomy 5:3;

they shall be called sons of the living God -- Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:8;

(Romans 8:1; Romans 8:17; those adopted into his family, Romans 9:8.)

Verse 27

Romans 9:27

Isaiah -- ησαιας, Esaias - The Greek way of writing the word “Isaiah.”

Cries -- Isaiah 10:22-23. Exclaims, or speaks aloud or openly: compare John 1:15.

Concerning Israel -- Concerning “the Jews.” Isaiah had reference primarily to the Jews of his own time; to that wicked generation that God was about to punish, by sending them captive into other lands.

As the sand of the sea -- This expression is used to denote an indefinite or an innumerable multitude. It often occurs in the sacred writings. Genesis 22:17; (Judges 7:12; 1 Samuel 13:5; 2 Samuel 17:11, etc.)

A remnant shall be saved -- Meaning a remnant only.

In comparison to the number of Israelites before captivity, only a few returned to the land afterwards.

Verse 28

Romans 9:28

He will finish the work -- This is taken from the Septuagint translation of Isaiah 10:23.

Cut it short -- This word here means to “execute it speedily, without delay, quickly,” The destruction shall not be delayed.

In righteousness -- So as to manifest his own justice. The work, though apparently severe, yet shall be a just expression of God’s abhorrence of the sins of the people.

Verse 29

Romans 9:29

And as Isaiah said -- Isaiah 1:9

before -- The apostle had just cited one prediction from the tenth chapter of Isaiah. He now says that Isaiah had affirmed the same thing in a previous part of his prophecy.

Lord of Sabaoth -- Lord of Host, Lord of all Power, All Powerful. James 5:4; Greek "Lord Sabaoth," which means "Lord of the [heavenly] armies," sometimes translated more generally as "Lord Almighty."

In Isaiah, the Lord of Hosts. The word “Sabaoth” is the Hebrew word rendered “hosts” (armies). It properly denotes armies or military hosts organized for war. Hence, it denotes the “hosts of heaven,” and means:

(1) “The angels” who are represented as marshalled or arranged into military orders; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:15; Judges 1:6; 1 Kings 22:19, ” Psalms 103:21; Psalms 148:2.

(2) The stars; Jeremiah 33:22, Isaiah 40:26; Deuteronomy 4:19,

Verse 30

Romans 9:30

What shall we say then? -- What conclusion shall we draw from the previous train of remarks? To what results have we come by the passages adduced from the Old Testament? This question is asked preparatory to his summing up the argument;

That Gentiles -- People to whom the Law of Moses had not been given.

who did not pursue righteousness -- Not having the Law, they did not follow its rituals and ceremonial regulations.

have attained to righteousness -- They did follow the moral code and understanding of right and wrong, good and evil, that God wanted and expected.

even the righteousness of faith -- Justification by faith in Christ; see the note at Romans 1:17.

Verse 31

Romans 9:31

but Isreal -- The Jews, as a whole.

law of righteousness -- Fleshly Israel was seeking righteousness by the Law of Moses, but had not attained the law of justice and righteousness in their daily lives.

Obedience to the rituals were not a substitue for godly living. Philippians 3:4-9;

Verse 32

Romans 9:32

Why [wherefore, why not] -- Why were they not justified before God?

did not pursue it thought faith -- They depended on their own righteousness, and not on the mercy of God to be obtained by faith.

but by works of the law -- They thought that keeping the rituals would merit salvation.

they stumbled -- They failed to attain they righteousness they sought and they rejected Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:23 The Jews could not accept a crucified Christ, or Savior, or Deliver. It did not fit their preconceived idea.

But Salvation is by faith, not by works of the Law.

stumbling stone -- Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:23; Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:32; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8;

Verse 33

Romans 9:33

As it is written -- A quotation from Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 8:14. The quotation here is made up of both these passages, and contains the substance of both; compare also Psalms 118:22; 1 Peter 2:6.

The background to Isaiah’s message was the Assyrian invasion.

Behold I lay in Zion -- Mount Zion was the hill in Jerusalem on which the temple and the palace of David were built. 1 Chronicles 11:5-8. The whole city was often called by that name; Psalms 48:12; Psalms 69:35; Psalms 87:2.

stumbling stone and Rock of offense -- Isaiah 8:14. (Paul in combining these verses followed a rabbinical technique.) He applies the title and pronouns to Jesus. 1 Peter 2:4-10.

whoever believes on him will not be put to shame [be disappointed] -- Isaiah 28:16 (Romans 10:13) The "stone/rock" is Jesus, He is 1) the object of our faith; 2) and "faith" (trust) is the proper response to Him.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Romans 9". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/romans-9.html. 2021.
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