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Bible Commentaries
Romans 9

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

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Verse 1

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

I say the truth, … — As any one is more assured of his own salvation, the more he desireth the salvation of others. Charity is no churl; as we see here in Paul.

Verse 2

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

Continual sorrow — Such as a woman in travail hath, οδυνη . So Galatians 4:19 .

Verse 3

For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Were accursed — Devoted to destruction, αναθεμα , as those malefactors among the heathens were, that in time of common calamity were sacrificed to their infernal gods, for pacifying their displeasure, that the plague might cease. Out of greatest zeal to God and love to his countrymen, the apostle wisheth himself anathema, that is, not to be separated from the Spirit and grace of Christ (for so he should have sinned), but from the comforts of Christ, the happiness that comes in by Christ, as one well interpreteth it. Charitas exuberans optat etiam impossibilia, saith Luther; his over abounding charity wishs impossibilities; but his wish was voluntas conditionata, saith one. His love to the Church was like the ivy, which if it cleave to a stone or an old wall, will rather die than forsake it. Somewhat like to this holy wish was that of Ambrose, that the fire of contentions kindled in the Churches might (if it were the will of God) be quenched with his blood. And that of Nazianzen, that (Jonah-like) he might be cast into the sea, so by it all might be calm in the public.

Verse 4

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God , and the promises;

The adoption — For Israel was God’s firstborn, and so "higher than the kings of the earth," Psalms 89:27 .

And the glory — The ark of the covenant, 1 Samuel 4:21 , whence Judea is called "the glorious land," Daniel 11:41 . As for the ark, it is elsewhere called God’s face, Psalms 105:4 . Yea, God himself, Psalms 132:5 .

The covenants — The moral law in two tables.

The giving of the law — The judicial law.

The service — The ceremonial law.

The promises — Of the gospel made to Abraham, and his seed for ever. These promises are a precious book, every leaf whereof drops myrrh and mercy.

Verse 5

Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came , who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Of whom is Christ — This is as great an honour to all mankind (how much more to the Jews!) as if the king should marry into some poor family of his subjects.

Verse 6

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Not as though the word — That word of promise, Romans 9:4 , which is sure hold, "Yea and Amen."

For they are not all IsraelMulti sacerdotes, et pauci sacerdotes, Many priests and few priests, saith Chrysostom, multi in nomine, et pauci in opere, many in name and few in work. So here.

Verse 7

Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Neither because they are — This profiteth them no more than it did Dives that Abraham called him son.

Verse 8

That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

The children of the promise — Abraham by believing God’s promise, begat, after a sort, all believers, yea, Christ himself, the head of his seed, his Son according to the flesh, but more according to the faith.

Verse 9

For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

At this timeSee Trapp on " Genesis 18:10 "

Verse 10

And not only this ; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

But when Rebecca — She, and not Isaac, is named, because she received the oracle, whether from the mouth of Melchisedec or some other way, I have not to determine.

Verse 11

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

For the children, … — Here the apostle wadeth into that profundum sine fundo, bottomless subject, predestination.

Being not yet born — Sapores son of Misdates, king of Persia, began his reign before his life. For his father dying, left his mother with child, and the Persian nobility set the crown on his mother’s belly, acknowledging thereby her issue for their prince, before she as yet had felt herself quick. God elects not of foreseen faith or works, but of free grace.

Verse 12

It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Shall serve — Servitude came in with a curse, and figureth reprobation, Genesis 9:25 ; John 8:34-35 Galatians 4:30 .

Verse 13

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Esau have I hatedi.e. I have not loved him, but passed him by; and this preterition is properly opposed to election.

As it is written — Malachi is alleged to explain Moses. It was rightly observed by Pareus (in the close of his Comment upon Genesis) that all the following Scriptures are but expositions of that first book. a

a Quicquid dehinc scripturarum est, huius est commentarius.

Verse 14

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

ls there — Carnal reason dares reprehend what it does not comprehend. (Para.)

Verse 15

For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

I will have mercy, …Dei voluntas est ratio rationum, nec tantum recta, sed regula. The will of God is the rule of his plan, neither only right but his rule.

Verse 16

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

So then it is not, …Nec volentis, nec volantis (as a nobleman gave it for his motto), though a man could run as fast as a bird can fly.

Verse 17

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Raised thee up — For a vessel of wrath, and an instance of my justice.

Verse 18

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy , and whom he will he hardeneth.

Therefore — God being a free agent, cannot be unjust; he is bound to none.

Whom he will, he hardeneth — There is a threefold hardness of the heart: 1. Natural and hereditary, whereby all men are by nature not only averse from, but also adverse to, the motions of grace; this is called a neck possessed with an iron sinew, Isaiah 48:4 ; Isaiah 2:1-22 . Actual, adventitious, voluntary; which is, when, by often choking good motions, a man hath quit his heart of them; being arrived at that dead and dedolent disposition, Ephesians 4:18 , past feeling, and ripe for destruction. This is called a brow of brass in the above named text, Isaiah 48:4 ; Isaiah 3:1-26 . Judiciary, penal hardness; happens when God, for a punishment of the former, withholds his graces, and delivers a man up to Satan to be further hardened, and to his own heart’s lusts, which is worse. The incestuous person was delivered up to Satan, and yet repented; but he that is delivered up to his own heart, to a reprobate mind, cannot be renewed by repentance; but is in the ready road to that unpardonable sin. And this last is here meant.

Verse 19

Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

Why doth he yet find faultQueritur, Complain, saith the Vulgate; which interpretation deceived Aquinas, as if it had been written Quaeritur. Be sought for.Luke 15:8; Luke 15:8 . Gregory the Great and others, for Everrit, swept away, read Evertit; destroyed, which mistake produced many groundless glosses.

Verse 20

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it , Why hast thou made me thus?

That repliest against God — Gr. Ανταποκρινομενος , chattest and wordest it with him?

Verse 21

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Of the same lump — The apostle alludeth to man’s creation, and therehence ascendeth to God’s eternal decree of predestination.

Verse 22

What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Fitted to destructionNon dicit Deum eos aptasse ad interitum, ne videretur dicere Deum eis indidisse peccatum, quo ad exitum praeparentur. (Molinaeus.)

Verse 23

And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

And that he might — He rejected some, that his mercy might the more appear in the election of others.

The riches of his glory — That is, of his mercy wherein he principally glorieth, and for the which he is most of all glorified.

Verse 24

Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Even us — Not me Paul only hath he assured of vocation, and so consequently of election to eternal life.

Verse 25

As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

And her belovedJeremiah 12:7 . God calls the Church the beloved of his soul, or (as the Septuagint and Vulgate read it) his beloved soul, την ψυχην την ηγαπημενην .

Verse 26

And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

The children, … — This is such a royalty, John 1:12 , as the apostle worthily wondereth at, and sets an Ecce Behold, upon it.

Verse 27

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

A remnant — Reserved for royal use. Diaconos paucitas honorabiles fecit saith Jerome. Sic et sanctos, say I

Verse 28

For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

A short work — When once he sets to work to cut off hypocrites.

Verse 29

And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Except the Lord of Sabaoth — That is, of hosts. God is commander-in-chief of all creatures. The Rabbis well observe that he hath Magnleh Cheloth, and Matteh Cheloth, two general troops, as his horse and foot, the upper and lower troops ready pressed. (Kimchi.)

Verse 30

What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

Which is of faith — Faith wraps itself in the righteousness of Christ, and so justifieth us.

Verse 31

But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

The law of righteousness — That is, the righteousness of the law.

Verse 32

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

For they stumbled — So they do to this day. So do Papists and carnal Protestants, Non frustra Lutherus in libris toties vaticinatus videtur, sese vereri dictitans, ne se extincto vera illa iustificationis disciplina prorsus apud Christianos exolescat. a

a John Fox, Christus Triumphans, Epist.

Verse 33

As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

See Trapp on " 1 Peter 2:6 "

Shall not be ashamed — That is, shall be confirmed, comforted, established. The Scripture loves to speak with the least in promising good to God’s people: or else by way of exclamation, "Oh how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee!" q.d. it is unutterable; fitter to be believed than possible to be discoursed,Psalms 31:19; Psalms 31:19 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/romans-9.html. 1865-1868.
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