Lectionary Calendar
Monday, May 27th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Romans 11

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors



Romans 11:1-6 God hath not so far cast off all Israel, but that a remnant is saved by grace, not by works.

Romans 11:7-10 The judicial blindness of the rest is prophesied of in Scripture.

Romans 11:11-16 The consequence both of their fall and conversion with regard to the Gentile world.

Romans 11:17-22 The Gentiles are cautioned not to insult the Jews, but to make a proper use of the example both of God’s goodness and severity.

Romans 11:23-32 The Jews may, and shall in time, believe and be saved.

Romans 11:33-36 God’s judgments and ways are unsearchable.

Verse 1

The apostle having shown, in the end of the foregoing chapter, that the Jews were for their obstinacy rejected, and the Gentiles called, he here prevents or answers an objection. Some might be ready to say: If this be so, then God hath cast away his covenant people, which he hath promised not to do; see Psalms 94:14. To this he answers, first, by his accustomed form of denial: God forbid; and then he proceeds to show, that the rejection of the Jews was neither total nor final. That it was not total, he proves, first, by a particular instance in the following words.

I also am an Israelite; i.e. I am a Jew by descent, of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, and yet am not cast off by God.

Of the tribe of Benjamin: some think this is added to intimate, that he was born of an honourable tribe, out of which king Saul sprang, 1 Samuel 9:1, and Esther the queen, Esther 2:5. Others think this is added for a contrary reason; lest his calling should be ascribed to the dignity of his tribe, he says, he was of Benjamin, the last and least of all the tribes. And others rather think, that this particular recital of his genealogy is only to show, that he was a Jew by nature and nation, and not a proselyte converted to the faith: see Philippians 3:5.

Verse 2

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew: here he makes a further answer to the forementioned objection: by way of distinction, he distinguishs the people of God into such as are foreknown, and such as are not foreknown: and as for the former of these, he says, they are not rejected of God. By such as are foreknown of God, he means those that are elected and predestinated to eternal life, Romans 8:29; a foreknowledge with approbation is implied and intended, John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19.

Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? Here is a third answer to the objection in Romans 11:1, and it is taken from an instance in Elias, which the Jews were well acquainted with. He cites or brings a book case for it. And he the rather brings this instance, lest the Jews should accuse him of insolency, for that he had spoken before only of himself; and therefore he gives them to understand, that there were many other believing Israelites, as well as himself, though possibly they were unknown to them. You know (saith he) what the Scripture saith of Elias, 1 Kings 19:1-21.

How he maketh intercession to God against Israel. i.e. against the ten tribes, who were generally revolted from God, and fallen to idolatry: against those he complained, or those he impeached, ripping up their impieties, as in the following words.

Verse 3

See 1 Kings 19:10,1 Kings 19:14.

Digged down thine altars: these were not the altars of the high places, for they are commended that cast them down; nor the altars in the temple at Jerusalem, for they were out of the reach of the ten tribes, against whom Elias complains: but such altars (say some) as the godly of the ten tribes did build to serve God with, when they were not permitted to go up to Jerusalem; in which case the building of private altars (as some learned Jews have affirmed) was allowed. Or else by

altars you may understand such altars as Elias himself, by the special commandment of God, had erected. Others, by digging down God’s altars, do understand their corrupting and destroying the true worship of God; and the words are to be taken synecdochically, or metonomically, the sign being put for the thing signified.

I am left alone; so it was, for aught he knew; for few, if any, did publicly own the true worship of God: so general was the defection of the ten tribes in those days.

Verse 4

The answer of God; the word properly signifieth the oracle, or answer of God given in the tabernacle from the mercy-seat; but it is generally taken for any Divine answer, or direction received from God: see Matthew 2:12; Hebrews 11:7, where the same word is used. The apostle doth not repeat the whole answer of God, as it is recorded in 1 Kings 19:15-18, but so much only as was pertinent to his purpose.

I have reserved to myself; he saith not: They have reserved themselves, but, I have reserved them: q.d. Of my own free grace I have kept them from idolatry and apostacy.

Seven thousand men; a certain number for an uncertain. There were doubtless women amongst them; but they are noted by the more worthy sex.

Who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal; the word image is not in the Greek; but the article being of the feminine gender, it was necessarily understood.

Verse 5

q.d. As it was in the times of Elias, so it is now;

there is a remnant of the Jews, which God hath graciously elected; therefore their rejection is not total, which was the thing to be proved. Though those that believe are few in respect of those that believe not, as a remnant is but little in respect of the whole piece, yet there are many thousands of them, as James said to Paul, Acts 21:20; Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe.

Verse 6

This verse depends upon the former; and though it doth not seem to appertain to the argument the apostle had in hand, yet, by the direction of the Spirit, he takes the little occasion that is offered, to show, that election and vocation are only by grace, and not by works. This he had spoken to before, Romans 4:4,Romans 4:5; Romans 9:11; but he toucheth upon it again: and here he delivers a truth, which the Jews of old either could not, or would not, understand; i.e. that there is no mixing of the merit of good works and the free grace of God, but one of these doth exclude and destroy the nature of the other; for if election and calling were both of grace and works, (as some that call themselves Christians, as well as the Jews, affirm), then grace is no grace, and works are no works. For whatsoever proceedeth of grace, that cometh freely, and not of debt; but what cometh by merit of works, that cometh by debt; but now debt and no debt, or that which is free, and by desert, are quite contrary things. Therefore to say, that men are elected and called, partly of grace and partly of the merit of foreseen works, that were to put things together that cannot agree, to make debt no debt, merit no merit, works no works, grace no grace; and so, to affirm and deny one and the same thing.

Verse 7

What then? q. d. My discourse comes to this, or this is the sum of it.

Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; i.e. the body of the Jewish nation, seeking righteousness and life by the works of the law, have not obtained it, or they have not hit the mark; they aimed at it, but they shot wide; they took a great deal of pains to little or no purpose: see Romans 9:31.

The election; i.e. the elect; the abstract for the concrete: so before, circumcision for the circumcised.

The rest were blinded; i.e. those who are not elected; they are left, by God’s just judgment, to their own ignorance and obdurateness; as also to Satan, who doth increase it in them, 2 Corinthians 4:4. The antithesis requires that he should have said: The rest have not obtained; but he speaks this of purpose to show the cause of their not obtaining, i.e. their own blindness of mind and hardness of heart.

Verse 8

It is written; viz. in Isaiah 6:9; Isaiah 29:10.

The spirit of slumber; the word signifieth, such a dead sleep, as those have, who are pricked or stung with venomous beasts, out of which they hardly or never awake.

Unto this day: q.d. So it was of old, and so it is still. Or else these words (the former being included in a parenthesis) may be joined with the last words of the foregoing verse, thus, the rest were blinded unto this day.

Verses 9-10

David saith; viz. in Psalms 69:22,Psalms 69:23. The apostle tieth not himself to the very words of the psalmist, but being guided by the same Spirit by which David wrote, he adds and alters some words, without diminishing the sense.

Let their table be made a snare, &c.: some take these words for a prayer; others, a prophecy. David, in the person of Christ, (of whom he was a type), doth complain and prophesy of the extreme injuries and oppressions wherewith the Jews (his own people) should vex him; as that they should give him gall for meat, and in his thirst, give him vinegar to drink, Romans 11:21. Therefore, by way of imprecation, he prayeth down the wrath of God upon them: particularly, he prophesies or prays, that all their most pleasant things might be turned to their destruction; that their understandings might be darkened, so as they shall discern nothing of heavenly things; that they might savour nothing but earthly things, and be unable to lift up their heads and hearts to God, and to his gospel. Now David having, by the Spirit of prophecy, prayed down such miseries upon the Jews, they must be fulfilled; therefore the general unbelief and hardness of heart that is amongst that people is not to be wondered at.

Verse 11

Hitherto he hath showed that the rejection of the Jews is not total. Now he comes to prove that it is not final; that before the end of the world they shall be generally called and converted; that they, together with the Gentiles that believe, shall make one sheepfold, and one flock under one Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. And for the proving of this, divers arguments are brought by the apostle, (who alone plainly handles this secret), on which he insisteth the longer, for the comfort of the poor Jews, as also for the administration and information of the Gentiles.

Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: here is another prolepsis or anticipation. The Jews might say: If the case be thus, that these holy prophets, Isaiah and David, have foretold our blindness and stumbling, then we are in a hopeless condition, and that for ever. To this he answers, that they have not so stumbled as that they should finally fall, so as never to rise again; far be it from me to affirm any such things: God hath revealed the contrary to me; that he will one day call the Jews again, and restore them to his favour.

Through they fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles: q. d. Out of the forementioned evil there ariseth this good, that the gospel (being rejected by the Jews) is preached to the Gentiles, and they are thereby called and brought to salvation: see Acts 13:42,Acts 13:46. Because now at first a few Jews only, and a multitude of Gentiles, are converted, it hath so fallen out, that the ceremonial law is the more easily abrogated, and the doctrine of the gospel and the grace of God is the better established.

To provoke them to jealousy; i.e. the Jews who embrace not the gospel: q. d. This grace that God hath bestowed upon the Gentiles, he will make use of in his appointed time, as a prick of holy jealousy to the Jews; he will by means thereof stir them up to a holy indignation and emulation, to see themselves so far outstripped by those whom they contemned, and thereupon to embrace the gospel, and become the people of God again. Thus, as God hath ordered that the casting away of the Jews should be an occasion of the calling of the Gentiles; so again, on the other hand, the calling of the Gentiles shall be an occasion of the restoring of the Jews.

Verse 12

Another anticipation. The apostle having showed, that the falling away of the Jews was an occasion of the coming in of the Gentiles, it might be objected, that the conversion of the Jews might likewise be an occasion of the falling away of the Gentiles. To this he answers negatively, and confirms his answer by an argument from the less to the greater; that if their fall and diminution were the riches of the Gentiles, their calling again would be so much more: q.d. If God hath made use of the fall and rejection of the Jews, for an occasion of pouring out the riches or abundance of his grace upon the nations; and if the number of believing Jews, being so very small, (which is meant by their diminishing), hath occasioned the conversion of such a multitude of Gentiles; then how much more will their fulness have the effect!

How much more their fulness! i.e. their general conversion, the coming in of the Jews, shall so fill the world with wonder, and the gospel with lustre, that a much further accession will be made even to the number of the believing Gentiles.

Verse 13

i.e. I speak to you of being rich in the faith above the Jews, because I challenge a special interest in you, inasmuch as

I am appointed to be the apostle of the Gentiles, and am sent chiefly unto them: see Romans 15:16; Acts 9:15; Acts 13:2; Acts 22:21; Acts 26:17; Galatians 1:16; Galatians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:11. And therefore, in thus setting forth your privileges and blessings:

I magnify mine office.

Verse 14

q.d. And I thus extol God’s favour and mercy to you, that it may be a means (if God please) to provoke the Jews, that are my own flesh and blood, to a holy emulation or jealousy, {see Romans 11:11} when they shall see the Gentiles possess what was promised to them.

Question. How doth he say, that he may save some of them? Is not God the author of salvation?

Answer. Yes; but he hath given his ministers to be instruments therein, and called them fellow workers with himself, 1 Corinthians 6:1; see 1 Timothy 4:16.

Verse 15

This verse contains an argument to prove the calling of the Jews; not a new one, but that repeated which you had before, Romans 11:12; the substance is the same, only the terms differ: there he spake of the fall and diminishing of the Jews, here, of their casting away; there it was the riches, here it is the reconciling of the world: q.d. If the rejection of the Jews brought great profit to the Gentiles, their reception and restoration will bring abundantly more.

Be the reconciling of the world; i.e. an occasion of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, by means of which they were reconciled to God. The gospel is the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.

The receiving of them, into the favour of God and the bosom of the church.

Life from the dead; a proverbial speech, to signify a great change for the better. The conversion of that people and nation, will strengthen the things that are languishing and like to die in the Christian church. It will confirm the faith of the Gentiles, and reconcile all their differences in religion, and occasion a more thorough reformation amongst them: there will be a much more happy and flourishing estate of the church, even such as shall be in the end of the world, at the resurrection of the dead.

Verse 16

Here is another argument to prove the Jews are not finally rejected, because of the covenant made with their fathers.

If the first-fruit be holy: some make a difference between the first-fruit, and the root, in the latter part of the verse. By the first-fruit they understand the apostles and other godly Jews, that were at first converted to the Christian faith; and by the root they understand Abraham and the patriarchs. Others take them for the same, and understand Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the rest of the patriarchs, to be both the first-fruit and the root.

The lump is also holy; by lump, and branches, he means the people of the Jews that descended of these holy patriarchs, and spring from them, as branches from a root. The great question is, In what sense they are said to be holy? Or of what holiness doth he speak? It is not meant of inherent, but of federal, or covenant holiness; all in all outward and visible covenant with God, were called holy: see Exodus 9:6; Daniel 8:24. Many common things are called holy in Scripture, because dedicated to God and to his service; yea, Jerusalem, though a place of great wickedness, is called a holy city, Matthew 27:53. In such a sense as this, the Jews are still a holy people; they have an hereditary kind of dedication to God; they have a federal holiness, and relation to God, as being for ever separated to him, in the loins of their progenitors; this can never be wholly forfeited, as being granted to all the posterity of the holy patriarchs: therefore they are called the children of the covenant, which God made with their fathers, Acts 3:25; see Acts 2:39. So then God will remember in his own time, his covenant with the Jews, the posterity of Abraham, &c., who are beloved for the fathers’ sakes, Romans 11:28. Therefore, in the mean time, they should not look on themselves with desperation; nor should the Gentiles look on them with disdain, as it follows in the next words.

Verse 17

In this, and some following verses, the apostle digresses a little, and takes occasion to prevent the insulting of the Gentiles over the Jews; as also to persuade them to take warning by their example.

If some of the branches be broken off; the unbelieving Jews.

And thou; a believing Gentile: though he speaks as to a particular person, yet he means the whole body of the believing Gentiles.

Being a wild olive tree; a scion taken from a wild olive tree; i.e. from the heathenish and unbelieving world.

Wert graffed in among them; the believing Jews. Some read, for them, or in the place of the branches that are broken off.

And with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree: by the root he means Abraham, &c. as before: by the olive tree he means the church of Christ; by the root, or sap of the root, and by the

fatness of the olive tree, he means, all the promises and privileges, the graces and ordinances, the spiritual blessings and benefits, which belonged to Abraham and his seed, or to the true church of God.

Verse 18

Boast not against the branches; i.e. against the Jews, who, because of their unbelief, are broken off; as if by nature thou wert better than they, or more worthy of that grace which is bestowed on thee. The word signifies: Throw not up thy neck, do not carry thyself scornfully and insultingly.

But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee: q.d. If any will needs be so insolent, let them know and consider, that as the root is not beholden to the branches, but the branches to the root; so the good things that the Gentiles have, they received from the Jews, and not the Jews from them: the Gentile church is incorporated into the Jewish, and not the Jewish into the Gentile. Or else the meaning is: Despise not the Jews, for they are the natural branches of the root that bears them. If thou insultest over the branches, thou dost in a manner lift up thyself against the root, that once bore them, and now bears thee; even Abraham, who is the father of all them that believe. Abraham is not the root, simply and absolutely, but relatively, or by way of relation to his posterity and offspring.

Verses 19-20

Ver. 19,20. Here he brings in the Gentiles, alleging a reason for their insulting over the Jews; because the Jews were broken off, that they might give place, or make way, for them; and the less worthy do always give place to the more worthy. To this he answers, first, by way of concession: Well, (saith he), it is true, and I do not deny it, that the Jews

were broken off, that the Gentiles might be grafted in. But then he further adds, by way of correction or negation, that the worthiness of the Gentiles was not the cause why the Jews were broken off; but it was because of their own unbelief; they would not accept of Christ, John 1:11; they went about to establish their own righteousness, and would not submit themselves to the righteousness of God, as it is in Romans 10:3. Therefore, if you Gentiles shall reason after this manner, you plainly put a fallacy upon yourselves, and take that for a cause which is none: you do not distinguish between the cause and the event; it fell out, indeed, that the Jews, being cast off, the Gentiles were received in, but this was not the cause of that.

And thou standest by faith: q.d. Neither is thy worthiness the cause of thy present standing in the room of the Jews, or of having thy station in the church of Christ; but it is thy believing in that Christ whom the Jews rejected. By faith thou wast first ingrafted, and still continuest in the good olive tree.

Be not high-minded, but fear: q.d. Be advised, and take heed of being self-conceited and secure; if thou fall into their fault, thou mayst expect the same fate. Therefore stand in awe, and sin not; thou art subject to unbelief and apostacy, as well as they.

Verse 21

This verse is a reason of the forementioned admonition: q.d. If God proceeded with so much severity against his ancient people the Jews, you Gentiles may in reason expect as great severity, if you take not heed to yourselves, and to your standing.

Verse 22

In this verse, he further persuades the Gentiles to humility and godly fear, and suggesteth several reasons for it. The first is taken from the example of God’s

severity to the Jews; they falling into apostacy and unbelief, are generally cut off and cast away. A second reason is taken from the free grace and undeserved goodness of God to the poor Gentiles, who were mercifully planted or grafted in the room of the Jews. A third reason is taken from the condition of their present standing, which is, if they

continue in his goodness; i.e. if they continue in that state wherein his goodness hath set them. Some think the cause is here put for the effect, the goodness of God for faith, which was wrought in them by the goodness or grace of God. The antithesis, in the next verse, shows this to be the sense; for there he speaks of the Jews not continuing or abiding still in unbelief. A fourth reason is from the danger that would follow; if, through pride and security, they should fall and miscarry, they would be cut off, as the Jews, the natural branches, are. Some observe the change of the word; the Jews are said to be broken off, but the Gentiles would be cut off; they would, as it were, be stocked up by the roots: but that seems too critical and curious.

Verse 23

Here he adds another argument, to repress the arrogance and insulting of the Gentiles; and it is taken from the hope of the Jews’ restoration. Though for the present they seem to be in a desperate and forlorn condition, yet the restoring and re-ingrafting of them into the church is not impossible. The great obstacle is their unbelief, which God is able to remove. The same God that rejected them is able to restore them; to him all things are possible, he can cause dead and dry bones to live. An argument from the power of God (and that in the very words of this text) is frequently made use of in Scripture, to excite hope and assurance. Romans 4:21; Romans 14:4; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 11:19.

Verse 24

He here shows the probability, as well as possibility, of the Jews’ conversion, because God hath done that which is more unlikely: q.d. If the Gentiles, which were a kind of wild olive branches, were grafted into a good olive tree, the church of God, which is contrary to nature, seeing men use to graft a good scion into a wild stock, (as an apple into a crab), and not a wild scion into a good stock; how much more shall the Jews, which are the natural branches, yea, branches of that olive tree into which the Gentiles are now ingrafted, be grafted into their own olive tree, to which formerly they did belong! According to the custom of grafting which was common amongst them, to graft one tree upon another of the same kind; and grounded on Leviticus 19:19.

Verse 25

Here he shows there is not only a possibility and probability, but a certainty of the Jews’ conversion and calling. This he calleth a

mystery, or a secret; though it was revealed in the Scripture, (as you will hear), yet it was not understood; nay, the manner, the number, and the time of their conversion, is still concealed and hid from us. The calling of the Gentiles was a mystery, and a great secret; see Ephesians 3:3; and so is the calling and restoration of the Jews. There are three particulars of this mystery, which he makes known to the Gentiles (and he doth it the rather, lest they should swell with a high conceit of themselves, and proudly despise the Jews): two of them are in this verse; and the first is,

that blindness is happened to Israel in part only; i.e. they were not all blinded or hardened; or this blindness should not last always, but for a time. The latter sense agrees best with the word mystery; for it was no secret that some of the Jews believed; this was told them before, Romans 11:2,Romans 11:5,Romans 11:7. Secondly, another part of this mystery was, that this blindness of the Jews should continue till

the fulness of the Gentiles came in. By fulness here, (as in Romans 11:12), understand a great number or multitude of the Gentiles; greater, by far, than was in the apostles’ days. There is another exposition of this clause, which I submit to consideration: by the Gentiles, here, you may understand the Romans, or the Roman monarchy and power; {see Acts 4:27; Acts 21:11} and by the coming in of their fulness may be understood, the full time of their reign and continuance; after which their ruin follows. And so here is foretold the time of the calling of the Jews, which will be soon after the destruction of antichrist and the Roman monarchy.

Query: Whether this doth not agree with the prediction of our Saviour? Luke 21:24.

Verse 26

Here is a third and chief part of the aforementioned mystery, that in the end,

all Israel shall be saved. By Israel is not meant the whole church of God, consisting of Jews and Gentiles; so that word is used, Galatians 6:16, and elsewhere; for then, what he spake would have been no mystery at all: but by Israel here (as in the precedent verse) you must understand, the nation and people of the Jews. And by

all Israel is not meant every individual Israelite, but many, or (it may be) the greatest part of them. So all is to be taken in Scripture: see John 6:45; 1 Timothy 2:6, and elsewhere. Look, as when he speaks of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the coming in of their fulness, there are many (too many of them) still unconverted; so, notwithstanding the general calling of the Jews, a great many of them may remain uncalled.

As it is written; the apostle had this by revelation, but he proves it also by Scripture. All are not agreed from whence these testimonies are taken; the former is found (with some little variation) in Isaiah 59:20; as for the latter, some think it is taken from Jeremiah 31:33. Others think, that he joineth two places in Isaiah together, (as he did before, Romans 11:8), and the last words are taken out of Isaiah 27:9. The Seventy have the very words used by the apostle. These prophecies and promises, though they were in part fulfilled when Christ came in the flesh, {see Acts 3:26} yet there will be a more full and complete accomplishment thereof upon the Jewish nation and people towards the end of the world.

Verses 27-28

Here an objection is obviated: the Gentiles might object and say, The Jews can never return and be saved, forasmuch as they have rejected the gospel, and are therefore hated of God. To this he answers by way of concession, that it was true indeed, they had rejected the gospel, and for this they were rejected and hated of God; but this happened well to the Gentiles, and was to their advantage. for the Jews’ refusal of the gospel brought it sooner to them: see Romans 11:11. Or else the meaning is: They are enemies of God, and of his gospel; and the rather reject it, because you Gentiles embrace it; they think the worse of the gospel because you believe and profess it. Then he adds by way of correction, that they were not yet in such desperate circumstances; but in regard of

election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. By election he means, either God’s choosing them to eternal life; or rather, his choosing that nation and people, above all other nations and people of the world, to be his peculiar people: see Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalms 135:4; Acts 13:46. And by God’s love to them, he means his love of good will which he had to that people still, for their fathers’ sakes: not because of the merit of their fathers, but because of the covenant made with their fathers; because they are descended of those fathers, to whom God had promised, that he would be their God, and the God of their seed after them; aye, and of their seed’s seed for ever; which promises of God, the infidelity of many of them cannot wholly frustrate.

Verse 29

These words, considered simply and abstractedly, afford this truth; That the special gifts of God, his election, justification, adoption, and in particular effectual calling, are irrevocable. God never repents of giving, nor we of receiving them. It is otherwise with common gifts and graces, 1 Samuel 15:11. But if you consider these words relatively, as you respect what went before, the sense seems to be this; That

the gifts and calling of God, whereby he was pleased to adopt the posterity of Abraham, and to engage himself by covenant to them, are inviolable, and are such as shall never be reversed or repented of.

Verses 30-31

This is the last argument, to prove the conversion and calling of the Jews, which is further confirmed, Romans 11:32. The argument is taken from the like dealing of God with the Gentiles; after a long time of infidelity, he received them to mercy; therefore he will also at last receive the Jews. He argues from the less to the greater; If the infidelity of the Jews was the occasion of mercy to the Gentiles, much more shall the mercy showed to the Gentiles be an occasion of showing mercy to the Jews: q.d. There is more force in that which is good, to produce a good effect, than in that which is evil, to have a good event: therefore, if the unbelief of the Jews had so good an event, as to occasion the conversion of the Gentiles, why may we not think, that the calling of the Gentiles will contribute to the conversion of the Jews? See Romans 11:11,Romans 11:14. When the Jews shall see the Gentiles’ mercy, i.e. God’s mercy to them; how the whole world flourisheth under the profession of Christianity; how the Messias is in vain expected by them; how their nation is dispersed, &c.; then they shall at last come in and cleave to Christ, and be mercifully received by him.

Verse 32

q.d. God hath, in just judgment, shut up both Jews and Gentiles, equally and successively, in unbelief, as in a prison, that so, in his own time, he might fulfil the counsel of his will, in showing undeserved mercy unto all: i.e. unto both Jews and Gentiles; first the Jews, and then the Gentiles; and then at last, both to Jews and Gentiles. By all here he means, those that shall believe, whether of one sort or of the other, as appears from that parallel place, Galatians 3:22. Luther, in a very great conflict, had much support from this text.

Verse 33

In this and the following verses is the conclusion of all that he had delivered, especially in this and the two preceding chapters. He had spoken of many profound mysteries, and answered many critical questions; and here he makes a pause, and falls into an admiration of God, his abundant wisdom and knowledge. He seems here to be like a man that wades into the waters, till he begins to feel no bottom, and then he cries out:

Oh the depth! and goes no farther.

Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! i.e. the unmeasurable, inconceivable abundance of his wisdom and knowledge. Some distinguish these two; others take them for the same: see Colossians 2:3.

How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Some distinguish betwixt the judgments and ways of God; by the former, understanding his decrees and purposes concerning nations or persons; by the latter, the methods of his providence in his dealings with them: others think the same thing is meant, by an ingemination, which is familiar amongst the Hebrews. He says of God’s judgments, that they are unsearchable; therefore not to be complained of, censured, or to be narrowly pried into; and of his ways, that they are past finding out; the same in sense with unsearchable: it is a metaphor from hounds, that have no footstep or scent of the game which they pursue: nor can men trace the Lord, or find out the reason of his doings; as none can line out the way of a ship in the sea, or an eagle in the air, &c. Some restrain the sense to the ways of God in disposing and ordering the election and rejection of men.

Verse 34

i.e. Who knoweth what God is about to do? Or who hath given his advice about the doing of it? This is taken out of Isaiah 40:13,Isaiah 40:14.

Verse 35

q.d. If any man hath obliged God, by any thing he hath done for him, he shall have an ample reward: alluding (as some think) to Job 41:11. But seeing this cannot be, and that God is indebted unto none, therefore the salvation of all is of mere grace and mercy; and there is no cause of complaining, if he deal more bountifully with some than with others.

Verse 36

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; i.e. all things are of him, as the efficient cause; through him, as the disposing cause; to him, as the final cause. They are of him, without any other motive; through him, without any assistance; and to him, without any other end, i.e. for his sake alone.

To whom be glory for ever. Amen: a usual doxology in Scripture: see Galatians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 5:11.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 11". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/romans-11.html. 1685.
Ads FreeProfile