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Monday, May 27th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 11

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

I say then (λεγω ουν). As in verse Romans 11:11. Ουν looks back to Romans 9:16-33 and Romans 10:19-21.

Did God cast off? (μη απωσατο ο θεοσ?). An indignant negative answer is called for by μη and emphasized by μη γενοιτο (God forbid). Paul refers to the promise in the O.T. made three times: 1 Samuel 12:22; Psalms 94:14 (Psalms 93:14 LXX); Psalms 94:4. First aorist middle indicative (without augment) of απωθεω, to push away, to repel, middle, to push away from one as in Acts 7:27.

For I also (κα γαρ εγω). Proof that not all the Jews have rejected Christ. See Philippians 3:5 for more of Paul's pedigree.

Verse 2

Whom he foreknew (ον προεγνω). The same form and sense as in Romans 8:29, which see. Probably the Hebrew sense of choice beforehand. The nation of Israel was God's chosen people and so all the individuals in it could not be cast off.

Wot ye not? (ουκ οιδατε?). "Know ye not?" Why keep the old English "wot"?

Of Elijah (εν Ελεια). "In the case of Elijah." Cf. "in the bush" (Mark 12:26).

He pleadeth (εντυγχανε). See on Romans 8:27. Εντυγχανω means to happen on one and so to converse with (Acts 25:24), to plead for (Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34), to plead against as here with κατα, but the "against" is in κατα.

Verse 3

They have digged down (κατεσκαψαν). First aorist active indicative of κατασκαπτω, to dig under or down. Old verb, here only in N.T. (critical text). LXX has καθειλαν "pulled down." Paul has reversed the order of the LXX of 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14; 1 Kings 19:18.

Altars (θυσιαστηρια). Late word (LXX, Philo, Josephus, N.T. eccl. writers) from θυσιαζω, to sacrifice. See Acts 17:23.

And I am left alone (καγω υπελειφθην μονος). First aorist passive indicative of υπολειπω, old word, to leave under or behind, here only in N.T. Elijah's mood was that of utter dejection in his flight from Jezebel.

Life (ψυχην). It is not possible to draw a clear distinction between ψυχη (soul) and πνευμα (spirit). Ψυχη is from ψυχω, to breathe or blow, πνευμα from πνεω, to blow. Both are used for the personality and for the immortal part of man. Paul is usually dichotomous in his language, but sometimes trichotomous in a popular sense. We cannot hold Paul's terms to our modern psychological distinctions.

Verse 4

The answer of God (ο χρηματισμος). An old word in various senses like χρηματιζω, only here in N.T. See this use of the verb in Matthew 2:12; Matthew 2:22; Luke 2:26; Acts 10:22.

To Baal (τη Βααλ). Feminine article. In the LXX the name Βααλ is either masculine or feminine. The explanation is that the Jews put Bosheth (αισχυνη, shame) for Baal and in the LXX the feminine article occurs because αισχυνη is so, though here the LXX has the masculine τω.

Verse 5

Remnant (λιμμα). Old word, but only here in N.T., but in papyri also and with this spelling rather than λειμμα. From λειπω, to leave.

According to the election of grace (κατ' εκλογην χαριτος). As in Romans 9:6-13. The election is all of God. Verse Romans 11:6 explains it further.

Verse 6

Otherwise (επε). Ellipse after επε (since), "since, in that case."

Is no more (ουκετ γινετα). "No longer becomes" grace, loses its character as grace. Augustine: Gratia nisi gratis sit gratia non est.

Verse 7

What then? (τ ουν?). Since God did not push Israel away (verse Romans 11:1), what is true?

The election (η εκλογη). Abstract for concrete (the elect).

Obtained (επετυχεν). Second aorist active indicative of επιτυγχανω, old verb, to hit upon, only here in Paul. See Romans 9:30-33 for the failure of the Jews.

Were hardened (επωρωθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of πωροω, late verb, to cover with thick skin (πωρος). See on 2 Corinthians 3:14; Mark 3:5.

Verse 8

A spirit of stupor (πνευμα κατανυξεως). The quotation is a combination of Deuteronomy 19:4; Isaiah 29:10; Isaiah 6:9. This phrase is from Isaiah 29:10. Κατανυξις is a late and rare word from κατανυσσω, to prick or stick (Acts 2:37), in LXX, here only in N.T., one example in Pelagia-Legende. The torpor seems the result of too much sensation, dulled by incitement into apathy.

That they should not see (του μη βλεπειν). Genitive articular infinitive of negative purpose.

That they should not hear (του μη ακουειν). So here also. See Stephen's speech (Acts 7:51).

Verse 9

David says (Δαυειδ λεγε). From Psalms 69:23; (Romans 68:23 LXX); Romans 34:8; Romans 28:4 (combined quotation).

Table (τραπεζα). For what is on the table, "a feast."

A snare (εις παγιδα). From πηγνυμ, to make fast, old word for snares for birds and beasts. See on Luke 21:35. Εις in predicate with γινομα is a translation-Hebraism.

A trap (εις θηραν). Old word for hunting of wild beasts, then a trap. Only here in N.T.

A stumbling-block (εις σκανδαλον). A third word for trap, snare, trap-stick or trigger over which they fall. See on 1 Corinthians 1:23; Romans 9:33.

A recompense (εις ανταποδομα). Late word from double compound verb ανταποδιδωμ, to repay (both αντ and απο). Ancient Greeks used ανταποδοσις. In LXX and Didache. In N.T. only here (bad sense) and Luke 14:12 (good sense).

Verse 10

Let their eyes be darkened (σκοτισθητωσαν ο οφθαλμο αυτων). First aorist passive imperative of σκοτιζω, to darken. A terrible imprecation.

That they may not see (του μη βλεπειν). Repeated from verse Romans 11:8.

Bow down (συνκαμψον). First aorist active imperative of συνκαμπτω, old verb, to bend together as of captives whose backs (νωτον, another old word, only here in N.T.) were bent under burdens. Only here in N.T.

Verse 11

Did they stumble that they might fall? (μη επταισαν ινα πεσωσιν?). Negative answer expected by μη as in verse Romans 11:1. First aorist active indicative of πταιω, old verb, to stumble, only here in Paul (see James 3:2), suggested perhaps by σκανδαλον in verse Romans 11:9. If ινα is final, then we must add "merely" to the idea, "merely that they might fall" or make a sharp distinction between πταιω, to stumble, and πιπτω, to fall, and take πεσωσιν as effective aorist active subjunctive to fall completely and for good. Hινα, as we know, can be either final, sub-final, or even result. See 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Galatians 5:17. Paul rejects this query in verse Romans 11:11 as vehemently as he did that in verse Romans 11:1.

By their fall (τω αυτων παραπτωματ). Instrumental case. For the word, a falling aside or a false step from παραπιπτω, see Romans 5:15-20.

Is come . No verb in the Greek, but γινετα or γεγονεν is understood.

For to provoke them to jealousy (εις το παραζηλωσα). Purpose expressed by εις and the articular infinitive, first aorist active, of παραζηλοω, for which verb see 1 Corinthians 10:22. As an historical fact Paul turned to the Gentiles when the Jews rejected his message (Acts 13:45; Acts 28:28, etc.).

The riches of the world (πλουτος κοσμου). See Romans 10:12.

Their loss (το ηττημα αυτων). So perhaps in 1 Corinthians 6:7, but in Isaiah 31:8 defeat is the idea. Perhaps so here.

Fulness (πληρωμα). Perhaps "completion," though the word from πληροω, to fill, has a variety of senses, that with which anything is filled (1 Corinthians 10:26; 1 Corinthians 10:28), that which is filled (Ephesians 1:23).

How much more? (ποσω μαλλον). Argument a fortiori as in verse Romans 11:24. Verse Romans 11:25 illustrates the point.

Verse 13

To you that are Gentiles (υμιν τοις εθνεσιν). "To you the Gentiles." He has a serious word to say to them.

Inasmuch then (εφ' οσον μεν ουν). Not temporal, quamdiu, "so long as" (Matthew 9:15), but qualitative quatenus "in so far then as" (Matthew 25:40).

I glorify my ministry (την διακονιαν μου δοξαζω). As apostle to the Gentiles (εθνων αποστολος, objective genitive). Would that every minister of Christ glorified his ministry.

If by any means (ε πως). This use of ε with purpose or aim is a kind of indirect discourse.

I may provoke (παραζηλωσω). Either future active indicative or first aorist active subjunctive, see same uncertainty in Philippians 3:10 καταντησω, but in Romans 3:11 καταλαβω after ε is subjunctive. The future indicative is clear in Romans 1:10 and the optative in Acts 27:12. Doubtful whether future indicative or aorist subjunctive also in σωσω (save).

Verse 15

The casting away of them (η αποβολη αυτων). Objective genitive (αυτων) with αποβολη, old word from αποβαλλω, to throw off (Mark 10:50), in N.T. only here and Acts 27:22.

The reconciling of the world (καταλλαγη κοσμου). See Romans 5:10 for καταλλαγη (reconciling). It explains verse Romans 11:12.

The receiving (η προσλημψις). Old word from προσλαμβανω, to take to oneself, only here in N.T.

Life from the dead (ζωη εκ νεκρων). Already the conversion of Jews had become so difficult. It is like a miracle of grace today, though it does happen. Many think that Paul means that the general resurrection and the end will come when the Jews are converted. Possibly so, but it is by no means certain. His language may be merely figurative.

Verse 16

First fruit (απαρχη). See on 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23. The metaphor is from Numbers 15:19. The LXX has απαρχην φυραματος, first of the dough as a heave offering.

The lump (το φυραμα). From which the first fruit came. See on Romans 9:21. Apparently the patriarchs are the first fruit.

The root (η ριζα). Perhaps Abraham singly here. The metaphor is changed, but the idea is the same. Israel is looked on as a tree. But one must recall and keep in mind the double sense of Israel in Romans 9:6. (the natural and the spiritual).

Verse 17

Branches (κλαδων). From κλαω, to break.

Were broken off (εξεκλασθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of εκκλαω. Play on the word κλαδος (branch) and εκκλαω, to break off. Condition of first class, assumed as true. Some of the individual Jews (natural Israel) were broken off the stock of the tree (spiritual Israel).

And thou (κα συ). An individual Gentile.

Being a wild olive (αγριελαιος ων). This word, used by Aristotle, occurs in an inscription. Ramsay (Pauline Studies, pp. 219ff.) shows that the ancients used the wild-olive graft upon an old olive tree to reinvigorate the tree precisely as Paul uses the figure here and that both the olive tree and the graft were influenced by each other, though the wild olive graft did not produce as good olives as the original stock. But it should be noted that in verse Romans 11:24 Paul expressly states that the grafting of Gentiles on to the stock of the spiritual Israel was "contrary to nature" (παρα φυσιν).

Wast grafted in (ενεκεντρισθης). First aorist passive indicative of ενκεντριζω, to cut in, to graft, used by Aristotle. Belongs "to the higher Koine" (literary Koine) according to Milligan.

Partaker (συνκοινωνος). Co-partner.

Fatness (πιοτητος). Old word from πιων (fat), only here in N.T. Note three genitives here "of the root of the fatness of the olive."

Verse 18

Glory not over the branches (μη κατακαυχω των κλαδων). Genitive case after κατα. Present middle imperative second person singular of κατακαυχαομα with negative μη, "stop glorying" or "do not have the habit of glorying over the branches." The conclusion of the preceding condition.

Gloriest (κατακαυχασα). Late form -αεσα retaining ς.

Not thou (ου συ). Very emphatic position. The graft was upon the stock and root, though each affected the other.

Verse 19

Thou wilt say then (ερεις ουν). A presumptuous Gentile speaks.

That I might be grafted in (ινα εγω ενκεντρισθω). Purpose clause with ινα and first aorist passive subjunctive. He shows contempt for the cast-off Jews.

Verse 20

Well (καλως). Perhaps ironical, though Paul may simply admit the statement (cf. Mark 12:32) and show the Gentile his real situation.

By unbelief (τη απιστια)

--by faith (πιστε). Instrumental case with both contrasted words (by unbelief, by belief).

Verse 21

Be not highminded (μη υψηλα φρονε). "Stop thinking high (proud) thoughts."

Of God spared not (ε γαρ ο θεος ουκ εφεισατο). It is not ε μη (unless), but the ουκ negatives the verb εφεισατο (first aorist middle indicative of φειδομα, to spare. Condition of first class.

Verse 22

The goodness and the severity of God (χρηστοτητα κα αποτομιαν θεου). See on Romans 2:2 for χρηστοτης, kindness of God. Αποτομια (here alone in the N.T.) is from αποτομος, cut off, abrupt, and this adjective from αποτεμνω, to cut off. This late word occurs several times in the papyri.

If thou continue (εαν επιμενηις). Third class condition, εαν and present active subjunctive.

Otherwise (επε). Ellipse after επε, "since if thou dost not continue."

Thou also (κα συ). Precisely as the Jewish branches of verse Romans 11:17 were.

Shalt be cut off (εκκοπηση). Second future passive of εκκοπτω, to cut out.

Verse 23

If they continue not in their unbelief (εαν μη επιμενωσ τη απιστια). Third class condition with the same verb used in verse Romans 11:22 of the Gentile. Locative case of απιστια here (same form as the instrumental in verse Romans 11:20).

For God is able (δυνατος γαρ εστιν ο θεος). See this use of δυνατος εστιν in Romans 4:21 rather than δυνατα. This is the χρυξ of the whole matter. God is able.

Verse 24

Contrary to nature (παρα φυσιν). This is the gist of the argument, the power of God to do what is contrary to natural processes. He put the wild olive (Gentile) into the good olive tree (the spiritual Israel) and made the wild olive (contrary to nature) become the good olive (καλλιελαιος, the garden olive, καλλος and ελαια in Aristotle and a papyrus).

Into their own olive tree (τη ιδια ελαια). Dative case. Another argument a fortiori, "how much more" (πολλω μαλλον). God can graft the natural Israel back upon the spiritual Israel, if they become willing.

Verse 25

This mystery (το μυστηριον τουτο). Not in the pagan sense of an esoteric doctrine for the initiated (from μυεω, to blink, to wink), unknown secrets (2 Thessalonians 2:7), or like the mystery religions of the time, but the revealed will of God now made known to all (1 Corinthians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 4:1) which includes Gentiles also (Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 3:3) and so far superior to man's wisdom (Colossians 2:2; Colossians 4:13; Ephesians 3:9; Ephesians 5:32; Ephesians 6:19; Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11). Paul has covered every point of difficulty concerning the failure of the Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah and has shown how God has overruled it for the blessing of the Gentiles with a ray of hope still held out for the Jews. "In early ecclesiastical Latin μυστηριον was rendered by sacramentum, which in classical Latin means the military oath. The explanation of the word sacrament, which is so often founded on this etymology, is therefore mistaken, since the meaning of sacrament belongs to μυστηριον and not to sacramentum in the classical sense" (Vincent).

Wise in your own conceits (εν εαυτοις φρονιμο). "Wise in yourselves." Some MSS. read παρ' εαυτοις (by yourselves). Negative purpose here (ινα μη ητε), to prevent self-conceit on the part of the Gentiles who have believed. They had no merit in themselves

A hardening (πωρωσις). Late word from πωροω (Romans 11:7). Occurs in Hippocrates as a medical term, only here in N.T. save Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:18. It means obtuseness of intellectual discernment, mental dulness.

In part (απο μερους). Goes with the verb γεγονεν (has happened in part). For απο μερους, see 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 2:5; Romans 15:24; for ανα μερος, see 1 Corinthians 14:27; for εκ μερους, see 1 Corinthians 12:27; 1 Corinthians 13:9; for κατα μερος, see Hebrews 9:5; for μερος τ (adverbial accusative) partly see 1 Corinthians 11:18. Paul refuses to believe that no more Jews will be saved.

Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (αχρ ου το πληρωμα των εθνων εισελθη). Temporal clause with αχρ ου (until which time) and the second aorist active subjunctive of εισερχομα, to come in (Matthew 7:13; Matthew 7:21).

For fulness of the Gentiles (το πληρωμα των εθνων) see on verse Romans 11:12, the complement of the Gentiles.

Verse 26

And so (κα ουτως). By the complement of the Gentiles stirring up the complement of the Jews (verses Romans 11:11).

All Israel (πας Ισραηλ). What does Paul mean? The immediate context (use of πας in contrast with απο μερουσ, πληρωμα here in contrast with πληρωμα in verse Romans 11:12) argues for the Jewish people "as a whole." But the spiritual Israel (both Jews and Gentiles) may be his idea in accord with Romans 9:6 (Galatians 6:16) as the climax of the argument. At any rate we should strive for and pray for the conversion of Jews as a whole. Paul here quotes from Isaiah 59:20; Isaiah 27:9.

The Deliverer (ο ρυομενος). Present middle articular participle of ρυομα, to rescue, to deliver. See on 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 1:10. The Hebrew Goel, the Avenger, the Messiah, the Redeemer (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Job 19:25; Ruth 3:12). Paul interprets it of Jesus as Messiah.

Verse 27

My covenant (η παρ' εμου διαθηκη). "The from me covenant," "my side of the covenant I have made with them" (Sanday and Headlam). Cf. Jeremiah 31:31. Not a political deliverance, but a religious and ethical one.

When I shall take away (οταν αφελωμα). Second aorist middle subjunctive of αφαιρεω, old and common verb, to take away.

Verse 28

As touching the gospel (κατα το ευαγγελιον). "According to (κατα with the accusative) the gospel" as Paul has shown in verses Romans 11:11-24, the gospel order as it has developed.

Enemies (εχθρο). Treated as enemies (of God), in passive sense, because of their rejection of Christ (verse Romans 11:10), just as αγαπητο (beloved) is passive.

As touching the election (κατα την εκλογην). "According to the election" (the principle of election, not as in verses Romans 11:5 the elect or abstract for concrete).

For the fathers' sake (δια τους πατερας). As in Romans 9:4; Romans 11:16.

Verse 29

Without repentance (αμεταμελητα). See on 2 Corinthians 7:10 for this word (α privative and μεταμελομα, to be sorry afterwards). It is not αμετανοητον (Romans 2:5) from α privative and μετανοεω, to change one's mind. God is not sorry for his gifts to and calling of the Jews (Romans 9:4).

Verse 30

Ye in time past (υμεις ποτε). Ye Gentiles (Romans 1:18-32).

Were disobedient (επειθησατε). First aorist active indicative of απειθεω, to disbelieve and then to disobey. "Ye once upon a time disobeyed God."

By their disobedience (τη τουτων απειθια). Instrumental case, "by the disobedience of these" (Jews). Note "now" (νυν) three times in this sentence.

Verse 31

By the mercy shown to you (τω υμετερω ελεε). Objective sense of υμετερος (possessive pronoun, your). Proleptic position also for the words go with ελεηθωσιν (first aorist passive subjunctive of ελεεω, from ελεος with ινα, purpose clause). God's purpose is for the Jews to receive a blessing yet.

Verse 32

Hath shut up (συνεκλεισεν). First aorist active indicative of συνκλειω, to shut together like a net (Luke 5:6). See Galatians 3:22 for this word with υπο αμαρτιαν (under sin). This is a resultant (effective) aorist because of the disbelief and disobedience of both Gentile (Romans 1:17-32) and Jew (Romans 2:1-3).

All (τους παντας). "The all" (both Gentiles and Jews).

That he might have mercy (ινα--ελεηση). Purpose with ινα and aorist active subjunctive. No merit in anyone, but all of grace. "The all" again, who receive God's mercy, not that "all" men are saved.

Verse 33

O the depth (Ο βαθος). Exclamation with omega and the nominative case of βαθος (see on 2 Corinthians 8:2; Romans 8:39). Paul's argument concerning God's elective grace and goodness has carried him to the heights and now he pauses on the edge of the precipice as he contemplates God's wisdom and knowledge, fully conscious of his inability to sound the bottom with the plummet of human reason and words.

Unsearchable (ανεξεραυνητα). Double compound (α privative and εξ) verbal adjective of ερευναω (old spelling -ευ-), late and rare word (LXX, Dio Cassius, Heraclitus), only here in N.T. Some of God's wisdom can be known (Romans 1:20), but not all.

Past tracing out (ανεξιχνιαστο). Another verbal adjective from α privative and εξιχνιαζω, to trace out by tracks (ιχνος Romans 4:12). Late word in Job (Job 5:9; Job 9:10; Job 34:24) from which use Paul obtained it here and Ephesians 3:8 (only N.T. examples). Also in ecclesiastical writers. Some of God's tracks he has left plain to us, but others are beyond us.

Verse 34

Who hath known? (τις εγνω?). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω, a timeless aorist, did know, does know, will know. Quotation from Isaiah 40:13. Quoted already in 1 Corinthians 2:16.

Counsellor (συμβουλος). Old word from συν and βουλη. Only here in N.T.

His (αυτου). Objective genitive, counsellor to him (God). Some men seem to feel competent for the job.

Verse 35

First driven to him (προεδωκεν αυτω). First aorist active indicative of προδιδωμ, to give beforehand or first. Old verb, here alone in N.T. From Job 41:11, but not like the LXX, Paul's own translation.

Shall be recompensed (ανταποδοθησετα). First future passive of double compound ανταποδιδωμ, to pay back (both αντ and απο), old word in good sense, as here and Luke 14:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:9 and in bad sense as 2 Thessalonians 1:6; Romans 12:19.

Verse 36

Of him (εξ αυτου),

through him (δι' αυτου),

unto him (εις αυτον). By these three prepositions Paul ascribes the universe (τα παντα) with all the phenomena concerning creation, redemption, providence to God as the

Source (εξ), the

Agent (δ), the

Goal (εις).

For ever (εις τους αιωνας). "For the ages." Alford terms this doxology in verses Romans 11:33-36 "the sublimest apostrophe existing even in the pages of inspiration itself."

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/romans-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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