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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Romans 11

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 11

Romans 11:1. After τ. λαὸν αὐτοῦ, A D* א** and some Fathers have ὃν προέγνω. So Lachm. in brackets. An addition from Romans 11:2.

Romans 11:2. After ἰσραήλ Elz. has λέγων, against decisive evidence.

Romans 11:3. τὰ θυσιαστ.] Elz.: καὶ τὰ θυς., against so important witnesses, that καί would appear a connective addition. Comp. the LXX.

Romans 11:6. The addition in Elz., εἰ δὲ ἐξ ἔργων, οὐκέτι ἐστὶ χάρις· ἐπεὶ τὸ ἔργον οὐκέτι ἐστὶν ἔργον, is wanting in A C D E F G P א*, 47, Copt. Sah. Arm. Vulg. It. Dam. Rufin., and all the Latin Fathers. An old interpolation (found already in B L א**, Syr. Arr. Chrys.), with a view to the completion of the proof; rejected by Erasmus, Grotius, Wetstein, Griesbach, Scholz, Lachm.; adopted, indeed, by Tisch. 7, but again omitted in ed. 8; after Beza, Bengel, Matthiae, Rinck, defended most thoroughly by Fritzsche and Reiche (in opp. to his Commentary) in the Comment. Crit. I. p. 68 ff. But considering the preponderance of the opposing testimony, the completely superfluous character of the proposition in the argument, and the anomalous form in which the words appear in the principal Codex which contains them (B: εἰ δὲ ἐξ ἔργων, οὐκέτι χάρις· ἐπεὶ τὸ ἔργον οὐκέτι ʼστιν χάρις), and also the other variations in detail (see Tisch. 8), the defences of them are not convincing. See also van Hengel. The argument for retaining them, on the ground that an interpolator would have framed them more closely in conformity with the first half of the verse, is weakened by the fact that very ancient authorities have ἐστίν instead of γίνεται also in the first half of the verse.

Romans 11:7. τοῦτο] Elz.: τούτου, against decisive evidence. An emendation in accordance with the usual construction.

Romans 11:13. γάρ] Lachm., Tisch. 8 : δέ, according to A B P א, min. Syr. Copt. Damasc. Theodoret. MS.; C has οὖν; Aeth. utr. no particle. With such divided testimony, δέ is the best supported, and to be preferred; it came to be glossed by more definite particles.

μέν] is wanting in D E F G, min., which was occasioned by the apparent absence of reference for the μέν. Lachm., Tisch. 8 : μὲν οὖν, according to A B C P א, Copt., which has therefore the external attestation decidedly in its favour, but is to be explained from the fact that the unrelated μέν was glossed by οὖν (a new sentence was commenced with ἐφʼ ὅσον); therefore these authorities indirectly pass over to the side of the otherwise weakly accredited Recepta.

Romans 11:17. τῆς ῥίζης καί] This καί is wanting in B C א*, Copt. Omitted by Tisch. 8; but how easily it might be suppressed, owing to the homoeoteleuta! In D* F G, codd. It. Ir., τῆς ῥίζης is also wanting from the like cause.

Romans 11:19. κλάδοι] So Rinck, Scholz, Lachm., Tisch. 8, according to decisive testimony. But Elz. and Tisch. 7 have οἱ κλάδοι, the article being mechanically introduced in imitation of τῶν κλάδων, Romans 11:17-18. Were οἱ original, and had it been desired through its omission to designate the τινὲς τῶν κλάδων in Romans 11:17 (Matth., Fritzsche), it would have more readily occurred to the mechanical tendency of copyists to insert τινές instead of οἱ.

Romans 11:20. ὑψηλοφρόνει] Lachm. and Tisch. 8 : ὑψηλὰ φρόνει, according to A B א. Resolution of the word—which is only found besides in 1 Timothy 6:17—into its elements in conformity with Romans 12:16.

Romans 11:21. μήπως] is wanting in A B C P א, min., Copt. Damasc. Ruf. Aug. Omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. But the offence which was taken partly at the apparent unrelatedness of μήπως (which is therefore exchanged in Or. for πόσῳ μᾶλλον and πόσῳ πλέον), partly at the following future, readily induced the omission. For φείσηται, which Elz. has instead of φείσεται, is very feebly supported by evidence, and has manifestly come in accordance with the original μήπως; wrongly defended anew by Rinck. See the exegetical notes; comp. also Beng. Apparat. Crit.

Romans 11:22. In the second clause Lachm. and Tisch. have, instead of ἀποτομίαν, ἀποτομία, and instead of χρηστότητα, χρηστότης θεοῦ; the former according to A B C א*, 67**, Or. Damasc.; the latter according to A B C D* ( א has χρηστότητος θεοῦ), 67**, Arm. Or. Eus. Damasc. Rightly; the common reading is a hasty grammatical emendation. θεοῦ, too, bears, in its belonging to the reading χρηστότης, the stamp of genuineness.

Romans 11:25. παρʼ ἑαυτ.] Lachm. and Tisch. 7 : ἐν ἑαυτ., according to A B, Damasc. The latter is to be preferred ( παρʼ ἑαυτ. was introduced through a comparison of Romans 12:16), and it explains, too, the origin of the bare ἑαυτοῖς in F G for by the omission of the N the preposition would easily come to be dropped.

Romans 11:30. ὑμεῖς] Elz., Scholz: καὶ ὑμεῖς, against decisive evidence.

Romans 11:31. Before ἐλεηθ. B D* א, Copt. Dam. have νῦν; so Lachm. in brackets, and Tisch. 8. Inappropriate addition, arising from misconception, instead of which some min. have ὕστερον.

Romans 11:32. τοὺς πάντας] Instead of the first τ. π., D. Ir. et al. have τὰ πάντα, and F G πάντα. Also Vulg. It. express the neuter, which, however, is taken from Galatians 3:22.

CONTENTS:

After the humiliation hitherto expressed, there now follows the consolation in respect to the exclusion of a large part of Israel. (1) God has not cast off His people, but has allowed a part of them, according to a gracious election, to attain to salvation, and has hardened the remainder, Romans 11:1-10. (2) Yet God wills not their final destruction; nay, their unbelief subserves the salvation of the Gentiles, and their conversion will have yet more happy consequences. This is matter for hope, and the Gentile Christians may not therefore give way to self-exaltation, Romans 11:11-24. (3) For the hardening of a portion of the people will last no longer than until the whole of the Gentiles have become Christians; and then Israel will obtain salvation, Romans 11:25-32. How unfathomable are the riches, wisdom, and knowledge of God! To Him be glory! Romans 11:33-36.


Verse 1

Romans 11:1. λέγω οὖν] corresponds to the twofold ἀλλὰ λέγω, Romans 10:18-19, but so, that now this third interrogative λέγω is introduced in an inferential form. In consequence, namely, of what had just been clearly laid down in Romans 10:18 ff., as to the guilt of resistant Israel in its exclusion from salvation in Christ—over-against the Gentiles’ acceptance of it—the difficult question might arise: Surely God has not cast off His people? Surely it is not so tragic a fate, that we must infer it from that conduct of the people? Paul states this question, earnestly negatives it, and then sets forth the real state of the matter. The opinion of Hofmann, that the apostle starts this question because the scriptural passages Romans 10:18 ff. show that it is to be negatived, is the consequence of his incorrect interpretation of those scriptural sayings, and is confuted by the fact that the negation is first given and supported in what follows, not drawn from what precedes, but made good by a quite different scriptural proof, Romans 11:2.

μὴ ἀπώσατο κ. τ. λ.] Comp. Psalms 94:14; Psalms 95:3; 1 Samuel 12:22; on the form, see Winer, p. 86 [E. T. 111]. Reiche thinks, but erroneously, that the question is not expressed sharply enough, and that ἅπαντα is to be supplied. ἀπώσατο has in truth the emphasis, and is placed first on that account; so that Paul’s simple idea is, that the casting off of God’s people, exclusion from the divine decree of the bestowal of salvation, recall of this destination to salvation, may not be inferred from what has gone before. Rightly, too, Bengel remarks: “Ipsa populi ejus appellatio rationem negandi continet.” This ratio negandi is then, in Romans 11:2, additionally strengthened by ὃν προέγνω.

The μὴ γένοιτο expresses horror at the ἀπώσατο, not at the λέγω (van Hengel), as though Paul had written simply ἀπώσατο without μή.

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ κ. τ. λ.] For I also, etc., expresses the motive for μὴ γένοιτο! For Paul, as a true Israelite of patriotic feeling, cannot, in virtue of his theocratic self-esteem, admit that ἀπώσατο, but can only repel the suggestion with abhorrence. Comp. de Wette and Baumgarten-Crusius. A peculiar proof of the οὐκ ἀπώσατο was yet to follow. Usually it is thought that Paul proves the negation by his own example, since he in truth was not cast off. So also Philippi. But apart from the consideration, that the example of a single elected one, however highly favoured, would be far from convincing, we see no reason why Paul should have added ἐκ σπέρ΄. ἀβρ., φυλ. βενια΄.; moreover, it appears from Romans 11:2, where he defines the negation, emphatically reiterates it, and then confirms it from Scripture, that he did not intend till Romans 11:2 to adduce the argument against the ἀπώσατο, which he had only provisionally rejected in Romans 11:1. Without the least indication from the text, Hofmann introduces into κ. ἐγώ the reference: Even I, the apostle entrusted with the calling of the Gentile world (which is supposed to imply a sealing of the sacred historical call of Israel); even I, as once upon a time a persecutor, deserving of rejection.

ἐκ σπέρμ. ἀβρ., φυλ. βενιαμ.] added, in order to exhibit the just and genuine privileges of his birth. Comp. Philippians 3:5; Acts 13:21; Test. XII. Patr. p. 746 f. The tribe of Benjamin was in truth, along with that of Judah, the theocratic core of the nation after the exile. Ezra 4:1; Ezra 10:3.


Verse 2

Romans 11:2. ὃν προέγνω] An element which renders the impossibility of ἀπώσατο at once palpable; comp. Romans 11:29. Others take it as a limiting definition, τὸν λ. αὐτοῦ ὃν πρ. being understood of the spiritual people of God destined to the Christian salvation (Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, and others, including Heumann, Semler, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Glöckler). But against this view it is decisive that τ. λαὸν αὐτ. in Romans 11:1, without any limitation, denotes the Jewish nation, and consequently Paul himself would now completely disarrange the point in question; the whole chapter has for its subject, not the spiritual Israel, but the fate of the nation in respect to the salvation of Messiah. Hence, too, we are not to supply, with Philippi, p. 554, after ὃν προέγνω the limitation: as seminary of the spiritual σπέρμα.

The sense of προέγνω has been understood as variously as in Romans 8:29, but is to be taken just as there: God knew His people as such beforehand, before it actually existed; that is to say, it was to Him, to whom the whole future development of sacred history was present in His pretemporal counsel and plan, known and certain: Israel is my peculiar people! And consequently God cannot have afterwards rejected Israel; for this would in truth presuppose that which is inconceivable with God (comp. Acts 15:18), and irreconcilable with the ἀμετάθετον τῆς βουλῆς αὐτοῦ (Hebrews 6:17), namely, that He had been deceived in His προέγνω; comp. Romans 11:30 ff. To suppose the qualitas mala of the people as that which God foreknew (van Hengel) is inadmissible, for the reason that πρόγνωσις must be the premiss of the προορίζειν of the people of God (comp. Romans 8:29); hence, too, it is not to be objected, with Hofmann, against our view, that God would surely have been able to foresee the fact that, and the time when, His people would cease to be His people.

οὐκ οἴδατε κ. τ. λ., down to Romans 11:4, adduces a proof for οὐκ ἀπώσατο from an historical example of Scripture, according to which a case analogous to the present of the resistance of the people to God had once occurred, but God has made the declaration that He had (not indeed cast off His people, but) reserved to Himself, in the midst of the depravity of the mass, a number of faithful ones. So (Romans 11:5) too now there has taken place, not a rejection of the people, but rather a gracious election out of the people.

ἐν ἠλίᾳ] belongs to τί λέγει, but is not: de Elia (Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Castalio, Calovius, and others), which would be linguistically erroneous, but: in the passage treating of Elias. Comp. Thuc. i. 9. 3, where ἐν τοῦ σκήπτρου ἅμα τῇ παραδόσει εἴρηκεν means: at the passage, where he (Homer) treats of the yielding of the sceptre, he has said, etc. Very prevalent is this mode of quotation in Philo, and also in the Rabbinical writings (Surenhusius, καταλλ. p. 493). Comp. also Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37, but not Hebrews 4:7.

ὡς ἐντυγχ. τ. θ. κατὰ τ. ἰσραήλ] dependent on οὐκ οἴδατε, as a more precisely defining parallel of ἐν ἠλ. τί λέγει γρ. Comp. Luke 6:4; Luke 22:61; Acts 11:16; Acts 20:20, et al.; Göller and Krüger on Thuc. i. 1. 1. On ἐντυγχάνειν (Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25), with dative of the person concerned (frequently in Plutarch, Polyb., Lucian, etc.), comp. Acts 25:24; Wisdom of Solomon 8:21; Wisdom of Solomon 16:28. On κατά (accusing), comp. 1 Maccabees 8:32; 2 Maccabees 4:36.


Verse 3

Romans 11:3. 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14, freely from the LXX.

ἀπέκτ.] The Israelites, namely, under Ahab and Jezebel. 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 13:22.

κατέσκαψ.] have thoroughly destroyed, have razed. Comp. Soph. Phil. 986: τροίανκατασκάψαι. Eur. Hec. 22 (of the domestic altar); Dem. 361. 20; Plut. Popl. 10; 2 Maccabees 14:38 ( τὸ θυσιαστήριον).

τὰ θυσιαστ.] On the plural, as the temple in Jerusalem was the place exclusively destined for worship, the view of Estius suffices: “Verisimile est, Eliam loqui de altaribus, quae passim in excelsis studio quodam pietatis Deo vero erecta fuerant; maxime postquam decem tribus regum suorum tyrannide prohibitae fuerunt, ne Jerusolymam ascenderent sacrificii causa. Quamvis enim id lege vetitum esset [see Leviticus 17:8-9; Deuteronomy 12:13-14] ac recte fecerint Ezechias et Josias, reges Judae, etiam ejusmodi aras evertendo, tamen impium erat eas subvertere odio cultus Dei Israel.” Comp. Grotius, also Keil, on the books of Kings, p. 262, Archäol. I. § 89.

ὑπελείφθ. μόνος] in the sense of Elias: alone of the prophets; but according to the application designed by the apostle, as Romans 11:4 shows: as the only one of Thy faithful. But in this case we are not to assume, as Hofmann and others wish to do, that Paul, in order to suggest this sense, has transposed the original order of the two clauses of the verse—which is rather to be regarded as accidental; and this, considering the freedom of citation otherwise used, we need the less hesitate about, since Paul could not, even in the original order, see the reference of the verse which was in his thoughts to be excluded.

On ζητεῖν τ. ψυχ. τινος, to seek after one’s life, see on Matthew 2:20.


Verse 4

Romans 11:4. ἀλλά] But, although Elijah complained that he had been left sole survivor.

χρηματισμός] the divine oracular utterance (replying to this accusation). Found here only in N. T. (in the Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 2:4; 2 Maccabees 11:17); but see Diod. Sic. i. 1, xiv. 7, and Suicer, Thes. II. p. 1532; and respecting χρηματίζω, on Matthew 2:12.

κατέλιπον κ. τ. λ.] 1 Kings 19:18, with free deviation, bearing on his object, both from the LXX. and from the original. It means: I have left remaining, so, namely, that they are not slaughtered with the rest. Comp. Xen. Anab. vi. 3. 5 : ὀκτῶ μόνους κατέλιπον (superstites, vivos reliquerunt); 1 Maccabees 13:4. Hofmann incorrectly takes κατέλ. as the third person plural, having the same subject as ἀπέκτειναν. A groundless departure from the Hebrew text and from the LXX., according to which God is the subject. And it is God who has guided and preserved those who remained over.

ἐμαυτῷ] i.e. to myself as my property, and for my service, in contrast to the idolatrous abomination.

οἵτινες κ. τ. λ.] ita comparatos ut, etc.

γόνυ] Not a knee has been bowed by them; hence the singular, comp. Philippians 2:10.

τῇ βάαλ] Dative of worship. Bernhardy, p. 86. Comp. Romans 14:11. The Phoenician divinity בַּעַל, the adoration of which was very widely diffused (Keil, § 91) amongst the Jews, especially under the later kings, though not of long subsistence (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 304), is most probably to be regarded as the sun-god (Movers, Phönicier, I. p. 169 ff.; J. G. Müller in Herzog’s Encyklop. I. p. 639 f.), not as the planet Jupiter (Gesenius in the Hall. Encyklop. VIII. p. 384 ff.). It is remarkable—seeing that בעל (according to different local and ritual forms also in the plural) is a masculine noun—that in the LXX. and in the Apocrypha it has sometimes, and most frequently, the masculine article (Numbers 22:41; Judges 2:13; 1 Kings 16:31, et al.), sometimes the feminine (Zephaniah 1:4; Hosea 2:8; 1 Samuel 7:4; always in Jer.; Tobit 1:5, et al.). That the LXX. should have thought בעל to be of the common gender, and to denote also Astarte (Reiche), is not probable for this reason, that in the LXX. not merely are the masculine Baal and Astarte often mentioned together (Judges 2:13; Judges 10:6, et al.), but also the feminine Baal and Astarte (1 Samuel 7:4). The view that the feminine article was assigned to βάαλ contemptuously (Gesenius, in Rosenmüller’s Repert. I. p. 139), as also Tholuck and Ewald, Alterth. p. 302, assume, finds no sufficient support—seeing that בעל was a very well known divinity—in the feminine designation of idols unknown to them in the LXX. at 2 Kings 17:30-31; cannot be justified by comparison of the Rabbinical designation of idols as אֶלהוֹת; and cannot be made good in the particular passages where the LXX. have the masculine or the feminine. To refer the phenomenon solely to an opinion of the LXX., who held בעל to be the name of a god and also that of a goddess, and therefore, according to the supposed connection, used now the masculine and now the feminine article,—the latter particularly, where the word occurs along with עַשְׁתָּרוֹת (Fritzsche), as in Judges 2:13; Judges 10:6, 1 Samuel 7:4,—is improbable in itself (because of the unity of the Hebrew name), and cannot be maintained even in passages like Judges 3:7, 2 Kings 21:3 (comp. with 1 Samuel 12:10; Hosea 2:10; Hosea 2:15), without arbitrariness. An historical reason must prevail, and it appears the most feasible hypothesis that Baal was conceived as an androgynous divinity (Beyer, ad Selden. de Diis Syr. p. 273 f., Wetstein, Koppe, Olshausen, Philippi), although more precise historical evidence is wanting. The feminine article has been also explained by supplying a substantive ( εἰκόνι by Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, and others; στήλῃ by Glass, Estius; θρησκείᾳ by Cramer; even δαμάλει by Drusius, after Tobit 1:5, but see Fritzsche on Tob.); but this is both erroneous and arbitrary, because at least the expression must have run τῇ τοῦ βάαλ, since בעל has always the article. This linguistic incongruity van Hengel avoids only by the precarious conjecture that βάαλ signifies the column of Baal, and βάαλ the god Baal.

We have to remark, moreover, that the LXX. have in our passage the masculine article; but Paul, acquainted with the use also of the feminine article, has, in quoting from memory, changed the article. According to Fritzsche and Ewald, he had found τῇ in his copy of the LXX.; but τῇ is now found only in more recent codd. of the LXX., into which it has found its way merely from our passage.


Verse 5

Romans 11:5. In this way, corresponding to this Old Testament historical precedent, therefore (in order to make the application of Romans 11:3-4), there has been (there has come into existence, and actually exists—perfect) also in the present time, in consequence of an election made out of grace, a remnant, namely, a small part taken out of the hardened mass of the people, i.e. the comparatively insignificant number of believing Jews, whom God’s grace has chosen out of the totality of the people. It is related to the latter as a remainder (Herod. i. 119; 2 Kings 19:4) to a whole, from which the largest part is removed (Romans 11:3-4; Romans 9:27; Romans 9:29), notwithstanding Acts 21:20. The point of comparison is the notion of the λεῖμμα in contrast to the remaining mass; the latter in the typical history has perished, but in the antitypical event has forfeited saving deliverance.

κατʼ ἐκλ. χάρ.] opposed to the presumption in reference to works of the Jewish character; hence, too, the emphatic declaration in Romans 11:6. It is to be connected not with λεῖμμα as its more precise definition (Hofmann), but with γέγονεν as its mode. This is evinced by the following εἰ δὲ χάριτι, sc. γέγονεν, where χάριτι is equivalent to the κατʼ ἐκλογ. χάριτος.


Verse 6

Romans 11:6. This thought is not merely by the way and incidental (Koppe, Rückert, de Wette, Fritzsche, Maier, and others), but it belongs essentially to the development of the apostle’s thought to set forth the mode according to which λεῖμμα γέγονε, not only positively ( κατʼ ἐκλ. χάρ.), but also negatively ( οὐκ ἐξ ἔργ.); because he then, in Romans 11:7, goes on to argue: ἐπιζητεῖ ἰσραήλ κ. τ. λ., which ἐπιζητεῖν, in fact, took place exactly ἐξ ἔργων, Romans 9:32.

εἰ δὲ χάριτι] but if through grace, sc. λεῖμμα γέγονε.

οὐκέτι ἐξ ἔργων] As previously the individuals who compose the λεῖμμα are conceived as the objects of the divine grace, through which they belong to the λεῖμμα; so are they also (not the people generally, as Hofmann takes it) conceived in this contrasted negative statement as the subjects, who do not owe it to legal works that in them is present the λεῖμμα composing the true community of God. On the logical οὐκέτι, see on Romans 7:17. Of ἐξ ἔργων there can be nothing more said.

ἐπεὶ χάρις κ. τ. λ.] because (otherwise) grace ceases to be grace (namely, if ἐξ ἔργων λεῖμμα γέγονε)—since in truth “gratia nisi gratis sit, gratia non est,” Augustine. χάρις is the definite grace, which has made the election, and γίνεται (not equivalent to ἐστί) means: it ceases, in its concrete manifestation, to become, i.e. to show itself as, that (comp. on Luke 10:18, et al.) which according to its nature it is. Positively expressed: it becomes what according to its essence it is not; it gives up its specific character.


Verse 7

Romans 11:7. τί οὖν] infers the result from Romans 11:5-6. Since a λεῖμμα has been constituted according to the election of grace, and therefore not possibly from the merit of works: accordingly Israel (as regards the mass) has not obtained that which it strives after (namely, δικαιοσύνη, as is known from Romans 9:30 ff.)—for it strives, in fact, ἐξ ἔργωνthe election, on the other hand, namely, that chosen λεῖμμα, has obtained it (for they were the objects of the divine χάρις); but the rest were hardened. In this manner the true state of the case is now set forth, in contrast to ἀπώσατο, without its being necessary on this account to refer τί οὖν to the whole preceding Romans 11:2-6 (de Wette, Fritzsche, Philippi, and others); since the reference to Romans 11:5-6 is quite sufficient, and quite in keeping with the logical progression. Reiche (comp. Lachm., who places a note of interrogation after τί οὖν and after ἐπέτυχεν) makes the question extend to ἐπέτυχεν, to which question of wonder Paul then answers by δὲ ἐκλ. κ. τ. λ. But the futility of Israel’s endeavour has already been long (Romans 9:31-32) known to the reader, and is therefore not appropriate as the subject of such a question. Hofmann also takes ἐπιζητεῖἐπέτυχεν as a question, but in the sense whether that which Israel has not obtained is the same thing as that to which its quest and striving tends (namely, its own righteousness)? To the self-evident negation of this question δέ then relates in the sense of nevertheless, and after the second ἐπέτυχεν there is to be supplied, not ἐπιζητ. ἰσραήλ, but merely ἐπιζητεῖ (namely, to be, out of grace, the people of salvation). This complete distortion of the sense falls to the ground from the very fact, that for the second ἐπέτυχεν, since ἐπιζητεῖ is not appended, no other object can be thought of without the greatest arbitrariness than that of the first ἐπέτυχεν, namely ἐπιζητεῖ ἰσραήλ; and also, as respects the contents of the question, from the consideration, that if we should not be able to say that Israel has not obtained that for which it strove, this would stand in contradiction to the universal Pauline dogma of the impossibility of righteousness by the law.

ἐπιζητεῖ does not denote the zealous pursuit (Fritzsche, Philippi), but its direction, correlative to ἐπέτυχεν. See on Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:17. By the present, the continuance of the endeavour is admitted.

The τοῦτο (on the accusative instead of the customary genitive, see Matthiae, § 328; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 861) has tragic emphasis: even this it has not reached.

δὲ ἐκλογή] that is, here “reliquiae illius populi, quas per gratiam suam Deus elegit,” Estius. Comp. the use of περιτομή, etc., Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 469.

The πώρωσις, hardening (not blinding, as Hofmann thinks; see on 2 Corinthians 3:14), is the making unsusceptible in understanding and will as respects the appropriation of salvation in Christ. Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 78; Winzer, Progr. 1828, p. 8. The subject who hardens is God. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:14, and on Romans 9:8.


Verse 8

Romans 11:8. This ἐπωρώθησαν ensued in conformity with that which stands written, etc. That which is testified of the hardening of the people in the time of Isaiah, and as early as that of Moses, has its Messianic fulfilment through the hardening of the Jews against the gospel, so that this hardening has taken place καθὼς γέγραπται κ. τ. λ. This prophetic relation is groundlessly denied by Tholuck and Hofmann. The agreement denoted by καθ. γέγρ. is just that of prophecy and fulfilment according to the divine teleology. Comp. Matthew 15:7.

In the citation itself, Isaiah 29:10 (as far as κατανύξ.) and Deuteronomy 29:3 (not Isaiah 6:9) are combined into one saying, and quoted very freely from the LXX. Deuteronomy l.c. has after ἀκούειν: ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ταύτης, hence ἕως τῆς σήμ. ἡμ. belongs to the quotation; and the words καθὼςἀκούειν must not be put in a parenthesis, as Beza, Wolf, Griesbach, and others have done.

ἔδωκεν] He gave not mere permission (Chrysostom, Theophylact, and many).

πνεῦμα κατανύξεως] Heb. רוּחַ תַּרְדֵּמָה, i.e. a spirit producing stupefaction, which is obviously a daemonic spirit. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2. Elsewhere the LXX. translate תרדמה by ἔκστασις (Genesis 2:21; Genesis 15:12), or θάμβος (1 Samuel 26:12), or ἀνδρόγυνον (Proverbs 19:15). They gave the approximate sense of the word differently according to the connection. But that they understood κατάνυξις actually as stupefaction, intoxication, is clear from Psalms 60:5, where they have rendered יַיִן תַּרְעֵלָה, intoxicating wine, by οἶνον κατανύξεως. See in general, Fritzsche, Exc. p. 558 ff. This sense of κατάνυξις is explained by the use of κατανύσσεσθαι, compungi, in the LXX. and the Apocrypha to express the deep, inward paralyzing shock caused by grief, fear, astonishment, etc., whereby one is stupified and as if struck by a blow (Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 256; comp. on Acts 2:37). In classical Greek neither the substantive nor the verb is found. We may add that every derivation is erroneous, which does not go back to νύσσειν (comp. νύξις, Plut. Mor. p. 930 F); nor is it admissible (since Paul certainly knew that κατάν. expressed תרדמה) to seek explanations which depart from the notion of תרדמה. So e.g. Calvin: “Spiritum vocat … compunctionis, ubi scilicet quaedam fellis amaritudo se prodit, imo etiam furor in respuenda veritate.” Similarly Luther (“an embittered spirit”) and Melanchthon. Chrysostom, indeed (and Theophylact), hits the thing itself rightly: κατάνυξιν ἐνταῦθα τὴν περὶ τὸ χεῖρον ἕξιν τῆς ψυχῆς φησὶ τὴν ἀνιάτως ἔχουσαν καὶ ἀμεταθέτως, but his analysis of the word: κατανυγῆναι γὰρ οὐδὲν ἕτερον ἐστιν τὸ ἐμπαγῆναι ποῦ καὶ προσηλῶσθαι, is arbitrarily far-fetched.

τοῦ μὴ βλέπειν] A fatally pregnant oxymoron. The genit. is that of the aim: eyes, in order that they may not see, etc. Linguistically correct is also the rendering of Grotius: eyes of not-seeing, i.e. “oculos ad videndum ineptos,” Fritzsche, comp. Philippi and van Hengel. But the former view corresponds better at once to the original text (LXX. οὐκ ἔδωκε ὀφθαλ΄οὺς βλέπειν κ. ὦτα ἀκούειν) and to the telic τοῦ ΄ὴ βλέπειν, Romans 11:10. Comp. Isaiah 6:9-10; John 12:40; Acts 28:27.

ἕως τ. σή΄. ἡ΄έρ.] belongs to the whole affirmation ἔδωκεν κ. τ. λ. Thus uninterruptedly God dealt with them. The glance at a future, in which it was to be otherwise (Hofmann), is here (comp. Romans 11:10) still quite remote.


Verse 9-10

Romans 11:9-10. A further Scripture proof of ἐπωρώθησαν, and that from Psalms 69:23-24, quoted with free deviation from the LXX. The composer of this psalm is not David (in opposition to Hengstenberg, Hävernick), but some one of much later date; a circumstance which we must judge of analogously to the expression of Christ, Matthew 22:43. The suffering theocrat of the psalm is, as such, a type of the Messiah, and His enemies a type of the unbelieving Jews; hence Paul could find the fulfilment of the passage in the πώρωσις of the latter. Consequently, in pursuance of this typical reference, the sense in which he takes the words is as follows: “Let their table become to them for (let it be turned for them into, comp. John 16:20) a snare, and for a chase, and for a trap, and (so) for a retaliation;i.e., while they feast and drink securely and carelessly at their well-furnished table, let the fate of violence overtake them unawares, just as wild beasts are surprised in a snare, and by the capture of the chase, and by a trap; and so must retaliation alight upon them for that which they have done (in rejecting, namely, faith on Christ). But what violent calamity is meant, the sequel expresses, namely: “Darkened must their eyes become, that they may not see,” i.e. they must become spiritually blinded, incapable of discerning the truth of salvation; and finally the same thing under another figure: “And bend their back always,” denoting the keeping them in bondage, and that, in the sense of the apostle, the spiritual bondage of the unfree condition of the inner life produced by the πώρωσις. The hardening, therefore, which Paul recognises as predicted in the passage, does not lie in τράπεζα αὐτῶν (Fritzsche),—which is not to be explained “of the law and its works, which was Israel’s food” (Philippi, following older expositors, also Tholuck),—but in γενηθήτω εἰς παγίδα κ. τ. λ., and is more precisely indicated in Romans 11:10. The express repetition in Romans 11:10 of the becoming blinded, already designated in Romans 11:8, forbids our explaining the prophetic images in Romans 11:9-10 generally as representations of severe divine judgments like Pharaoh’s overthrow, in which case the specific point of the citation would be neglected (in opposition to Hofmann).

καὶ εἰς θήραν] stands neither in the Hebrew nor in the LXX.; but θήρα means chase, not net (Tholuck, Ewald), to establish which signification the solitary passage Psalms 35:8, where the LXX. render רֶשֶׁת inexactly by θήρα, cannot suffice. It often means booty (van Hengel) in the LXX. and in classical Greek; but this is not appropriate here, where the “becoming for a booty” is said not of such as men, but of the τράπεζα. This shall be turned for them into a chase, so that they, in their secure feasting, become like to the unfortunate object of the chase, which is captured by the hunter.

σκάνδαλον] corresponding primarily to the classical σκανδάληθρον, the stick set in a trap (Schol. Ar. Ach. 687), is frequently in the LXX. (see Schleusner, Thes. V. p. 38), and so also here, the translation of מוֹקֵשׁ, snare, by which we must therefore abide.

ἀνταπόδο΄α is not found in classical Greek, but often in the LXX. and Apocrypha, Luke 14:12.

καὶ τὸν νῶτον κ. τ. λ.] is to be taken, according to the context, as the expression of the idea of hardening (represented as a bending together under the yoke of spiritual servitude), not, with Fritzsche, of rendering miserable through the withdrawal of the Messianic salvation. On the masculine νῶτος, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 290.


Verse 11

Romans 11:11. At this point begins the teleological discussion respecting the οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ἐπωρώθησαν, Romans 11:7. See the contents above.

λέγω οὖν] quite as in Romans 11:1 : I ask therefore, attaching it by way of inference to the ἐπωρώθησαν just supported by Scripture.

μὴ ἔπταισαν, ἵνα πές.] But their stumbling had not the aim (ordained by God) that they should fall? i.e., by the fact of their stumbling at Christ (Romans 9:32-33), and refusing faith to Him, has the divine purpose not aimed at their everlasting ἀπώλεια? This emphasis on πέσωσι (come to be prostrate) involves the climactic relation to ἔπταισαν (to stumble),—a relation which Hofmann loses sight of when he makes the question express nothing further than: whether the fall which Israel suffered had been its own aim? Photius aptly remarks: τὸ πταῖσμα αὐτῶν οὐχὶ εἰς κατάπτωσιν τέλειαν γέγονεν, ἀλλὰ μόνον οἷον ὑπεσκελίσθησαν. Others have found the point of the question not purely in the climax of the two figurative verbs, but in definitions mentally supplied, which, however, as such, cannot be admitted. So, in particular, Augustine and many: only in order that they should fall, as though it ran μόνον ἵνα, as Umbreit still takes it (comp. Hofmann); further Melancthon: “non sic impegerunt Judaei, ut in tota gente nemo sit salvandus,” as though it ran ἵνα πάντες; and yet further, Ewald: “that they might purely in accordance with the divine design, and therefore without their freedom and their own will, fall into sin and into destruction,” as though it ran ἵνα ἐξ ἀνάγκης, or the like. We must simply abide by the view, that πταίειν is a figure for the taking offence at Christ which refuses faith, and πίπτειν a figure for the being involved in everlasting destruction; comp. Hebrews 4:11, Sirach 2:7. In the former the latter was not present as the aim of God’s purpose.

On ἔπταισαν, comp. the proverb: μὴ δὶς πρὸς τὸν αὐτὸν λίθον πταίειν, Polyb. xxxi. 19. 5, xxxi. 20. 1; and on the sense of moral stumbling, James 2:10; James 3:2; 2 Peter 1:10; Eur. Aeg. fr. ii. 1 : πταίσαντʼ ἀρετὰν ἀποδείξασθαι. The subject is the λοιποί of Romans 11:7, the mass of the people not belonging to the ἐκλογή.

τῷ αὐτῶν παραπτ.] through their fault consisting in the refusal of faith, through their offence. παραπτ. does not refer to πέσωσι (Reiche, Tholuck, and several others),—which the emphatic sense of πές. forbids; but in substance that πταῖσμα is meant, which is morally characterized by means of παράπτωμα as delictum (so rightly Vulg.), as ἁμαρτία (comp. John 16:9), according to its stated figurative designation (comp. also Romans 4:25, Romans 5:15). Quite against the usage of the N. T., Tholuck renders: defeat (Diod. xix. 100).

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] sc. γέγονεν. That through the despising of the Messianic salvation on the part of the Jews its attainment by the Gentiles was effected—this experience Paul had learnt to recognise as that which it actually was, as the way which the fulfilment of the divine arrangement, Romans 1:16, took. Comp. Matthew 21:43; Matthew 22:9; Acts 13:46; Acts 28:28.

εἰς τὸ παραζ. αὐτούς] aim; comp. Calovius: “Assumtio novi populi directa fuit ad veteris provocationem ad aemulationem, ut nempe Israelitae … seria aemulatione irritati, et ipsi doctrinae ev. animos suos submitterent.” Comp. Romans 10:19. With this εἰς τὸ παραζ. αὐτ., exactly the counterpart of ἵνα πέσωσι is expressed.


Verse 12

Romans 11:12. δέ] μεταβατικόν, leading over from what has been said in Romans 11:11 to a very joyful prospect thereby opened into the future.

The conclusion is a “felici effectu causae pejoris ad feliciorem effectum causae melioris.”

πλοῦτος] for the Gentile world ( κόσμος) became enriched with the σωτηρία (Romans 11:11), through the παράπτωμα of the Jews.

τὸ ἥττημα αὐτ. πλοῦτ. ἐθνῶν] and their overthrow riches for Gentile peoples. Parallel to the foregoing.

ἥττημα] is not found in the old Greek, but only in the LXX. Isaiah 31:8, and 1 Corinthians 6:7; it is, however, equivalent to the classical ἧττα, which is the opposite of νίκη (Plato, Lach. p. 196 A, Legg. i. p. 638 A Dem. 1486. 3; Xen. Cyr. iii. 1. 19, 20), and, corresponding to the signification of ἡττᾶσθαι, profligari, vinci, means clades, both in its proper sense, and also generally: succumbing, decline (comp. Dem. 1466. 23, ἧττα τῆς προαιρέσεως), loss suffered (1 Corinthians 6:7), getting the worse. See Perizon. ad Ael. V. H. ii. 25. Here the proper signification is to be retained, and that, as the contrast of τὸ πλήρωμα requires, in a numerical respect. So now also Tholuck, likewise Mangold. Through the fact that a part of the Jews was unbelieving, the people has suffered an overthrow, has, like a vanquished army, been weakened in numbers, inasmuch, namely, as the unbelieving portion by its unbelief practically seceded from the people of God. Comp. Vulg.: “diminutio eorum;” Luthardt: “loss in amount.” If it be explained as: loss of the Messianic salvation, which they have suffered (Fritzsche and others), or: the loss which the kingdom of God has suffered in their case (Philippi, comp. Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 573), the former is not appropriate to the contrast of πλήρωμα, and the latter introduces the reference to the kingdom of God, as that which has suffered the detriment, the more unwarrantably, inasmuch as the genit. αὐτῶν is expressed. The threefold αὐτῶν is to be taken with the like reference as the genitive of the subject, and applies in each instance to the people Israel as a whole (whose collective guilt also is the παράπτωμα), in contrast to the κόσμος and the ἔθνη—which likewise is not preserved in Philippi’s view. This very circumstance, and more decisively the utter absence of linguistic proof, tells also against the traditional usual rendering, according to which τὸ ἥττημα is supposed to signify the minority:paucitas Judaeorum credentium” (Grotius). So, in substance, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Erasmus, Beza, Estius, Wetstein, Bengel, and many others, including Reiche, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Maier, Bisping, Reithmayr; comp. Ewald: “their remaining behind.”

πόσῳ μᾶλλον τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῶν] sc. πλοῦτος ἐθνῶν γενήσεται; how much more their becoming full, that is, how much more will it issue in the enrichment of the Gentiles with the Messianic salvation, if the Jews, after the defeat which they have suffered, shall again be reinstated to their plena copia, so that they will then again in their full amount (Romans 11:26), as an integral whole, belong to the people of God,—which will take place through the conversion of all Israel to Christ (not would, as Luther has it). The ἥττημα αὐτῶν is then compensated, and the πλήρω΄α αὐτῶν brought in, which, moreover, may take place even with a continuance of the διασπορά. On πλήρω΄α generally, see Fritzsche, II. p. 469 ff. Comp. on Ephesians 1:10. The numerical reference of the πλήρωμα αὐτῶν is suggested by the correlative τὸ πλήρω΄α τῶν ἐθνῶν in Romans 11:25; and in so far the view which takes it of the full number of the Jews (Theodoret: πάντες πιστεύσαντες μειζόνων ἀγαθῶν πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐγένοντο ἂν πρόξενοι, so most) is correct. Comp. Ewald: “their full admission, supplying what is wanting.” With this Umbreit mixes up at the same time “the fulfilment of their predestination;” whilst van Hengel sees in the πλήρ. αὐτ., not absolutely the full number, but only the collective body of those destined by God to conversion, which, however, is not expressed, but is supplied by the reader. The various views correspond to the varying explanations of ἥττημα. So e.g. Fritzsche: the fulness of Messianic salvation, which they will possess; Philippi: the filling up—which takes place through their conversion—of the blank in the kingdom of God which arose through their unbelief; Rückert, Köllner: the restoration of Israel to its befitting position; Hofmann: the status, in which they are fully and entirely that which they ought to be (qualitative). Luthardt also takes the correct view.


Verse 13-14

Romans 11:13-14. Not a parenthetical thought (Reiche), but the connection with the preceding and following is: “ πόσῳ μᾶλλον τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῶν I say: but you precisely, the Gentile Christians,—who might think that my office belongs only to you and the Gentiles, and that the conversion of the Jews lies less in my vocation,—you I hereby make to know ( ὑμῖν λέγω), that I, as apostle of the Gentiles, etc.; for (motive) the conversion of the Jews will have the happiest consequence (Romans 11:15).”

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] to the (born) Gentiles, denotes, as an apposition to ὑμῖν, the readers according to their chief constituent element, in virtue of which the Christian Gentile body is represented in them; comp. Romans 1:13. Observe that Paul does not write τοῖς δὲ ἔθνεσιν ἐν ὑμῖν λέγω, as though he intended only a Gentile fraction of the otherwise Jewish-Christian community (in opposition to Mangold). In contradistinction to his readers, the Jews, although his flesh, are to him third persons, whom he, as apostle of the Gentiles, might mediately serve. Baur fails to recognise this, I. p. 371.

ἐφʼ ὅσον] not temporal (quamdiu, Matthew 9:15; 2 Peter 1:13), but: in quantum, in as far as I, etc. Comp. Matthew 25:40; Plato, Rep. p. 268 B Xen. Cyr. v. 4. 68. Just so εἰς ὅσον and καθʼ ὅσον.

μέν] as so often in Paul without a corresponding δέ. But we see from the following that the train of ideas passing before his mind was this: “I seek indeed, so far as I am one who has the commission of Apostle to the Gentiles (observe the emphatic ἐγώ, in which a noble self-consciousness is expressed), to do honour to my office, but I have in view withal (for see Romans 10:1, Romans 9:2-3) to incite my kinsmen to emulation, etc.”

εἴπως] whether in any way. The practical honouring of the office, which consists in a true discharge of it, is an acting, whereby the desired attainment is attempted, see on Romans 1:10; Philippians 3:11; Acts 27:12; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 220. Less in accordance with the text—since the very εἴπως παραζ. κ. τ. λ. presupposes an actual δοξάζειν (2 Thessalonians 3:1; John 12:28).

Reiche and Ewald (after Grotius and many others, including Flatt) take it as: I boast, hold my office something high and glorious. Hofmann, indeed, understands an actual glorification, but conditioned by εἰ πῶς κ. τ. λ., so that the latter is not whether possibly, but if possibly. From this the illogical relation of present and future which thus arises must deter us (Paul must have used the future δοξάσω).

παραζ. and σώσω] future indicative, like Romans 1:10. On σώσω, comp. 1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Corinthians 7:16; 1 Corinthians 9:22. The enclitic μου standing before the noun cannot be emphatic (van Hengel), but represents, at the same time, the dative of interest (whether I shall perhaps rouse to me my flesh to jealousy), like 1 Corinthians 9:27, Philippians 2:2, Colossians 4:18, et al., and frequently in classical Greek.

αὐτῶν] refers to those intended by the collective τὴν σάρκα. σάρκα δὲ εἰπὼν γνησιότητα καὶ φιλοστοργίαν ἐνέφηνε, Theophylact. Theodoret quite erroneously thinks that Paul wished to intimate a denial of spiritual fellowship. On the contrary, πλέον αὐτοὺς οἰκειούμενος (Oecumenius), he says μ. τ. σάρκα, which is like τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου κατὰ σάρκα, Romans 9:3, but more strongly significant. Genesis 37:27; Judges 9:2; 2 Samuel 5:1. Comp. Isaiah 58:7. Note the modesty of the expression τινάς, which, however, was suggested by the experience of the difficulty of the conversion of the Jews; comp. 1 Corinthians 9:22.


Verse 15

Romans 11:15. By way of inference, like Romans 11:12; γάρ assigns a motive for Romans 11:13-14.

ἀποβολή, casting away; Plato, Legg. xii. p. 493 E, 944 C Aq. Proverbs 28:24. By this is meant their exclusion from the people of God on account of their unbelief, and the opposite of it is their πρόσληψις, reception in addition (Plato, Theaet. p. 210 A), by which they, having become believing, are adopted by God into the fellowship of His people. The view of ἀποβολή as loss (Acts 27:22; Plato, Phaed. p. 75 E Lach. p. 195 E Plut. Song of Solomon 7) is less suitable to this contrast (in opposition to the Vulg., Luther, Bengel, and others, including Philippi, who understands the loss, which the kingdom of God has suffered in their ease).

καταλλαγὴ κόσμου] in so far, namely, as the converted portion of the Gentiles has attained to δικαιοσύνη through faith, and is no longer subjected to the ὀργή of God; and therewith reconciliation of the Gentile world with God has begun. Comp. Romans 5:11. It is a more precise definition of the notion expressed in Romans 11:12 by πλοῦτος κόσμου.

ζωὴ ἐκ νεκρ.] i.e. life, which proceeds from the dead (namely, when these arise). The πρόσληψις of the still unconverted Jews, Paul concludes, will be of such a kind ( τίς, not τί, is his question), will be of so glorious a character (comp. Ephesians 1:18), that it will bring with it the last most blessed development, namely, the life beginning with the resurrection of the dead in the αἰὼν μέλλων, the ζωὴ αἰώνιος, which has the awakening from death as its causal premiss. Hence Paul does not say ἀνάστασις ἐκ νεκρῶν (as Philippi objects); for his glance is already passing beyond this event to its blessed consequence. The transformation of the living is included in this last development (1 Corinthians 15:51), which is here designated a potiori; comp. Romans 8:11. The conclusion of the apostle does not, however, rest on Matthew 24:14 (Reiche after Theodoret), but on the fact of the καταλλαγὴ κόσμου, whose most blissful final development (as it, according to Paul, must necessarily be occasioned by the blissful opposite of the ἀποβολή) can be none other than the blessed resurrection-life which will set in with the Parousia (Colossians 3:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 ff.). The view which takes ζωὴ ἐκ νεκρ. in the proper sense has been held by Origen, Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, Anselm, Erasmus, Toletus, Semler, Reiche, Glöckler, de Wette, Nielsen, Fritzsche, Rückert, Reithmayr, Bisping, Hofmann, Beyschlag, and others. Approaching it, but taking the resurrection by way of comparison, stands the view of Ewald: “The final completion of all history down to the last day, and like the very resurrection itself, which is expected on this day.” Luthardt, too, is substantially in the right, taking, however, νεκρῶν in the ethical sense: from the dead Israel the new bodily life of glorification will proceed. A heterogeneous mode of viewing the contrasts, for which the text affords no support. The non-literal interpretation of the “futura quasi resurrectio ex mortuis” (Melancthon), i.e. of the “novitas vitae ex morte peccati” (Estius; so in substance Calvin, Hunnius, Calovius, Vorstius, Bengel, Carpzov, Ch. Schmidt, Cramer, Böhme, Baumgarten-Crusius, Maier; also Lechler, apost. u. nachapost. Zeitalt. p. 129; Krummacher, p. 172 f.; and Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 574), is to be set aside on the ground that then nothing higher than the καταλλαγή (and it must be something far higher) would be expressed, but only its ethical consequence in the activity of life. Olshausen, too, understands it primarily of the spiritual resurrection, yet thinks that the notion “plays into the bodily resurrection” (?). Umbreit finds spiritual and bodily revival from death conjoined. Others explain the expression metaphorically, as designating summum gaudium (Grotius after Oecumenius) or summa felicitas (Hammond, Koppe, Köllner). Comp. Theophylact ( ἄπειρα ἀγαθά), Beza, Flatt, van Hengel, and now, too, Tholuck, who recurs to the general thought of the most important position in the history of the divine kingdom to be occupied by converted Israel. But interpretations of such a non-literal character must be necessitated by the context; whereas the latter by the relation, in accordance with the connection, of ζωὴ ἐκ νεκρῶν to the quite proper καταλλ. κόσμου requires us to abide by the literal sense. Hence we are not to understand, with Philippi, at once both the extensive diffusion of the kingdom of God, and a subjective revivification of Christendom, which had again become dead, “and thus a glorious flourishing time for the church on earth.” So, again, Auberlen supposes a charismatic life of the church, and depicts it with the colours of the palingenesia of the golden age. No such ideas are here expressed; and it would have been peculiarly necessary to indicate more particularly the dead state into which Christendom was again to fall, especially after the καταλλαγὴ κόσμου already including within itself spiritual revival. And by no means is the supposed flourishing time (the time of worship (!) Auberlen calls it, as opposed to the present time of preaching) compatible with the nearness of the Parousia (Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 7:29, et al.), with the ἀνάγκη immediately preceding it (1 Corinthians 7:26; Matthew 24:29), and with the πονηρία of the last period (on Galatians 1:4).


Verse 16

Romans 11:16. δέ] continuative; but this πρόσληψις, how well it corresponds to the character of holiness, which has been associated with the people of Israel from its origin till now! The two figures are parallel, and set forth the same thought.

ἀπαρχή] obtains the genitival definition to be mentally supplied with it through τὸ φύραμα, just as in the second clause ῥίζα is the root of the κλάδοι. The ἀπαρχὴ τοῦ φυράματος is known from Numbers 15:19-21 to be a designation of the first of the dough; that is, from every baking, when the dough was kneaded, a portion was to be set aside and a cake to be baked therefrom for the priests. See Philo, de sac. hon. II. p. 232; Josephus, Antt. iv. 4. 4; Saalschutz, M. R. p. 347; Keil, Archäol. I. § 71; and the Rabbinical prescriptions in Mischn. Surenh. p. 289 ff. This ἀπαρχή, as the first portion devoted to Jehovah from the whole, was designed to impart the character of its consecration to the remainder of the lump. The article with φύραμα denotes the lump of dough concerned, from which the ἀπαρχή is separated; hence ὅλον did not require to be expressed (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection). Grotius and Rosenmüller take τ. φύρ. to be the corn destined for the baking, and ἀπαρχή to be the first-fruits. But (Romans 9:21) φύραμα always denotes a mass mixed (with moisture or otherwise), particularly a kneaded one, and is in the LXX. (Exodus 12:34) and in Paul (1 Corinthians 5:6-7; Galatians 5:9) the standing expression for dough. Estius, Koppe, Köllner, Olshausen, Krehl rightly take it so, but nevertheless understand by ἀπαρχή the sacred first-fruits (comp. Exodus 23:10) which were employed for φύραμα. But in that case ἀπαρχή obtains a genitival definition not presented by the text; and this can the less be approved, since ἀπαρχὴ φυράματος, in fact, was the stated expression from Num. l.c. This applies also against Hofmann, who likewise explains the ἀπαρχή as the firstling-sheaf, but considers the φύραμα to be the dough worked up from the harvest-fruit generally.

The figure is correctly interpreted, when by ἀπαρχή we understand the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), and by τὸ φύρ. the whole body of the people, to whom the character of holiness—of consecration in property to God—passed over from the former. With the holiness of the πατέρες, Romans 9:4-13 (in accordance with which we are not here to think of Abraham alone), is given also the holiness of the theocratic people, their posterity, according to the divine right of covenant and promise. Comp. Romans 9:4-5. But this holiness, which Paul looks upon, as respects the national whole, in the light of a character indelebilis, is not the inner moral, but (comp. 1 Corinthians 7:14) the theocratic legal holiness (“quod juribus ecclesiae et promissis Dei frui possint,” Calovius). The expression is taken of the patriarchs by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Estius, Grotius, Calovius, Bengel, and others, including Koppe, Tholuck, Köllner, Olshausen, Fritzsche, Philippi, Maier, de Wette, Krehl, Umbreit, Ewald, Reithmayr, Hofmann (though the latter thinks only of Abraham). This is correct, because the second figure ( εἰ δὲ ῥίζα κ. τ. λ.) is capable of no other interpretation (see below); but to explain the two figures differently, as Toletus and Stolz, Reiche and Rückert, Glöckler, Stengel, Bisping, van Hengel, after Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret, have in manifold ways arbitrarily done, is simply a violation of the parallelism. This holds also against the interpretation of the Jews who have become believing, and of the remaining mass of the people (Ambrosiaster, Pelagius, Anselm, Toletus, Rosenmüller, Stolz, Reiche, Rückert, Bisping).

ῥίζα and οἱ κλάδοι are the patriarchs and their theocratic bodily descendants, the Jews. As the ἀπαρχή is related to the φύραμα, so is the ῥίζα to the κλάδοι; comp. on the latter, Menander, 711: ἄκαρπός ἐστιν οὗτος ἀπὸ ῥίζης κλάδος. The divergent interpretation, which may deserve to be considered in opposition to this usual one, is, that the ῥίζα is the first primitive or mother church consisting of the believing Jews, and that the κλάδοι are the Jews, in so far as they in virtue of their national position were primarily called thereto. This exposition (substantially in Cornelius a Lapide, Carpzov, Schoettgen; Semler and Ammon suppose οἱ κλάδοι to be the Gentile Christians) is still considered possible by de Wette. It is, however, unsuitable; for the (natural) κλάδοι must have proceeded from the ῥίζα, must have their origin from it (comp. Sirach 23:25; Sirach 40:15), and the broken-off branches (Romans 11:17) must have earlier belonged to the ῥίζα,—which is not the case, if ῥίζα is the Christian mother-church of which they were never κλάδοι. The true theocracy (the olive tree, comp. Jeremiah 11:16; Hosea 14:7; Zechariah 4:11; Nehemiah 8:15) did not begin in the Christian mother-church (as its root), but in the patriarchs, and Christ Himself was κατὰ σάρκα from this sacred root, Matthew 1:1 f. In this view it is clear that the unbelieving Jews, in so far as they rejected Christ, ceased thereby to belong to the true people of God, and fell away from their root. They were now—after the light, and with it judgment, had come into the world (John 3:19)—broken-off branches, apostate children of Abraham (John 8:37; John 8:39-40), children of the kingdom who were to be cast out (Matthew 8:12). Comp. the figure of the vine in John 15. See also Romans 9:6 ff.


Verses 17-24

Romans 11:17-24. In pursuance of the figure, a warning to the Gentile Christians against self-presumption, and an exhortation to humility, down to Romans 11:24.

τινές] some, a portion of the branches; comp. on Romans 3:3.

ἐξεκλάσθ.] were broken off (Plat. Rep. p. 611 D), κλάω being the proper word for the breaking of the young twigs ( κλάδοι); Theophrastus, c. pl. i. 15. 1. They were broken off on account of their unfitness for bearing.

σὺ δέ] individualizing address to each Gentile Christian.

ἀγριέλ. ὤν] although being of the wild olive. ἀγρ. is here an adjective, like ἐκ τῆς ἀγριελαίου, Romans 11:24. This view is assured by linguistic usage (Eryc. 4, in Anthol. ix. 237: σκυτάλην ἀγριέλαιον, Theocr. xxv. 255; see Jacobs, Delect. Epigr. p. 33; Lobeck, Paralip. p. 376) and necessary; for the traditional interpretation: “oleaster, i.e. surculus oleastri,” is as arbitrary as the apology for the expression when so explained, on the ground that Paul wished to avoid the prolixity of the distinction between tree and branch, is absurd (in opposition to Hofmann), inasmuch as he would only have needed to employ the genitive instead of the nominative, and consequently to write not a word more, if he wished to be thus sparing. The opinion of Reiche, Rückert, Köllner, Philippi, Krehl, Ewald, van Hengel—that the collective body of the Gentiles is conceived as an entire tree—is inappropriate to the relation portrayed by the figure, because the ingrafting of the Gentiles took place at first only partially and in single instances, while the σύ addressed cannot represent heathendom as a whole, and is also not appropriate to the figure itself, because in fact not whole trees, not even quite young ones (in opposition to de Wette), are ingrafted either with the stem, or as to all their branches; besides, Romans 11:24 contradicts this opinion. Matthias also takes the right view.

ἐν αὐτοῖς] may grammatically be equally well understood as among them (the branches of the noble olive tree generally)—so Erasmus, Grotius, Estius, and many others, including Rückert, Fritzsche, Nielsen, Tholuck, Philippi, Maier, Reithmayr, Hofmann—or as: in the place of the broken-off branches (Chrysostom, Beza, Piscator, Semler, and others, including Reiche, Köllner, de Wette, Olshausen), which, however, would have to he conceived of, not as ordinarily, in locum, but in loco eorum (Olshausen has the right view). The first rendering is preferable, because it corresponds to the notion of the συγκοινωνός.

τῆς ῥίζης κ. τ. πιότ. τ. ἐλ.] of the root (which now bears thee also among its own branches, Romans 11:18) and fatness (which now goes jointly to thee) of the olive tree. On the latter, comp. Judges 9:9. The assumption of a hendiadys (of the fat root) (Grotius and others) is groundless and weakening. The sense without figure is: “Thou hast attained to a participation in holy fellowship with the patriarchs, and in the blessings of the theocracy developed from them,”—both which the unbelieving Jews have forfeited.

Has Paul here, Romans 11:17 ff., had in view the process, really used in the East, of strengthening to renewed fertility olive trees by grafting scions of the wild olive upon them (see Columella, v. 9. 16; Pallad. xiv. 53; Schulz, Leit. d. Höchsten, V. p. 88; Michaelis, orient. Bibl. X. p. 67 ff., and note, p. 129; Bredenkamp in Paulus, Memorab. II. p. 149 ff.)? Answer: The subject-matter, which he is setting forth, required not at all the figure of the ordinary grafting of the noble scion on the wild stem, but the converse, namely, that of the ingrafting of the wild scion and its ennoblement thereby. The thing thus receiving illustration had taken place through the reception of Gentile members into the theocracy; and the thing that had taken place he was bound to represent (figuratively depict) as it had taken place. “Ordine commutato res magis causis quam causas rebus aptavit,” Origen. But that, while doing this, he had before his mind that actual pomological practice, and made reference to it (Matthias: in order to exhibit the παραζηλῶθηναι of the unbelieving Jews, Romans 11:13), is not to be assumed for this reason, that here, conformably to the following καὶ συγκοινωνὸς κ. τ. λ., there is conceived as the object of the ingrafting the ennobled fertilization of the graft itself; whereas, in the practice referred to, the ingrafted scion was not to receive the fatness from the noble tree, not to become fertilized, but to fertilize; for “foecundat sterilis pingues oleaster olivas, et quae non novit munera, ferre docet,” Palladius.


Verse 18

Romans 11:18. μὴ κατακ. τῶν κλάδ.] Boast thyself not against (comp. James 2:13; James 3:14; also in the LXX., not in classical Greek) the branches. These are not the broken-off branches, of which he has just been speaking (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Erasmus, Calovius, and many others, including de Wette, Rückert, Ewald), but, according to Romans 11:16-17, the branches of the olive tree generally (of which some have been broken off); without figure, therefore: the people Israel, but by no means merely those now composing the non-Christian Israel (Hofmann). The latter, because the Christian Israelites also still belonged to the branches of the olive tree, must, as well as the broken-off κλάδοι, have been more precisely designated (against which Hofmann urges subtleties); moreover, the following warning would not be suitable to the broken-off ones, because they no longer stand in any connection with the root. The κλάδοι standing on the root of the patriarchs are the Israelites, whether believing or unbelieving; but under the broken-off ones, which are therefore no longer borne by the root, we are to think not generally of all those Jews who at the time had not yet become believers in Christ (Romans 11:13-14)—otherwise the apostolic mission to the Jews would in truth have no meaning (in opposition to Hofmann’s denial of this distinction)—but only of those who had rejected the Christ preached to them (Acts 28:23-24), and therefore were already no longer in living communion with the patriarchal root, excluded in God’s judgment from the theocracy borne by this root (Romans 9:7-8). Hence, too, we are not, with Fritzsche, to think in τῶν κλάδων merely of the converted Jews, as indeed to give a particular warning against pride towards Jewish-Christians was foreign here to the object of the apostle.

εἰ δὲ κατακ. κ. τ. λ.] But if the case occur, that thou boastest against them, then know, reflect: it is not thou who bearest, etc.; without figure: Thy theocratic position is not the original theocratic one, but only a derived one, proceeding from the patriarchs and imparted to thee, conditioned by the relation into which thou hast entered towards them; thou therefore standest likewise only in the relation of a branch to the root, which is borne by the latter, and not the converse, and which may not therefore bear itself proudly towards its fellow-branches, as though it were something better. In these words there lies a warning hint beforehand of the possibility which Paul afterwards, Romans 11:21-22, definitely expresses.

The οὐ σὺ τ. ῥίζ. βαστ κ. τ. λ. is to be taken declaratively. See Winer, p. 575 [E. T. 773]; Buttmann, p. 338. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:16. The fact itself is quite independent of the case supposed in εἰ κ. τ. λ., but it is brought to mind.


Verse 19

Romans 11:19. οὖν] therefore; since this reason ( οὐ σὺ τὴν ῥίζαν κ. τ. λ.) forbids thee κατακαυχᾶσθαι, thou wilt have something else to allege.

ἐξεκλ. κ. τ. λ.] branches were broken off (see critical notes), in order that I, etc. This ἵνα ἐγώ has the stress of arrogant self-esteem, which, however, is not to be extended also to κλάδοι forming the simple subject, and not even standing in the first place (Hofmann: “branches which were so are broken off”).


Verse 20-21

Romans 11:20-21. By καλῶς Paul admits the fact; but in what follows he points out its cause, as one which must prevent haughtiness, and inspire fear and anxiety respecting the duration of the state of grace; assigning the reason in Romans 11:21.

καλῶς] Good! recte ais. Demosth. 998. 24; Plat. Phil. p. 25 B Eur. Or. 1216; Lucian, Deor. Jude 1:10.

The τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ and τῇ πίστει placed first with emphatic warning means: on account of unbelief, etc. Comp. Romans 11:30. See on Galatians 6:12.

ἕστηκας] thou standest, namely, as a branch upon the olive tree. As the figure is present, both before and afterwards, it is opposed to the context to take ἕστηκ. absolutely, as the opposite of πίπτειν (Romans 11:11; Romans 11:22; Romans 14:4; Fritzsche, Tholuck, Krehl, Philippi—the latter doubtfully).

ὑψηλοφρονεῖν, to be haughty (1 Timothy 6:17), is foreign to classical Greek, which has μεγαλοφρονεῖν; yet see scholion on Pind. Pyth. ii. 91: ὑψηλοφρονοῦντα καὶ καυχώμενον κατακάμπτει θεός. The adjective ὑψηλόφρων is found in the classics in a good sense: high-spirited.

φοβοῦ] “timor opponitur non fiduciae, sed supercilio et securitati,” Bengel. Secure haughtiness fears not the possible loss.

τῶν κατὰ φύσιν] those according to nature, not ingrafted.

μήπως οὐδὲ ς. φείς.] to be referred to the underlying conception: it is to be feared (Winer, pp. 469 f., 442 [E. T. 632, 595]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 288; Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 335). The future is more definite and certain than the subjunctive. See Hermann, ad El. 992, Aj. 272, Med. p. 357, Elmsl.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 451 A Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 140. At the same time the specially chosen mode of expression with μήπως (Paul does not say directly οὐδὲ σοῦ φείσεται, as Lachmann reads) is sufficiently mitigating and forbearing.


Verse 22-23

Romans 11:22-23. An exhortation inferred from Romans 11:21, and corresponding to μὴ ὑψηλοφρόνει, ἀλλὰ φοβοῦ in Romans 11:20

Behold, therefore, the goodness and the severity of God, how both divine attributes present themselves before thee side by side. That χρηστ. and ἀποτ. should be without the article is, on account of the following θεοῦ being anarthrous, quite regular, and does not entitle us artificially to educe (as Hofmann does) the sense of “a goodness” (which is here exhibited), etc. According to the correct reading (see the critical notes), a point is, with Lachmann, to be placed after ἀποτομίαν θεοῦ; and with the following nominatives, ἀποτο΄ία and χρηστότης θεοῦ, ἐστί is to be supplied: “Towards the fallen there is severity, but towards thee (directed to thee) goodness.” The fallen are the Jews who have refused to believe,—so designated, because they are conceived as branches broken off and thereby fallen from the tree. Comp. ἕστηκας, Romans 11:20. In allusion to this, the severity of God is also designated as ἀποτομία (only here in the N. T., but see on 2 Corinthians 13:10; Kypke, II. p. 179; Grimm on Wisdom of Solomon 5:21). This reference to the figure, which certainly pervades the whole representation, it is arbitrary to deny (de Wette, Fritzsche).

ἐὰν ἐπι΄είν. τῇ χρηστότ.] if thou shalt abide (see on Romans 6:1) by the goodness, i.e. if thou shalt not have separated thyself from the divine goodness (through apostasy from faith), but shalt have remained true to it; comp. Acts 13:43. Rightly, therefore, as respects the mode of the ἐπιμένειν τ. χρ., Clemens Alex. Paedag. I. p. 140 Pott.: τῇ εἰς χριστὸν πίστει. But it is erroneous, because contrary to the context (for the emphasis lies on ἐπι΄είν., and τῇ χρηστότ. is but the repetition of the divine attribute just mentioned) and un-Pauline, to take χρηστότης, with Fritzsche, following Ch. Schmidt, in the sense of human rightness of conduct (Romans 3:12). Comp. rather on χρηστότ., Romans 2:4, and on Ephesians 2:7; also Titus 3:4.

ἐπεὶ καὶ σὺ ἐκκοπήσῃ] for otherwise thou also (like those broken-off branches) shalt be cut off. The threatening tenor of the discourse suggests unsought the stronger word ἐκκοπ., which is also in Romans 11:24 retained of the wild olive tree.

Since κἀκεῖνοι δὲ κ. τ. λ. does not depend on the condition previously to be supplied with ἐπεί, but has its own conditional sentence, a point is to be placed (in opposition to Hofmann) after ἐκκοπ.; and with κἀκεῖνοι δέ a new sentence, still further repressing Gentile self-exaltation, must be begun, which usual punctuation Lachmann, ed. maj., has again adopted: And those, too, if they shall not have persisted in unbelief, will be grafted in,—whereby the reception into the true divine community (Romans 11:25; Romans 11:31) is figuratively depicted. The καί puts the ἐκεῖνοι on a parallel to the ingrafted wild olive branches (Romans 11:17).

δυνατὸς γάρ] if, namely, the cause has ceased to exist, on account of which God had to break off these branches, the power of God (comp. Romans 4:21, Romans 14:4) leaves no doubt, etc. In πάλιν the conception is, that by the ingrafting their restoration to their previous condition is accomplished. Comp. Winer, p. 576.

We may notice that this is a probative passage for the possibility of forfeiture of the state of grace, for the conversio resistibilis and for reiterabilitas gratiae, and also against absolute predestination.


Verse 24

Romans 11:24. γάρ] does not serve to assign the reason of δυνατὸς κ. τ. λ., so that the ability of God for that reingrafting would be popularly illustrated from the facility of this process, as according to nature (the ordinary view). Against this it may be decisively urged, that—apart from the difficulty which experience attests in the conversion of unbelieving Jews—the power of God is the correlative, not of that which is easy, but precisely of that which is difficult, or which humanly speaking appears impossible (Romans 4:21, Romans 14:4; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 9:22; Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37, et al.); and that πόσῳ μᾶλλον, as a designation of greater easiness, must have found in the context a more precise explanation to that effect, if it was not intended to express generally, as elsewhere (comp. Philemon 1:16, and the similar use of πολλῷ μᾶλλον), the greater degree of probability or certainty. Rightly, therefore, have Winzer, Progr. 1828, Reiche, Philippi, and Tholuck, referred the γάρ to the main thought of the previous verse, to ἐγκεντρισθήσονται. Yet they should not have taken this γάρ as purely co-ordinate with the preceding γάρ, but—as must always be done with two such apparently parallel instances of γάρ—as explicative (see on Romans 8:6), namely, so that after the brief ground assigned for ἐγκεντρισθήσονται ( δυνατὸς κ. τ. λ.), the same is now yet more fully elucidated in regard to its certainty, and by this elucidation is still further confirmed. To this the confirmatory reference to ἐγκεντ. in Hofmann substantially amounts.

σύ] Gentile-Christian.

ἐκ τῆς κατὰ φύσινἀγριελ.] out of the wild olive, which is so according to nature, which by nature has grown a wild olive.

παρὰ φύσιν] for the grafting, as an artificial proceeding, alters the natural development, and is so far contrary to nature (Romans 1:26). The interposition of ἐξεκοπ. brings out more markedly the contrast between κατὰ φύσιν and παρὰ φ. Very violently the simple words are twisted by Hofmann as follows: ἀγριελαίου is in apposition to ἐκ τῆς κατὰ φύσιν; while for the latter there is to be borrowed from ἀγριελαίου the more general notion of the olive tree, and κατὰ φύσιν is the tree, which is so for the branch in a natural manner.

εἰς καλλιέλ.] into a (not the) noble olive tree. The word is also found in Aristotle, Plant. i. 6, in contrast to ἀγριέλ.

οὗτοι] the Jews who have refused to believe.

οἱ κατὰ φύσιν] sc. ὄντες, those according to nature. In what respect they are so, the context exhibits, namely, as the original branches of the holy olive tree, whose root the patriarchs are, Romans 11:16.

τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐλ.] for they have originally grown upon it, and then have been cut off from it; hence it is still their own olive tree.


Verses 25-32

Romans 11:25-32. The formal and unconditional promise of the collective conversion of the Jews, and the confirmatory proof of this promise, now follow down to Romans 11:32.

γάρ] introduces the corroboration of the previous ἐγκεντρισθήσονται: “they shall be grafted in, I say; for be it not withheld from you,” etc.

οὐ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν] not a mere formula of announcement generally (Rückert), but always of something important, which Paul desires to be specially noticed, Romans 1:13; 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13. That which is addressed, under the fervent addition of the ἀδελφοί embracing all readers, is the whole church, although it stands before the apostle’s eyes such as it was, namely, in its predominantly Gentile-Christian character. Comp. Romans 11:13; Romans 11:28; Romans 11:30.

τὸ μυστήριον] has not in the N. T. the sense in which profane writers speak of mysteries (something mysterious in itself, comprehensible only by the initiated, and to be concealed from the profane). See on μύειν and μυστήρ., Creuzer on Plotin. de Pulcr. p. 357 f.; Lennep. Etymol. p. 441; comp. Lobeck, Aglaoph. I. p. 85 ff. But it signifies that which, undiscerned by men themselves, has been made known to them by divine ἀποκάλυψις, and always refers to the relations and the development of the Messianic kingdom (Matthew 13:11). Thus it frequently denotes with Paul the divine counsel of redemption through Christ,—as a whole, or in particular parts of it,—because it was veiled from men before God revealed it (Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Ephesians 3:3-5). Whether the contents of a mystery have already become known through the preaching of the gospel, may be gathered from the scope of the particular passages. That, however, which Paul here means by μυστήρ., is something the ἀποκάλυψις of which he is conscious of having received by divine illumination (just as in 1 Corinthians 15:51), and he declares it as a prophet ἐν ἀποκαλύψει (1 Corinthians 14:6; 1 Corinthians 14:30); without presupposing that the church, personally still strange to him, was already acquainted with the peculiar point of doctrine, as is evinced by ἵνα μὴ ἦτε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς φρόν. He desires, namely, by a disclosure of the μυστήριον, to take care that his readers, from their Gentile-Christian standpoint, should not, under a misapprehension of the divine counsel, hold for truth their own views on the exclusion of the Israelitish people, and therewith be wise in themselves ( ἐν ἑαυτ., see the critical notes), i.e. in their own judgment (comp. James 2:4). What Luther has: “that ye be not proud” (comp. Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Calovius), is not directly expressed, but is rightly pointed out by Theodoret as a consequence. Comp. Isaiah 5:21; Soph. El. 1055 f.

ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] Contents of the μυστήρ., namely, the duration of the hardening of Israel, which will not be permanent.

πώρωσις] See on Romans 11:7.

ἀπὸ μέρους] is to be connected with γέγονεν, not, as by Estius, Semler, Koppe, Fritzsche, contrary to the construction, with τῷ ἰσραήλ. Hardening has partially befallen the people, in so far as οὐ πάντες ἠπίστευσαν· πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐξ ἐκείνων ἐπίστευσαν (Theodoret). Comp. Romans 15:15. It is therefore to be understood extensively (comp. οἱ λοιποί, Romans 11:7; τινές, Romans 11:17), not intensively, as Calvin takes it (attaching it to πώρωσις): quodammodo, which was intended to soften the severity of the notion. So taken, it would not modify the conception, but alter it (Romans 11:7 ff.). Köllner finds in ἀπὸ μ. the statement of a single ground of the divine arrangement, leaving it undecided whether other reasons, and what, were in the mind of the apostle: on the one part the hardening had been decreed by God over Israel only for the end, that first, etc. But in that case ἀπὸ μ. must have referred to an expressed ἵνα or the like. The temporal view, “for a while” (Hofmann), is here as contrary to usage as in 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 2:5. Paul would have known how to express this sense possibly by τὸ νῦν, or by the classical τέως.

γέγονεν] from whom? is known from Romans 11:8.

ἄχρις οὗ] usque dum intraverit. Then—when this shall have taken place—the hardening of Israel shall cease. Calvin’s ita ut is intended, in spite of the language, to remove the idea of a terminus ad quem; and for the same reason Calovius and others employ much artifice in order to bring out the sense, that down to the end of the world the partial hardening will endure, and therefore, too, the partial conversion, but only that which is partial.

τὸ πλήρ. τῶν ἐθνῶν] In opposition to Gusset, Wolfburg, and others named by Wolf, also Wolf himself, Michaelis, Olshausen, Philippi, who understand only the complementum ethnicorum serving to make up for the unbelieving Jews (“the recruitment from the Gentiles,” Michaelis), the usus loquendi is not decisive; for according to usage that, with which something else is made full, might certainly be expressed by the genitive with πλήρωμα (Mark 8:20, and see on Mark 6:43; comp. Ecclesiastes 4:6). But how enigmatically, and in a manner how liable to misapprehension, would Paul have indicated the supposed thought, instead of simply and plainly writing τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτοῦ τὸ ἐκ τῶν ἐθνῶν! especially as already, in Romans 11:12, the analogous expression τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῶν was used in the sense of “their full number.” Fritzsche also finds too little: caterva gentilium, so that only a great multitude is meant. Comp. on Ephesians 3:19. We must observe the correlation of ἀπὸ μέρουςπλήρωμαπᾶς: a part of Israel is hardened, until the Gentiles collectively shall have come in, and, when that shall have taken place, then all Israel will be saved. The conversion of the Gentiles ensues by successive stages; but when their totality shall be converted, then the conversion of the Jews in their totality will also ensue; so that Paul sees the latter—which up to that epoch certainly also advances gradually in individual cases—ensuing, after the full conversion of the Gentiles, as the event completing the assemblage of the church and accomplishing itself probably in rapid development. All this, therefore, before the Parousia, not by means of it. Comp. on Acts 3:20. The expression τὸ πλήρωμα τ. ἐθνῶν is therefore to be taken numerically: the plena copia of the Gentiles (of whom in the first instance only a fraction has come and is coming in), their full number. Rightly Theophylact: πάντες, but with arbitrary limitation he adds: οἱ προεγνωσμένοι ἐθνικοί. Just so, in substance, Augustine, Oecumenius, and many others, including even van Hengel: “plenus numerus gentilium, quotquot comprehendebant proposita Dei,” comp. Krummacher: “only the elect among the Gentiles.” The collective multitude of the Gentiles in the strict sense Hofmann seeks to get rid of, by making τὸ πλήρωμα serve only to emphasize the fact that τὰ ἔθνη is to be thought of “in the full compass of the notion,” so that by τὸ πλήρ. τ. ἐθνῶν no other full amount is intended than that which would be expressed by τὰ ἔθνη itself. Thus there would result as the sense: until no people of the Gentile world is any longer found outside the church. This is decidedly at variance with Romans 11:12, and with the whole context down to its evident concluding verse (Romans 11:32), according to which not the peoples as such (in the lump, as it were), but all persons who compose them, must be the subjects of the entrance into the church and of the divine mercy. The above interpretation is a process of rationalizing, artificial and far-fetched, and contrary to the language and the context, by interpreting what is said of the individuals as applying to the nations; just as Beyschlag, p. 75, understands the two great groups of mankind to be thought of here and in Romans 11:26.

εἰσέλθῃ] namely, into the community prefigured by the holy olive tree, i.e. into the people of God. There is not yet mention of the kingdom of Messiah; its establishment is later. The passage Colossians 1:13 is wrongly employed with a view to supply εἰς τ. βασιλ. θεοῦ. See in loc.


Verse 26

Romans 11:26 f. καὶ οὕτω] And so, namely, after the πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν shall have come in. The modal character of the οὕτω therefore lies in the succession of time conditioning the emergence of the fact (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:28), as it also in the classics, in the sense of so then, embraces what has been previously said. See Schweighäuser, Lex. Herod. II. p. 167; Thucyd. iii. 96. 2; Xen. Anab. iii. 5. 6; Dem. 644. 18, 802. 20. Theodoret rightly says: τῶν γὰρ ἐθνῶν δεξαμένων τὸ κήρυγμα πιστεύσουσι κἀκεῖνοι, and that, according to Romans 11:11, under the impulse of powerful emulation. We may add that this great final result is brought into more important prominence, if we take καὶ οὓτω κ. τ. λ. independently, than if we make it form part of the statement dependent on ὅτι (Lachmann, Tischendorf, Fritzsche, Ewald, Hofmann, and others).

πᾶς ἰσραήλ] This notion, so definitely expressed, of the totality of the people is in no way to be limited; the whole of those are intended, who, at the time that the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in, will compose Israel. All Israelites who up to that time shall be still unconverted, will then be converted to salvation, so that at that term entire Israel will obtain the saving deliverance; but comp., as to the quite unlimited expression, the remark on Romans 11:25. Limitations from other interests than that of exegesis have been suggested: such as that the spiritual Israel, Galatians 6:6, is meant (Augustine, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, and others, including Krummacher); or only the select portion of the Jews (Calovius, Bengel, and several others, including Olshausen: “all those members of the Israelitish people who from the beginning belonged to the true λεῖμμα”); or that πᾶς is to be taken comparatively only of the greater number, of the bulk (Oecumenius, Wetstein, Rückert, Fritzsche, Tholuck). To this comes in substance also Hofmann’s explanation: “that the people, as a people, will be converted;” but πᾶς ἰσραήλ is, in fact, not “Israel as a whole,” but rather the entire Israel, as is also meant in 2 Chronicles 12:1 and in all O. T. passages, in contrast to ἀπὸ μέρους, Romans 11:25. Comp. πᾶς οἶκος ἰσρ., Acts 2:36, πᾶς λαὸς ἰσρ., and the like. This also against Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 404.

σωθήσεται] will be saved, unto Messianic salvation, by their conversion to Christ.

καθὼς γέγρ.] For πᾶς ἰσρ. σωθής. Paul finds a Scripture warrant, not merely a substratum for his own ideas (Tholuck), in Isaiah 59:20-21 (not quite closely after the LXX., and, from ὅταν onwards, with a bringing in of Isaiah 27:9; see Surenhus. καταλλ. p. 503 f.); to the prophetic sense of this passage the future salvation of all Israel corresponds as result.

ἐκ σιών] for from God will the deliverer come; the theocratic central-point and dwelling-place of the divine kingdom is the holy mount of Zion. Comp. Psalms 14:7; Psalms 53:6, et al. See also Romans 9:33. The LXX. have, following the original, ἕνεκεν σιών ( לְצִיּוֹן, i.e. for Zion). Our ἐκ σιών is a variation of memory, occasioned by the reminiscence of other passages (comp. Psalms 14:7; Psalms 53:6; Psalms 110:2); for ἕνεκεν σ. would have been quite as suitable to the apostle’s purpose (in opposition to Reiche, Fritzsche, van Hengel); hence to discover intentional reasons for this deviation (Philippi: in order to bring into stronger relief the claim of the people as contrasted with the Gentiles) is groundless. Nor was this deviation more convenient (Hofmann) for the apostle, namely, in order to designate Christ’s place of manifestation; but it involuntarily on his part found its way into the citation freely handled.

ῥυόμενος] i.e. not God (Grotius, van Hengel), who first emerges in Romans 11:27, but the Messiah. In the Heb. we find גּוֹאֵל, a deliverer, without the article, by which, however, no other is intended. The future coming of the deliverer which is here predicted is, in the sense of the fulfilment of this prophecy, necessarily that whereby the πᾶς ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται will be effected; consequently not the Parousia, because the conversion of all Israel must be antecedent to this, but rather that specially efficacious self-revelation of Christ in the preaching of His gospel (comp. Ephesians 2:17), to be expected by the future, whereby He will bring about that final sacred-historical epoch of the people, the conversion of its totality. Erroneously, however, Augustine, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Beda have supposed it predicted that Elijah or Enoch would appear before the end of the world as converter of the Jews.

ἀποστρ. ἀσεβ. ἀπὸ ἰακ.] He will turn away, i.e. (comp. Baruch 3:7; 1 Maccabees 4:58) remove, do away with impieties from Jacob. By this, in the sense of the apostle, is meant the atoning, reconciling work of the Messiah (comp. John 1:29 : αἴρων τ. ἁμαρτ.), which He will accomplish in Israel by its conversion. Hence there follows, as the correlative to this in Romans 11:27, the forgiveness of sins on the part of God, procured through Him, and that as the actually saving essence of the covenant, which the people possesses from God. Compare the original text, which, however, instead of κ. ἀποστρ. ἀσεβ. ἀπὸ ἰακώβ has וּלְשָׁבֵי פֶשַׁע בְּיַעֲקֹב, and for those turning from apostasy in Jacob. Paul, however, because following generally in this quotation the LXX., retains also its deviation from the original text, but not as if this could have been more welcome to him for his object, for in that respect he might have just as well made use of the words of the original.

αὕτη] points to the following (comp. 1 John 5:2), so that the sense of Romans 11:27 is: “And when I shall have forgiven their sins, this, this remission of sins conferred by me, will be my covenant to them, i.e. they will therein have from me the execution of my covenant.” Both in the original and in the LXX. αὓτη points to the following, in which the words of the covenant ( τὸ πνεῦ΄α τὸ ἐ΄ὸν οὐ ΄ὴ ἐκλίπῃ ἐκ τοῦ στό΄. κ. τ. λ.) are adduced; but instead of them, Paul, for the object which he has in view, puts ὅταν ἀφέλω΄αι κ. τ. λ. from Isaiah 27:9, where likewise a preceding demonstrative ( τοῦτό ἐστιν εὐλογία αὐτοῦ) points forward to ὅταν. Hence we may not, with others (including Köllner and Hofmann), refer αὓτη to the preceding, in which case ἀποστρ. ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ ἰακ. is supposed to point to the moral conversion, and ἀφελ. τ. ἁ΄αρτ. αὐτ. to the forgiveness, on the ground of which that conversion takes place (see Hofmann). According to this view, the essence of the covenant would lie in sanctification, not in reconciliation, which would be conceived rather as antecedent to the covenant,—a view which runs counter to the N. T. doctrine (Matthew 26:26; Hebrews 9:15 ff; Hebrews 10:29; Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 13:20).

παρʼ ἐ΄οῦ διαθήκη] The covenant which proceeded from me, which was made on my part. See Bernhardy, p. 255 f.; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 182 f.; van Hengel, in loc.

REMARK.

The conversion of entire Israel promised by Paul as a μυστήριον revealed to him, has not yet taken place; for the opinion, that the promise had been fulfilled already in the apostolic age through the conversion of a great part of the people (comp. Euseb. H. E. iii. 35; Judaizantes in Jerome; Grotius, Limborch, Wetstein), is set aside, notwithstanding Acts 21:20, by the literal meaning of πᾶς ἰσραήλ and of πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν. The fulfilment is to be regarded as still future, as the last step in the universal extension of Christianity upon earth. In respect of time no more special definition can be given, than that the conversion of the totality of the Gentiles must precede it; whence only this is certain, that it is still a time very distant. Paul has certainly viewed the matter as near, seeing that he conceived the Parousia itself to be near (not merely, perhaps, its possible, but its actual emergence—in opposition to Philippi),—a conception which was shared by him with the whole apostolical church, although it remained without the verification of the event, as this was conceived of. But the promise of the conversion of the people of Israel is not on that account itself to be regarded as one, the fulfilment of which is no longer to be hoped for,—as though, with the non-verified conception of the time of the event, the event itself should fall to the ground (Ammon, Reiche, Köllner, Fritzsche); for it is the fact in itself, and not the epoch of it, which is disclosed by the apostle as part of the μυστήριον which was revealed to him; and therefore this disclosure rested on the ἀποκάλυψις received, not on individual opinion and expectation. The duration of time until the Parousia was not subject-matter of revelation, Acts 1:7, and the conception of it belongs, therefore, not to that in the apostolic teaching which has the guarantee of divine certainty, but to the domain of subjective hope and expectation, which associated themselves with what was revealed,—a distinction which even Philippi does not reject. The latter, however, endeavours to remove from the category of error the apostolic expectation of the nearness of the Parousia, because it was not cherished with that divine certainty; but cannot thereby prevent it, where it is presupposed so definitely, as e.g. Romans 13:11, or is expressed so unconditionally, as e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, from being characterized by an unprejudiced mind as a human error, which did not, however, exclude occasionally other moods, as in 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23. Of such human mistakes and vacillations, which lie outside the range of revealed truth, that truth is independent (against Hoelemann, neue Bibelstud. p. 232 ff., and others).

We may further notice that our passage directly controverts the Ebionitish view, now renewed in various quarters (Chr. A. Crusius, Delitzsch, Baumgarten, Ebrard, Auberlen, and others; expositors of the Apocalypse), of an actual restoration of Israel to the theocratic kingdom in Canaan, as to be expected on the ground of prophetic predictions (Hosea 2:2; Hosea 2:16 ff., Hosea 3:4-5; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 24:16, chap. 60; Jeremiah 34:3, et al.). Israel does not take in the church, but the church takes in Israel; and whenever this occurs, Israel has in the true sense again its kingdom and its Canaan. Comp. Tholuck on Romans 11:25; Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 576 f.; Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 256; and see especially Bertheau, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1859, p. 353 ff.


Verse 28

Romans 11:28 ff. Yet a final summary gathering up of the sacred-historical relation of Israel to God, and (Romans 11:29-32) discussion of it; in which, however, the reference, bearing on the apostle’s object, to the statement καὶ οὕτω πᾶς ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται does not require the parenthesizing of καθὼς γέγραπται κ. τ. λ. (Ewald), as in Romans 11:28 the substantive verb is easily and obviously supplied.

The unbelieving Israelites as such are the subject ( αὐτῶν, Romans 11:27).

κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγ.] The relation is thereby designated, according to which they are ἐχθροί. The gospel was preached to them; but they rejected it, in which relation they are hated of God. In conformity with the message of salvation, which reached them, but was despised by them (comp. Romans 11:25), they must necessarily be ἐχθροί; since in fact, not accepting the δικαιοσύνη proffered in the gospel, they remained under the wrath of God (Romans 11:7). According to the context, we must think of the ἀπείθεια of the Jews, Romans 11:30; and therefore neither of their exclusion from the gospel (Fritzsche), nor even of the diffusion of the latter (Rückert).

ἐχθροί] not my enemies (Theodoret, Luther, Grotius, Semler, and others), nor yet enemies of the gospel (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Michaelis, Morus, Rosenmüller). That, on the contrary, θεῷ (see on Galatians 4:16) is to be supplied, as θεοῦ with ἀγαπητοί, is evident generally from the connection with Romans 11:27; Romans 11:29; and that ἐχθροί is to be explained not in an active (Olshausen, van Hengel, Ritschl, and older interpreters), but in a passive sense (to whom God is hostile), is shown by the contrast of ἀγαπητοί. Comp. on Romans 5:10.

διʼ ὑμᾶς] for your sake, because you are thereby to attain to salvation, Romans 11:11.

κατὰ τὴν ἐκλ.] is usually taken: as fellow-members of the nation elected to be the people of God; comp. Romans 11:2. But ἐκλογή—differently from the προέγνω, Romans 11:2—has already been clearly defined in Romans 11:5; Romans 11:7 as the elect λεῖμμα, and hence, with Ewald, is here also to be taken in this sense. Consequently: in conformity with the fact, however, that among them is that elect remnant. This believing ἐκλογή is the living testimony of the undying love of God towards the people. Comp. Romans 11:5.

διὰ τοὺς πατ.] for the fathers’ sake. Calvin aptly remarks: “Quoniam ab illis propagata fuerat Dei gratia ad posteros, secundum pacti formam: Deus tuus et seminis tui;” comp. Romans 11:16; Luke 1:54-55.


Verse 29

Romans 11:29. Confirmation of the second half of Romans 11:28 by the axiom: “Unrepented, and so subject to no recall, are the displays of grace and (especially) the calling of God.” The application to be made of this general proposition is: Consequently God, who has once made this people the recipient of the displays of His grace and has called them to the Messianic salvation, will not, as though He had repented of this, again withdraw His grace from Israel, and leave and abandon His calling of Israel without realization.

On ἀμεταμέλητος, comp. 2 Corinthians 7:10.


Verse 30-31

Romans 11:30-31. γάρ] not referable to Romans 11:28 (Hofmann), introduces that, which, according to the economy of salvation under the divine mercy, will emerge as actual proof of the truth of Romans 11:29.

ἠπειθήσατε] have refused obedience, which came to pass through unbelief. For the elucidation of this, see Romans 1:18 ff.

νῦν δέ] contrast to the time before they become Christian ( ποτέ), Ephesians 2:8.

ἠλεήθητε] For the reception into Christianity with its blessings is, as generally, so in particular over-against the preceding ἠπειθήσατε, on God’s part solely the work of mercy.

τῇ τούτων ἀπειθ.] through the disobedience of these; for they are ἐχθροὶ διʼ ὑμᾶς, Romans 11:28. Comp., besides, Romans 11:11 f., 15, 19 f. The noncompliance of the Jews with the requirement of faith in the gospel brought about the reception of the Gentiles. The latter, the converted Gentiles, are individualized by the address to the Gentile-Christian community of the readers ( ὑμεῖς).

ἠπείθησαν] namely, through rejection of the gospel.

τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει] is, on account of the parallelism, to be joined to the following ( ἵνα κ. τ. λ.), and the dative to be taken in the sense of mediate agency, like τῇ τούτ. ἀπειθ.: in order that through the mercy that befell you (which may excite them to emulation of your faith, Romans 11:11), mercy should also accrue to them. The position of τ. ὑμ. ἐλ. before the introductory conjunction is for the sake of emphasis; comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7; Galatians 4:10, et al.; Winer, p. 522 [E. T. 688]. Hence the parallelism is not to be sacrificed by placing a comma after ἐλέει. Nevertheless such is the course followed—and with very different views of the dative, arbitrarily departing from the datival notion in τῇ τούτ. ἀπειθείᾳ—by the Vulgate (“in vestram misericordiam”), Peschito, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Wolf, Morus, Lachmann, Glöckler, Maier, Ewald (“so these also became now disobedient alongside of [bei] your mercy”), Buttmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 367 (“in favour of your mercy, that you might find mercy”), and others.

ἵνα] the divinely ordained aim of the ἠπείθησαν. On the emphatic ὑμετέρῳ in the objective sense, see Winer, p. 145 [E. T. 191]; Kühner, II. 1, p. 486.


Verse 32

Romans 11:32. Establishment of Romans 11:30 f., and that by an exhibition of the universal divine procedure, with the order of which that which is said in Romans 11:31 of the now disobedient Jews and their deliverance is incorporated. Thus Romans 11:32 is at once the grand summary and the glorious key-stone—impelling once more to the praise of God (Romans 11:33 ff.)—of the whole preceding section of the epistle.

σνγκλείω εἰς: to include in (2 Maccabees 5:5, comp. Luke 5:6), has, in the later Greek (Diod. Sic. xix. 19, comp. xx. 74, frequently in Polybius), and in the LXX. (after the Heb. הִסְגִּיר with לְּ), also the metaphorical sense: to hand over unto or under a power which holds as it were in ward. Comp. on Galatians 3:22-23. Correspondent, as regards the notion, is παρέδωκε, Romans 1:24. The compound expression strengthens the meaning; it does not denote simul (Bengel and others).

The effective sense is not to be changed, which has been attempted by taking it sometimes as declarative (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Grotius, Zeger, Glass, Wolf, Carpzov, Wetstein, Ch. Schmidt), sometimes as permissive (Origen, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, and many others, including Flatt and Tholuck).

εἰς ἀπείθ.] towards God; see Romans 11:30-31.

τοὺς πάντας] Of Gentiles ( ὑ΄εῖς) and Jews ( οὔτοι) Paul has previously spoken; hence οἱ πάντες now comprises the totality, namely all Jews and Gentiles jointly and severally,—“cunctos s. universos, i. e. singulos in unum corpus colligatos,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 521. Comp. on the subject-matter, Romans 3:9; Romans 3:19; Galatians 3:22. So necessarily also the following τοὺς πάντας. The view which understands only the two masses of Jews and Gentiles, these two halves of mankind in the gross (usually so taken recently, as by Tholuck, Fritzsche, Philippi, Ewald, Weiss), cannot suit the comprehensive τ. πάντας (as if it were equal to τοὺς ἀ΄φοτέρους), since it is by no means appropriate to the mere number of two, but only to their collective subjects. Not even the Jewish ἐκλογή, Romans 11:7; Romans 11:28, is to be excepted (Maier, van Hengel), because its subjects were also before their conversion sinners (Romans 3:23), and therefore subjected to the power of disobedience towards God; for the συνέκλεισε ἀπειθείαν points back, in the case of each single member of the collective whole, to the time before conversion and until conversion. If we should desire to refer οἱ πάντες merely to the Jews (van Hengel by way of a suggestion, and Hofmann), who are meant as a people in their collective shape (consequently not in all individuals; see Hofmann), the close relationship between Romans 11:30 and Romans 11:31 would be opposed to it, since the reference of γάρ merely to the apodosis in Romans 11:31 is quite arbitrary; and, indeed, the bold concluding thought in Romans 11:32 possesses its great significance and its suitableness to the following outburst of praise, simply and solely through its all-comprehensive contents. And even apart from this, τοὺς πάντας in fact never denotes: them as a collective whole, as a people, but, as universally (in 1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Philippians 2:21; comp. Ephesians 4:13; 2 Maccabees 11:11; 2 Maccabees 12:40, et al., and in all the classical writers) all of them, as also only in this sense does the suitable emphasis fall on the repetition in the apodosis.

ἵνα τ. π. ἐλεήσῃ] in order that He may have mercy upon all. This divine purpose Paul saw to be already in part attained,—namely, in the case of all already converted; but its general fulfilment lay, to his view, in the development of the future on to the great terminus expressed in Romans 11:25 f. We may observe that our passage is at variance not merely with the decretum reprobationis (“hanc particulam universalem opponamus tentationi de particularitate …; non fingamus in Deo contradictorias voluntates,” Melanchthon), but also with the view (Olshausen, Krummacher, and older expositors) that Paul means the collective body of the elect. See rather Romans 11:25 f. The ἀποκατάστασις is not, however, to be based on our passage for this reason, that the universality of the divine purpose of redemption (comp. 1 Timothy 2:4), as well as the work of redemption having taken place for the justification of all (Romans 11:18), does not exclude its final non-realization in part through the fault of the individuals concerned, and cannot do away with either the applicability of the purpose-clause exhibited in principle and summarily in prophetic fashion (comp. remark on Romans 11:25), nor with the divine judgment on final concrete self-frustrations of the counsel of salvation. And this the less, because such misinterpretations of the universalistic axiom are opposed by the apostle’s doctrine of election as a sure corrective. There has been incorrectly discovered in such general expressions a want of consistency on the part of Paul, namely, “undeveloped outlines of a liberal conception” (Georgii in the Theol. Jahrb. 1845, I. p. 25).


Verse 33

Romans 11:33. The great and holy truth containing the whole divine procedure in preparing bliss (Romans 11:32),—with which Paul now arrives at the close of his entire development of doctrine in the epistle,—compels first an enraptured expression of praise to God from his deeply-moved heart, before he can commence the exhortations, which he then (chap. 12) purposes to subjoin.

βάθος] θαυμάζοντός ἐστιν ῥῆσις, οὐκ εἰδότος τὸ πᾶν, Chrysostom.

The depth is an expression of great fulness and superabundance, according to the very prevalent mode of expressing also in the classics greatness of riches by βάθος πλούτου (Soph. Aj. 130, and Lobeck, in loc.; but comp. with Ellendt, I. p. 286), βαθὺς πλοῦτος (Ael. V. H. iii. 18), βαθὺ πλουτεῖν (Tyrt. iii. 6), βαθύπλουτος, very rich (Aesch. Suppl. p. 549, Crinag. 17), βαθυπλούσιος (Poll. iii. 109). Comp. Dorville, ad Charit. p. 232; Blomfield, Gloss. ad Aesch. Pers. 471. By this sense we are here to abide, just because πλούτου is added, and without deriving the expression from the conception of subterranean treasure-chambers (van Hengel); and we are not to find in it the sense of unsearchableness (Philippi), which is not expressed even in 1 Corinthians 2:10, Judith 8:14, and is not required by the following ὡς ἀνεξ. κ. τ. λ., since this rather characterizes the βάθος σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως from the point of view of human knowledge, to which it must necessarily be unfathomable, but in a peculiar relation. In its reference to σοφίας κ. γνώσεως, namely, βάθος is the depth of wisdom, i.e. the fulness of wisdom, which is acquainted with the nature and the connection of its objects not superficially, but exhaustively and fundamentally, and is therefore incomprehensible by human judgment. See on βάθος and βαθύς, as applying to mental depth (Plat. Theaet. p. 183 E Polybius, xxvii. 10. 3, vi. 24. 9, xxi. 5. 5), Dissen, ad Pind. Nem. iv. 7, p. 396; Blomfield, ad Aesch. Sept. 578; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XI. p. 252. Comp. βαθύφρων, Pind. Nem. vii. 1; Plut. Sol. 14; βαθύβουλος, Aesch. Pers. 138.

πλούτου] is either regarded as opening the series of genitival definitions of βάθος: O depth (1) of riches, and (2) of wisdom, and (3) of knowledge of God (so Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Grotius, Bengel, Semler, Flatt, Tholuck, Köllner, de Wette, Olshausen, Fritzsche, Philippi, Ewald, Hofmann, Mangold, and others); or the two other genitives are subordinated to πλούτου (Augustine, Ambrosiaster, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Wolf, Koppe, Reiche, van Hengel, and others), in which case, however, βάθ. πλούτ. is not to be resolved into deep riches, but is to be taken: O depth of riches in wisdom as well as in knowledge of God; comp. Colossians 2:2; Romans 2:4. The decision between these two suppositions is given by what follows, of which βάθοςθεοῦ is the theme. As Romans 11:33-34 describe the σοφία and γνῶσις, and Romans 11:35-36 the πλοῦτος θεοῦ, the former view, which also primarily and most naturally presents itself, is to be preferred. πλοῦτος, however, is usually understood of the divine riches of grace (comp. Romans 2:4, Romans 10:12; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7); see Romans 11:32. To this Romans 11:35 aptly corresponds; and see Romans 10:12. But since no genitival definition is appended, we must content ourselves simply with the sense of the word itself; how superabundantly rich is God! Philippians 4:19. Comp. Rückert, Fritzsche, Philippi, Hofmann.

σοφία and γνῶσις are certainly to be distinguished (comp. on Colossians 2:3), but popularly, so that the former, the more general, is the wisdom of God (comp. Romans 16:27; Ephesians 3:10), ruling everything in the best way for the best end; while the latter, the more special, is the knowledge pertaining to it of all relations, and thus especially of the means which He therein employs, of the methods which He has therein to take. To the latter—the γνῶσις—are to be referred αἱ ὁδοὶ αὐτοῦ, i.e. His measures, modes of procedure, αἱ οἰκονομίαι, Chrysostom (comp. Hebrews 3:10, Acts 13:10, according to the Heb. דֶּרֶךְ, and also to classical usage); to the former—the σοφία—belong τὰ κρίματα αὐτοῦ, i.e. decisions, resolves formed, according to which His action proceeds (comp. Zephaniah 3:8; Wisdom of Solomon 12:12), as He, e.g., has decided, according to Romans 11:32, that all should be disobedient, in order that all might find mercy. On account of the deep σοφία of God His κρίματα are unsearchable for men, etc.

ἀνεξερεύνητος, unsearchable, is found only in Heraclitus as quoted in Clement and Symmachus, Proverbs 25:3, Jeremiah 17:9, Suidas; ἀνεξιχνίαστος, untraceable (Ephesians 3:8), οὗ μηδʼ ἴχνος ἐστὶν εὑρεῖν (Suidas), corresponds to the metaphorical ὁδοί. Comp. Job 5:9; Job 9:10; Job 34:24; Manass. 6; Clement, ad Cor. Romans 1:20.


Verse 34

Romans 11:34. Paul, by way of confirming his entire exclamation in Romans 11:33 (not merely the second half), continuing by γάρ, adopts the words of Isaiah 40:13 (almost quite exactly after the LXX.) as his own. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:16; Judith 8:13-14; Wisdom of Solomon 9:17; Sirach 18:2 ff.

The first half has been referred to γνῶσις, the second to the σοφία (Theodoret, Theophylact, Wetstein, Fritzsche), and rightly so. Paul goes back with his three questions upon the γνῶσις, to which the νοῦς, the divine reason as the organ of absolute knowledge and truth, corresponds; upon the σοφία, which has no σύ΄βουλος; and (Romans 11:35) upon the πλοῦτος, from which results the negation of τίς προέδωκεν κ. τ. λ. Philippi is opposed to this view, but can at the same time (similarly van Hengel and Hofmann) only bring out in a very far-fetched and indirect manner the result, that Romans 11:35 also sets forth the divine wisdom and knowledge (so far, namely, as the latter is not bound from without).

τίς σύ΄β. αὐτοῦ ἐγέν.] Who has become His adviser, His counsel-giving helper? “Scriptura ubique subsistit in eo, quod Dominus voluit et dixit et fecit; rationes rerum universalium singulariumve non pandit; de iis, quae nostram superant infantiam, ad aeternitatem remittit fideles, 1 Corinthians 13:9 ss.,” Bengel. For parallels in Greek writers, see Spiess, Logos spermat. p. 240.


Verse 35

Romans 11:35. Description of the βάθος πλούτου by words which are moulded after Job 41:3, according to the Hebrew, not according to the LXX. (Job 41:11), whose translation is quite erroneous.

καὶ ἀνταποδ. αὐτῷ] and will it be recompensed again to Him? With whom does the case occur, that he has previously made a gift to God, and that a recompense will be made to him in return for it? Change of construction by καὶαὐτῷ, here occasioned by the Heb. וַאֲשַׁלֵּם. But for the Greek usage, comp. Bernhardy, p. 304; Kühner, II. 2, p. 936.


Verse 36

Romans 11:36 does not apply to all the three foregoing questions (Hofmann), but simply the last of them is established by the connective ὅτι (for truly) as regards its negative contents: “No one has beforehand given to God,” etc.

All things are from God (primal cause), in so far as all things have proceeded from God’s creative power; through God (ground of mediate agency), in so far as nothing exists without God’s continuous operation; for God (final cause), in so far as all things serve the ends of God (not merely: the honour of God, as many think). Comp. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 2:10. These passages speak quite against the opinion, that in the present passage the relation of Father, Son, and Spirit (Olshausen, Philippi, Thomasius, Jatho, Krummacher, following Ambrosiaster, Hilary, Toletus, Estius, Calovius, and others) is expressed a view which is also quite remote from the connection. The context speaks simply of God (the Father), to whom no one can have given anything beforehand, etc., because He, as Bengel aptly expresses it, is Origo et Cursus et Terminus rerum omnium. This may be recognised by the exegesis that has the deepest faith in Scripture without any rationalistic idiosyncrasy, as the example of Bengel himself shows. With reason neither Chrysostom, nor Oecumenius, nor Theophylact, neither Erasmus, nor Melanchthon, nor Calvin, nor Beza have expressed any reference to the Trinity in their explanations; but Augustine has this reference, against which also Tholuck, Hofmann, and Gess (v. d. Pers. Chr. p. 158) have been sufficiently unbiassed to declare themselves.

διʼ αὐτοῦ] God is mediate cause of all things by His upholding and ruling. Comp. Hebrews 2:18. To refer, with others, this statement to creation (Theophylact: ποιητὴς πάντων; comp. Oecumenius, Rückert, Fritzsche), would fail to bring out at least any popular distinction from ἐξ αὐτοῦ, and—which is decisive against such reference—that would be affirmed of the Father which pertains to the Son (Colossians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:2). Theodoret rightly remarks: αὐτὸς τὰ γεγονότα διατελεῖ κυβερνῶν.

εἰς αὐτόν] All things serve Him (comp. Hebrews 2:10) as their ultimate end. This is explained by Oecumenius, Theophylact, and Fritzsche of the upholding ( συνέχονται ἐπεστραμμένα πρὸς αὐτόν). On the whole, comp. what Marcus Antoninus, iv. 23, says of φύσις: ἐκ σοῦ πάντα, ἐν σοὶ πάντα, εἰς σὲ πάντα, and Gataker in loc.

δόξα] sc. εἴη; as at Romans 16:27 : the befitting glory. Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 11:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-11.html. 1832.

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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