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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Romans 9

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 9

Romans 9:3. The verbal order ἀνάθεμα εἶναι αὐτὸς ἐγώ (recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch.) receives preponderant attestation from A B D E F G, min., VSS., and Fathers; as also from א, reading εἶναι before ἀνάθ. Erroneously attached to ηὐχόμην, αὐτὸς ἐγώ became placed before ἀνάθ. (Elz.).

Romans 9:4. αἱ διαθῆκαι] B D E F G, min., Vulg., with several Fathers, read διαθήκη, which Lachm. has adopted. An alteration, because the plural was understood of the Old and New Test. (Galatians 4:24), and yet the latter could not be considered as a privilege of the Jews.

Romans 9:11. κακόν] Lachm. and Tisch. read φαῦλον, according to A B א, min., Or. Cyr. Damasc. Rightly; the more usual opposite of ἀγαθόν easily intruded.

Romans 9:15. The order τῷ ΄ωϋσεῖ γάρ is decidedly to be received, with Lachm. and Tisch., following B D E F G א. The Recepta τ. γ. ΄. is a mechanical alteration.

Romans 9:16. ἐλεοῦντος] A B* D E F G P א, 39, read ἐλεῶντος; so Lachm. and Tisch. But since in no other passage of the N. T. is ἐλεάω, the form belonging to the κοινή (see Etym. M. 327. 30), to be found; and in Romans 9:18 only D* F G have ἐλεᾶ instead of ἐλεεῖ (and yet in both places Paul doubtless used one form); it is most probable that ω instead of ου was merely an early copyist’s error, which, as the form - αω was actually in existence, became diffused, and also induced in some Codd. the alteration ἐλεᾶ in Romans 9:18 (so Tisch. 7).

Romans 9:27. κατάλειμμα] A B א* Eus. read ὑπόλειμμα; so Lachm. and Tisch. Rightly; see LXX. Isaiah 10:22.

Romans 9:28. ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, ὁτι λόγον συντετμημένον] is wanting in A B א*, 23*, 47*, 67**, Syr. Aeth. Erp. Copt. Eus. Damasc. Aug. It certainly bears the suspicion of being an addition from the LXX.; but its deletion, which Lachm. and Tisch. 8 have carried out, is precluded by the ease with which it was possible for transcribers to turn from συντέμνων at once to συντετμημένον.

Romans 9:31. The second δικαιοσύνης is wanting in A B D E G א, 47, 67**, 140, Copt. It. Or. and several Fathers, and is marked with an obelus in F. Omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. But the omission admits of no sense accordant with the context. See the exeg. notes. The weight of the omitting codd. is much diminished by the counter-testimony of ancient VSS. (including Syr. and Vulg.) and of most Greek Fathers. The omission itself might easily, from the frequent recurrence of the word in Romans 9:30-31, occur through a homoeoteleuton, which led, in the first instance, to the disappearance of the words εἰς νόμ. δικαιοσύνης (they are still absent from 2 min.), followed by their incomplete restoration.

Romans 9:32. νόμου] Wanting in A B F G א*, min., Copt. Vulg., and several Fathers. Rightly deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. A defining addition.

The γάρ after προσέκοψαν, which is wanting in A B D* F G א* 47*, Copt. It. Vulg. ms, Goth. Ambr. Ruf., Dam. (and is omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8), is simply a connective insertion.

Romans 9:33. πᾶς] has preponderant evidence against it, and must, with Lachm. and Tisch., be struck out. An addition from Romans 10:11, where it stands in all the witnesses.

Chap. 9–11. On the non-participation hitherto of the greater part of the Jews in the Christian plan of salvation; and specially (a) the lamentation over this (Romans 9:1-5); (b) the Theodicée on its account (Romans 9:6-29); (c) the fault thereof, which rests upon the Jews themselves (Romans 9:30-33 and Romans 10:1-21); (d) the consolation in reference to this (Romans 11:1-32), with final giving glory to God (Romans 11:33-36). Paul could not do otherwise, he must still settle this great problem; this is inevitably demanded by all that had gone before. For if the whole previous treatise had as its result, that only believers were the recipients of the promised salvation, and if nevertheless the Messianic promise and destination to salvation had their reference in the first place (comp. Romans 1:16) to the Israelites, concerning whom, however, experience showed that they were for the most part unbelieving (comp. John 1:11), this contradictory relation thus furnished an enigma, which Paul, with his warm love for his people, could least of all evade, but in the solution of which he had on the contrary to employ all the boldness and depth of his clear insight into the divine plan of redemption (Ephesians 3:4 ff.). The defence of the efficacy of his Gentile apostleship (Th. Schott, and in another way Mangold and Sabatier) is not the object of the section—that object Paul would have known how to meet directly—but such a defence results indirectly from it, since we see from the section how fully the apostle had recognised and comprehended his place in connection with the divine plan of salvation. The problem itself, the solution of which is now taken in hand by the apostle, was sufficiently serious and momentous to be treated with so much detail in this great and instructive letter to the important mixed community of the world’s capital, which, however, does not thereby appear to have been a Jewish-Christian one.


Verses 1-3

Romans 9:1-3.] The new section is introduced without connection with the foregoing, but in a fervent outburst of Israelitish patriotism, the more sorrowful by contrast with the blessedness of the Christian previously extolled and so deeply experienced by the apostle himself. This sorrow might be deemed incredible, after the joyous triumph which had just been exhibited. Hence the extremely urgent asseveration with which he begins: truth I speak in Christ, that is, in my fellowship with Christ; ἐν χ. is the element, in which his soul moves. Just so Ephesians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 12:19. The explanation adopted by most of the older commentators (especially Joh. Capellus, Clericus, Locke), and by Nösselt, Koppe, Böhme, Flatt, Reiche, Köllner, and others, of ἐν in the sense of adjuration, is a perfectly arbitrary departure both from the manner of the apostle, who never swears by Christ, and also from Greek usage, which would have required πρός with the genitive (Kühner, II. 1, p. 448; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 647); and cannot at all be justified from Matthew 5:34, LXX. Jeremiah 5:7, Daniel 12:7, Revelation 10:6, because in these passages ὁμνύειν expressly stands beside it.

οὐ ψεύδο΄αι] πρότερον δὲ διαβεβαιοῦται περὶ ὧν ΄έλλει λέγειν· ὅπερ πολλοῖς ἔθος ποιεῖν, ὅταν ΄έλλωσί τι λέγειν παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς ἀπιστού΄ενον (comp. e.g. Acts 21:21), καὶ ὑπὲρ οὗ σφόδρα ἑαυτούς εἰσι πεπεικότες, Chrys. Compare 1 Timothy 2:7. Conversely, Lys. Romans 4:12 : ψεύδεται κ. οὐκ ἀληθῆ λέγει.

συ΄΄αρτ. ΄οι τῆς συνειδ. ΄ου] ground assigned for the οὐ ψεύδ.: since with me (agreeing with my express assurance) my conscience gives testimony. Compare Romans 2:15, Romans 8:16.

ἐν πνεύμ. ἁγίῳ] is by no means to be connected with τῆς συνειδ. ΄ου (Grotius and several others, Semler, Ammon, Vater: “conscientia a Spiritu sancto gubernata”), because otherwise τῆς would not be wanting; but either with οὐ ψεύδο΄αι (Cramer, Morus, Nösselt, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Winzer, Reiche, Köllner, Fritzsche; of whom, however, only Winzer and Fritzsche take it not as an oath, but as equivalent to ὡς ἐν πνεύ΄ατι ἁγίῳ ὤν), or—which is the nearest and simplest—with συ΄΄αρτ. (Beza, Böhme, Tholuck, Rückert, de Wette, Maier, Philippi, van Hengel, Hofmann, and others). Compare Matthew 22:43; Luke 2:27; Mark 12:36; 1 Corinthians 12:3. The testimony of his conscience, Paul knows, is not apart from the πνεῦμα that fills him, but “Spiritu sancto duce et moderatore” (Beza), in that πνεῦμα. And thus the negative οὐ ψεύδ. receives its sacred guarantee through a concurrent testimony of the conscience ἐν πνεύ΄ατι ἁγίῳ, as the positive ἀλήθ· λέγω had received it through ἐν χριστῷ. This very appropriate symmetry dissuades us from joining συ΄΄αρτ. ΄οι κ. τ. λ to ἀλήθ. λέγω, so that οὐ ψεύδ. would be only “thrown in between” (Hofmann).

ὅτι λύπη κ. τ. λ.] that, etc. A comma only preceding. Over what is this sorrow? Over the exclusion of a great part of the Jews from the Messianic salvation. With tender forbearance Paul does not express this, but leaves it to be gathered by the reader from what follows, in which he immediately, by γάρ, assigns the ground for the greatness and continuance of his sorrow.

ηὐχόμην] I would wish, namely, if the purport of the wish could be realized to the advantage of the Israelites. Comp. on Galatians 4:20, where also no ἄν is annexed. But van Hengel takes it of a wish which had actually arisen in the mind of Paul amidst his continual sorrowfulness. So also Hofmann: the wish had entered his mind, though but momentarily. But a thing so incapable of being fulfilled he can scarce have actually wished; he would only wish it, if it were capable of being fulfilled; this is expressed by ηὐχόμην, and that without ἄν, as a definite assurance; comp. on Acts 25:22; Galatians 4:20; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 187; Kühner, II. 1, p. 178. On the wish itself, comp. Exodus 32:32.

ἀνάθεμα] or, in the Attic form, ἀνάθη΄α (Lobeck, ad Phryn. pp. 249, 445, and Paralip. p. 391 ff.), in Greek writers (also Luke 21:5; 2 Maccabees 2:13, et al.) a votive offering, corresponds frequently in the LXX. to the Hebrew חֶרֶם, and means something devoted to God without redemption (Leviticus 27:28); then—in so far as such a thing was devoted to the divine wrath, and destined to destruction (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 101 ff.)—something abandoned to destruction; a curse-offering. So in the N. T. See Galatians 1:8-9, 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22, which passages at the same time prove that the (later) special sense of חרם, as denoting the Jewish curse of excommunication, is not to be here introduced. The destruction, to which Paul would fain yield himself on behalf of his brethren, is not to be understood of a violent death (Jerome, Limborch, Elsner, and others, also Michaelis, Nösselt, Flatt), but, as ἀπὸ τ. χ. renders necessary, of the everlasting ἀπώλεια. It has been objected that the wish must thus be irrational (Michaelis: “a frantic prayer”); but the standard of selfish reflection is not suited to the emotion of unmeasured devotedness and love out of which the apostle speaks. Groundlessly, and contrary to Paul’s usage elsewhere, Hofmann weakens the positive notion of the expression into the negative one of the being excluded from Christ. This element is implied in ἀπὸ τοῦ χ. as the specific accompanying relation of the ἀνάθε΄α. Bengel well remarks that the modulus ratiocinationum nostrarum as little comprehends the love of the apostle, as does a little boy the animos heroum bellicorum.

αὐτὸς ἐγώ] belonging to εἶναι by attraction (Kühner, II. 2, p. 596): I myself, I, as far as my own person is concerned. Comp. on Romans 7:25. Paul sees those who belong to the fellowship of his people advancing to ruin through their unbelief; therefore he would fain wish that he himself were a curse-offering, if by means of this sacrifice of his own self he could only save the beloved brethren. The contrast, with reference to which αὐτὸς ἐγώ is here conceived, lies therefore in ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφ. ΄ου, whose unhappy state appears already in Romans 9:1-2 so sad in the eyes of the apostle; not in the duty of the apostle’s calling (Th. Schott); and least of all in a “nescio quis alius” (Fritzsche). Theodoret and Theophylact (comp. Chrysostom) refer back to Romans 8:39 (I myself, whom nevertheless nothing can separate, etc.); but this lies too far off. Van Hengel (after Krehl): “Ipse ego, qui me in Christi communione esse dixi.” But ἐν χ. in the previous instance was merely an accessory definition.

ἀπὸ τοῦ χ.] away from Christ, separated from Him. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Galatians 5:4; 2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Leviticus 27:29; and see generally, Nägelsbach on Ilias, p. 188, ed. 3; Ameis on Hom. Od. Anh. ξ, 525; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 277. Christ is not conceived as author of the ἀνάθ. (Nösselt, Morus, Flatt, and others); for ἀπὸ (comp. Leviticus 27:29) does not stand for ὑπό, which latter D E G actually read in consequence of this erroneous view.

ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφ. μοῦ] ὑπέρ is here also not instead of (Rückert, Tholuck, Olshausen, and many others), but for the advantage of, for their deliverance. Grotius aptly paraphrases: “Si ea ratione illos ad justitiam veram et ad aeternam salutem possem perducere.”

κατὰ ς.] subjoined, without the connective of the article, as a familiar accessory definition, which blends with the principal word into a single notion. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:18; Ephesians 2:11; Ephesians 6:5. Moreover, there lies in the addition τ. συγγ. μ. κ. ς. already something conveying with it the wish of love, and that from the natural side; the theocratic grounds for it follow, Romans 9:4 ff.


Verse 4

Romans 9:4. οἵτινες κ. τ. λ.] quippe qui, who indeed; a description—assigning the motive for what is said in Romans 9:3—of the ἀδελφῶν κατὰσάρκα according to their theocratic privileges, and first of all by significant designation according to their ancient and hallowed (Genesis 32:28; Genesis 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:21 f.; Philippians 3:5; John 1:48) national name ἰσραηλῖται. To the latter are then attached the relative definitions, which are threefold ( ὧνὧνἐξ ὧν); the first of them embraces six particulars connected by καί,—purely sacred-historical divine benefactions.

υἱοθεσία] the adoption. They are those adopted by God into the place of children, which must of course be understood, not in the Christian (chap. 8) but in the old theocratic sense, of their adoption, in contradistinction to all Gentile peoples, to be the people of God, whose Father is God. Comp. Exodus 4:22 ff; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 32:6; Hosea 11:1, et al. In the υἱοθεσία of the N. T. (see on Romans 8:15), the specific essence of which is the reconciliation obtained for Christ’s sake, there has appeared the antitype and the completion of that of the O. T.

καὶ δόξα] The fivefold καί lends an emphatic weight to the enumeration, δόξα is the glory κατʼ ἐξοχήν, i.e. כְּבוֹד יְהֹוָה (Exodus 24:16; Exodus 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Ezekiel 1:28; Hebrews 9:5), the symbolically visible essential communion of God, as it was manifested in the wilderness as a pillar of cloud and fire, and over the ark of the covenant; the same as שְׁכִינָה, of which the Rabbins maintained (erroneously, according to Leviticus 16:2) that it had hovered as a cloud of light continually over the ark of the covenant. See Ewald, ad Apoc. p. 311. But δόξα is not the ark of the covenant itself (Beza, Piscator, Hammond, Grotius), for in 1 Samuel 4:22 the ark of the covenant is not called “the glory of Israel,” but this is only predicated of it. Others understand the whole glory of the Jewish people in general (de Dieu, Calovius, Estius, Semler, Morus, Böhme, Benecke, Köllner, Glöckler, Fritzsche, Beck). Incorrectly, since it is merely individual privileges that are set forth.

αἱ διαθῆκαι] not the tables of the law (Beza, Piscator, Pareus, Toletus, Balduin, Grotius, Semler, Rosenmüller), which it cannot denote either in itself or on account of the following νομοθ.; nor yet the O. and N. T. (Augustine, Jerome, Calovius, and Wolf, in accordance with Galatians 4:24), which would be entirely unsuitable in respect of the N. T.; but the covenants concluded by God with the patriarchs since Abraham. Compare Wisdom of Solomon 18:22; Sirach 44:11; 2 Maccabees 8:15; Ephesians 2:12.

νομοθεσία] The (Sinaitic) giving of the law. This is “una et semel habita per Mosen;” but the “testamenta frequenter statuta sunt,” Origen. There is no ground for taking it, with others (including Reiche, de Wette, Fritzsche), not of the act, but of the contents, like νόμος (why should not Paul have written this?). Certainly, he who has the νομοθεσία has also the νόμος; but on that account the two significations are to be kept distinct even in places like 2 Maccabees 6:23. The giving of the law was a work (comp. Plat. Legg. vi. p. 751 B: μεγάλου τῆς νομοθεσίας ἔργου ὄντος), by which God, who Himself was the νομοθέτης, had distinguished the Israelites over all other peoples.

λατρεία] the cultus κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the service of Jehovah in the temple. Comp. Hebrews 9:1. It corresponds to the νομοθ., in consequence of which the λατρεία came into existence; just as the following αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι ( κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the collective Messianic promises) is correlative to the αἱ διαθῆκαι, on which the ἐπαγγ. were founded. The chiasmus in this order of sequence (comp. Bengel) is not accidental; but αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι is intentionally put at the end, in order that now, after mention of the fathers, to whom in the first instance the promises were given, the Promised One Himself may follow.


Verse 5

Romans 9:5. Now, after that first relative sentence with its six theocratic distinctions, two other relative clauses introduce the mutually correlative persons, on whom the sacred-historical calling of Israel was based and was to reach its accomplishment.

οἱ πατέρες] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are per excellentiam the patriarchs, Exodus 3:13; Exodus 3:15; Exodus 4:5; Acts 3:13; Acts 7:32.

καὶ ἐξ ὧν κ. τ. λ.] The last and highest distinction of the Israelites: and from whom Christ descends, namely, according to the human phenomenal nature, as a human phenomenon, apart from the spiritually-divine side of His personality, according to which He is not from the Jews, but (as υἱὸς θεοῦ κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, Romans 1:4) is ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ. Regarded in the light of His supernatural generation, He would be also κατὰ σάρκα of God. Comp. Clem. Cor. Romans 1:32 : ἐξ αὐτοῦ κύριος ἰησοῦς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα. On the article τὸ κ. ς., see Heind. ad Gorg. p. 228; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 84. The καὶ before ἐξ ὧν forbids the reference of the latter to οἱ πατέρες.

ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογ. εἰς τ. αἰῶνας] This passage, which has become of dogmatic importance, has received two different leading interpretations, by the side of which yet a third way, namely, by taking to pieces the relative sentence, came to be suggested. (1) The words are referred (placing a comma after σάρκα) to Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. So, substantially, Irenaeus (Haer. iii. 16. 3), Tertullian (adv. Prax. § 13, p. 2101, ed. Seml.), Origen, Cyprian, Epiphanius, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine, Jerome, Theodoret, and later Fathers; Luther, Erasmus, Paraphr., Flacius, Calvin, Beza, and most of the older expositors; and of the later, Michaelis, Koppe, Tholuck, Flatt, Klee, Usteri, Benecke, Olshausen, Nielsen, Reithmayr, Maier, Beck, Philippi, Bisping, Gess, Krummacher, Jatho, Hahn, Thomasius, Ebrard, Ritschl, Hofmann, Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 306, Delitzsch, and others; in a peculiar fashion also, Herm. Schultz (see below); de Wette is undecided. (2) The words are regarded (placing a period after σάρκα, as do Lachm. and Tisch.) as a doxology to God, isolated from the foregoing: “Blessed for ever be the God who is over all.” So none of the Fathers (as to those erroneously adduced by Wetstein, see Fritzsche, p. 262 ff.), at least not expressly; but Erasmus in his Annot., Wetstein, Semler, Stolz, and several others, and recently Reiche, Köllner, Winzer, Fritzsche, Glöckler, Schrader, Krehl, Ewald, van Hengel, and, though not fully decided, Rückert. See also Baur, II. p. 231; Zeller, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1842, p. 51; Räbiger, Christol. Paul. p. 26 f.; Beyschlag, Christol. p. 210. Now the decision, which of the two leading interpretations fits the meaning of the apostle, cannot be arrived at from the language used, since, so far as the words go, both may be equally correct; nor yet from the immediate connection, since with equal reason Paul might (by no means: must, against which is the analogy of Romans 9:3; and the divine in Christ did not belong here, as in Romans 1:3, necessarily to the connection) feel himself induced to set over-against the human side of the being of Jesus its divine side (as in Romans 1:3), or might be determined by the recital of the distinctions of his nation to devote a doxology to God, the Author of these privileges, who therefore was not responsible for the deeply-lamented unbelief of the Jews; just as he elsewhere, in peculiar excited states of piety, introduces a giving glory to God (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Galatians 1:5; comp. 1 Timothy 1:17). Observe, rather, with a view to a decision, the following considerations: Although our passage, referred to Christ, would term Him not θεός, but (who is God over all) only θεός predicatively (without the article), and although Paul, by virtue of his essential agreement in substance with the Christology of John, might have affirmed, just as appropriately as the latter (Romans 1:1), the predicative θεός (of divine essence) of Christ, because Christ is also in Paul’s view the Son of God in a metaphysical sense, the image of God, of like essence with the Father, the agent in creation and preservation, the partaker in the divine government of the world, the judge of all, the object of prayerful invocation, the possessor of divine glory and fulness of grace (Romans 1:4, Romans 10:12; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15 ff; Colossians 2:9; Ephesians 1:20 ff.; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 8:9); yet Paul has never used the express θεός of Christ, since he has not adopted, like John, the Alexandrian form of conceiving and setting forth the divine essence of Christ, but has adhered to the popular concrete, strictly monotheistic terminology, not modified by philosophical speculation even for the designation of Christ; and he always accurately distinguishes God and Christ; see, in opposition to such obscure and erroneous intermingling of ideas, Rich. Schmidt, Paulin. Christol. p. 149 ff. John himself calls the divine nature of Christ θεός only in the introduction of his Gospel, and only in the closest connection with the Logos-speculation. And thus there runs through the whole N. T. a delicate line of separation between the Father and the Son; so that, although the divine essence and glory of the latter is glorified with the loftiest predicates in manifold ways, nevertheless it is only the Father, to whom the Son is throughout subordinated, and never Christ, who is actually called God by the apostles (with the exception of John 1:1, and the exclamation of Thomas, John 20:28)—not even in 1 John 5:20. Paul, particularly, even where he accumulates and strains to the utmost expressions concerning the Godlike nature of the exalted Christ (as Philippians 2:6 ff.; Colossians 1:15 ff; Colossians 2:9), does not call Him θεός, but sharply and clearly distinguishes Him as the κύριος from θεός, even in Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 12:3 (in opposition to Ritschl, Altkath. K. p. 79 f.). The post-apostolical period (and not at all 2 Peter 1:1, see Huther) first obliterated this fine line of separation, and often denominated Christ θεός, θεὸς ἡμῶν, and the like. So, e.g., already several of the Ignatian epistles in the shorter recension (not those ad Magnes., ad Philadelph., ad Trall., not even chap. 7) and the so-called second epistle—not the first—of Clement, nor the epistle of Polycarp. In the closest internal connection herewith stands the fact, that in the properly apostolical writings (2 Peter 3:18 does not belong to them, nor does Hebrews 13:21) we never meet with a doxology to Christ in the form which is usual with doxologies to God (not even in 1 Peter 4:11); therefore, in this respect also, the present passage would stand to the apostolic type in the relation of a complete anomaly. Besides, the insuperable difficulty would be introduced, that here Christ would be called not merely and simply θεός, but even God over all, and consequently would be designated as θεὸς παντοκράτωρ, which is absolutely incompatible with the entire view of the N. T. as to the dependence of the Son on the Father (see Gess, v. d. Pers. Chr. p. 157 ff.; Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 457 ff.), and especially with passages like Romans 8:34 ( ἐντυγχάνει), 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 4:5-6, and notably 1 Corinthians 15:28. Accordingly, the doxology of our passage cannot be referred to Christ, but must be referred to God; although Philippi continues of opinion that the former reference has all in its favour and nothing against it. On the other hand, Tholuck (see also Schmid, bibl. Theol. II. p. 540, ed. 2) does more justice to the objections against the old ecclesiastical interpretation, which Messner also, Lehre d. Ap. p. 236 f., prefers, but only with a certain diffidence; whilst Herm. Schultz (comp. Socinus, in Calovius, p. 153) comes ultimately to a lower acceptation of the notion of θεός, which is meant not metaphysically, but only designates the fulness of power committed to Christ for behoof of His work, and excludes neither dependence and coming into being, nor beginning and end. Against the latter suggestion it may be decisively urged, that thus characteristics are attached to the notion θεός, which, compared with the current Pauline mode of expression, directly annul it, and make it interchangeable with κύριος, as Paul uses it of Christ (Ephesians 4:5-6; Philippians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6, and many other passages). See, in opposition to it, also Grimm. If we suppose the quite singular case here to occur, that Paul names Christ God, yea God over all, we need not shrink from recognising, with the orthodox interpreters, an expression of the fact that Christ is not nuncupative, but naturaliter God (Flacius, Clav. II. p. 187). (3) Another way, that of taking to pieces the relative clause, was suggested by Erasmus, who proposed to place the point (as in Cod. 71) after πάντων (in which Locke, Clarke, Justi, Ammon, Stolz, Grimm, l.c., and in de Johann. Christol. indole Paulinae compar. p. 75 f., Baumgarten-Crusius, Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 200 ff., and Märcker follow him), so that qui est super omnia (or omnes) refers to Christ (comp. Acts 10:36), and then the doxology to God follows. But how intolerably abrupt is this!—not merely the brief description given of Christ, but also the doxology itself, which with ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων loses its natural connection with the preceding. Again, with this separation would disappear the motive for Paul’s not having put εὐλογ. in the first place, as usually (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; also the doxologies in the LXX.). This motive is, namely, the emphasis which θεός obtains by the characteristic description ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων (the God who is over all). Still more disjointed and halting the language becomes through the punctuation of Morus (who, however, concurs in referring the whole to Christ): ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων, θεὸς, εὐλογ. εἰς τ. αἰ. Why Reiche, whom Krehl and van Hengel have followed, although rightly referring the whole to God, has adopted this punctuation (He who is over all, God, be praised for ever), we cannot perceive; ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεός, taken independently, forms in fact, according to a quite customary manner of expression, one phrase, so that θεός is not without the article. Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:7; Kühner, II. § 464, 8, c. Finally, Grotius (not also Schoettgen, as Schultz states) would consider θεός as not genuine, and would refer ὢν ἐπὶ π. εὐλ. to Christ, to whom “laus et honor debetur supra omnes, i. e. etiam supra Abrah., Isaac. et Jacob.” But that θεός is not wanting in the Peschito, as Grotius maintains, is decisively settled (see Koppe), and the witnesses who actually omit it (edd. of Cyprian, and Hilary, Leo once, Ephraem) are much too weak and doubtful; see Bengel, Appar. crit. in loc. Quite arbitrary is the conjecture of Sam. Crell (Artemonius): ὧν ἐπὶ κ. τ. λ.

ἐπὶ πάντων] neuter. The limitation which takes it as masc. (Syr., Beza, Grotius, Socinus, Justi, Hofmann, and others), in which case it is by some held to apply to men generally, by others to the patriarchs, must have been presented by the context; but it is not at all suggested by anything, not even in the reference of the sense, which Fritzsche introduces: “qui omnibus hominibus prospicit Deus, ut male credas Judaeos ab eo destitutos esse, etc.”

ἐπὶ indicates the relation of the rule over all things; see Lobeck, ad Herodian. p. 474, ad Phryn. pp. 164, 174; Bähr, ad Plut. Alc. p. 162. God is the παντοκράτωρ, 2 Corinthians 6:18; often in the Apocalypse, μόνος δυνάστης βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων κ. τ. λ., 1 Timothy 6:15-16.


Verse 6

Romans 9:6. Having in Romans 9:4-5 adduced the great divine prerogatives of his people, and given honour to God for them, as his Israelitish sympathies impelled him to do, his thought now recurs to that utterance of grief in Romans 9:2-3, over-against which ( δέ) he now proposes to justify the God of his people. Quite unnecessarily Lachmann has put Romans 9:3-5 in a parenthesis.

οὐχ οἷον δὲ, ὅτι] does not mean: but it is not possible that (Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Homberg, Semler, Ch. Schmidt, Morus, Böhme, Rosenmüller, Benecke, Ewald); for in that case ὅτι would not be allowable, but the infinitive must follow (Matthiae, § 479; Krüger, § 55. 3. 1); moreover, as Calvin has rightly observed, οἷόν τε would be found, at least according to the invariable usage (4 Maccabees 4:7; Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 3, vii. 7. 22; and Bornemann, in loc.; de Rep. Ath. ii. 2; Mem. iv. 6. 7; Thuc. vii. 42. 3; Soph. Phil. 913; O. C. 1420; Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 425), instead of which scarcely an uncertain example (as Gorgias, pro Palam. in Wetstein) is forthcoming of the simple οἷον without τέ, whilst the masculine οἷός εἰμι (without τέ) is frequent (see Schömann, ad Is. p. 465; Weber, Dem. Aristocr. p. 469; Kühner, II. 2, p. 702. 580). It is rather to be explained by the very current usage in later Greek (Lennep. ad Phalar. p. 258; Fritszche on our passage) of οὐχ. οἷον with a following finite tense; e.g. οὐχ οἷον ὀργίζομαι in Phryn. p. 372, and the passages from Polybius in Schweighäuser, p. 403). According to this usage, the attracted οἷον is not to be resolved, with Hermann, ad Viger. p. 790, into τοῖον οἷον, because the following verb does not suit this, but with Fritzsche into τοῖουτον ὅτι: the matter is not of such a nature, that. But since Paul has here expressed ὅτι, he cannot have conceived it as contained in οἷον: in reality he has fallen into a mixing up of two kindred modes of expression,—namely, of οὐχ οἷον with a finite tense, and οὐχ ὅτι, i.e. οὐχ ἐρῶ ὅτι. See Tyrwhitt, ad Arist. Poet. p. 128; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 153 f.; Kühner, II. 2, p. 800 f. Without this intermingling he would have written οὐχ οἷον δὲ ἐκπέπτωκεν; but consequent on this intermingling he wrote οὐχ οἷον δὲ ὅτι ἐκπ., which accordingly may be analyzed thus: οὐ τοῖον δὲ λέγω, οἷον ὅτι, I do not speak of a thing of such kind, as (that is) that. So also substantially Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 319, and previously, by way of suggestion, Beza. The deviation from Greek usage into which Paul has fallen renders also necessary this solution, which deviates from the analysis of the Greek οὐχ οἷον δὲ ἐκπέπτ. (without ὅτι); and we have here, amongst the many solecisms falsely ascribed to the apostle, a real one. Observe, moreover, the strength of the negation implied in οὐχ οἷον; for this affirms that the lament of the apostle was to be something quite other than a lament over the frustration of the divine word. According to Hofmann, ηὐχόμην is to be again supplied to οὐχ οἷον, and ὅτι to be taken as because, so that thus Paul would deny that he had for that wish the ground which is named in ὅτι ἐκπέπτωκεν κ. τ. λ. This is—independently of the arbitrariness of the insertion of ηὐχό΄ην—incorrect, just because the thought that this ηὐχό΄ην could have had that ground would be an absurd thought; for it would suppose a fact, which is inconceivable as a motive of the wish.

ἐκπέπτωκεν] has fallen out of its position, i.e. fallen through, become unavailing, without result. See Plut. Tib. Gracch. 21; Ael. V. H. iv. 7; Kypke, II. p. 173 f. So διαπίπτειν, Joshua 21:45; Judith 6:9; and πίπτειν, Joshua 23:14; both in use also among the Greeks; comp. ἐκβαλλεσθαι, Dissen, ad Pind. Nem. xi. 30. The opposite is μένειν, Romans 9:11. Comp. also 1 Corinthians 13:8.

λόγος τ. θεοῦ] namely, not the Dei edictum (Romans 9:28) as to the bestowal of blessing only on the election of the Israelites, as Fritzsche, anticipating, would have it, but generally the promise given by God to the Israelites, by which the assurance of the Messianic salvation is obviously intended. This sense the context yields generally, and especially by ἐξ ὧν χριστὸς τὸ κ. ς., Romans 9:5, without our having exactly to think of Genesis 12:3, where the promise is to Abraham (Th. Schott).

οὐ γὰρ πάντες κ. τ. λ.] for not all who spring from Israel, not all υἱοὶ ἰσραήλ (Romans 9:27), are Israelites (Israel’s children, according to the divine idea), so as to be all destined to receive the salvation promised to the Israelites. Comp. Galatians 4:29; Galatians 6:16. The first ἰσραήλ is the name of the patriarch; the second, instead of which the old reading ἰσραηλῖται (D. Chrys.) contains a correct gloss, is the name of his people (Romans 11:2; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:26, al). Mistaking the subtle emphatic character of this mode of expression, Hofmann, in spite of the clear οἱ ἐξ, takes the first ἰσρ. also as a name of the people, so that the sense would be: the unity of the people is something other than the sum of its members. To οἱ ἐξ ἰσρ. corresponds σπέρ΄α ἀβρ., Romans 9:7.


Verses 6-13

Romans 9:6-13. First part of the Theodicée: God’s promise, however, has not become untrue through the exclusion of a part of the Israelites; for it applies only to the true Israelites, who are such according to the promise, which is confirmed from Scripture.


Verse 7

Romans 9:7. Nor yet, because they are descendants of Abraham, are they all (his) children.

Before οὐδʼ a colon only is correct, because the discourse proceeds continuously, annexing denial to denial.

εἰσί] The subject is that of the previous clause, οἱ ἐξ ἰσραήλ. The τέκνα of Abraham, as significantly contrasted with the mere bodily descendants ( σπέρμα), are those destined by God to receive the promised salvation. Comp. Matthew 3:9; John 8:33; John 8:39; Justin, c. Tryph. 44. That it is not God’s children that are to be understood (although they are such), as, after Theodoret and several others, Glöcker afresh takes it, is manifest from the foregoing parallel οὗτοι ἰσραήλ, and from the fact that it is not till afterwards that τέκνα τ. θεοῦ are spoken of.

Wrongly, but in consequence of his erroneous understanding of the ὅτι, Romans 9:6, Hofmann regards οὐδʼ ὅτι εἰσὶ σπ. ἀβρ. as the negation of a second ground of the ηὐχόμην, so that then a new sentence begins with πάντες τέκνα. This view the obvious correlation of οὐδʼτέκνα with the preceding οὐ γὰρ πάντες κ. τ. λ. should have precluded.

After ἀλλʼ we are not to supply γέγραπται or οὕτως ἐῤῥέθη, which would be quite arbitrary; but the saying in Genesis 21:12, which is well known to the reader as a saying of God, is subjoined unaltered and immediately (comp. Galatians 3:11-12; 1 Corinthians 15:27) without a καθὼς γέγραπται (Romans 15:3; 1 Corinthians 1:31) or the like being introduced, or the second person being altered into the third; simply because it is taken for granted that the saying is one well known.

ἐν ἰς. κληθ. σοι σπέρμα] closely after the LXX., which renders the original literally. In the original text we read בְּיִצְחָק יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע: through Isaac posterity shall be named to thee, i.e. through Isaac it will come to pass to thee, that posterity of thine shall have the status and the name of the σπέρμα ἀβρ. (comp. Hebrews 11:18); the descendants of Isaac (consequently not the Ishmaelites) shall be recognised as thy posterity (and therewith as the heirs of the divine promise). But the apostle has otherwise apprehended the sense of the passage according to its typical reference; for it is evident from the relation of Romans 9:9 to Romans 9:8, that he limited that saying to the person of Isaac himself, who (not Ishmael) was the promised child of Abraham, and thus represented in himself the character of the true posterity of Abraham accounted as such by God. Hence, in the sense of the apostle: “In the person of Isaac will a descendant be named to thee;” i.e. Isaac will be he, in whose person the notion “descendant of Abraham” shall be represented and recognised. Paul finds in this divine declaration the idea enunciated (Romans 9:8), that not on bodily descent (which was also the case with Ishmael), but on divine promise (which was the case with Isaac, Romans 9:9), the true sonship of Abraham is founded. Usually (not by Philippi and Ewald, who concur with our view) the passage is understood, conformably to the historical sense of the original, not of the person of Isaac, but of his posterity; which, because Isaac himself was the son of promise, represents the true descendants of Abraham according to the promise. But to this posterity all Israelites certainly belonged, and it would therefore be inappropriate to set them down, by virtue of their extraction from Isaac, as the type of the true sonship of Abraham, when the very claim to that sonship, resting upon bodily descent, is to be withdrawn from them. The person of Isaac himself, as contrasted with Ishmael, was this type, which was thereupon repeated in Jacob, as contrasted with Esau (in their persons), Romans 9:10-13. Chrysostom aptly indicates the reference to Isaac himself: διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο εἶπεν· ἐν ἰς. κλ. ς. σπ., ἵνα μάθῃς, ὅτι οἱ τῷ τρόπῳ τούτῳ γεννώμενοι τῷ κατὰ τὸν ἰσαὰκ, οὗτοι μάλιστά εἰσι τὸ σπέρμα τοῦ ἀβραάμ· πῶς οὖν ἰσαὰκ ἐγεννήθη; οὐ κατὰ νὸμον φύσεως, οὐδὲ κατὰ δύναμιν σαρκὸς, ἀλλὰ κατὰ δύναμιν ἐπαγγελίας.

κληθήσεται] nominabitur. See Winer, p. 571 f. [E. T. 769]; Eur. Hec. 625, and Pflugk, in loc. The opinion of Reiche, that καλ. denotes to call out of nothing (see on Romans 4:7), which it signifies also in Genesis 21:12, so that the sense would be: “In the person of Isaac a descendant will be imparted to thee,” is erroneous, because that saying of God was uttered after the birth of Isaac.

σοι] Dative of ethical reference.

τοῦτʼ ἔστιν] This purports, thereby the idea is expressed. Rightly Grotius: “Haec vox est explicantis ὑπόνοιαν latentem, quod דרש dicitur Hebraeis.”

τέκνα τ. θεοῦ] Paul characterizes the true descendants of Abraham, who are not so from bodily generation, as God’s children, that is, as such descendants of the ancestor, whose Abrahamic sonship is not different in the idea of God from that of sonship to Him, so that they are regarded and treated by God as His children.

τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγ.] might mean: the promised children (so van Hengel); for the promised child of Abraham was Isaac (Romans 9:9), whose birth was the realization of a promise (and so Hofmann takes it). But that Paul had the conception that Isaac was begotten by, virtue of the divine promise, is evident from Galatians 4:23 (see in loc.), and therefore the genitive (as also previously τῆς σαρκός) is to be taken causatively: the children of Abraham who originate from the divine promise, who are placed in this their relation of sonship to Abraham through the creative power of the divine promise, analogously to the begetting of Isaac; τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἰσχὺς ἔτεκε τὸ παιδίον, Chrysostom.

λογίζεται] by God. Comp. Romans 4:3; Romans 4:5.

εἰς σπέρμα] that is, as an Abrahamic posterity. See Romans 9:7. To understand Gentiles also, is here foreign to the context (in opposition to Beyschlag); see. Romans 9:9-13. Abraham’s race is treated of, to which not all who descend from him are without distinction reckoned by God as belonging.


Verse 9

Romans 9:9. Proof of the foregoing ἀλλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας. “The children of promise, I say, for a word of promise is that which follows: about this time, etc.” Hence, therefore, we see that not the bodily descent, but the divine promise, constitutes the relation of belonging to Abraham’s fatherhood. The quotation is freely put together from Genesis 18:10; Genesis 18:14, after the LXX.

To κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον, at this time (namely, of the next year), corresponds כָּעֵת חַיָּה in the original (comp. 2 Kings 4:16-17; Genesis 17:21), which is to be explained: as the time revives, that is, when the time (which is now a thing of the past and dead) returns to life; not with Fritzsche: in the present time (of the next year), which suits the words of the LXX.,—where, by way of explanation, the classical εἰς ὥρας, over the year, is added,—but not the Hebrew. See Gesenius, Thes. I. p. 470; Tuch and Knobel on Genesis 18:10. On the whole promise, comp. Hom. Od. xi. 248 f., 295.


Verse 10

Romans 9:10. A fresh and still more decisive proof (for it might be objected that, of Abraham’s children, Sarah’s son only was legitimate) that only the divine disposal constituted the succession to Abraham which was true and valid in the sight of God. Comp. Barnab. 13. The more definite notion of promise, which was retained in the preceding, is here expanded into the more general one of the appointment of the divine will as made known.

οὐ μόνον δέ] See generally on Romans 5:3. What is supplied must be something that is gathered from the preceding, that fits the nominative ῥεβέκκα, and that answers as regards sense to the following ἐῤῥέθη αὐτῇ. Hence, because τῇ σάῤῥᾳ precedes, and with ἀλλὰ καί another mother’s name is introduced, we must supply, as subject, not Abraham (Augustine, Beza, Calvin, Reithmayr, van Hengel; comp. also Hofmann, who however thinks any completing supplement useless), but σάῤῥα; and moreover, not indeed the definite λόγον ἐπαγγελίας εἶχεν or ἐπηγγελμένη ἦν (Vatablus, Fritzsche, Winer, Krehl, Baumgarten-Crusius), but the more general λόγον or ῥῆμα θεοῦ εἶχεν, which is suitable to the subsequent ἐῤῥέθη, as well as to the contents of the sayings adduced in Romans 9:12-13 : “But not only had Sarah a saying of God, but also Rebecca, etc.” We must therefore throw aside the manifold arbitrary supplements suggested, some of which are inconsistent with the construction, not suiting the nominative ῥεβ., as e.g.: “non solum id, quod jam diximus, documentum est ejus, quod inferre volumus; Rebecca idem nos docet” (so Grotius, also Seb. Schmid, Semler, Ch. Schmid, Cramer, Rosenmüller, and several others; comp. Tholuck and Philippi); or: τοῦτο ἦν (Rückert, de Wette), so that the nominative ῥεβ. forms an anacoluthon, and the period begun enters with Romans 9:11 upon quite another form (how forced, seeing that Romans 9:11-12 in themselves stand in perfectly regular construction!). It is only the semblance of an objection against our view, that not Sarah, but Abraham, received the word of promise, Romans 9:9; for Sarah was, by the nature of the case, and also according to the representation of Genesis, the co-recipient of the promise, and was mixed up in the conversation of God with Abraham in reference to it (Genesis 18:13-15); so that Paul, without incurring the charge of contradicting history, might have no scruple in stating the contrast as between the mothers, as he has done.

ἐξ ἑνὸς κοίτην ἔχουσα] Who had cohabitation of one (man), the effect of which was the conception of the twin children. The contextual importance of this addition does not consist in its denying that there was a breach of conjugal fidelity, but in its making palpably apparent the invalidity—for the history of salvation—of bodily descent. She was pregnant by one man, and yet how different was the divine determination with respect to the two children!

ἐξ ἑνός] masculine, without anything being supplied; for ἰς. τ. π. ἡμ. is in apposition. κοίτη, couch, bed, often marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4), is found seldom in the classical writers (Eur. Med. 151, Hippol. 154; not Anacr. 23, see Valck. Schol. II. p. 594), with whom εὐνή and λέχος often have the same sense, euphemistically used as equivalent to concubitus, but frequently in the LXX. See Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 347. Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 3:13; Wisdom of Solomon 3:16.

τοῦ πατρ. ἡμ.] from the Jewish consciousness; for the discourse has primarily to do with the Jews. Comp. Romans 4:1. If Isaac were to be designated as the father of Christians (Reiche, Fritzsche), the context must have necessarily and definitely indicated this, since believers are Abraham’s (spiritual) children. We may add that ἰς. τοῦ πατρ. ἡμῶν is not without a significant bearing on the argument, inasmuch as it contributes to make us feel the independence of the determination of the divine will on the theocratic descent, however legitimate.


Verse 11-12

Romans 9:11-12. Although, forsooth, they were not yet born, and had not done anything good or evil, in order that the purpose of God according to election might have its continued subsistence, not from works, but from Him who calls, it was said to her, etc.

μήπω] not οὔπω, because the negative relation is intended to be expressed subjectively, that is, as placed before the view of God and weighed by Him in delivering His utterance. See Winer, p. 450 [E. T. 608]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 295. Comp. Xen. Cyr. iii. 1. 37.

The subject ( αὐτῶν) to the participles is not expressed, according to a well-known classical usage (Matthiae, § 563; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 2. 17), but it would be self-evident to the reader from the history familiar to him, that the twins of Rebecca were intended; Winer, p. 548 [E. T. 736].

The sentence expressive of purpose, ἵνακαλοῦντος, is placed with emphasis before ἐῤῥέθη, and therefore not to be placed in a parenthesis.

ἵνα] introduces the purpose which God had in this, that, notwithstanding they were not yet born, etc., He yet gave forth already the declaration of Romans 9:12. He thereby purposed, namely, that His resolve—conceived in the mode of an election made amongst men—to bestow the blessings of the Messianic salvation should subsist, etc.

κατʼ ἐκλογ. πρόθεσις] can neither be so taken, that the ἐκλογή precedes the πρόθεσις in point of time (comp. Romans 8:28), which is opposed to the nature of the relation, especially seeing that the πρόθεσις pertains to what was antecedent to time (see on Romans 8:28); nor so that the ἐκλογή follows the πρόθεσις, whether it be regarded as the act of its fulfilment (Reiche) or as its aim (Krehl). These latter interpretations might certainly be justified linguistically (see Kühner, II. 1, pp. 412, 413), but they would yield no specific peculiarity of the act of the πρόθεσις. Yet, since κατʼ ἐκλογήν must be the characteristically distinctive mark of the purpose, it cannot by any means denote: the resolution adopted in respect of an election (Grotius, Rückert); but it must be apprehended as an essential inherent of the πρόθεσις, expressing the modal character of this divine act: the purpose according to election, i.e. the purpose which was so formed, that in it an election was made. The πρόθεσις would have been no πρόθ. κατʼ ἐκλογήν, no “propositum Dei electivum” (Bengel), if God had resolved to bless all without exception. His resolve to vouchsafe the Messianic blessedness did not, however, concern all, but those only who were to be comprehended in this very resolve (by virtue of His πρόγνωσις, Romans 8:29), and who were thereby, by means of the πρόθεσις itself, chosen out from the rest of men (Romans 11:5), and thus the πρόθεσις was no other than κατʼ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις (comp. Bengel, Flatt, Tholuck, Beck, Fritzsche, Philippi, Lamping). In a linguistic aspect κατʼ ἐκλογ. (frequently in Polybius, see Raphel) comes under the same category with the well-known expressions κατὰ κράτος, καθʼ ὑπερβολήν κ. τ. λ. (Bornem. ad Cyrop. i. 4. 23; Bernhardy, p. 241). Comp. Romans 11:21; 1 Timothy 6:3. But it is incorrect to alter, with Carpzov, Ernesti, Cramer, Böhme, Ammon, Rosenmüller, the signification of ἐκλ., and to explain κατʼ ἐκλ. πρόθ. as “propositum Dei liberum.” For, as election and freedom are in themselves different conceptions, so in those passages which are appealed to (Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14; Psalt. Sal. ix. 7), ἐκλ. is none other than electio; and especially in the N. T. ἐκλογή, ἐκλέγεσθαι, and ἐκλεκτός are so statedly used for the dogmatic sense of the election to salvation, that no alteration can be admitted. In general, Hofmann has rightly understood it of the quality, which the purpose has from the fact that God chooses; along with which, however, he likewise transposes the notion of the ἐκλογή into that of the free act of will, “which has its presupposition only in the chooser, not on the side of the chosen.” This anticipates the following, which, moreover, joins itself not to ἐκλογή, but to the abiding of the κατʼ ἐκλ. πρόθεσις; hence ἐκλογή must be left in its strict verbal sense of election. The ἐκλογή may in and by itself be even an unfree act of will; its freedom does not lie in the notion in itself, but it is only to be inferred mediately from what is further to be said of the ΄ένειν of the κατʼ ἐκλ. πρόθεσις, viz. οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων κ. τ. λ.

΄ένῃ] The opposite of ἐκπέπτωκεν, Romans 9:6. Comp. Xen. Anab. ii. 3. 24; Eurip. Iph. T. 959; Herod. iv. 201. It is the result aimed at in such a declaration as God caused to be given to Rebecca before the birth of her two sons: His purpose according to election is meant to remain unchangeable, etc., so much He would have to be settled in His giving that declaration.

οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων κ. τ. λ.] is by most joined, through a supplied οὖσα, to πρόθεσις τ. θεοῦ; by Fritzsche regarded even as a supplementary definition to κατʼ ἐκλογήν, in which he is followed by Lamping, as though Paul had written οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων κ. τ. λ. But for rejecting the natural and nearest connection with μένῃ there is absolutely no ground from the sense which thus results: the elective resolution must have its abiding character not on account of works, which the subjects concerned would perform, but on account of God Himself, who calls to the Messianic salvation. Accordingly, οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων κ. τ. λ. is a causal specification annexed to the—in itself independent

΄ένῃ, namely, of its objective actual relation (hence οὐ, not ΄ή), and should be separated from ΄ένῃ by a comma (Paul might more formally have written: καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων κ. τ. λ.). Hence the objection that ΄ένειν ἐκ is not found is of no importance, since ΄ένῃ in itself stands absolutely, and ἐκ is constantly employed in the sense of by virtue of, by reason of. See Bernhardy, p. 230; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 551.

On the form ἐῤῥέθη, which, instead of the Recepta ἐῤῥήθη, is to be adopted with Lachmann and Tischendorf, following the preponderance of testimony, in all passages in Paul, see on Matthew 5:21, and Kühner, I. p. 810 f.

The quotation is Genesis 25:23, closely following the LXX.; ὅτι forms no part of it, but is recitative. In the connection of the original text, μείζων and ἐλάσς., the greater and the smaller, refer to the two nations represented by the elder and younger twin sons, of which they were to be ancestors; and this prediction was fulfilled first under David, who conquered the Edomites (2 Samuel 8:14); then, after they had freed themselves in the time of Joram (2 Kings 8:21), under Amaziah (2 Kings 14:7; 2 Chronicles 25:11) and Uzziah (2 Kings 14:22; 2 Chronicles 26:2), who again reduced them to slavery; and lastly, after they had once more broken loose in the time of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:17; according to 2 Kings 16:6, they had merely wrested the port of Elath from the Jews), under Johannes Hyrcanus, who completely vanquished them, forced them to be circumcised, and incorporated them in the Jewish state (Joseph. Ant. xiii. 9. 1). Paul, however, has in view, as the entire context Romans 9:10-11; Romans 9:13 evinces, in μείζ. and τῷ ἐλάσς., Esau and Jacob themselves, not their nations; so that the fulfilment of the δουλ. is to be found in the theocratic subjection into which Esau was reduced through the loss of his birthright and of the paternal blessing, whereby the theocratic lordship passed to Jacob. But inasmuch as in Gen. l.c. the two brothers are set forth as representatives of the nations, and their persons and their destiny are not consequently excluded,—as, indeed, the relation indicated in the divine utterance took its beginning with the brothers themselves, by virtue of the preference of Jacob through the paternal blessing (Genesis 27:29; Genesis 27:37; Genesis 27:40),—the apostle’s apprehension of the passage, as he adapts it to his connection, has its ground and its warrant, especially in view of similar hermeneutic freedom in the use of O. T. expressions.

μείζων and τῷ ἐλάσς. have neither in the original nor in Greek the signification: the first-born and the second-born, which indeed the words do not denote; but Esau, who is to come to birth first, is regarded as the greater of the twins in the womb, and Jacob as the smaller.


Verse 13

Romans 9:13. “This utterance ( ἐῤῥέθη) took place in conformity with the expressly testified (in Malachi 1:2-3, freely cited from the LXX.) love of God towards Jacob and abhorrence of Esau.” Thus, that utterance agrees with this. But just like Paul, so the prophet himself intends by ἰακώβ and ἠσαῦ, not the two nations Israel and Edom, but the persons of the two brothers; God loved the former, and hated the latter (and therefore has exalted Israel and destroyed Edom).

The aorists are, in the sense of the apostle—as the relation of καθὼς γέγρ. to the preceding, imparting information respecting the subjective ground of the divine declaration in Romans 9:12, shows—to be referred to the love and abhorrence entertained towards the brothers before their birth, but are not to be understood of the de facto manifestation of love and hatred by which the saying of Genesis 25:23 had been in the result confirmed (van Hengel). ἐμίσησα, moreover, is not to have a merely privative sense ascribed to it: not to love, or to love less (as Fessel, Glass, Grotius, Estius, and many, including Nösselt, Koppe, Tholuck, Flatt, Beck, Maier, Beyschlag), which is not admissible even in Matthew 6:24, Luke 14:26; Luke 16:13, John 12:25 (see, against this and similar attempts to weaken its force, Lamping); but it expresses the opposite of the positive ἠγάπ., viz. positive hatred. See Malachi 1:4. And as that love towards Jacob must be conceived of as completely independent of foreseen virtues (Romans 9:11), so also this hatred towards Esau as completely independent of foreseen sins (in opposition to the Greek Fathers and Jerome on Malachi 1). Both were founded solely on the free elective determination of God; with whom, in the necessary connection of that plan which He had freely adopted for the process of theocratic development, the hatred and rejection of Esau were presupposed through their opposite, namely, the free love and election of Jacob to be the vehicle of the theocracy and its privileges, as the reverse side of this love and choice, which the history of Edom brought into actual relief.


Verse 14

Romans 9:14. A possible inference, unfavourable to the character of God, from Romans 9:11-13, is suggested by Paul himself, and repelled.

μὴ ἀδικ. παρὰ τῷ θεῷ;] But is there not unrighteousness with God? Comp. the question in Romans 3:5. παρὰ, with qualities, corresponds to the Latin in. See Matthiae, § 588. 6. Comp. Romans 2:11.


Verses 14-18

Romans 9:14-18. Second part of the Theodicée: God does not deal unrighteously, in that His πρόθεσις according to election is to have its subsistence, not ἐξ ἔργων, but ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος; for He Himself maintains in the Scripture His own freedom to have mercy upon or to harden whom He will.

This reason has probative force, in so far as it is justly presupposed in it, that the axiom which God expresses respecting Himself is absolutely worthy of Him. Hence we are not, with Beyschlag, to refer the alleged injustice to the fact that God now prefers the Gentiles to the Jews, which is simply imported into the preceding text, and along with which, no less gratuitously, the following receives the sense: “the Jews have indeed become what they are out of pure grace; this grace may therefore once again be directed towards others, and be withdrawn from, them” (Beyschlag).


Verse 15

Romans 9:15. Reason assigned for the μὴ γένοιτο, not for the legitimacy of the question μὴ ἀδικία π. τ. θ. (Mangold, p. 134), so that the opponent’s language continues, until it “culminates in the audacious exclamation of Romans 9:19.” γάρ after μὴ γένοιτο always relates to this. Bengel rightly remarks on γάρ: “Nam quod asserimus, Dei assertum est irrefragabile.”

τῷ ΄ωϋς. γ. (see critical remarks) brings into strong relief the venerated recipient of the word, which makes it appear the more weighty (comp. Romans 10:5; Romans 10:19). The citation is Exodus 33:19, verbally following the LXX. (which would have more closely translated the Heb. by ἐλεῶ ὃν ἂν ἐλεήσω κ. τ. λ.). In the original text it is an assurance by God to Moses of His favour now directly extended towards him, but expressed in the form of a divine axiom. Hence Paul, following the LXX., was justified in employing the passage as a scriptural statement of the general proposition: God’s mercy, in respect of the persons concerned, whose lot it should be to experience it, lets itself be determined solely by His own free will of grace: “I will have mercy upon whosoever is the object of my mercy;” so that I am therefore in this matter dependent on nothing external to myself. This is the sovereignty of the divine compassionating will. Observe that the future denotes the actual compassion, fulfilling itself in point of fact, which God promises to show to the persons concerned, towards whom He stands in the mental relation ( ἐλεῶ, present) of pity. The distinction between ἐλεῶ and οἰκτείρω is not, as Tittmann, Synon. p. 69 f., defines it, that ἐλ. denotes the active mercy, and οἰκτ. the compassionate kindness, but that the same notion misereri is more strongly expressed by οἰκτ. See Fritzsche. Comp. Plat. Euthyd. p. 288 D: ἐλεήσαντέ με καὶ οἰκτείραντε. The latter denotes originally bewailing sympathy, as opposed to μακαρίζειν (Xen. Anab. iii. 1. 19). Comp. οἶκτος (to which ὀδυρμός, Plat. Rep. iii. p. 387 D, corresponds), οἰκτίζω, οἰκτρός κ. τ. λ. On the form οἰκτειρήσω, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 741.

ἂν] The ἂν is that everywhere usual with the relative in the sense of cunque. Hence conditionally expressed: if to any one I am gracious, etc. See generally Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 293 f.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 119. Consequently, not merely the mercy in itself, but also the determination of those who should be its objects, is designated as a free act of God, resting on nothing except on His elective purpose, and affecting the persons according to it; for the emphasis lies in the relative clause on the repeated ὃν ἄν, as ἄν generally has its place after the emphatic word.


Verse 16

Romans 9:16. Paul now infers from this divine word the doctrine implied in it of the causality of the divine redemption.

οὐ τοῦ θέλοντος] sc. ἐστί. Accordingly, therefore, it (the participation in that which has just been designated in the divine utterance as ἔλεος and οἰκτιρμός) is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God who is merciful; it depends not on the striving and urgent endeavour of man, but on the will of the merciful God. The relation of the genitive is: penes. See Bernhardy, p. 165; Kühner, II. 1, p. 316 f.

τρέχειν, a figurative designation of strenuously active endeavour, borrowed originally from the competitive races (1 Corinthians 9:24). Comp. Galatians 2:2; Galatians 5:7; Philippians 2:16; also in the classical writers. Incorrectly, Reiche (following Locke and others) thinks that θέλοντος was probably chosen with reference to the wish of Abraham to instal Ishmael, and of Isaac to instal Esau, in the heirship; and τρέχ. with reference to the fruitless running in of Esau from the chase (Theophylact understands it of his running off to the chase). For Paul, in fact, draws an inference with his ἄρα οὖν only from the divine utterance issued to Moses; and hence we are not even to conjecture, with van Hengel, a reference to Pharaoh’s hasty pursuit of the Israelites. Not on the runner himself depends the successful struggle for the prize (in opposition to Reiche’s objection), but he, whom God has chosen to obtain it, now on his part so runs that he does obtain it. Consequently the conception is, that man by his τρέχειν never meritoriously acquires the divine favour; but, fulfilling the predetermination of God, he, in the power of the grace already received, demeans himself conformably to it; hence Paul, in another place, where the context suggests it, exhorts to the τρέχειν (1 Corinthians 9:24). Beck’s opinion, that θέλειν and τρέχειν are here intended not in the moral sense, but metaphysically and juridically, is nothing but an exegetically groundless deviation from the simple and clear meaning of the words.

τ. ἐλεοῦντος θεοῦ] to be taken together. Had Paul intended τ. ἐλεοῦντος as independent, and θεοῦ as an apposition, he would have only weakened the antithetic emphasis by the very superfluously added θεοῦ (in opposition to Hofmann).


Verse 17

Romans 9:17. γάρ] Establishment of this doctrine e contrario, as the inference of Romans 9:18 shows.

γράφη] for in it God speaks; comp. Galatians 3:8; Galatians 3:22.

τῷ φαραώ] Paul has selected two very striking contemporaneous and historically connected examples, in Romans 9:15 of election, and here of rejection. The quotation is Exodus 9:16, with a free and partly intentional variation from the LXX.

ὅτι] does not form part of the declaration, but introduces it, as in Romans 9:12.

εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο] brings the meaning into stronger relief than the ἕνεκεν τούτου of the LXX.: for this very purpose (for nothing else). Comp. Romans 13:6; 2 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8.

ἐξήγειρά σε] The LXX. translates הֶעֱמַדְתִּיךָ by διετηρήθης, i.e. vivus servatus es, and so far, leaving out of view the factitive form of the Hebrew word (to which, however, a reading of the LXX. attested in the Hexapla with διετήρησά σε corresponds), correctly in the historical connection (see Exodus 9:15). Paul, however, expands the special sense of that Hebrew word to denote the whole appearance of Pharaoh, of which general fact that particular one was a part; and he renders the word according to this general relation, which lies at the bottom of his view, and in reference to which the active form was important, by: I have raised thee up, that is, caused thee to emerge; thy whole historical appearance has been brought about by me, in order that, etc. Comp. the current use of ἐγείρειν in the N. T., as in Matthew 11:11; Matthew 24:11; John 7:52, et al.; Sirach 10:4; 1 Maccabees 3:49; and the Hebrew הֵקִים. So, in substance, Theophylact ( εἰς τὸ ΄έσον ἤγαγον), Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Bengel, and various others, including Reiche, Olshausen, Rückert, Beck, Tholuck, Philippi; formerly also Hofmann; comp. Beyschlag: “I have allowed thee to arise.” The interpretation: vivum te servavi (Vorstius, Hammond, Grotius, Wolf, and many, including Koppe, Morus, Böhme, Rosenmüller, Nösselt, Klee, Reithmayr), explains the Hebrew, but not the expression of the apostle; for James 5:15 ought not to have been appealed to, where the context demands the sense of “erigere de lecto graviter decumbentem.” Yet even now Hofmann compares James 5:15, and explains accordingly: I have suffered thee to rise from sickness. But this would only be admissible, provided it were the sense of the original text, which was assumed by Paul as well known; the latter, however, simply says: I allow thee to stand for the sake of, etc. (comp. Knobel, in loc.), with which also the LXX. agrees. Others explain: I have appointed thee to be king (Flatt, Benecke, Glöckler). Others: I have stirred thee up for resistance (Augustine, Anselm, Köllner, de Wette, Fritzsche, Maier, Bisping, Lamping, comp. Umbreit), as ἐγείρειν and ἐξεγείρ. denote, in classical usage, to incite, both in a good and bad sense; comp. 2 Maccabees 13:4; Hist. Sus. 45. But these special definitions of the sense make the apostle say something so entirely different both from the original and from the LXX., that they must have been necessitated by the connection. But this is not the case; not even in respect to the view of Augustine, etc., since in Romans 9:18 ὃν δὲ θέλει, σκληρύνει is not inferred from the verbal sense of ἐξήγ. σε, but from the relation of the ὅπως κ. τ. λ. to the ἐξήγειρά σε ( εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο evinces this),—a relation which would presuppose a hardening of Pharaoh on the part of God, and for the reader who is familiar with the history (Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3; Exodus 11:10; Exodus 14:4, et al.), actually presupposes it.

ὅπως ἐνδείξ. κ. τ. λ.] namely, by means of thy final overthrow; not: by means of the leading out of Israel (Beyschlag), against which is ἐν σοί.

ἐνδείξ.] may show, may cause to be recognised in thy case. Comp. Romans 3:25; Ephesians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:16.

δύναμιν] LXX.: ἰσχύν. With Paul not an intentional alteration, but another reading according to the Hexapla (in opposition to Philippi).

διαγγ.] might be thoroughly published. Comp. Luke 9:60; Plat. Protag. p. 317 A Pind. Nem. v. 5; Herodian, i. 15. 3, ii. 9. 1; Plutarch. Camill. 24.

τὸ ὄνομά μου] As naming Him who has shown Himself so mighty in the case of Pharaoh. For the opposite, see Romans 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:1.

ἐν πάσῃ τῇ γῇ] in the whole earth; a result, which in the later course of history (comp. Eusebius, praep. ev. ix. 29), especially was fulfilled in the dispersion of the Jews and the spread of Christianity, and continues to be fulfilled. The explanation: in the whole land (van Hengel), is less in keeping with the tendency of the original text than the all-comprehensive destination of this great judgment of God.


Verse 18

Romans 9:18. Result from Romans 9:15-17.

σκληρύνει] Opposite of ἐλεεῖ, not merely negative like οὐκ ἐλεεῖ (Bengel), but positive: He hardens him, makes him thereby incapable of being a σκεῦος ἐλέους (Romans 9:23). Such an one becomes σκληρός τε καὶ ἀμετάστροφος (Plato, Crat. p. 407 D), σκλ. καὶ ἀπειθής (Plato, Locr. p. 104 C), in a moral respect. Comp. Acts 19:9; Hebrews 3:8; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 3:15; Hebrews 4:7; σκληροκαρδία, Matthew 19:8; Mark 16:14; Romans 2:5; see also Soph. Aj. 1340, Trach. 1250; Lobeck, ad Aj. p. 384; from the O. T., Umbreit, d. Sünde, p. 113 ff. Romans 9:19 ff. prove that all warping or alteration of this sense of the word is erroneous; that the suggestion, e.g., in Origen and several Fathers, in Grotius, Koppe, Flatt, Klee, Maier, and others, that only the divine permission is intended (comp. Melancthon: “Indurat, i. e. sinit esse durum, nec convertit eum”), is erroneous; and equally erroneous is the interpretation duriter tractat (Carpzov, Semler, Cramer, Ernesti, Schulthess, Exeg. Forsch. II. p. 136; comp. Beck, p. 75 f.), which is contrary to the signification of the word (also in the LXX. Job 39:16). Evidence to the same effect is supplied by the twofold representation given of the hardening of Pharaoh in Exodus, where it appears partly as self-produced (Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32, Exodus 9:34; comp. 1 Samuel 6:6), partly as effected by God (Romans 4:21, Romans 7:3, Romans 9:12, Romans 10:20-21, Romans 11:10). Of these two ways of regarding the matter, however, Paul, suitably to his object, has expressly adopted the latter; Pharaoh hardened by God is to him the type of all who obstinately withstand the divine counsel of salvation, as Israel does. In opposition to Beck’s evasive expedients, see Lamping. On the hardening itself Olshausen remarks:—(1) That it presupposes already the beginnings of evil. But this is at variance with ὃν θέλει and ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φυράματος, Romans 9:21. (2) That it is not an aggravation of sin, but a means of preventing its aggravation. But Pharaoh’s history is against this. (3) That the total hardening is an expression of simple penal justice, when sin has become sin against the Holy Ghost. But in that case there could be no mention of a ὃν θέλει. The clear and simple sense of the apostle is, that it depends on the free determination of God’s will whether to bless with His saving mercy, or, on the other hand, to put into that spiritual condition, in which a man can be no object of His saving mercy (but rather of His ὀργή only). Accordingly, the will of God is here the absolute will, which is only in the ἐλεεῖ a will of grace, and not also in the σκληρύνει (in opposition to Th. Schott). Of the style and manner in which the older dogmatic interpreters have here introduced qualifying clauses in the interests of opposition to absolute predestination, the development of the matter by Calovius may serve as an example. He maintains, that when it is said that God hardens, this is not to be taken ἐνεργητικῶς or effective, but (1) συγχωρητικῶς, propter permissionem; (2) ἀφορ΄ητικῶς, propter occasionem, quam ex iis, quae Deus agit, sumunt reprobi; (3) ἐγκαταλειπτικῶς, ob desertionem, quod gratia sua deserat reprobos; (4) παραδοτικῶς, ob traditionem in sensum reprobum et in ulteriorem Satanae potestatem. But Philippi’s suggestion of the immanent law which the divine freedom carries within itself,—according to which God will have mercy upon him who acknowledges His right to have mercy on whom He will, and to harden whom He will; and will harden him who denies to Him this right,—will only then come into consideration by the side of what Paul here says, when (see remarks after Romans 9:33) we are in a position to judge of the relation of our passage and the connection that follows it to the moral self-determination of man, which the apostle teaches elsewhere; seeing that no further guiding hint is here given by Paul, and, moreover, that immanent law of the divine freedom, as Philippi himself frankly recognises, is not at all here expressed. For now the apostle has been most sedulously and exclusively urging nothing but the complete independence of the divine willing in ἐλεεῖν and σκληρύνειν, which the Form. Conc. p. 821 does not duly attend to, when it maintains that Paul desired to represent the hardening of Pharaoh as an example of divine penal justice. Not “ut eo ipso Dei justitiam declararet,” has Paul adduced this example, although it falls historically under this point of view, but as a proof of the completely free self-determination of God to harden whom He will. Accordingly, the hardening here appears by no means, as has been lately read between the lines, “as a consequence of preceding conceited self-righteousness” (Tholuck), or “such as the man himself has willed it” (Th. Schott), or conditioned by the divine standard of holiness confronting human sin (Weiss), or with an obvious presupposition of human self-determination (Beyschlag). Elsewhere the hardening may be adjudged as a punishment by God (Isaiah 6:9 ff.; Psalms 69:28; see Umbreit, p. 310 f.), but not so here. The will of God, which in truth can be no arbitrary pleasure, is no doubt holy and just; but it is not here apprehended and set forth under this point of view and from this side, but in reference to its independence of all human assistance, consequently in accordance with its alsolute aseitas, which is to be retained in its clear precision and without any qualifying clause to the words ὃν θέλει ἐλεεῖ, and must not be obscured by ideas of mediate agency that are here foreign.


Verse 19

Romans 9:19. An objection supposed by the apostle (comp. Romans 11:19) which might be raised against Romans 9:18, not merely by a Jew, but generally.

οὖν] in pursuance of the ὃν δὲ θέλει σκληρύνει.

ἔτι] logical, as in Romans 3:7, and frequently: If He hardens out of His own determination of will, why does He still find fault? That fact surely takes away all warrant from the reproaches which God makes against hardened sinners, since they have been hardened by the divine will itself, to which no one yet offers opposition (with success).

τῷ γὰρ βουλ. κ. τ. λ.] ground assigned for the question, τί ἔτι μέμφ.

ἀνθέστηκε] Who withstands? whereby, concretely, the irresistibility of the divine decree is set forth. The divine decree is exalted above any one’s opposition. According to the present opinion of Hofmann (it was otherwise in the Schriftbew. I. p. 246 f.), the opponent wishes to establish that, if the words ὃν θέλει, σκληρύνει be correct, no one may offer opposition to that which God wills, and therefore God can in no one have anything to censure. But thus the thought of the question τίς ἀνθέστηκε would be one so irrational and impious (as though, forsooth, no sinner would be opposed to God), that Paul would not even have had ground or warrant to have invented it as an objection. That question is not impious, but tragic, the expression of human weakness in presence of the divine decree of hardening.

On the classical βούλημα (more frequently βούλευμα), the thing willed, i.e. captum consilium (only here in Paul), see van Hengel, Lobeck, ad Aj. 44. Comp., as to the distinction between βούλομαι and θέλω (Ephesians 1:11), on Matthew 1:19.


Verses 19-21

Romans 9:19-21. Third part of the Theodicée: But man is not entitled to dispute with God, why He should still find fault. For his relation to God is as that of the thing formed to its former, or of the vessel to the potter, who has power to fashion out of a single lump vessels to honour and dishonour.


Verse 20

Romans 9:20. ΄ενοῦνγε] Imo vero, here not without irony: Yea verily, O man (Romans 2:1), who art thou (quantulus es) who repliest against God? See on Luke 11:28; also Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 303. On σὺ τίς εἶ, comp. Romans 14:4; Plato, Gorg. p. 452 B: σὺ δὲτίς εἶ, ἄνθρωπε; Paul does not give a refutation of the τί ἔτι μέμφ., but he repudiates the question as unwarranted;abrumpit quaestionem” (Melancthon), and that wholly from the standpoint of the entirely unlimited divine omnipotence, on which he has placed himself in the whole of the present connection, and consistently with that standpoint.

ἀνταποκριν.] For in τί ἔτιἀνθέστ. there is contained an oppositional reply, namely, to God’s finding fault, not to the saying of Scripture, Romans 9:17 (Hofmann), which the apostle’s present train of thought has already left behind. On the expression, comp. Luke 14:6; Judges 5:29; Job 16:8; Job 32:12. The word is not found in the Greek writers. But ἀνταποκρίνεσθαι, says Paul, as little belongs to man against God, as to the thing formed belongs the question addressed to its former: Why hast thou made me thus (as I am)? This comparison is logically correct (in opposition to Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 269), since the tertium comparationis generally is the constituting of the quality. As the moulder produces the quality of the vessel formed by him according to his own free will, so God constitutes the moral quality (fitted for blessedness or not so) of men as He will. Only when it is maintained that the comparison with the thing formed must properly refer only to the first formation of men, and not to the subsequent ethical moulding of those created (as in Pharaoh’s case, whom God hardened), can its logical correctness be denied. But Paul wrote in a popular form, and it is to do him injustice to press his simile more than he himself, judging by the tenor of the entire connection, would have it pressed. Glöckler (following Pareus) finds in μὴ ἐρεῖ κ. τ. λ. and Romans 9:21 an argumentatio a minore ad majus: “If not even in the case of an effigy can such a question be addressed to its former, how much less can man, etc.” But this also is to be quite laid aside, and we must simply abide by the conception of a simile, since that question on the part of the thing formed cannot certainly be conceived as really taking place, and since the simile itself is of so frequent occurrence in the O. T., that Paul has doubtless employed it by way of reminiscence from that source. See Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 18:6; Wisdom of Solomon 15:7; Sirach 36:13. Romans 9:21-23 also show that Paul sets forth God Himself under the image of the potter. According to Hofmann, the sense of the question resolves itself into a complaint over the destiny, for which the creature is created by God. But the contextual notion of ποιεῖν is not that of creation, but that of preparation, adjustment (Romans 9:21-22), correlative to the making of the potter, who does not create his vessels, but forms and fashions ( πλάσαντι) them thus or thus; and οὕτως simply specifies the mode of the making: in such shape, in such a kind of way, that I have not issued from thy hands as one of another mould. Comp. Winer, p. 434 [E. T. 584]. It is the τρόπος of the ποιεῖν, which presents itself in the result.


Verse 21

Romans 9:21. ] The sense, without an interrogation, is: Unless perhaps the potter should not have power over his clay ( τοῦ πηλοῦ), to make ( ποιῆσαι, the infinitive of more precise definition), etc. Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 15:7.

ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φυράμ.] The φύραμα (comp. on Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 5:6) is the lump of the πηλός, mixed with water and kneaded, out of which the potter makes the different vessels. In the application of the simile, the same lump denotes human nature in and by itself, as it is alike in all with its opposite moral capabilities and dispositions, but not yet conceived of in its definite individual moral stamp. Out of this, like the potter out of the clay-dough which is susceptible of various moulding, God—who does not merely “allow to come into being” the different moral quality of individuals, in order then to fulfil on them the ἐλεεῖν or σκληρύνειν which He will (Hofmann), but effectively produces it—makes partly such as are destined to stand in honour (namely, as partakers of the Messianic glory), partly such as are to stand in dishonour (namely, through the eternal ἀπώλεια). Comp. Romans 9:22-23. See also 2 Timothy 2:20-21. The former is the effect of His ἐλεεῖν, as in the case of Moses; the latter that of His σκληρύνειν, as in the case of Pharaoh. Much too general and rationalizing, in opposition to the text, is van Hengel’s view, that the figure refers generally to the “inexplicabiles divini rerum humanarum regiminis rationes;” and Beyschlag’s view amounts to the same thing: “out of the material of the human race (?) which is at His disposal as it continues to come into existence, to stamp individuals with this or that historical destination” (?).

εἰς τιμήν] This is the destination of the vessel; it is either to be honoured, so that it has τιμήν (as e.g. a sacred vase), or is to experience the opposite, so that ἀτιμία cleaves to it (as e.g. an utensil destined to foul use).

Observe the purposely-chosen arrangement of the words: the juxtaposition οί οὐκ ἔχει (or lacks), the juxtaposition of κεραμεὺς τοῦ πηλοῦ (although τοῦ πηλ. belongs to ἐξους.; comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 332), and the prefixing of εἰς τιμήν.


Verse 22

Romans 9:22 f. forms a conditional interrogative sentence, the apodosis of which is not expressed, but is gathered from the context, viz.: Wilt thou still be able to venture the ἀνταποκρίνεσθαι τῷ θεῷ of Romans 9:20 f.? Must thou not utterly become dumb with thy replies? Comp. on John 6:61; Acts 23:9; Luke 19:41 : see also Calvin and Calovius, in loc.; Fritzsche, Conject. p. 30; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 212; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 297. This aposiopesis with εἰ δὲ corresponds perfectly to our: but how if, etc. It is to be translated: “But how if God, although minded to manifest His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath, which are nevertheless adjusted for destruction, in order also to make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory?Paraphrased, the sense is: “But if God, notwithstanding that His holy will disposes Him not to leave unmanifested His wrath and His power, but practically to make them known, has nevertheless hitherto, full of long-suffering, endured such as are objects of His wrath, and spared them from the destruction, to incur which they are nevertheless constituted and fitted like a vessel by the potterendured them and spared them not merely as a proof of such great long-suffering towards them, but also with the purpose in view of making known, during the period of this forbearance, the fulness of His glorious perfection in respect to such as are objects of His mercy, whom He, as the potter fashions a vessel, has prepared beforehand, and put in order for eternal glory,—how, in presence of that self-denying long-suffering of God towards vessels of wrath, and in presence of this gracious purpose, which He withal, at the same time, cherishes towards the vessels of mercy, must any desire to dispute with God completely depart from thee!”

In detail the following points are to be observed: δὲ is neither equivalent to οὖν, nor resumptive, but the simple μεταβατικόν, making the transition to something further, namely, from the previous dismissal of the objector to the refutation which puts him to shame. Tholuck (comp. also Weiss, Reithmayr, and others) takes it antithetically, so that the sequence of thought would be: “I assert this as God’s absolute right against you, if you choose to take your stand on the point of right; but how if God has not so much as even dealt thus, etc.?” But such an interpretation, which would require the contrast to be much more strongly marked than by the mere δὲ, is at variance with the retention in the sequel of the figurative σκεύη and their preparedness; because it is thence evident, that what Paul had previously said concerning the freedom of God to prepare men of different character and destiny like potters’ vessels, he by no means intended to cancel, as if God had not thus dealt. θέλων is, with Fritzsche, Philippi, Lamping, and several others, to be resolved by although, because only thus is there yielded the logically correct preparation for the notion of πολλὴ μακροθυμία, which is a self-denying one; the θέλειν ἐνδείξασθαι κ. τ. λ. is the constant essential characteristic of the holy God, and yet He has borne, etc. The analysis: because God willed (so most, including de Wette, Rückert, van Hengel), yields the sense that God has, in order thereupon to issue all the more evident a penal judgment, endured patiently, etc.; but this would not amount to a πολλὴ μακροθυμία, but in fact to a delay occasioned by an ungodlike motive, and having in view the heaping up of wrath. Unworthy of God, and only rendered possible by the importation of parenthetical thoughts, is the sense which Hofmann educes: God has not so borne with those men, that He would first see how it would be with them, in order then to deal with them accordingly; but He has done so with the will already withal firmly settled, to prove, etc. That negative and this already firm settlement of will are read between the lines.

θέλων is placed at the head of the sentence, in order by contrast the more forcibly to prepare the mind for the notion for which it is intended to prepare, that of the μακροθυμία. τὸ δυνατὸν αὐτοῦ is what is possible to Him, what He is in a position to do. Comp. Romans 8:3, τὸ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου. Xen. Hell. i. 4. 13, τοῦ τῆς πόλεως δυνατοῦ. As to the matter itself, see 3 Maccabees 2:6. The aorist ἤνεγκεν does not refer to the long forbearance with Pharaoh (Chrysostom, de Wette, and most); the reference to him has been already concluded with Romans 9:18; but Paul intends generally the time hitherto (which will in like manner run on under this divine long-suffering up to the Parousia), when God has still restrained the will of His holiness, and has not yet accomplished the destruction of the objects of His wrath, which He will do for the first time in judgment. The σκεύη ὀργῆς, without the article, vessels of wrath, denotes not some, but such σκεύη generally, qualitatively understood, namely, vessels which are prepared (Romans 9:20 f.) to experience God’s wrath on themselves, to be the objects of it. The effect of this wrath, which will go forth at the judgment, is everlasting destruction; hence κατηρτ. εἰς ἀπώλ., adjusted for destruction (not “ripe for destruction,” as Weiss and Hofmann explain), serves to bring the μακροθυμία into still clearer relief, which is not that which waits for the self-decision of human freedom (Beyschlag), especially for amendment (in opposition to Bengel, Tholuck, and others), but that which delays the penal judgment (comp. on Luke 18:7), the prolongatio irae, Jeremiah 15:15, et al. The passage Romans 2:4 f. is no protest against this view, since the apostle does not there, as in the present passage, place himself at the standpoint of the absolute divine will. The subject who has adjusted those concerned for ἀπώλεια is God; and any saving clause whereby the passive sense is made to disappear, or the passive expression—which, after Romans 9:20 f., not even a certain refinement of piety is to be suggested as underlying—is made to yield the sense that they had adjusted themselves for destruction, or had deserved it (see Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Grotius, Calovius, Bengel, and many; also Steudel, Olshausen, Reithmayr, Beck, Hofmann, and Krummacher), is opposed to the literal meaning and to the context (Romans 9:21). See also Lamping, p. 213. Hofmann’s interpretation especially: “who had advanced to that point, and found themselves therein,” is wrecked on his incorrect explanation of τί με ἐποίησας οὕτως, Romans 9:20. In καὶ ἵνα κ. τ. λ., καί is also, introducing, in addition to the object involved in the previous ἐν πολλῇ μακροθυμίᾳ, that accessory object which God had in view in enduring the vessels of wrath in reference to vessels of mercy (the use of the genit. ἐλέους corresponds to that of ὀργῆς, Romans 9:22). Besides His great long-suffering towards those, He would also make known how rich in glory He was towards these. For had He not so patiently tolerated the σκεύη ὀργῆς, but already caused the penal judgment to set in upon them (which is to be thought of as setting in along with the Parousia, not antecedently to this, like the destruction of Jerusalem), He would have had no space in which to make known His glory on σκεύεσιν ἐλέους. But this purpose was to be served exactly by that long period of forbearance, during which such σκεύη as were prepared beforehand by God for eternal δόξα should through their calling (Romans 9:24) be led to Christ, and thereby the fulness of the divine glory should be made known in respect to them; which making known is matter of fact (Ephesians 3:10). In τῆς δόξ. αὐτοῦ, the context directs us to think of the divine majesty in relation to its beneficent glory, its glory in the bestowal of blessing; but εἰς δόξαν, as the opposite of εἰς ἀπώλ., denotes the everlasting Messianic glory (Romans 8:21; Romans 8:30). The verbs ἑτοιμάζειν and καταρτίζειν are not as different from one another as existence (Dasein) is from mode of existence (Sosein),—an assertion of Hofmann’s as incorrect as it is devoid of proof,—but ἑτοιμάζειν also denotes to constitute qualitatively, to prepare in the corresponding quality (1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 2:10; Philemon 1:22; Matthew 3:3; Luke 1:17; Luke 2:31; John 14:2, et al.). Comp. here especially 2 Timothy 2:21. Against such an error the well-known reflexive use of ἑτοιμάζειν ἑαυτόν (Revelation 8:6; Revelation 19:7) should have warned him, as well as the equivalent use of the middle (1 Maccabees 5:11; 1 Maccabees 12:27, and very frequently in the classics). It is solely with a view to variety and illustration that Paul uses for the same notion the two verbs, of which Hofmann rationalizes the ἑτοιμάζειν to mean: “that it is God who has caused those who attain to glory to come into being for the end of possessing the glory, to which they thereupon attain by the fact that He pours forth His own upon them.” Nor is there anything peculiar to be sought behind the change from passive to active; the transition to the active was more readily suggested by the thought of the activity of love. The προ in προητοίμασεν is not to be disregarded (see on Ephesians 2:10); nor is it to be referred to the time before birth, nor to the aeterna electio (the latter is the act of God, which before time preceded the praeparatio); but to the fact that God has so previously fashioned the σκεύη ἐλέους, before He makes known His glory on them (just as the potter fashions the vessel), that is, has constituted in them that ethical personality, which corresponds to their destination to obtain eternal δόξα through Christ. In ἐπὶ the act of making known is contemplated as extending over the men, who are its objects. If, with Beza and Fritzsche (Conject. p. 29; not abandoned in his Comment. p. 343 f., but placed alongside of the ordinary mode of connection), we should make καὶ ἵνα γνωρίσῃ κ. τ. λ. dependent, if not simply on κατηρτισμένα (Rückert), yet on κατηρτ. εἰς ἀπώλειαν (so also Beyschlag), in which case καὶ would have to be taken most simply as and, the entire balance of the discourse would be deranged, inasmuch as the important thought καὶ ἵνα γνωρίσῃ κ. τ. λ., on which the whole sequel depends, would be subordinated to a mere secondary definition. The centre of gravity of the argument lies in the bearing with the vessels of wrath on the part of the divine long-suffering; and thereof in Romans 9:23 there is brought forward an explanation glorifying God, which is added in respect to the σκεύη ἐλέους. The connection above referred to would also certainly yield a severity of thought, a rigour of telic view, which, granting all the boldness of deduction with which Paul follows out the idea of predestination, yet finds nothing further in accord with it in the whole treatise; the thought, namely, that God has made ready the σκεύη ὀργῆς for destruction, in order, through the effect of the contrast, the more fully to make known His glory in the σκεύεσι ἐλέους.

It is further to be remarked, (1) That the interrogative conditional sentence forming an aposiopesis terminates with Romans 9:23, and is not (with Fritzsche) to be extended to Romans 9:24, since all that follows from Romans 9:25 onward belongs to the topic started in Romans 9:24. (2) That we are not, following Reithmayr and older commentators with Philippi, to supply a second εἰ between καὶ and ἵνα in Romans 9:23, and to assume that Paul had intended at the close of Romans 9:23 to say ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς, but that he at once directed his glance at the concretes, and therefore wrote οὒς καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ἡ΄ᾶς instead of ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς. Thereby a rambling and confusion in the presenting of his thoughts is, quite unnecessarily, imputed to the apostle, which would be very glaring, particularly in a dialectic passage so stamped throughout with clearness, definiteness, and precision as the present. Similarly, but still more confusedly, Tholuck. The language in Romans 9:22-23 is condensed and rich in thought, but runs on according to plan and rule in its form. (3) The apodosis (which on our understanding is not expressed) is not to be found in Romans 9:23, because this would only be possible by arbitrarily supplying hoc fecit, or the whole preceding chief sentence. So Ewald: “so He did that also, in order that He might make known, on the other hand, the riches of His glory, etc.;” so also Th. Schott and Hofmann.

With our explanation agree substantially Calvin, Grotius, and several others; including Winer, p. 530 [E. T. 713]; Baur, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1857, p. 200; Lamping and van Hengel, whilst Umbreit educes something which has no existence in the passage, as though it ran: εἰ δὲ ἔθελεν θεὸςἀλλʼ ἤνεγκεν κ. τ. λ. (He has, on the contrary, endured, etc.)


Verses 22-29

Romans 9:22-29. Fourth part of the Theodicée: God, full of long-suffering, has borne with vessels of wrath, in order withal to make known His glory on vessels of mercy, as which He has also called us Christians both out of the Jews and out of the Gentiles. Comp. on Romans 9:22-23; Wisdom of Solomon 12:20-21. These two kinds of σκεύη are necessarily the same as those meant in Romans 9:21 (in opposition to Weiss, p. 66 f., and bibl. Theol. p. 383). This is shown by the retention of σκεύη, as well as by the attributes κατηρτισμένα and προητοίμασεν corresponding to the ποιῆσαι of Romans 9:21, just as εἰς ἀπώλειαν aptly corresponds to the εἰς ἀτιμίαν, and εἰς δόξαν to the εἰς τιμήν, Romans 9:21. The former vessels as κατηρτισμένα εἰς ἀπώλειαν are necessarily σκεύη ὀργῆς, for the divine ὀργή and ἀπώλεια are correlates, which suppose one another. But the guilt, which is supposed by the notion of ὀργή, is, in the entirely consistent connection of our passage, presented—by the καταρτίζειν which precedes the guilt, and in virtue of which God has made them such as they are and not otherwise—as the consequence of the moral development conditioned by this previous preparation. Weiss fails to recognise the onesidedness of the mode of view here necessarily intended and boldly carried out by the apostle, which will not, moreover, bear the attempts of Hofmann to explain it away, or those of Beyschlag to twist the notion; the latter least of all, on the subjective ground that the strictly understood notion of σκεύη ὀργῆς is incapable of fulfilment, which at the absolute standpoint of the text it is not.


Verse 24

Romans 9:24. Not a confirmation of the design of the divine endurance expressed in Romans 9:23 (Hofmann), but as the continuation of the relative construction most readily suggests, the concrete more precise designation of those intended by σκεύη ἐλέους, and that for the confirmation of what was said of them by προητοίμασεν εἰς δόξαν. The καί denotes what is added to this προητοίμ. . δ.: as which σκεύη He has also called us to this glory of the Messianic kingdom.

οὕς] attracted by ἡμᾶς into the same gender. See Bernhardy, p. 302; Winer, p. 156 f. [E. T. 207]. The relative after an interrogative sentence has the emphasis of an οὗτος γάρ (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 64); but the masculine is first introduced here, not in the preceding relative sentence (against Hofmann’s objection), because the neuter expression προητοίμ. was required by the conformity with the correlate κατηρτισμένα.

οὐ μόνον κ. τ. λ.] Therefore without preference of the Jews. “Judaeus credens non est eo ipso vocatus, quod Judaeus est, sed vocatus est ex Judaeis,” Bengel.


Verse 25

Romans 9:25. Of the καὶ ἐξ ἐθνῶν it is shown that it is in accordance with ( ὡς) a divine prophetic utterance. The ἐξ ἰουδαίων required no confirmation from prophecy; but the other statement required it the more, inasmuch as it was exactly the Gentiles who had become believing that had been introduced as σκεύη ἐλέους, in place of the Jews who had remained unbelieving.

ἐν τῷ ὡς.] in libro Hoseae: comp. Mark 1:2; John 6:45; Acts 7:42. The passage Hos. 2:25 (the citation varies both from the LXX. and the original text) treats of the idolatrous people of the ten tribes, to whom God announces pardon and renewed adoption as the people of God. The apostle recognises in this pardon the type of the reception of the Gentiles to salvation, and consequently, as its prophetically Messianic sense, a prediction of the calling of the Gentiles; and from this point of view, which has its warrant in the likeness of category to which the subjects belong (comp. Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 251), he has also introduced the deviations from the words of the original and of the LXX., transposing the two parallel sentences, and rendering the thought ἐρῶ τῷ οὐ λαῷ μου κ. τ. λ. (LXX.) by καλέσω κ. τ. λ., because the divine κλῆσις of the Gentiles loomed before him as the Messianic fulfilment of the saying. Yet we are not thereby justified in understanding καλέσω and κληθήσονται, Romans 9:26, immediately in the sense of vocation (Fritzsche); for καλεῖν τινά τι, to call any one to something, is without linguistic warrant, and the departure thus assumed from the original and from the LXX. would be unnecessary, and would amount to a mechanical proceeding. On the contrary, καλεῖν is to be left in its ordinary signification to name (comp. Hosea 1:6); the divine naming, however, as “my people, my beloved,” of which the Gentiles were previously the very opposite, is in point of fact none other than just their calling to Messianic salvation, in consequence of which they are then named also from the human side υἱοὶ θεοῦ ζῶντος (Romans 9:26), and are therewith recognised according to the theocratic status which they have obtained. The vivid thought laid hold of the expression καλέσω the more readily, since in this word to call and to name form a single notion. Accordingly we must translate: I will name that which is not my people, my people; and her who is not beloved, beloved. Both expressions refer in the original to the significant names of a son ( לֹא עַמִּי) and of a daughter ( לֹא רֻחָמָה) of the prophet, which he had been directed to give them as symbolically significant of the rejection of the people, Hosea 1:6-9.

On the οὐ standing beside the noun with the article, where the denial refers to a concrete definite subject, see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 276.


Verse 26

Romans 9:26. Hosea 2:1 (almost literally from the LXX., Romans 1:10) is joined to the former passage, so that both are regarded as forming one connected declaration. Often so in Rabbinical usage, even when the passages belong to different writers. See Surenhusius, καταλλ., p. 464. 45.

καὶ ἔσται] וְהָיָה, and it (the following) will come to pass. Comp. Acts 2:21. These words are included in those of the prophecy (see also the LXX.), and therefore a colon is not to be placed after καί, as though they were the apostle’s (Hofmann and others).

These words also treat, in Hosea himself, of the theocratic restoration of the exiled people of the kingdom of Ephraim, so that ἐν τῷ τόπῳ οὗ denotes Palestine, whither the outcasts were to return (not the place of exile, as Hengstenberg, I. p. 248, and others think). But Paul recognises the antitypic fulfilment, as before at Romans 9:25, in the calling of the Gentiles, who, previously designated by God as not His people, become now, in consequence of the divine calling, sons of the living (true) God. See on Romans 9:25. But in this sense of Messianic fulfilment, according to Paul, the τόπος οὗ ἐῤῥέθη αὐτοῖς κ. τ. λ. cannot be Palestine, as it is in the historical sense of the prophet; nor yet is it “the communion of saints” (de Wette, comp. Baumgarten-Crusius: “the ideal state, the divine kingdom”), nor the “coetus Christianorum, ubi diu dubitatum est, an recte gentiles reciperentur” (Fritzsche); but simply—and this is also the ordinary explanation—the locality of the Gentiles, the Gentile lands. There, where they dwelt, there they, called by God to the salvation of the Messiah, were now named sons of the true God; and there, too, it had been before said to them: Ye are not my people! in so far, namely, as this utterance of rejection was the utterance of God, which, published to the Gentiles, is conceived, in the plastic spirit of poetry, as resounding in all Gentile lands. To suppose the locality without significance (Krehl), is inconsistent with its being so carefully designated. And to take ἐν τῷ τόπῳ οὗ, with Ewald, not in a local sense at all, but in that of instead that, even if it agree with the Hebrew (comp. Hitzig), cannot be made to agree with the Greek words. The LXX. understood and translated בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר locally, and rightly so.


Verse 27-28

Romans 9:27-28. If Paul has, in Romans 9:25-26, shown ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ἐθνῶν to be based on prophecy, he now begins, seeing that the accepted Gentiles have taken the place of the excluded Jews, also to adduce prophetical evidence of the exclusion of the greater part of Israel.

δέ] leads over to another prophet, who prophesies something further, and that concerning Israel: “But Esaias cries respecting Israel, etc.”

κράζει] Of the loud crying, and therewith peculiarly impassioned, profoundly moved, and urgent call of the speaker, comp. Acts 23:6; Acts 24:21; John 7:28; John 7:37; John 12:44; John 1:15.

ὑπέρ] Like περί, in respect of, as, since Demosthenes, frequently with verbs of saying. The quotation is Isaiah 10:22 f., not quite closely following the LXX., and with a reminiscence ( ἀριθμ. τ. υἱῶν ἰσρ.) of Hosea 2:1.

τὸ ὑπόλειμμα σωθ.] The remnant concerned (with emphatic accentuation, i.e. not more than the remnant) will be saved; that is, in the sense of the apostle: out of the countlessly great people only that small number which remains after the rejection of the hardened mass will attain to the Messianic salvation. With this understanding Paul employed the translation in the LXX.—not verbally exact, but corresponding to the Messianic reference—of יָשׁוּב by σωθήσεται (which they understood of the deliverance by a return into Palestine) in the Messianic sense. In Isaiah the word refers to the return to God, is converted, of which the Messianic σώζεσθαι is just the consequence.


Verse 28

Romans 9:28. The Hebrew runs: כִּלָּיוֹן חָרוּץ שֹׁטֵף צְדָקָה כִּי כָלָה וְנֶֽחֱרָצָה אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת עֹשֶׂה בְּקֶרֶב כָּלּ־הָאָרֶץ. Extirpation is decided, streaming justice (i.e. penal justice); for extirpation and decision (penal decision) the Lord Jehovah Zebaoth makes (i.e. is on the point of executing) in the midst of the whole earth (on Zion). The LXX. did not understand these words, and translated them incorrectly (on how they came to do so, see Fritzsche, also Maier, in the Theol. Jahrb. 1845, I. p. 190 f.). This cannot be denied; nor are we, with Olshausen, to attempt to conceal or smooth over the fact by arbitrary interpretation of the Hebrew. Paul has nevertheless felt no scruple in abiding by their translation with a few unimportant deviations, since its sense is not less suitable than that of the original to the connection and object which the declaration here subserves. The words, as Paul has them, mean: “For utterance-accomplishing and (as matter of fact, through a speedy execution of it) shortcutting in righteousness (is He); for a short-cut utterance (i.e. a saying in which the whole penal decision is summarily included) will the Lord bring to pass on the earth.” In reference to single expressions, remark: (1) λόγον, which belongs to both participles, is neither decree (usually so taken, but this is not its meaning), nor matter of fact (Beza, Melancthon, Castalio, Calvin, Koppe, Reithmayr, formerly also Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 213, and various others), which it never denotes with Paul, nor reckoning, which, in connection with ποιεῖν, would be contrary to idiom, but dictum, an utterance, which He has delivered; and this indeed, in the first clause of the verse, which expresses the executive justice of God in general, is to be understood quite generally; comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.: “quicquid dixit, plene praestet et quidem compendio.” In the second clause, on the other hand, which adduces proof of that general description of God with the concrete case, the occurrence of which is predicted, the divine saying of Romans 9:27, delivered through the prophet, is intended. (2) συντέμνειν, used of something that is said (speeches, answers, and the like), like συναιρεῖν, never denotes in Greek anything else than to cut short (Plato, Protag. p. 334 D, Ephesians 3, p. 318 B Aeschines, p. 32. 23; Euripides, Iph. A. 1249, Aeol. fr. v. 2; Lucian, bis. accus. 28; Soph. fragm. 411, Dind.; 2 Maccabees 10:10; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 1180), and it is therefore inadmissible to depart from this signification of the συντομία λόγων (Plato, Phaedr. p. 267 B). We must, however, observe that in συντέμνων this “comprising in short” must be a matter of fact, consisting in the short summary despatch of the matter (comp. LXX. Isaiah 28:22; Eur. Rhes. 450), like our “cut it short;” while, on the other hand, συντετμημένον (perfect) refers to the concise, short, and stern style in which the saying itself is conceived ( τὸ ὑπόλειμμα σωθήσεται!). Passages in which συντέμνειν denotes overtake and the like (as Soph. Ant. 1090) have no bearing on the present one. Neither are we to adopt what Tholuck reads into it, that God will accomplish the promise delivered in Isaiah 10:20-21, only with great limitation of the number of the people, which would, besides, be not at all suitable to the perfect participle συντετμημένον. Moreover, the LXX. cannot have meant λόγον of the word of promise, but, according to the sense of the original, only of the penal judicial declaration. (3) ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ does not stand for the righteousness of faith (Fritzsche), but is to be referred, according to the context, as in the Hebrew, to the judicial righteousness of God. (4) The participles συντετ. and συντέμνων require only ἐστί to be supplied. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 776; Bernhardy, p. 470; Kühner, II. 1, p. 37. And (5) as respects the argumentative force of the γάρ, it lies in the fact that, if God causes such a penal judgment to be issued on Israel, the part of the people remaining spared, which obtains salvation, can only be the ὑπόλειμμα out of the mass, that which remains over. Incorrectly Hofmann, in accordance with his erroneous interpretation of Romans 9:27-28, explains: So long as this present world-period endures, Israel’s final salvation might remain in suspense; “but Jehovah leaves it not on this footing, He makes an end, and settles accounts with the world, and the remnant which is then Israel’s people returns to Him and attains to salvation.”


Verse 29

Romans 9:29. Since the preceding prophecy was not introduced by καθώς or ὡς, we must here punctuate καὶ, καθὼς προείρηκεν ἡσαΐας, εἰ μὴ κ. τ. λ., so that Paul adopts as his own the words of Isaiah 1:9 (closely following the LXX.): “And, as Isaiah has prophesied, if the Lord of Zebaoth had not left behind to us a seed (in the sense of the apostle, this is that very ὑπόλειμμα of Romans 9:27, which, like seed out of which new fruit grows, preserves and continues the true people of God), we should have become as Sodom, and like to Gomorrha;” the whole nation (by exclusion from Messianic salvation) would have without exception perished (fallen unto ἀπώλεια).

προείρ] Not to be understood, with Baumgarten-Crusius and van Hengel, following Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Michaelis, and others: has said at an earlier place, for local specifications of this kind are quite unusual in quotations with Paul, and here such reference would be without significance. It is used in the prophetic sense; the prophet has said of the fate of the people in his time, with a forecast of its corresponding fate in the present time, what holds good of Israel’s present; the mass of its people is hardened by divine judgment, and forfeits salvation, and only a holy σπέρμα is left to it. Comp. on προείρ., Acts 1:16; Plato, Rep. p. 619 C Lucian, Jov. Frag. 30; Polyb. vi. 3. 2.

ὡς γόμ.] Two modes of conception are intermixed: become like, and become as, LXX., Hosea 4:6; Ezekiel 32:2; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 140 f. Compare the classical connection of ὅμοιος and ὁ΄οίως with ὡς and ὥσπερ.


Verse 30-31

Romans 9:30-31. From the preceding prophecies, Romans 9:25 ff. (not with particular regard to Romans 9:16, as de Wette), Paul now, in order to prepare the transition to the διατί; ὅτι κ. τ. λ., Romans 9:32, draws the historical result, and that in the form of question and answer: “What shall we say then? (we shall say) that Gentiles, they who strove not after righteousness, have obtained righteousness, but righteousness which proceeds from faith; while Israel, on the contrary, in spite of its endeavour after the law which justifies, has not attained to this law.” Others take ὅτιἔφθασε to be a question, namely either: “What are we to say to the fact, that Gentiles, etc.?” So, following Theodore of Mopsuestia and others, Heumann, Flatt, Olshausen, also Morus, who takes ὅτι as because. Or: “What are we therefore to say? Are we to say that Gentiles, etc.?” So Reiche, who is then compelled to consider δικ, δὲ τὴν ἐκ πίστ. as an answer inserted as in a dialogue, and to see in Romans 9:32 the “removal of the ground of the objection by a disclosure of the cause of the phenomenon, which has now no longer anything surprising in it.” But Reiche’s view is to be rejected, partly on the ground that the insertion of a supposed answer, δικ. δὲ τ. ἐκ π., is a makeshift and unexampled in Paul’s writings; partly because ὅτιἔφθασε, even with the exclusion of δικ. δὲ τ. ἐκ. π., contains complete Pauline truth, and consequently does not at all resemble a problematic inquiry, such as Paul elsewhere introduces by τί ἐροῦμεν, and then refutes as erroneous (see Romans 4:1). This, too, in opposition to Th. Schott, who, taking τί οὖνδικαιοσύνην; as a single independent question (What shall we now say to the fact, that Gentiles, etc.), then finds the answer in δικαιοσύνην δὲ ἐκ πίστεως, but afterwards, no less strangely than groundlessly, proposes to connect διατί immediately, no punctuation being previously inserted, with the proposition ἰσραὴλ δὲ κ. τ. λ. Finally, it is decisive against Heumann and others, that the answer of Romans 9:32, ὅτι οὐκ κ. τ. λ., does not concern the Gentiles at all (see Romans 9:30).

ἔθνη] Gentiles (comp. Romans 2:14), not the Gentiles as a collective body. On the part of Gentiles righteousness was obtained, etc.

τὰ μὴ διώκ.] They, whose endeavour (for they had not a revelation, nor did they observe the moral law) was not directed towards becoming righteous, they obtained righteousness, but—and hereby this paradox of sacred history is solved—that which proceeds from faith. In the first two instances δικ. is used without any special definition from the Christian point of view; the latter only comes to be introduced with the third δικ.

δὲ] comp. Romans 3:22; Philippians 2:8.

On the figurative διώκειν, borrowed from the running for the prize in the racecourse, as also on the correlate καταλαμβάνειν, comp. Philippians 3:12-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; Sirach 11:10; Sirach 27:8; on διώκειν δικαιοσύνην, Plato, Rep. p. 545 A. Observe the threefold δικαιοσύνην, as in Romans 9:31 the repetition of νόμον δικαιος. The whole passage is framed for pointed effect: “Vehementer auditorem commovet ejusdem redintegratio verbi … quasi aliquod telum saepius perveniat in eandem partem corporis.” Auct. ad Herenn. iv. 28.


Verses 30-33

Romans 9:30-33. The blame of their exclusion rests upon the Jews themselves, because they strove after righteousness not by faith, but by works; they took offence at Christ. Observe how Paul here “with the fewest words touches the deepest foundation of the matter” (Ewald).


Verse 31-32

Romans 9:31-32. Israel, on the contrary, striving after the law of righteousness, has (in respect to the mass of the people) not attained to the law of righteousness.

νόμον-g0- δικαιος-g0-.] The law affording righteousness. Quite erroneous is the view of Chrysostom, Theodoret, Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Bengel, Heumann, that it is a hypallage for δικαιοσύνην νόμου; and that of Rückert and Köllner is arbitrary, that Paul, in his effort after brevity and paradox, has used a condensed phrase for τὸν νόμον ὡς νόμον δικ. On the contrary, the justifying law is in both instances (comp. δικαιοσύνην, Romans 9:30) to be left without any more precise concrete definition, and to be regarded as the ideal (comp. also Fritzsche and Philippi), the reality of which the Israelites strove by their legal conduct to experience in themselves (to possess), but did not obtain. The justifying law! this is the idea, which they pursued, but to the reality they remained strangers. If, finally, we chose, with many others (including Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Reiche, Köllner, Krehl, de Wette), to understand the first νὸμ. δικ. of the historical Mosaic law, and the second of Christianity, διώκων would be opposed to us; for this, according to Romans 9:30, expresses not the endeavour to fulfil the law, but the endeavour to possess the law, as, indeed, οὐκ ἔφθασε εἰς must correspond to κατέλαβε in Romans 9:30, and therefore must simply denote non pervenit (Vulg.), not: non praevenit (Erasmus, Estius, Hammond, and others, including Ewald and Jatho). Comp. on Philippians 3:16. The reading of Lachmann, εἰς νόμον οὐκ ἔφθασε, which Hofmann follows, is explained by the latter: Israel was set upon fulfilling a law which teaches what is right ( διώκων νόμον δικαιοσύνης), but did not thereby succeed, did not become ἔννομος ( εἰς νόμον οὐκ ἔφθασε); because the law remained for it, like a shadow, ever only near, but unattainable, thus Israel had not at all come to have its standpoint generally in a law and to live in it, neither in that of the Old Testament, which it sought to follow, nor in that of the New Testament, on which it turned its back. An entirely subjective artificial complication of ideas, with invented accessories, and not even historically correct, since in fact the Israelites stood and lived only too much ἐν νόμῳ and as ἔννομοι, but could not withal attain to the νόμος δικαιοσύνης. This δικαιοσύνης is the tragic point of the negative counter-statement, and hence is indispensable in the text.

διὰ τί] sc. εἰς νόμον δικ. οὐκ ἔφθασεν; answer: ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως, sc ἐδίωξαν νόμον δικ. For, had they started from faith in their striving, they would have obtained in Christianity the realization of their endeavour, the νόμον δικαιοσύνης; through faith in Christ, to whom the law already points (Romans 3:31, Romans 10:5 ff.; John 5:46), they would have become righteous, and would thus in the gospel have really attained what floated before them as an idea, the justifying law.

ὡς ἐξ ἔργ.] ὡς can neither denote a hypocritical conduct (Theophylact), nor presumed works (Fritzsche), nor quasi (van Hengel, following the Vulgate); for, indeed, the Jews really set out from the works of the law in their endeavour. On the contrary, it means: Because their διώκειν was in the way, in which a διώκειν starting from works is constituted; the (perverted) kind and quality of the endeavour is designated, comp. 2 Corinthians 2:17; John 1:14. The ἐξ ἔργ. is by ὡς brought into fuller relief; see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 757 f.

προσέκοψαν κ. τ. λ.] without γάρ (see critical remarks), but thus coming in all the more strikingly: they stumbled, etc.; that is the fatal fact, which befell them in their διώκειν, and caused that they οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως κ. τ. λ. Had they not stumbled at the stone of stumbling, they would have entered on the right line of endeavour ἐκ πίστεως, instead of their perverted one ὡς ἐξ ἔργων νόμου. The simple appropriateness, clearness, and force, with which the προσέκοψαν κ. τ. λ. is thus introduced, must exclude the connection with ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ ἔργων νόμου (Lachmann), followed also by Th. Schott (“but, as could not but happen in consequence of works, came to ruin on the stone of stumbling”). The λίθος προσκόμματος, the stone on which one stumbles (trips), is Christ, in so far as occasion for unbelief is taken at His manifestation (especially at His death on the cross, 1 Corinthians 1:23). Comp. Luke 2:34; 1 Peter 2:7-8. The figure is in perfect correspondence with the conception of the διώκειν, and was perhaps selected in anticipation of the passage of Scripture to be adduced. Aptly, moreover, Theophylact remarks: λίθ. προσκ. κ. πέτρα σκανδ. ἀπὸ τοῦ τέλους καὶ τῆς ἐκβάσεως τῶν ἀπιστησάντων ὠνόμασται χριστός· αὐτὸς γὰρ καθʼ ἑαυτὸν θεμέλιος καὶ ἑδραίωμα ἐτέθη.


Verse 33

Romans 9:33. This προσέκοψαν τῷ λίθῳ τ. προσκ. ensued—and this is the θεία μοῖρα herein—in conformity with the prophetic declaration, according to which Christ is laid as the stone of stumbling in Israel ( ἐν σιών, as the theocratic seat of the people), and faith on Him would have been that very thing which would have preserved them from the forfeiture of salvation.

Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 8:14 are blended into one declaration, with a free but pertinent variation both from the original and also from the LXX. With Isaiah, in the first passage, the theocracy—the kingdom of Jehovah, whose sacred basis and central seat is the temple—is the stone laid by God; and in the second, God Himself is the stone of stumbling and the rock of offence for His enemies. But Paul (comp. 1 Peter 2:6-8) justly perceives in the passages prophecies of the Messiah (as do also the Rabbins), and, in connection with the Messianic character, of all the glory and triumph of the theocracy, the fulfiller of which is the Messiah.

πιστ. ἐπ. αὐτῷ] he who relies on Him, in the Messianic fulfilment: he who believes on Christ. Comp. Romans 10:11; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Peter 2:6; Luke 24:25. Christ, the object of faith, is conceived of as He to whom faith adheres as its foundation (comp. Bernhardy, p. 250); there is therefore no need of the circumlocution: “fidem in Deo ponit Christo fretus” (van Hengel). See also on Matthew 27:42, and comp. ἐλπίζειν ἐπί, Romans 15:12. We may add that πᾶς, if it were the genuine reading, would not have the emphasis; but the latter lies upon πιστεύων, as the opposite of προσκόπτειν.

καταισχυνθήσεται] The LXX. have this verb ( καταισχυνθῇ), apparently deviating from the original text, Isaiah 28:16, where probably they have merely given an inaccurate translation of יחיש, according to the approximate sense, and have not adopted another reading, namely יביש (Reiche, Olshausen, Hofmann).

In the sense of the Messianic fulfilment of the saying, “he will not be put to shame” means, “he will not forfeit the Messianic salvation.” Comp. on Romans 5:5.

REMARK.

The contents of Romans 9:6-29, as they have been unfolded by pure exegesis, certainly exclude, when taken in and by themselves, the idea of a decree of God conditioned by human moral self-activity, as indeed God’s absolute activity, taken as such by itself, cannot depend on that of the individual. On the other hand, a fatalistic determinism, the “tremendum mysterium” of Calvin, which, following the precedent of Augustine, robs man of his self-determination and free personal attitude towards salvation, and makes him the passive object of divine sovereign will, may just as little be derived as a Pauline doctrine from our passage. It cannot be so, because our passage is not to be considered as detached from the following (Romans 9:30-33, chap. Romans 10:11); and because, generally, the countless exhortations of the apostle to obedience of faith, to stedfastness of faith and Christian virtue, as well as all his admonitions on the possibility of losing salvation, and his warnings against falling from grace, are just so many evidences against that view, which puts aside the divine will of love, and does away the essence of human morality and responsibility. See also, against the Calvinistic exposition, Beyschlag, p. 2 ff. If we should assume, with Reiche and Köllner, Fritzsche and Krehl, that Paul, in his dialectic ardour, has allowed himself to be carried away into self-contradiction, we should thus have a self-contradiction so palpable, and yet so extremely grave and dangerous in a religious and ethical aspect, making the means of grace illusory, and striking so heavily at the Christian moral idea of divine holiness and of human freedom,—that we should least of all suppose this very apostle to be capable of it; for, on the one hand, his penetration and his dialectic ability well might, just as, on the other hand, his apostolic illumination in particular, and the clearness and depth of his own moral experience must, have guarded him against it. But this affords no justification of the practice which has been followed by those of anti-predestinarian views from the time of Origen and Chrysostom (see Luthardt, vom freien Willen, p. 14 ff.) until now (see especially Tholuck on Romans 9:16-18; Romans 9:20-22, and also Weiss, ib.; comp. Gerlach, letzte Dinge, 1869, p, 159), of importing into the clear and definite expressions of the apostle in this place, and reading between the lines, the moral self-determination and spontaneity of man as the correlate factor to the divine volition. On the contrary, a correct judgment of the deterministic propositions of Romans 9:15-23 lies in the middle between the admission, which is psychologically and morally impossible, of a self-contradiction, and the importation, which is exegetically impossible, of conceptions of which the apostolic expression is the stark opposite—somewhat as follows. Seeing that the mode of the concurrence, so necessary in the moral world, of the individual freedom and spontaneity of man on one side, and the absolute self-determination and universal efficiency of God on the other,—which latter, however, as such by no means lacks the immanent law of holiness (against the objection of Beyschlag, p. 20),—is incomprehensible by human reflection, so long, that is, as it does not pass out of the sphere of the Christian fundamental view into the unbiblical identity-sphere of the pantheistic view, in which indeed freedom has no place at all; as often as we treat only one of the two truths: “God is absolutely free and all-efficient,” and “Man has moral freedom, and is, in virtue of his proper self-determination and responsibility as liberum agens, the author of his salvation or perdition,” and carry it out in a consistent theory and therefore in a onesided method, we are compelled to speak in such a manner, that the other truth appears to be annulled. Only appears, however; for, in fact, all that takes place in this case is a temporary and conscious withdrawing of attention from the other. In the present instance Paul found himself in this case, and he expresses himself according to this mode of view, not merely in a passing reference, Romans 9:20-21 (Beyschlag), but in the whole reasoning of Romans 9:6-29. In opposition to the Jewish conceit of descent and of works, he desired to establish the free and absolute sovereign power of the divine will and action, and that the more decisively and exclusively, the less he would leave any ground for the arrogant illusion of the Jews, that God must be gracious to them. The apostle has here wholly taken his position on the absolute standpoint of the theory of pure dependence upon God, and that with all the boldness of clear consistency; but only until he has done justice to the polemical object which he has in view. He then returns (see Romans 9:30 ff.) from that abstraction to the human-moral standpoint of practice, so that he allows the claims of both modes of consideration to stand side by side, just as they exist side by side within the limits of human thought. The contemplation—which lies beyond these limits—of the metaphysical relation of essential interdependence between the two,—namely objectively divine, and subjectively human, freedom and activity of will,—necessarily remained outside and beyond his sphere of view; as he would have had no occasion at all in this place to enter upon this problem, seeing that it was incumbent upon him to crush the Jewish pretensions with the one side only of it—the absoluteness of God. The fact that, and the extent to which, the divine elective determination is nevertheless no “delectus militaris,” but is immanently regulated in God Himself by His holiness, and consequently also conditioned by moral conditions on the human side, does not enter into his consideration at all for the moment. It is introduced, however, in Romans 9:30 ff., when the onesided method of consideration temporarily pursued is counterbalanced, and the ground, which had been given up for a while in an apologetic interest to the doctrinal definition of an absolute decree, is again taken away. Comp. also Beck l. c., and Baur, neut. Theol. p. 182 ff. But when Beyschlag places chap. 9 under the point of view, that the discussion therein relates not to a decree, antecedent to time, for men’s everlasting salvation or perdition, but only to their adoption or non-adoption into the historical kingdom of God (thus into Christianity), and that of the Jews and Gentiles as the two groups of mankind, not of individual men, and when he finds the true key of exposition in this view; his idea cannot be justified by the simple exegesis of chap. 9, and without anticipating the contents of chap. 10 and 11; and the difficulty in principle, which is involved in the entirely free self-determination of the divine will, remains—while it is transferred to the sphere of the action of God in the historical government of the world—even thus unremoved.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 9:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-9.html. 1832.

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Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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