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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 27
Verse 27,28. Esias. The Greek way of writing the word Isaiah.
Crieth. Isa 10:22,23. Exclaims, or speaks aloud or openly. Comp. Joh 1:15. Isaiah brings forth the doctrine fully, and without any concealment or disguise. This doctrine related to the rejection of the Jews; a far more difficult point to establish than was that of the calling of the Gentiles. It was needful, therefore to fortify it by some explicit passage of the Scriptures.
Concerning Israel. Concerning the Jews. It is probable that Isaiah had reference primarily to the Jews of his own time; to that wicked generation that God was about to punish, by sending them captive into other lands. The case was one, however, which settled a general principle of the Jewish government; and therefore it was applicable to the case before the apostle. If the thing for which he was contending—that the Jews might be rejected—-existed in the time of Isaiah, and was settled then as a precedent, it might exist also in his time and under the gospel.
As the sand of the sea. This expression is used to denote an indefinite or an innumerable multitude. It often occurs in the sacred writings. In the infancy of society, before the art of numbering was carried to a great extent, men were obliged to express themselves very much in this manner. Ge 22:17, "I will multiply thy seed—as the sand which is upon the sea-shore;" Ge 32:12.- Isaiah doubtless had reference to this promise: "Though all that was promised to Abraham shall be fulfilled, and his seed shall be as numerous as God declared, yet a remnant only," etc. The apostle thus shows that his doctrine does not conflict at all with the utmost expectation of the Jews drawn from the promises of God. See a similar use of the term sand in Jud 7:12; 1 Sa 13:5; 2 Sa 17:11, etc. In the same manner great numbers were denoted by the stars of heaven, Ge 22:17; 15:5.
A remnant shall be saved. Meaning a remnant only. This implies that great multitudes of them would be cast off, and be not saved. If only a remnant was to be saved, many must be lost; and this was just the point which the apostle was endeavouring to establish. The word remnant means that which is left, particularly what may remain after a battle or a great calamity, 2 Ki 19:31; 10:11; Jud 5:13
Isa 14:22. In this place, however, it means a small part or portion. Out of the great multitude there shall be so few left as to make it proper to say that it was a mere remnant. This implies, of course, that the great mass should be cast away or rejected. And this was the use which the apostle intended to make of it. Comp. the Wisdom of Sirach xliv. 17, "Noah—was left unto the earth as a remnant when the flood came."
Shall be saved. Shall be preserved, or kept from destruction. As Isaiah had reference to the captivity of Babylon, this means that only a remnant should return to their native land. The great mass should be rejected and cast off. This was the case with the ten tribes, and also with many others who chose to remain in the land of their captivity. The use which the apostle makes of it is this: In the history of the Jews, by the testimony of Isaiah, a large part of the Jews of that time were rejected, and cast off from being the peculiar people of God. It is clear, therefore, that God has brought himself under no obligation to save all the descendants of Abraham. This case settles the principle. If God did it then, it was equally consistent for him to do it in the time of Paul, under the gospel. The conclusion, therefore, to which the apostle came, that it was the intention of God to reject and cast off the Jews as a people, was in strict accordance with their own history and the prophecies. It was still true that a remnant was to be saved, while the great mass of the people was rejected. The apostle is not to be understood here as affirming that the passage in Isaiah had reference to the gospel, but only that it settled one great principle of the Divine administration in regard to the Jews, and that their rejection under the gospel was strictly in accordance with that principle.
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