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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 4

Verse 4. The answer of God, (o crhmatismov). This word is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, an oracle, a divine response. It does not indicate the manner in which it was done, but implies only that it was an oracle, or answer made to his complaint by God. Such an answer, at such a time, would be full of comfort, and silence every murmur. The way in which this answer was in fact given, was not in a storm, or an earth- quake, but in a still, small voice, 1 Ki 19:11,12.

I have reserved. The Hebrew is, "I have caused to remain," or to be reserved. This shows that it was of God that this was done. Amidst the general corruption and idolatry he had restrained a part, though it was a remnant. The honour of having done it he claims for himself, and does not trace it to any goodness or virtue in them. So in the case of all those who are saved from sin and pain, the honour belongs not to man, but to God.

To myself. For my own service and glory. I have kept them steadfast in my worship, and have not suffered them to become idolaters. Seven thousand men. Seven is often used in the Scriptures to denote an indefinite or round number. Perhaps it may be so here, to intimate that there was a considerable number remaining. This should lead us to hope that, even in the darkest times in the church, there may be many more friends of God than we suppose. Elijah supposed he was alone; and yet at that moment there were thousands who were the true friends of God: a small number, indeed, compared with the multitude of idolaters; but large when compared with what was supposed to be remaining by the dejected and disheartened prophet.

Who have not bowed the knee. To bow or bend the knee is an expression denoting worship, Php 2:10; Eph 3:14; Isa 45:23.


To Baal. The word Baal in Hebrew means lord, or master. This was the name of an idol of the Phenicians and Canaanites, and was worshipped also by the Assyrians and Babylonians under the name of Bel. (Comp. the Book of Bel in the Apocrypha.) This god was represented under the image of a bull, or a calf; the one denoting the sun, the other the moon. The prevalent worship in the time of Elijah was that of this idol.

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