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Chapter 9

9:1 In Christ [en Christōi]. Paul really takes a triple oath here so strongly is he stirred. He makes a positive affirmation in Christ, a negative one (not lying), the appeal to his conscience as co-witness [sunmarturousēs], genitive absolute as in 2:15 which see) “in the Holy Spirit.”

9:2 Sorrow [lupē]. Because the Jews were rejecting Christ the Messiah. “We may compare the grief of a Jew writing after the fall of Jerusalem” (Sanday and Headlam). Unceasing pain in my heart [adialeiptos odunē tēi kardiāi]. Like angina pectoris. [Odunē] is old word for consuming grief, in N.T. only here and and 1Ti 6:10. Unceasing [adialeiptos]. Late and rare adjective (in an inscription 1 cent. B.C.), in N.T. only here and 2Ti 1:3. Two rare words together and both here only in N.T. and I and II Timothy (some small argument for the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles).

9:3 I could wish [ēuchomēn]. Idiomatic imperfect, “I was on the point of wishing.” We can see that [euchomai] (I do wish) would be wrong to say. [An ēuchomēn] would mean that he does not wish (conclusion of second class condition). [An ēuchomēn] would be conclusion of fourth class condition and too remote. He is shut up to the imperfect indicative (Robertson, Grammar, p. 886). Anathema [anathema]. See for this word as distinct from [anathēma] (offering) 1Co 12:3; Ga 1:8f. I myself [autos egō]. Nominative with the infinitive [einai] and agreeing with subject of [ēuchomēn]. According to the flesh [kata sarka]. As distinguished from Paul’s Christian brethren.

9:4 Who [hoitines]. The very ones who, inasmuch as they. Israelites [Israēleitai]. Covenant name of the chosen people. Whose [hōn]. Predicate genitive of the relative, used also again with [hoi pateres]. For “the adoption” [hē huiothesia] see 8:15. The glory [hē doxa]. The Shekinah Glory of God (3:23) and used of Jesus in Jas 2:1. The covenants [hai diathēkai]. Plural because renewed often (Ge 6:18; 9:9; 15:18; 17:2, 7, 9; Ex 2:24). The giving of the law [hē nomothesia]. Old word, here only in N.T., from [nomos] and [tithēmi]. The service [hē latreia]. The temple service (Heb 9:1,6). The fathers [hoi pateres]. The patriarchs (Ac 3:13; 7:32).

9:5 Of whom [ex hōn]. Fourth relative clause and here with [ex] and the ablative. Christ [ho Christos]. The Messiah. As concerning the flesh [to kata sarka]. Accusative of general reference, “as to the according to the flesh.” Paul limits the descent of Jesus from the Jews to his human side as he did in 1:3f. Who is over all, God blessed for ever [ho on epi pantōn theos eulogētos]. A clear statement of the deity of Christ following the remark about his humanity. This is the natural and the obvious way of punctuating the sentence. To make a full stop after [sarka] (or colon) and start a new sentence for the doxology is very abrupt and awkward. See Ac 20:28; Tit 2:13 for Paul’s use of [theos] applied to Jesus Christ.

9:6 But it is not as though [ouch hoion de hoti]. Supply [estin] after [ouch]: “But it is not such as that,” an old idiom, here alone in N.T. Hath come to nought [ekpeptōken]. Perfect active indicative of [ekpiptō], old verb, to fall out. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel [ou gar pantes hoi ex Israēl houtoi Israēl]. “For not all those out of Israel (the literal Jewish nation), these are Israel (the spiritual Israel).” This startling paradox is not a new idea with Paul. He had already shown (Ga 3:7-9) that those of faith are the true sons of Abraham. He has amplified that idea also in Ro 4. So he is not making a clever dodge here to escape a difficulty. He now shows how this was the original purpose of God to include only those who believed. Seed of Abraham [sperma Abraam]. Physical descent here, but spiritual seed by promise in verse 8. He quotes Ge 21:12f.

9:8 The children of the promise [ta tekna tēs epaggelias]. Not through Ishmael, but through Isaac. Only the children of the promise are “children of God” [tekna tou theou] in the full sense. He is not speaking of Christians here, but simply showing that the privileges of the Jews were not due to their physical descent from Abraham. Cf. Lu 3:8.

9:9 A word of promise [epaggelias ho logos houtos]. Literally, “this word is one of promise.” Paul combines Ge 18:10, 14 from the LXX.

9:10 Having conceived of one [ex henos koitēn echousa]. By metonomy with cause for the effect we have this peculiar idiom [koitē] being bed, marriage bed), “having a marriage bed from one” husband. One father and twins.

9:11 The children being not yet born [mēpō gennēthentōn]. Genitive absolute with first aorist passive participle of [gennaō], to beget, to be born, though no word for children nor even the pronoun [autōn] (they). Neither having done anything good or bad [mēde praxantōn ti agathon ē phaulon]. Genitive absolute again with first active participle of [prassō]. On [phaulon], see 2Co 5:10. The purpose of God [hē prothesis tou theou]. See 8:28 for [prothesis]. According to election [kat’ eklogēn]. Old word from [eklegō], to select, to choose out. See 1Th 1:4. Here it is the purpose [prothesis] of God which has worked according to the principles of election. Not of works [ouk ex ergōn]. Not of merit.

9:12 But of him that calleth [all’ ek tou kalountos]. Present active articular participle of [kaleō] in the ablative case after [ek]. The source of the selection is God himself. Paul quotes Ge 25:33 (LXX).

9:13 Paul quotes Mal 1:2f. But Esau I hated [ton de Esau emisēsa]. This language sounds a bit harsh to us. It is possible that the word [miseō] did not always carry the full force of what we mean by “hate.” See Mt 6:24 where these very verbs [miseō] and [agapaō] are contrasted. So also in Lu 14:26 about “hating” [miseō] one’s father and mother if coming between one and Christ. So in Joh 12:25 about “hating” one’s life. There is no doubt about God’s preference for Jacob and rejection of Esau, but in spite of Sanday and Headlam one hesitates to read into these words here the intense hatred that has always existed between the descendants of Jacob and of Esau.

9:14 Is there unrighteousness with God? [mē adikia para tōi theōi?]. Paul goes right to the heart of the problem. [] expects a negative answer. “Beside” [para] God there can be no injustice to Esau or to any one because of election.

9:15 For he says to Moses [tōi Mōusei gar legei]. He has an Old Testament illustration of God’s election in the case of Pharaoh (Ex 33:19). On whom I have mercy [hon an eleō]. Indefinite relative with [an] and the present active subjunctive of [eleaō], late verb only here and Jude 1:23 in N.T. “On whomsoever I have mercy.” The same construction in [hon an oikteirō], “on whomsoever I have compassion.”

9:16 So then [ara oun]. In view of this quotation. It is not of [ou]. We must supply [estin eleos] with [ou]. “Mercy is not of.” The articular participles [tou thelontos, tou trechontos, tou eleōntos] can be understood as in the genitive with [eleos] understood (mercy is not a quality of) or as the predicate ablative of source like [epiluseōs] in 2Pe 1:20. Paul is fond of the metaphor of running.

9:17 To Pharaoh [tōi Pharaō]. There is a national election as seen in verses 7-13, but here Paul deals with the election of individuals. He “lays down the principle that God’s grace does not necessarily depend upon anything but God’s will” (Sanday and Headlam). He quotes Ex 9:16. Might be published [diaggelēi]. Second aorist passive subjunctive of [diaggellō].

9:18 He hardeneth [sklērunei]. Pharaoh hardened his own heart also (Ex 8:15,32; 9:34), but God gives men up also 1:24, 26, 28). This late word is used by the Greek physicians Galen and Hippocrates. See on Ac 19:9. Only here in Paul.

9:19 Why doth he still find fault? [ti eti memphetai?]. Old verb, to blame. In N.T. only here and Heb 8:8. Paul’s imaginary objector picks up the admission that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. “Still” [eti] argues for a change of condition since that is true. Withstandeth his will [tōi boulēmati autou anthestēken]. Perfect active indicative of [anthistēmi], old verb, maintains a stand (the perfect tense). Many have attempted to resist God’s will [boulēma], deliberate purpose, in N.T. only here and Ac 27:43; 1Pe 4:3). Elsewhere [thelēma] (Mt 6:10).

9:20 Nay, but, O man, who art thou? [O anthrōpe, men oun ge su tis ei?]. “O man, but surely thou who art thou?” Unusual and emphatic order of the words, prolepsis of [su] (thou) before [tis] (who) and [men oun ge] (triple particle, [men], indeed, [oun], therefore, [ge], at least) at the beginning of clause as in Ro 10:18; Php 3:8 contrary to ancient idiom, but so in papyri. That repliest [ho antapokrinomenos]. Present middle articular participle of double compound verb [antapokrinomai], to answer to one’s face [anti-] late and vivid combination, also in Lu 14:6, nowhere else in N.T., but in LXX. The thing formed [to plasma]. Old word (Plato, Aristophanes) from [plassō], to mould, as with clay or wax, from which the aorist active participle used here [tōi plasanti] comes. Paul quotes these words from Isa 29:16 verbatim. It is a familiar idea in the Old Testament, the absolute power of God as Creator like the potter’s use of clay (Isa 44:8; 45:8-10; Jer 18:6). [] expects a negative answer. Why didst thou make me thus? [ti me epoiēsas houtōs?]. The original words in Isaiah dealt with the nation, but Paul applies them to individuals. This question does not raise the problem of the origin of sin for the objector does not blame God for that but why God has used us as he has, made some vessels out of the clay for this purpose, some for that. Observe “thus” [houtōs]. The potter takes the clay as he finds it, but uses it as he wishes.

9:21 Or hath not the potter a right over the clay? [ē ouk echei exousian ho kerameus tou pēlou?]. This question, expecting an affirmative answer, is Paul’s reply to the previous one, “Why didst thou make me thus?” [Pēlos], old word for clay, is mud or wet clay in Joh 9:6, 11, 14f. The old word for potter [kerameus] in N.T. only here and Mt 27:7,10. Lump [phuramatos]. Late word from [phuraō], to mix (clay, dough, etc.). One part [ho men] —another [ho de]. Regular idiom for contrast [men—de] with the old demonstrative [ho] (this), “this vessel [skeuos], old word as in Mr 11:16) for honour, that for dishonour.” Paul thus claims clearly God’s sovereign right [exousian], power, right, authority, from [exesti] to use men (already sinners) for his own purpose.

9:22 Willing [thelōn]. Concessive use of the participle, “although willing,” not causal, “because willing” as is shown by “with much long-suffering” [en pollēi makrothumiāi], in much long-suffering). His power [to dunaton autou]. Neuter singular of the verbal adjective rather than the substantive [dunamin]. Endured [ēnegken]. Constative second aorist active indicative of the old defective verb [pherō], to bear. Vessels of wrath [skeuē orgēs]. The words occur in Jer 50:25 (LXX Jer 27:25), but not in the sense here (objective genitive like [tekna orgēs], Eph 2:3, the objects of God’s wrath). Fitted [katērtismena]. Perfect passive participle of [katartizō], old verb to equip (see Mt 4:21; 2Co 13:11), state of readiness. Paul does not say here that God did it or that they did it. That they are responsible may be seen from 1Th 2:15f. Unto destruction [eis apōleian]. Endless perdition (Mt 7:13; 2Th 2:3; Php 3:19), not annihilation.

9:23 Vessels of mercy [skeuē eleous]. Objective genitive like [skeuē orgēs]. Afore prepared [proētoimasen]. First aorist active indicative of [proetoimazō], old verb to make ready (from [hetoimos], ready) and [pro], before, in N.T. only here and Eph 2:10. But same idea in Ro 8:28-30.

9:24 But also from the Gentiles [alla kai ex ethnōn]. Paul had already alluded to this fact in 9:6f. (cf. Ga 3:7-9). Now he proceeds to prove it from the Old Testament.

9:25 In Hosea [en tōi Hōsēe]. He quotes 2:23 with some freedom. Hosea refers to the ten tribes and Paul applies the principle stated there to the Gentiles. Hosea had a son named Lo-ammi = [ou laos]. So here [ho ou laos mou] “the not people of mine.” [Ou] with substantives obliterates the meaning of the substantive, an idiom seen in Thucydides and other Greek writers. See also Ro 10:19; 1Pe 2:10. Which was not beloved [tēn ouk ēgapēmenēn]. The LXX rendering of Lo-ruhamah (not mercy, without mercy or love), name of Hosea’s daughter. The use of [ouk] with the perfect passive participle is emphatic, since [] is the usual negative of the participle in the Koinē.

9:26 Ye are not my people [ou laos mou humeis]. Quotation from Ho 1:10 (LXX Ho 2:1). There [ekei]. Palestine in the original, but Paul applies it to scattered Jews and Gentiles everywhere.

9:27 Isaiah [Esaias]. Shortened quotation from Isa 10:22 (LXX). It is the remnant that shall be saved [to hupoleimma sōthēsetai]. First future passive of [sōzō]. Literally, “the remnant will be saved.” Late word from [hupoleipō], to leave behind (11:3), here only in N.T. Textus Receptus has [kataleimma], but Aleph A B have [hupoleimma]. Isaiah cries in anguish over the outlook for Israel, but sees hope for the remnant.

9:28 Finishing it and cutting it short [suntelōn kai suntemnōn]. Present active participles and note [sun-] with each (perfective use of the preposition, finishing completely as in Lu 4:13, cutting off completely or abridging and here only in N.T.) The quotation is from Isa 28:22.

9:29 Hath said before [proeirēken]. Perfect active indicative of [proeipon] (defective verb). Stands on record in Isa 1:9. Had left [egkatelipen]. Second aorist active indicative of old verb [egkataleipō], to leave behind. Condition of second class, determined as unfulfilled, with [an egenēthēmen] and [an hōmoiōthēmen] as the conclusions (both first aorist passives of [ginomai] and [homoioō], common verbs). A seed [sperma]. The remnant of verse 27.

9:30 Attained [katelaben]. Second aorist active indicative of [katalambanō], old verb, to grasp, to seize, to overtake (carrying out the figure in [diōkō] (to pursue). It was a curious paradox. Which is of faith [tēn ek pisteōs]. As Paul has repeatedly shown, the only way to get the God-kind of righteousness.

9:31 Did not arrive at that law [eis nomon ouk ephthasen]. First aorist active indicative of [phthanō], old verb to anticipate (1Th 4:15), now just to arrive as here and 2Co 10:14. The word “that” is not in the Greek. Legal righteousness Israel failed to reach, because to do that one had to keep perfectly all the law.

9:32 We must supply the omitted verb [ediōxa] (pursued) from verse 31. That explains the rest. They stumbled at the stone of stumbling [prosekopsan tōi lithōi tou proskommatos]. The quotation is from Isa 8:14. [Proskoptō] means to cut [koptō] against [pros] as in Mt 4:6; Joh 11:9f. The Jews found Christ a [skandalon] (1Co 1:23).

9:33 Paul repeats the phrase just used in the whole quotation from Isa 8:14 with the same idea in “a rock of offence” [petran skandalou], “a rock of snare,” a rock which the Jews made a cause of stumbling). The rest of the verse is quoted from Isa 28:16. However, the Hebrew means “shall not make haste” rather than “shall not be put to shame.” In 1Pe 2:8 we have the same use of these Scriptures about Christ. Either Peter had read Romans or both Paul and Peter had a copy of Christian Testimonia like Cyprian’s later.

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