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10. Israel's Unbelief
1Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. 2For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. 5For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby. 6But the righteousness which is of faith saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:) 7or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) 8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: 9because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! 16But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily,
Their sound went out into all the earth,
And their words unto the ends of the world.
19But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith,
I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation,
With a nation void of understanding will I anger you.
20And Isaiah is very bold, and saith,
I was found of them that sought me not;
I became manifest unto them that asked not of me.
21But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
16. But all have not obeyed the gospel, etc. This belongs not to the argument, which Paul designed to follow in the gradation he lays down; nor does he refer to it in the conclusion which immediately follows. It was yet expedient for Paul to introduce the sentence here, in order to anticipate an objection, lest any one should build an argument on what he had said, — that the word in order always precedes faith, as the seed the corn, — and draw this inference, that faith everywhere follows the word: for Israel, who had never been without the word, might have made a boast of this kind. It was therefore necessary, that, in passing, he should give them this intimation, — that many are called, who are yet not chosen.
He also quotes a passage from Isaiah 53:1; where the Prophet, before he proceeds to announce a remarkable prediction respecting the death and the kingdom of Christ, speaks with astonishment of the few number of believers, who appeared to him in the Spirit to be so few, that he was constrained to exclaim, “O Lord, who has believed our report?” that is, the word which we preach. For though in Hebrew the term שמועה, shimuoe, means passively a word, 333333 Or, what is heard; it being a noun from שמע, to hear, in its passive sense, it signifies a report, a message, or any tidings conveyed to the hearing of men. The Greek word ἀκοή is used in various senses, as signifying the act of hearing, Matthew 13:14, — the faculty of hearing, 1 Corinthians 12:17, — the organ of hearing, the ear, Mark 7:35, — and what is heard, a word, a report, as here and in John 12:38 Schleusner refers to instances in the classics in which the word is used in all these meanings. It is not necessary, nor is it in accordance with the usual manner of the Apostle, to give the word the same meaning in the next verse as in this. It is the practice of the Apostle to use the same words in different senses in the same passage. See Romans 4:18; Romans 8:24. Here it means what is heard, report; and in the following verse, the act, that is, hearing. — Ed. yet the Greeks have rendered it, ἀκοὴν — hearing, and the Latins, auditum — hearing; incorrectly indeed, but with no ambiguity in the meaning.
We now see why this exception was by the way introduced; it was, that no one might suppose that faith necessarily follows where there is preaching. He however does afterwards point out the reason, by saying, “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” by which he intimates that there is no benefit from the word, except when God shines in us by the light of his Spirit; and thus the inward calling, which alone is efficacious and peculiar to the elect, is distinguished from the outward voice of men. It is hence evident, how foolishly some maintain, that all are indiscriminately the elect, because the doctrine of salvation is universal, and because God invites all indiscriminately to himself. But the generality of the promises does not alone and by itself make salvation common to all: on the contrary, the peculiar revelation, mentioned by the Prophet, confines it to the elect.