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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.

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21. But of Israel, etc. A reason is subjoined why God passed over to the Gentiles; it was because he saw that his favor was become a mockery to the Jews. But that readers may more fully understand that the blindness of the people is pointed out in the second clause, Paul expressly reminds us that the elect people were charged with their own wickedness. Literally it is, “He says to Israel;” but Paul has imitated the Hebrew idiom; for ל, lamed, is often put for מן, men. And he says, that to Israel he stretched forth his hands, whom he continually by his word invited to himself, and ceased not to allure by every sort of kindness; for these are the two ways which he adopts to call men, as he thus proves his goodwill towards them. However, he chiefly complains of the contempt shown to his truth; which is the more abominable, as the more remarkable is the manner by which God manifests his paternal solicitude in inviting men by his word to himself.

And very emphatical is the expression, that he stretches out his hands; for by seeking our salvation through the ministers of his word, he stretches forth to us his hands no otherwise than as a father who stretches forth his arms, ready to receive his son kindly into his bosom. And he says daily, that it might not seem strange to any one if he was wearied in showing kindness to them, inasmuch as he succeeded not by his assiduity. A similar representation we have in Jeremiah 7:13; and Jeremiah 11:7, where he says that he rose up early to warn them.

Their unfaithfulness is also set forth by two most suitable words. I have thought it right to render the participle ἀπειθούντα, refractory, or rebellious, and yet the rendering of Erasmus and of the Old Translator, which I have placed in the margin, is not to be wholly disapproved. But since the Prophet accuses the people of perverseness, and then adds that they wandered through ways which were not good, I doubt not but that the Greek Translator meant to express the Hebrew word סורר, surer, by two words, calling them first disobedient or rebellious, and then gainsaying; for their contumacy showed itself in this, because the people, with untamable pride and bitterness, obstinately rejected the holy admonitions of the Prophets. 337337     The passage is taken from Isaiah 65:2. The Septuagint is followed, except that the order of the words in the first part of the sentence is changed, thought the Septuagint has preserved the order of the original. The version is according to the Hebrew, with the exception of the last word, which from its form, the last radical letter being doubled, can hardly be expressed in another language by a single term, and so the Septuagint has employed two. It means “revolting again and again,” or willfully revolting. The simple verb סר, signifies to turn aside, to revolt, to apostatize: and in a reduplicate form, as here, it means either a repeated or an obstinate revolt. Indeed the revolt or the apostasy of the Jews was both reiterated and perverse, as their history abundantly testifies. — Ed.




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