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21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
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.