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Israel’s Rejection Is Not Final


I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3“Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4But what is the divine reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8as it is written,

“God gave them a sluggish spirit,

eyes that would not see

and ears that would not hear,

down to this very day.”

9 And David says,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,

a stumbling block and a retribution for them;


let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,

and keep their backs forever bent.”

The Salvation of the Gentiles

11 So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry 14in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! 16If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, 18do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. 22Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

All Israel Will Be Saved

25 So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,

“Out of Zion will come the Deliverer;

he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.”


“And this is my covenant with them,

when I take away their sins.”

28 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!


“For who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been his counselor?”


“Or who has given a gift to him,

to receive a gift in return?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.


9. And David says, etc. In this testimony of David there is also made some change in the words, but it is not what changes the meaning. For he thus speaks, “Let their table before them become a snare, and their peaceful things a trap;” there is no mention of retribution. As to the main point there is sufficient agreement. The Prophet prays, that whatever is desirable and happy in life might turn out to the ruin and destruction of the ungodly; and this is what he means by table and peaceful things. 349349     Grotius understands by “table” guests, or friends, who partake of the provisions spread on the table. The wish is, that these should be a snare, etc. “Table,” according to Pareus, means luxury or festivity: and he adds, that there are here three metaphors, — the ensnaring of birds — the entrapping of wild beasts — and the stumbling in the dark, or that of blind men. Then the recompense or retaliation implies, that this evil of being ensnared and entrapped, and of stumbling, are only just retaliations for similar acts on their part; as they had ensnared, entrapped, and caused others to stumble, it was but just that they should be treated in the same way. And if we take “table” as a metonymy for friends or guests, the meaning would be very striking. And we know that the very friends and confederates of the Jews became their enemies and effected their ruin. See Jeremiah 38:22.
   The subject of imprecations is attended with some difficulty. To imprecate, or to pronounce a curse on others, or to wish others accursed, was forbidden even under the law, and it is expressly forbidden under the gospel, Matthew 5:45; Romans 12:14; we have the example of our Savior praying for his enemies even on the cross; and yet we find that God pronounced a curse on all the transgressors of the law, Deuteronomy 27:26, — that Christ pronounced a curse on Chorazin and Bethsaida, — that the Psalmist often imprecated vengeance on his enemies, Psalm 5:10; Psalm 109:7-15, — that the Apostle cursed Alexander the coppersmith, 2 Timothy 4:14, — and that John bids us not to pray for him who sins the sin unto death, 1 John 5:16.

   The truth is, that circumstances make the difference; what is forbidden in one respect is allowed in another. The rule to man is, not to curse, but to bless, except to pronounce on God’s enemies as such the judgment which God has already denounced on them. But to curse individuals is what no one is allowed to do, except he be inspired so as to know who those are who are given up by God to final judgment; which may be supposed to have been the case with the Psalmist and with St. Paul. — Ed.
He then gives them up to blindness of spirit and weakening of strength; the one of which he expresses by the darkening of the eyes, and the other by the incurvation of the back. But that this should be extended almost to the whole nation, is not to be wondered at; for we know, that not only the chief men were incensed against David, but that the common people were also opposed to him. It appears plain, that what is read in that passage was not applied to a few, but to a large number; yea, when we consider of whom David was a type, there appears to be a spiritual import in the opposite clause. 350350     Psalm 69:22,23. The passage is given as in the Septuagint, except that καὶ εἰς θήραν is added, and the two following words are transposed, with αὐτοῖς put after them, and ἀνταπόδομα is put for ἀνταπόδοσιν Romans 11:10 is given without any variation from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is in words considerably different, and more so in our version than it really is. The word, שלומים, is improperly rendered “welfare,” while it ought to be “recompenses,” or, according to Tremelius and Bp. Horseley, “retributions,” or “retribution.” See Isaiah 34:8. The last clause of Romans 11:10, though in meaning the same, is yet wholly different in words from the Hebrew, which is thus correctly rendered in our version, “and make their loins continually to shake.” The idea in both instances is the taking away of vigor and strength. — Ed.

Seeing then that this imprecation remains for all the adversaries of Christ, — that their meat shall be converted into poison, (as we see that the gospel is to be the savor of death unto death,) let us embrace with humility and trembling the grace of God. We may add, that since David speaks of the Israelites, who descended according to the flesh from Abraham, Paul fitly applies his testimony to the subject in hand, that the blindness of the majority of the people might not appear new or unusual.

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