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A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans online

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this sense it is confined to the epistles of St. Paul with Hebrews and St. Peter,
the word hardly occurring at ail in St. John aud not in this sense elsewhere


(although k\t]t6^ is so nsed Matt. xxii. 14V The full construction is KaXfT*
Tiva 6(j T(, I Thess. ii. 12 toC KaXavuros (Is tt]v kavrov 0a<Ti\f'tav Kol
So^av : but the word was early used absolutely, and so 6 Ka\aiv of God (so
Rom. iv. 17 : viii. 30; ix. 11, 24). The technical use of the term comes out
most strongly in i Cor. vii and in the derived words (see on KXr)T6s
Rom. i. I, 7'. (3) In the second group of meanings the ordinary con-
struction is with a double accusative, Acts xiv. 13 (KaAouv re tov BapvaPav
Aia (so Rom. ix. 25, and constantly in LXX), or with dvof-iari, km tZ
ovo^MTi as Luke i. 59, 61, although the Hebraism Kakiaovai to ovona avrov
'EfifiavovTjX (Matt. i. 22,) occurs. But to 'call by name' has associations
derived on the one side from the idea of calling over, reckoning, accounting;
hence such phrases as Rom. ix. 7 (from Gen. xxi. 12 LXX>, and on the other
from the idea of affection suggested by the idea of calling by name, so
Rom. ix. 26 (from LXX Hos. ii. i[i. 10]). These derivative u^es of the word
occur independently both in Greek, where KiKXy^iai may be used to mean
little more than 'to be,' and in Hebrew. The two main meanings can always
be distinguished, but probably in the use of the word each has influenced
the other; when God is said to be 'He that calls us' the primary idea is
clearly that of invitation, but the secondary idea of 'calling by name,' i.e.
of expressing affection, gives a warmer colouring to the idea suggested.

8. TOUT ecTTii'. From this instance we may deduce a general


TO. TCKi/a TYJs 0-apKos : h'5ert quos corporis vis gemierit. Fri.

tIkvo. tou 0€ou : bound to God by all those ties which have been
the privilege and characteristic of the chosen race.

ra TCKi'a ttjs iTra.yyf)\xa.<i: liheri quos Dei promissum procreavit. Fri.

Cf. Gal. iv. 23 dXX' 6 \i.iv in TT^y TTiuSiiTiiris Kara crapKa yeyevvrjTai, 6 8e fK
Tijs fXevOfpas St' enayyeXias '. 28 17/ifIs 8e, dBf\<pol, Kara IcraaK firayyfXias

TfKVa ((TfX€V,

All these expressions (jeKva tov GfoC, rtKva ttjs tnayyeXlas) are
used elsewhere of Christians, but that is not their meaning in this
passage. St. Paul is concerned in this place to prove not that
any besides those of Jewish descent might inherit the promises, but
merely that not all of Jewish descent necessarily and for that very
reason must enjoy all the privileges of that descent. Physical con-
nexion with the Jewish stock was not in itself a ground for inherit-
ing the promise. That was the privilege of those intended when
the promise was first spoken, and who might be considered to be born
of the promise. This principle is capable of a far more universal
application, an application which is made in the Epistle to the
Galaiians (iii. 29; iv. 28, &c.), but is not made here.

9. iirayye\ia<5 must be the predicate of the sentence thrown
tbrward in order to give emphasis and to show where the point
of the argument lies. ' This word is one of promise,' i. e. if
you refer to the passage of Scripture you will see that Isaac was
llie child of promise, and not born kotu a-dpKa; his birth therefore
depends upon the promise which was in fact the efficient cause of
ix, and not the promise upon his birth. And hence is deduced
a general law : a mere connexion with the Jewish race Kara adpKa


does not necessarily imply a share in the inayyMa, for it did not
according to the original conditions.

KaTcl TOi' Kaipof TOUTOV eXeucrofiai, Kal lorai tt l&ppa ui<5s. St, Paul
combines Gen. XViii. 10 (LXX) (navaa-Tpe(f)u)v rj^o) irpos ae Kara top
Kaifjov TOVTov fls &pas, xai t^ti viov 'S.appa 17 yvvri crov', and 1 4 (LXX)
eli rov Kaipov tovtov ava(rTpf\f/-ii) jrpos ere «y (opas, Kat fcrrat Trj ^dppa vlos.

The Greek text is a somewhat free translation of the Hebrew, but
St. Paul's deductions from the passage are quite in harmony with
both its words and its spirit.

Kord TOI' Kaipoc toOtoi' is shown clearly by the passage in Genesis
to mean ' at this time in the following year,' i. e. when a year is
accomplished ; but the words have little significance for St. Paul :
they are merely a reminiscence of the passage he is quoting,
and in the shortened form in which he gives them, the meaning,
without reference to the original passage, is hardly clear.

10. ou \l6vov hi: see on v. 3, introducing an additional or even
stronger proof or example. ' You may find some flaw in the
previous argument ; after all Ishmael was not a fully legitimate
child like Isaac, and it was for this reason (you may say) that the
sons of Ishmael were not received within the covenant ; the in-
stance that I am now going to quote has no defect of this sort,
and it will prove the principle that has been laid down still more

dXXoi Kai 'PcP^KKa, k.t.X.: the sentence beginning with these words
is never finished grammatically ; it is interrupted by the parenthesis
in ver. 1 1 pTjrrcD yap yevvr]6ivTcov . . . koKovvtos, and then continued
with the construction changed ; cf. v. 12, 18 ; 1 Tim. i. 3.

e| evos are added to emphasize the exactly similar birth of the
two sons. The mother's name proves that they have one mother,
these words show that the father too was the same. There are
none of the defective conditions which might be found in the case of
Isaac and Ishmael. Cf. Chrys. ad loc. {Horn, in Rom. xvi. p. 610)

ij yap PfS^KKa Kai fiovq tm Icraa/c ytyovi yvvri, koi Svo rtKovaa TralSay, e<
Tov \auan €r€K(v dpcporepovs' dXX ofKos oi Te)(6fi>T(S rov avrov narpos
ovTti, T^j avrrfs firjTpos, rag avras Xvaavres tuSIj/ar, Koi op-onaTpioi ovns <cai
o/jioprjTpioi, Kal ivpus tovtocs icai 8t8vfioi, ov Tcov hvtwv aTTi'jXavarav,

Koi'nqi' exovcra : ' having conceived ' ; cf. Fri. ad loc.

Tou -irarpos r\ii.u}v : * the ancestor of the Jewish race.' St. Paul is
here identifying himself with the Jews, ' his kinsmen according to
the flesh.' The passage has no reference to the composiiion of the
Roman community.

11. ffqiru yap. K-T.X. In this verse a new thought is introduced,
connected with but not absolutely necessary for the subject under
discussion. The argument would be quite complete without it.
St. Paul has only to prove that to be of Jewish descent did not in
itself imply a right to inherit the promise. That Esau was re-

K 2


jected and Jacob chosen is quite sufficient to establish this. But
the instance suggests another point which was in the Apostle's
mind, and the change in construction shows that a new difficulty,
or rather another side of the question — the relation of these events
to the Divine purpose — has come forward. It is because he desires
to bring in this point that he breaks off the previous sentence. The
yap then, as so often, refers to something latent in the Apostle's
mind, which leads him to introduce his new point, and is explained
by the sentence t^a . . . ^^ "?/, ' and this incident shows also the
absolute freedom of the Divine election and purpose, for it was
before the children were born that the choice was made and de-

fXTJiTw . . . |jiT]8e : ' although they were not yet born nor had done
anything good or evil.' The subjective negative shows that the
note of time is introduced not merely as an historical fact but as
one of the conditions which must be presumed in estimating fhe
significance of the event. The story is so well known that the
Apostle is able to put first without explanation the facts which
show the point as he conceives it.

ii-a . . . fieVrj. What is really the underlying principle of the
action is expressed as if it were its logical purpose ; for St. Paul
represents the events as taking place in the way they did in order
to illustrate the perfect freedom of the Divine purpose.

•ff Kar' eKXcyfji' TrpoSeais tou ©eoO : 'the Divine purpose which
has worked on the principle of selection.' These words are the
key to chaps, ix-xi and suggest the solution of the problem before
St. Paul, npodeais is a technical Pauline term occurring although
not frequently in the three later groups of Epistles : Rom. viii. 28 ;

ix. II ; Eph. i. 10, 11 fv avra, fv a (cat {KXrjpadrjpev, iTpoopia6ivT€i Kara
7rp66((Tiv Tov Ta navra tvepyovPTOs Kara ttjv ^ovXtjv tov OeXrjpams avroii :
iii. 1 1 Kara npodfCTiv tS>v alcovaii' rjv enoirjafv (V ra X. 1. Tw Kvpico r]fj.<ov :
2 Tim, i. 9 Toi) (TuxravTos fjfias Kiii KuXeaai'Tos AcX/;cr€t aya, 011 Kara to
tpya rjfxoiv, aWa Kar I8iuv TvpoBanv /col x^-P''^ '• ^^ verb alsO is found

once in the same sense, Eph. i. 9 kuto. ttjv ddoKiav avroii, rjv npo-
idero iv avrm. From Aristotle onwards irpoBeais had been used to
express purpose ; with St. Paul it is the ' Divine purpose of God for
the salvation of mankind,' the ' purpose of the ages ' determined in
the Divine mind before the creation of the world. The idea is
apparently expressed elsewhere in the N. T. by /SaXij (Luke vii. 30 ;
Acts ii. 23 ; iv. 28; xx. 27) which occurs once in St. Paul (Eph. i
11), but no previous instance of the word trpoBeais in this sense
seems to be quoted. The conception is worked out by the Apostlt
with greater force and originality than by any previous writer, and
hence he needs a new word to express it. See further the longei
note on St. Paul's Philosophy of History, p. 342. fVXoyij ex
presses an essentiall}' O. T. idea (see below) but was itself a ne\»


word, the only instances quoted in Jewish literature earlier than
this Epistle being from the Psalms of Solomon, which often show
an approach to Christian theological language. It means (i)
' the process of choice,' ' election.' Ps. Sol. xviii. 6 Kadapia-ai 6 Qeos

'iffpaijX fts tjfjiipav eXeov tv eiiXoyiq, ets fjfjiepav eK\oyi]S iv ava^fi Xpiaroi

avToi; ix. 7; Jos. B./. II. viii. 14; Acts ix. 15; Rom. xi. 5, 28;
I Thess. i. 4 ; 2 Pet. i. 10. In this sense it may be used of man's
election of his own lot (as in Josephus and perhaps in Ps. Sol.
ix. 7), but in the N. T. it is always used of God's election. (2) As
abstract for concrete it means eKXe/crot, those who are chosen,
Rom. xi. 7. (3) In Aquila Is. xxii. 7 ; Symmachus and Theodo-
tion, Is. xxxvii, 24, it means 'the choicest,' being apparently em-
ployed to represent the Hebrew idiom.

(icVrj : the opposite to (KneTTTaKfv (ver. 6) : the subjunctive shows
that the principles which acted then are still in force.

ouK ii epyoiv dXV 4k tou KaXoGi/Tos. These words qualify the
whole sentence and are added to make more clear the absolute
character of God's free choice.

We must notice (i) that St. Paul never here says anything about
the principle on which the call is made ; all he says is that it is not
the result of fpya. We have no right either with Chrysostom

(Iva (f>av[j (prjal rov Qeov i] eKXoyf) r) Kara npoSfcriv (cat Trpoyvoiviv yevofifvrA

to read into the passage foreknowledge or to deduce from the
passage an argument against Divine foreknowledge. The words
are simply directed against the assumption of human merit. And
(2) nothing is said in this passage about anything except ' election '
or ' calling ' to the kingdom. The gloss of Calvin dum alios ad
salutem praedesiinat, alios ad aeternam damnationem is nowhere
implied in the text.

So Gore {Studia Biblica, iii. p. 44) *The absolute election of
Jacob, — the " loving '' of Jacob and the " hating " of Esau, — has
reference simply to the election of one to higher privileges as head
of the chosen race, than the other. It has nothing to do with their
eternal salvation. In the original to which St. Paul is referring,
Esau is simply a synonym for Edom.'

<|)ai)Xov is the reading of the RV. and modem editors with N A B, a few
minuscules, and Orig. Kanov which occurs in TR. with D F GK L etc. auo
Fathers after Chr\ sostom was early substituted for the less usual word.
A similar change has been made in 2 Cor. v. lo.

For the irpoGecrLs toi) 0€ov of the RV. the TR. reads tow Qiov Ttpudeai^ with
the support of only a few minuscules.

12. 6 fxeii^wK K.T.X. The quotation is made accurately from the

LXX of Gen. XXV. 23 kuI fine Kvpios avTr/ Avo edvTj (v Tfl yacrrpi aov
(tcriv, Koi 8vo Xaol c'k rrji KOiKtns (rov hiavTakrjGovTaL' Ka\ \a6i \oov imfpe^ei,
«i\ n pei^av dovXtvirei tm eXdaaovi (cf. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek,
p. 163). God's election or rejection of the fotmder of tlie race is


part of the process by which He elects or rejects the race. In
either case the choice has been made independently of merits either
of work or of ancestry. Both were of exactly the same descent, and
the choice was made before either was born.

6 ii.elt,oiv . . . Tw i\d(Tcron : * the elder,' ' the younger/ This
use of the words seems to be a Hebraism; see Gen. x. 21 kqI tm

2))/i fyevijBT} . . . dSfXc^w 'ld(Pf6 tov fid^uvos: ib. xxix. 16 ovofia rfj ^fi^ovi

Ada, Kai ovofia rrj vtarepa 'Pa^riK But the dictionaries quote in
support of the use ^Kinlociv 6 fxeyas Pol. XVIII. xviii. 9. The
instances quoted of niKpos (Mk. xv. 40; Mt. xviii. 6, 10, 14, &c.)
are all equally capable of being explained of stature.

13. Toi' 'laKwp i^yairr^o-a, toi' 8e 'HcraO efxtarjo-a. St. Paul con-
cludes his argument by a second quotation taken freely from the

LXX of Mai. i. 2, 3 oIk (it^fXc^us rjv 'Ho-aC TOV *Ia/ca)/3 J Xe'yft Kvpios' Kal
ijyaTrrjaa tov Iqko)^, tov fie Hvav efiiarjaa.

What is the exact object with which these words are introduced?
(i) The greater number of commentators (so Fri. Weiss Lipsius),
consider that they simply give the explanation of God's conduct.
' God chose the younger brother and rejected the elder not from
any merit on the part of the one or the other, but simply because
He loved the one and hated the other.' The aorists then refer to
the time before the birth of the two sons ; there is no reference to
the peoples descended from either of them, and St. Paul is repre-
sented as vindicating the independence of the Divine choice in
relaiion to the two sons of Isaac.

{2) This explanation has the merit of simplicity, but it is pro>'*-
ably too simple, (i) In the first place, it is quite clear that St.
Paul throughout has in his mind in each case the descendants as
well as the ancestors, the people who are chosen and rejected as
well as the fathers through whom the choice is made (cf. ver. 7).
In fact this is necessary for his argument. He has to justify God's
dealing, not with individuals, but with the great mass of Jews who
have been rejected, (ii) Again, if we turn to the original contexts
of the two quotations in vv. 12, 13 there can be no doubt that in
both cases there is reference not merely to the children but to their
descendants. Gen. xxv. 23 'Two nations are in thy womb, and two
peoples shall be separated even from thy bowels;' Mai. i. 3 'But
F.sau I hated, and made his mountains a desolation, and gave his
heritage to the jackals of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith,'
&c. There is nothing in St. Paul's method of quotation which could
prevent him from using the words in a sense somewhat different
from the original ; but when the original passage in both cases is
really more in accordance with his method and argument, it is
more reasonable to believe that he is not narrowing the sense,
(lii) As will become more apparent later, St. Paul's argument is to
»how that throughout God's action there is running a ' purpose


according to election.' He does not therefore wish to say that it
is merely God's love or hate that has guided Him.

Hence it is better to refer the words, either directly or in-
directly, to the choice of the nation as well as the choice of the
founder (so Go. Gif. Liddon). But a further question still remams
as to the use of the aorist. We may with most commentators
still refer it to the original time when the choice was made:
when the founders of the nations were in the womb, God chose
one nation and rejected another because of his love and hatred.
But it is really betier to take the whole passage as corroborating the
previous verse by an appeal to history. * God said the elder shall
serve the younger, and, as the Prophet has shown, the whole of sub-
sequent history has been an illustration of this. Jacob God has
selected for His love ; Esau He has hated : He has given his moun-
tains for a desolation and his heritage to the jackals.'

^ydinjo-a . . . ejjiLo-ifjCTa. There is no need to soften these words
as some have attempted, translating ' loved more ' and ' loved less.'
They simply express what had been as a matter of fact and was
always looked upon by the Jews as God's attitude towards the two
nations. So Thanchuma, p. 32. 2 (quoted by Wetstein, ii. 438) Tu
invenies omnes transgressioiies, quas odit Deus S. B. fuisse in Esavo.

How very telling would be the reference to Esau and Edom an acquaint-
ance with Jewish contemporary literature will show. Although in Deut. xxiii. 7
it was said ' Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother,' later
events had obliterated this feeling of kinship ; or perhnps rather the feeling of
relationship had exasperated the bitterness which the hostility of the two
nations had aroused. At any rate the history is one of continuous hatred on
both sides. So in Ps. cxxxvii. 7 and in the Greek Esdras the burning of the
temple is ascribed to the Edomites (see also Obadiah and Jer. xlix. 7-22).
Two extracts from Apocrj'phal works will exhibit this hatred most clearly.
In Enoch Ixxxix. 11-12 (p. 233, ed. Charles) the patriarchal history is
symbolized by different animals : ' But that white bull (Abraham) which was
bom amongst them begat a wild ass (Ishmael) and a white bull with it
(Isaac), and the wild ass multiplied. IBut that bull which was born from
him begat a black wild boar (Esau) and a white sheep ( Jacob"! ; and that
wild boar begat many boars, but that sheep begat twelve sheep.* Here
Esau is represented by the most detested of animals, the pig. So in
Jubilees xxxvii. 32 sq. (trans. Charles) the following speech is characteristi-
cally put into the mouth ol Esau : ' And thou too (Jacob) dost hate me and
my children for ever, and there is no observing the tie of brotherhood with
thee. Hear these words which I declare unto thee : if the boar can change
its skin and make its bristles as soft as wool : or if it can cause horns to
sprout forth on its head like the horns of a stag or of a sheep, then I will
observe the tie of brotherhood with thee, for since the twin male offspring
were separated from their mother, thou hast not shown thyself a brother to
me. And if the wolves make peace with the lambs so as not to devour or
rob them, and if their hearts turn towards them to do good, then there will
be peace in my heart towards thee. And if the lion becomes the friend of
the ox, and if he is bound under one yoke with him and ploughs with him
and makes peace with him, then I will make peace with thee. And when
the raven becomes white as the raza (a large white bird), then I know that


I shall love thee and make peace with thee. Thou shalt be rooted out an&
thy son shall be rooted out and there shall be no peace for thee.' (See also
Jos. Bell. J ltd. IV. IT. I, 2 ; Hausialh, New Testament Times, vol. i. pp. 67, 68,
Eng. TraHs.)

The Divine Election.

St. Paul has set himself to prove that there was nothing in the
promise made to Abraham, by which God had ' pledged Himself to
Israel ' (Gore, Studia Biblica, iii. 40), and bound Himself to allow all
those w^ho were Abraham's descendants 10 inherit these promises. He
proves this by showing that in two cases, as was recognized by the
Jews themselves, actual descendants from Abraham had been ex-
cluded. Hence he deduces the general principle, ' There was from
the first an element of inscrutable selectiveness in God's dealings
within the race of Abraham ' (Gore, ib^. The inheritance of the
promise is for those whom God chooses, and is not a necessary
privilege of natural descent. The second point which he raises,
that this choice is independent of human merit, he works out
further in the following verses.

On the main argument it is sufficient at present to notice that it
was primarily an argumentum ad homiiiem and as such was abso-
lutely conclusive against those to whom it was addressed. The
Jews prided themselves on being a chosen race ; they prided them-
selves especially on having been chosen while the Ishmaelites and
the Edomites (whom they hated) had been rejected. St. Paul
analyzes the principle on which the one race was chosen and the
other rejected, and shows that the very same principles would
perfectly jusdfy God's action in further dealing with it. God might
choose some of them and reject others, just as he had originally
chosen them and not the other descendants of Abraham.

That this idea of the Divine Election was one of the most funda-
mental in the O. T. needs no illustration. We find it in the
Pentateuch, as Deut. vii. 6 ' For thou art an holy people unto the
Lord, thy God: the Lord, thy God, hath chosen thee to be a
peculiar people unto himself above all peoples that are on the face
of the earth : ' in the Psalms, as Ps. cxxxv. 4 ' For the Lord hath
chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his pecuHar treasure': in
the Prophets, as Is. xli. 8, 9 ' But thou Israel, my servant, Jacob
whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend ; thou whom
I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth and called thee
from the corners thereof, and said unto thee. Thou art my servant,
I have chosen thee and not cast thee away.' And this idea of
Israel being the elect people of God is one of those which were
seized and grasped most tenaciously by contemporary Jewish
thought, But between the conception as held by St. Paul's con-


temporaries and the O. T. there were striking differences In the
O. T. it is always looked upon as an act of condescension and love
of God for Israel, it is for this reason that He redeemed them from
bondage, and purified them from sin (Deut. vii. 8; x. 15; Is. xliv.
21, 22); although. the Covenant is specified it is one which involves
obhgations on Israel (Deut. vii, 9, &c.): and the thought again and
again recurs that Israel has thus been chosen not merely for theii
own sake but as an instrument in the hand of God, and not merely
to exhibit the Divine power, but also for the benefit of other nations
(Gen. xii. 3 ; Is. Ixvi. 18, &c.). But among the Rabbis the idea o(
Election has lost all its higher side. It is looked on as a covenant
by which God is bound and over which He seems to have no control.
Israel and God are bound in an indissoluble marriage {Shemoth
rabba 1. 51): the holiness of Israel can never be done away with,
even although Israel sin, it still remains Israel {Saithedrin 55) : the
worst Israelite is not profane like the heathen {Bammidbar rabba 1 7) ;
no Israelite can go into Gehenna {Pesikta 38 a) : all Israelites have
their portion in the world to come {Sanhedrin i), and much more
to the same effect. (See Weber Altsyn. Theol. p. 51, &c., to whom
are due most of the above references.)

And this belief was shared by St. Paul's contemporaries. ' The
planting of them is rooted for ever : they shall not be plucked out
all the days of the heaven : for the portion of the Lord and the
inheritance of God is Israel' {Ps, Sol. xiv. 3); 'Blessed art thou of
the Lord, O Israel, for evermore' {ib. viii, 41) ; ' ThoLi didst choose
the seed of Abraham before all the nations, and didst set thy name
before us, O Lord : and thou wilt abide among us for ever ' [ib. ix.
17, 18). While Israel is always to enjoy the Divine mercy, sinners,
i.e. Gentiles, are to be destroyed before the face of the Lord
(ib. xii. 7, 8). So again in 4 Ezra, they have been selected while
Esau has been rejected (iii. 16). And this has not been done as part
of any larger Divine purpose ; Israel is the end of the Divine action ;
for Israel the world was created (vi. 55) ; it does not in any way
exist for the benefit of oilier nations, who are of no account ; they
are as spitde, as the dropping from a vessel (vi. 55, 56). More
instances might be quoted {Jubilees xix. 16 ; xxii. 9 ; Apoc. Baruch
xlviii. 20, 23 ; Ixxvii. 3), but the above are enough to illustrate the
positfon St. Paul is combating. The Jew believed that his race

Online LibraryW. (William) SandayA critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans → online text (page 44 of 71)