W. (William) Sanday.

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

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fioi oZv is the reading of N* ABt^ Ong. 1/3 Jo.-Damasc; oZv /loi of the
TR. is supported by D E F G K L &c., Vulg. Boh., Grig. 3/3 and Orig.-lat.
Cbrys. Thdrt. It is the substitution of the more usual order.

Ti €Ti /i,^)j.(|>6Tai : * why considering that it is God who hardens
me does He still find fault?' Why does he first produce a
position of disobedience to His will, and then blame me for falling
into it ? The ert implies that a changed condition has been pro-
duced which makes the continuation of the previous results sur-
prising. So Rom. iii. 'J tl be f) dXrjdeia roii Qeov iv tw f^xa ■<^fviTfiaTt
tntpiaafva-fv (is njf 66^av avTov, W en Kayo) ms ifiaproiXos Kpivofjuii J
Rom. vi. 2 oiTwts dmBavofifv rg SfiapTify irus en Crjaofttv <V avT§ J


ri tri /ifuftrai is read by TR. and RV. with N A K LP &c., Vnlg. Syrr.
Boh., and many Fathers. B D E F G, Orig.-lat. Hieron. insert oZv after r'u

PouXi^fiaTi, which occurs in only two other passages in the N. T.
(Acts xxvii. 43 ; i Pet. iv. 3) seems to be substituted for the
ordinary word BiXrifia as implying more definitely the deliberate
purpose of God.

6,vQi(m]Ke. Perfect with present sense; cf. Rom. xiii. 2 wo-t*

6 avTiTaaarofirvos t>j t^ovcria rjj tov Oeov Siaray^ avdea-rrjKfu, Winer,

§ xl. 4, p. 342, E. T. The meaning is not : * who is able to
resist/ but 'what man is there who is resisting God's will?' There
is no resistance being offered by the man who disobeys ; he is only
doing what God has willed that he should do.

20. 3 ai'Opwire. The form in which St. Paul answers this question
is rhetorical, but it is incorrect to say that he refuses to argue.
The answer he gives, while administering a severe rebuke to his
opponent, contains also a logical refutation. He reminds him
that the real relation of every man to God (hence &> avOpani) is
that of created to Creator, and hence not only has he no right
to complain, but also God has the Creator's right to do what He
will with those whom He has Himself moulded and fashioned.

ficfour/c : ' nay rather,' a strong correction. The word seems
to belong almost exclusively to N. T. Greek, and Ti-ould be impossible
at the beginning of a sentence in classical Greek. Cf. Rom. x. 18;
Phil. iii. 8; but probably not Luke xi. 28.

2 dv$pune fitvowyt is read by N A B (bnt B om. ye as in Phil. iii. 8),
Orig. 1/4 Jo.-Damasc. ; fnvovvye is omitted by D F G, d e f g Vulg.,
Orig.-lat., and inserted before w avOpurnhv N^D^KLP and later MSS.,
Orig. 3/4, Chrys. Theod.-mops Thdrt. &c. 'The -ame MSS. ( F G d f g) and
Orig.-lat. omit the word again in x. 18, and in Phil. iii. 8 BDEFGKL
and other authorities read txiv ovv alone. The expression was omitted as
tinusnal by many copyists, and when restored in the margin crept into
a different position in the verse.

(XT| epei TO irXaVfia, k.t.X. The conception of the absolute power
of the Creator over His creatures as represented by the power of
the potter over his clay was a well-known O. T. idea which
St. Paul shared with his opponent and to which therefore he could
appeal with confidence. Both the idea and the language are bor-
rowed from Is. xlv. 8—10 e'-yo) flp-i Kvpios 6 KTiaas (Tf' noiov lieKnov
KUTfaKivacra as tttjXov kc paya oas . , . fxT] epf'i 6 nrjXos tc5 K(paf^fi Tt
TTOtfij, oTi oiiK fpyd^ji ov8e f'x^'^ X^'P"^ J MV aTTOKpiOqaerai to irXaapa
rrpos TOV nXdcravTa uvto' and Is. xxix. 16 ou;^ wf 6 tttjXos tov Kepa-
fieas Xoyi(r3r]cr(a6e ', pLTj eptl to TrXda-jxa tcd irXaaavTi avro Oi) av pt
inXaaas ', fj to trolrjpa t<5 noifjcravTi Ov avvfTtos pt {TTOLT]cras ', Cf. also

Is. Ixiv. 8; Jer. xviii. 6 ; Eccles. xxxvi. [xxxiii.] 13.

21. f\ ouK Ixei iiouviav : ' if you do not accept this you will be
compelled to confess that the potter has not complete control over
his clay— an absurd idea.* The unusual position of tov nnjXoi), which


should of course be taken with e^ova-Uiv, is intended to emphasize
the contrast between Kepafitvs and nrfKoi, as suggesting the true
relations of man and God.

<})upa|jLaTos : ' the lump of clay.' Cf. Rom. xi. i6 ; i Cor. v. 6, 7 ;
Gal. V. 9. The exact point to which this metaphor is to be pressed
may be doubtful, and it must always be balanced by language used
elsewhere in St. Paul's Epistles ; but it is impossible to argue that
there is no idea of crea'ion implied : the potter is represented not
merely as adapting for this or that purpose a vessel already made,
but as making out of a mass of shapeless material one to which he
gives a character and form adapted for different uses, some
honourable, some dishonourable.

o jiei' els Ti\i.r\v ctkcGos, k.t.X. : cf. Wisd. XV. 7 (see below):

2 Tim. ii. 20 (V ntyi'iKrj Se olKia ovk eort nuvov aufvTj ■)(^pv(Ta. Koi
ajiyvpa. ak\a kcu ^vXtva Ka\ ocrrpuKiva, Koi a pev fls Tiprjv, a fie els uripiav.

But there the side of human responsibility is emphasized, eav ovp ns

(KKaOciprj iavTov ano tovtuv^ earai (TKfvus fls Tiprjv, k.t.X.

The point of the argument is clear. Is there any injustice if
God has first hardened Pharaoh's heart and then condemned him,
if Israel is rejected and then blamed for being rejected ? The answer
is twofold. In vv. 19-21 God's conduct is shown to be right under
all circumstances. In vv. 22 sq. it is explained or perhaps rather
hinted that He has a beneficent purpose in view. In vv. 19-21
St. Paul shows that for God to be unjust is impossible. As He has
made man, man is absolutely in His power. Just as we do not
consider the potter blameable if he makes a vessel for a dishonour-
able purpose, so we must not consider God unjust if He chooses to
make a man like Pharaoh for a dishonourable part in history. Posf-
(]uam de77ionstratwn est, Deiim ita egisse, dc?nonsiratum etiam est omni-
bus, qui Mosi credunt, einn convenienter suae iustitiae egisse. Wetstein.

As in iii. 5 St. Paul brings the argument back to the ab-olute
fact of God's justice, so here he ends with the absolute fact of
God's power and right. God had not (as the Apostle will show)
acted arbitrarily, but if He had done so what was man that he
should complain?

22. el 8e Ge'Xwi' 6 0e<5s, k.t.X. : ' but if God, &c., what will you say
then?' like our English idiom 'What and if.' There is no apo-
dosis to the sentence, but the construction, although grammatically
incomplete, is by no means unusual: cf Jo. vi. 61, 62 roOro vpas

tTKavBaXi^fi j eav ovv decoprjrf top viup tov dvdpctiTTOv ava^alvovra onov
rjV TO wporfpov J ActS Xxiii. 9 ovStv kqkov evpiaKopfU iv tw avOpoitroi
TOVTdt' fl Sf irvfvpa (XaXrjcrev aina> rj ayyfXos ', Luke xix. 4I) 4^ xnl o)S
ijyyi(jfVj I3a)v ttjv ttoXii' exXaucreJ' irr' avTjj Xeycjuv otl Ei tyvuis ev rfj rjpepa

TiivTrj KOI (TV Tu TTpos flpT]V7]v. Thcrc Is no difFiculty (as Oltramare
seems to think) in the length of the sentence. All other con-
structions, such as an attempt to find an apodosis in koI iva


yvoapla-j], in ovs Koi (KoKtaev, ov even in ver. 31 W ovu t'povfitv, are
needlessly harsh and unreal.

The Se (which differs from ovv : cf. Jo. vi. 62 ; Acts xxiii. 9),
although not introducing a strong opposition to the previous
sentence, implies a change of thought. Enough has been said to
preserve the independence of the Divine will, and St. Paul suggests
another aspect of the question, which will be expounded more
fully later ; — one not in any way opposed to the freedom of the
Divine action, but showing as a matter of fact how this freedom
has- been exhibited. ' But if God, notwithstanding His Divine
sovereignty, has in His actual dealings with mankind shown such
unexpected mercy, what becomes of your complaints of injustice?'

Qekoiv. There has been much discussion as to whether this
should be translated 'because God wishes,' or 'although God
wishes.' (i) In the former case (so de W. and most commenta-
tors) the words mean, ' God because He wishes to show the
terrible character of His wrath restrains His hands, until, as in the
case of Pharaoh, He exhibits His power by a terrible overthrow.
He hardened Pharaoh's heart in order that the judgement might
be more terrible.' (2) In the latter case (Mey.-W. Go. Lips.
Gif), ' God, although His righteous anger might naturally lead to
His making His power known, has through His kindness delayed
and borne with those who had become objects that deserved His
wrath.' That this is correct is sbown by the woids eV nnW^ fiuKpo-
6vfxia, which are quite inconsistent with the former interpretation,
and by the similar passage Rom. ii. 4, where it is distinctly stated
TO xpw'^^ ^ov Qfov els ixerdvoidv ae ayei. Even if St. Paul occa-
sionally contradicts himself, that is no reason for making him do so
unnecessarily. As Liddon says the three points added in this
sentence, the natural wrath of God against sin and the violation of
His law, the fact that the objects of His compassion were aKtCrj
opy^i, and that they were fitted for destruction, all intensify the
difficulty of the Divine restraint.

ei'Sei'^aafiat ttji' 6pyr]y Kal yi'wpio'oi to Sui'aTOK aurou are reminis-
cences of the language used in the case of Pharaoh, fv8fl^ iv

(Toi TTjv dwap-iv pov,

aK£o't) opYTjs : ' vessels which deserve God's anger ' ; the image of

the previous verse is continued. The translation ' destined for
God's anger ' would require aKfiir] fls 6pyi]v : and the change of con-
struction from the previous verse must be intentional.

KaTT]pTicrp,eVa eis aTTcoXeiai' : * prepared for destruction.' The
construction is purposely different from that of the corresponding
words a npoi]Tolpacrtv. St. Paul does not say ' whom God pre-
pared for destruction ' (Mey.), although in a sense at any rate he
could have done so (ver. 18 and i. 24, &c.), for that would conflici
with the argument o\ the sentence; nor does he say that they


had fitted themselves for destruction (Chrys. Theoph. Oecum
Groiius Beng.), although, as the argument in chap, x shows, he
could have done so, for this would have been to impair the con-
ception of God's freedom of action which at present he wishes to
emphasize ; but he says just what is necessary for his immediate
purpose — they were fitted for eternal destruction {dna)\fia opp. to
acoTTjina). That is the point to which he wishes to attract our

23. Kal Xva yvatptari. These words further develop and explain
God's action so as to silence any objection. St. Paul states that
God has not only shown great long-sutfering in bearing with those
fitted for destruction, but has done so in order to be able to show
mercy to those whom He has called : the kqi therefore couples Iva
yvupiai) in thought with iu noWfj fiaKpodvfj.ia. St. Paul is no longer
(see ver. 24) confining himself to the special case of Pharaoh,
although he still remembers it, as his language shows, but he is
considering the whole of God's dealings with the unbelieving Jews,
and is laying down the principles which will afterwards be worked
out in full— that the Jews had deserved God's wrath, but that He
had borne with them with great long-suffering both for their own
sakes and for the ultimate good of His Church. In these verses, as
in the expression f) kot (KXoyfju npodeais, St. Paul is in fact hinting
at the course of the future argument, and in that connexion they
must be understood.

On the exact construction of these words there has been great variety of
opinion, and it may be convenient to mention some divergent views.
(i) V\H. on the authority of B, several minuscules, Vulg. Boh. Sah., Orig.-lat.
3/3 omit KOI. This makes the construction simpler, but probably for that very
reason should be rejected. A reviser or person quoting would naturally omit
Kai: it is difficult to understand why it should be inserted: moreover on such
a point as this the authority of versions is slighter, since to omit a pleonastic kcu
would come within the ordinary latitude of interpretation necessary for their
purpose. There is some resemblance to xvi. 27. In both cases we find the
same MS. supporting, a reading which we should like to accept, but which
has much the appearance of being an obvious correction, (a) Calv. Grot,
de W. Alf. and others make Kai couple 6e\ajv and 'iva -yvupiay. But
this obliges us to take 6e\tuv . . . (vSd^aaOai as expressing the purpose
of the sentence which is both impossible Greek and gives a meaning
inconsistent with fiaKpoev/ila. (3) Fri. Beyschlag and others couple iva
fvaipioji and (h d-nujXdav; but this is to read an idea of purpose into
KaTT]pTi(7fifva which it does not here possess. (4) To make icat iva
give the apodosis of the sentence d S« ^vfyxev (Ols. Ewald, &c.), or to
create a second sentence repeating il, ical tl ii'a . . . (.supposing a second
ellipse), or to find a verb hidden in eicdXffffv, supposing that St. Paul meant
to write xal «i 'iva yvajpia-g . . . iKaktatv but changed the construction and put
the verb into a relative sentence (Go. Oltramare) ; all these are quite im-
possible and quite unnecessary constructions,

Toi' irXouTOi', K.T.X. : cf. ii. 4 ; Eph. iii. 1 6 Kara rb nkovTos T^f fio'^iji


d ■n-poTf]Toifiaa6i' eis S^^af : the best commentary on these words
is Rom. viii. 28-30.

We may note the very striking nse made of this metaphor of the potter's
wheel and the cup by Browning, Rabbi ben Ezra, xxvi-xxxii. We may
especially illustrate the words h. TrporjToiixaafi' els So^ay,

But I need now as then,

Thee, God, who mouldest men;

So take and use thy work I

Amend what flaws may lurk.
What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the aim I

My times be in Thy hand !

Perfect the cup as planned !
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the samel

24. ous Kttl cKdXeaei/ : ' even us whom He has called.'
The ovs is attracted into the gender of f)fias. The relative clause
gives an additional fact in a manner not unusual with St. Paul.

Rom. i. 6 eV ois ((TT€ Ka\ vixHS '. 2 Tim. i. 10 (pcoTicravros Se ^(ofjv Koi
d(p6apaiav 81a. tov fvayytXiov, els o fTf6r)v eyi> Krjpv^. The Calling of the

Gentiles is introduced not because it was a difficulty St. Paul was
discussing, but because, as he shows afterwards, the calling of the
Gentiles had come through the rejection of the Jews.

There have been two main lines of interpretation of the above
three verses, (i) According to the one taken above they modify
and soften the apparent harshness of the preceding passage (19-21).
That this is the right view is shown by the exegetical con-
siderations given above, and by the drift of the argument which
culminating as it does in a reference to the elect clearly implies
some mitigation in the severity of the Divine power as it has been
described. (2) The second view would make the words of ver. 22
continue and emphasize this severity of tone : ' And even if God has
borne with the reprobate for a time only in order to exhibit more
clearly the terror of His wrath, and in order to reveal His mercy
to the elect, even then what right have you — man that you are —
to complain ?' Cf. Calvin : Ua st dominus ad aliquod iempus patienter
sush'nel . . . ad demonsiranda suae severitatis iudicia . , , ad virluiem
suam illustrandam, . . .praeterea quo inde noiior fiat et clarius elucescal
suae in electos misericordiae amplitudo : quid in hac dispensation*
misericordiae dignum ?

25. ws Kai : ' and this point, the rejection of the Jews and the
calling of the Gentiles, is foretold by the prophet.' St. Paul now
proceeds to give additional force to his argument by a series of
quotations from the O. T., which are added as a sort of appendix
to the first main section of his argument

KaX^o-oj . . . r\yaTx-t\\ilvr\v — quoted from the LXX of Hosea ii. 23
with some alterations. In the original passage the words refer
to the ten tribes. A son and daughter of Hosea are named Lo-


ammi, * not a people ' and Lo-ruhamah, 'without mercy,' to signify
the fallen condition of the ten tribes; and Hosea prophesies their
restoration (cf. Hosea i. 6, 8, 9). St. Paul applies the principle
which underlies these words, that God can take into His covenant
those who were previously cut off from it, to the calling of the
Gentiles. A similar interpretation of the verse was held by the
Rabbis. Pesachim viii. f. Dixit R. Eliezer : No7i alia de causa in
exilium et capiivitatem viisit Deus S. B. Israelem inter nationes, nisi
utfacerent multos proselytos S. D. Oseae ii. 25 (23) et seram earn
mihi in terram. Numquid homo seminal satum nisi ut colligal
multos coros tritici? Wetstein.

The LXX reads iXcqaw rfjv ovk fiXtrjfiivqv, Koi l/w rZ ov XaS fxov AaS? ftov
(J av, but for the first clause which agrtes with tlie Hebrew the Vatican
substitutes 117077770-0; rj]v ovk ■Qya-nrjjxivrjv. St. Paul inverts the order of the
clauses, so that the reference to rov oi \a6v fiov, which seems particularly to
suit the Gentiles, comes first, and for Ipw substitutes KaXiaw which naturally
crept in from the (KaXecnv of the previous verse, and changes the construc-
tion of the clause to suit the new word. In the second clause St. Paul seems
to have used a text containing the reading of the Vatican MS., for the latter
can hardly have been altered to harmonize with him. St. Peter makes use of
the passage with the reading of the majority of MSS. : 01 ttotJ ov Ka6s,yvv 5i
Xaos Q(ov, ol OVK yXerj/jtivot, vvv hi (\c)]6evTes (i Pet. ii. lo).

KaXeo-w with a double accusative can only mean ' I will name,'
although the word has been suggested by its previous occurrence
in another sense.

26. Kai earat, iv tw tottw . . . €Kei k.t.X. St. Paul adds a passage
with a similar purport from another part of Hosea (i. 10). The
meaning is the same and the application to the present purpose
based on exactly the same principles. The habit had probably
arisen of quoting passages to prove the calling of the Gentiles ; and
these would become commonplaces, which at a not much later date
might be collected together in writing, see Hatch, Essays in Biblical
Greek, p. 103, and cf. Rom. iii. 10. The only difference between
St. Paul's quotation and the LXX is that he inserts em : this insertion
seems to emphasize the idea of the place, and it is somewhat difficult
to understand what place is intended, (i) In the original the place
referred to is clearly Palestine : and if that be St. Paul's meaning
he must be supposed to refer to the gathering of the nations at
Jerusalem and the foundation of a Messianic kingdom there
(cf. xi. 26). St. Paul is often strongly influenced by the language and
even the ideas of Jewish eschatology, although in his more spiritual
passages he seems to be quite freed from it. (2) If we neglect
the meaning of the original, we may interpret eVel of the w hole
world. ' Wheresoever on earth there may be Gentiles, who have
had to endure there tlie reproach of being not God's people, in
that place they shall be called God's people, for they will become
members of His Church and it will be universal'


27, 28. St. Paul has supported one side of his statement from
the O. T., namely, that Gentiles should be called ; he now passes
on to justify the second, namely, that only a remnant of the Jews
should be saved.

27. iikv ^ 4 dpi9fi<5s . . . em ttJs y^? : quoted from the LXX of
Is. X. 22, but considerably shortened. The LXX differs considerably
from the Hebrew, which the translators clearly did not understand.
But the \ariations in the form do not affect the meaning in any
case. St. Paul reproduces accurately the idea of the original
passage. The context shows that the words must be translated
' only a remnant shall be saved,' and that it is the cutting off of
Israel by the righteous judgement of God that is foretold. Prof.
Cheyne in 1884 translated the Hebrew: 'For though thy people,
O Israel, were as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall
return : a final work and a decisive, overflowing with righteousness I
For a final work and a decisive doth the Lord, Jehovah Sabaoth,
execute within all the land.'

28. XiyoK Y^p aorreXwj' Kal (TuvTi\iv(t}V iroii^aei Kupios em ttjs YT]S :
vvvreXav, 'accomplisliing,' (rvvT(fjLva)v, 'abridging.' Cf. Is. xxviii. 2a

dioTi (TvvTfTeXfcrfieva Koi awTfrfirnxiva irpayfiara rJKovaa rtapa Kvpiov
2a/3na)^, & Trotijo-et eVt naaav ttjv yr)v. 'For a word, accomplishing

and abridging it, that is, a sentence conclusive and concise, will
the Lord do upon the earth.'

Three critical points are of some interest :

(i) The variations in the MSS. of the Gr. Test. For inr6\et[x/xa (ii-nSXtiifia
WH.~) of the older MSS. (NAB, Eus.), later authorities read /cardAei/x^a
to agree with the LXX. In ver. 28 \6ynv yap avvT(\wu Kal avvrinvajv
voiTjaei Kvpios (nl t^s 7^5 is the reading of N A B a few minusc, Pesh. Boh.
Aeth., Eus. 2/3; Western and Syrian authorities add after awrinvajv, iv
SiKaioowri' oTi Xoyov awTfTixrj^tvov to suit the LXX. Alford defends the
TR. on the plea of homoeoteleuton {awTiixvav and auvTtjf^rjfxfvov), but the
insertion of yap after \6yov which is preserved in the TR. (where it is
ungrammatical) and does not occur in the text of tlie LXX, shows that the
shortened form was what St. Paul wrote.

(2) The variations from the LXX. The LXX reads Koi lav ytvr^rai
6 \a6s 'l(Tparj\ cbs 17 d/i/ios t^j 6a\d(T(JT]S, to KaTdkei/xfia avrixiv awOr^asTai.
\6yov avvTtKujv Kal avpTe/iiuv iv diKaioavvjj on \6yov awTfTfir]fi(yuv Kvpios
wotrjatt kv rri oiKov/J-ef^ o^t). St. Paul substitutes dptO/xos twv vlaiv 'laparj\,
a reminiscence from Hosea i. 10, the words immediately preceding those
quoted by him above. The later part of the quotation he considerably

(3) The variations of the LXX from the Hebrew. These appear to arise
from an inability to translate. For ' a final work and a decisive, overflowing
with righteousness,' they wrote ' a word, accomplishing and abridging it in
righteousness,' and for * a final work and a decisive,' ' a word abridged will
the Lord do,' &c.

29. irpoeipTiKei' : ' has foretold.' A second passage is quoted in
corroboration of the preceding.

el p.f] Kupios K.T.X., quoted from the LXX of Is. L 9, which


again seems adequately to represent the Hebrew. ' Even in the
O. T., that book from which you draw your hopes, it is stated that
Israel would be completely annihilated and forgotten but for
a small remnant which would preserve their seed and name.'

The Power and Rights of God as Creator,

St. Paul in this section (vv. 19-29) expands and strengthens
the previous argument. He had proved in vv. 14-18 the absolute
character of the Divine sovereignty from the O. T. ; he now
proves the same from the fundamental relations of God to man
implied in that fact which all his antagonists must admit — that
God had created man. This he applies in an image which was
common in the O. T. and the Apocryphal writings, that of the
potter and the clay. God has created man, and, as far as the
question of 'right' and 'justice' goes, man cannot complain of
his lot. He would not exist but for the will of God, and whether
his lot be honourable or dishonourable, whether he be destined for
eternal glory or eternal destruction, he has no ground for speak-
ing of injustice. The application to the case in point is very
clear. If the Jews are to be deprived of the Messianic salvation,
they have, looking at the question on purely abstract grounds,
no right or ground of complaint. Whether or no God be
arbitrary in His dealings with them does not matter : they must
submit, and that without murmuring.

This is clearly the argument. We cannot on the one hand
minimize the force of the words by limiting them to a purely
earthly destination : as Beyschlag, ' out of the material of the
human race which is at His disposal as it continues to come into
existence to stamp individuals with this or that historical destina-
tion,' implj'ing that St. Paul is making no reference either to the
original creation of man or to his final destination, in both points
erroneously. St. Paul's argument cannot be thus limited. It is
entirely based on the assumption that God has created man, and
the use of the words <ts fio^af, di omiikdov prove conclusively that
he is looking as much as he ever does to the final end and
destination of man. To limit them thus entirely deprives the
passage of any adequate meaning.

But on the other side it is equally necessary to see exactly how

Online LibraryW. (William) SandayA critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans → online text (page 46 of 71)