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

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The first which in form resembles Deut. xxix. 4, modified by
Is. xxix. 10; vi. 9, 10, describes the spiritual dulness or torpor ol
which the prophet accuses the Israelites. This he says had been
given them by God as a punishment for their faithlessness. These
words will equally well apply to the spiritual condition of the
Apostle's own time, showing that it is not inconsistent with the
position of Israel as God's people, and suggesting a general law ol
God's dealing with them.

The following extracts, in which the words that St. Paul has mad»:
use of are printed in spaced type, will give the source of the quotation.
Deut. xxix. 4 Kal ovK eSaiKfif Kvpios 6 &eds iipiiv Kapdiav eldtvai ital
6(p0a\fxoiis Pxiireiv icai Sira aKovfiy fws rrjs ^fiepas ravrrji. It.
xxix. 10 OTt nenuTtKev vpids Kvptoi irvfVftaTt Karavv^eais : cf. Is. vi. o> 10
dKoj7 uKOVff(T( Kal ov fjii) awrJTf Kal l3K(iT0VTes P\i\f/iTt Kal oi fii) tdrjrf.
-..Kal (TiTa"Eojs TTOTf, Kvpif ; While the form resembles the words in
Deut., the historical situation and meaning of the quotation are lepresented
by the passages in Isaiah to which St. Paul is clearly referring.

■n-i'eujjia Kaxai'ij^ews : * a spirit of torpor,' a state of dull insensi-
bility to everything spiritual, such as would be produced by drunken-
ness, or stupor. Is. xxix. 10 (RV.) ' For the Lord hath poured
out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes,
the prophets ; and your heads, the seers, hath He covered.'

The word Kardw^is is derived from KaTavvaaoixai. The simple verb
vvaau is used to mean to ' prick ' or ' strike ' or ' dint.' TLe condpound



XI. 8-10.] THE REJECTION OF ISRAEL 315

verb would mean, (l) to 'strike' or 'prick violently,' and hence (2) to
' stun ' ; no instance is quoted of it in its primary sense, but it is common
(3) especially in the LXX of strong emotions, of the prickings of lust Susan.
10 (Theod.) ; of strong grief Gen. xxxiv. 7 ; Ecclus. xiv. i ; and so Acts ii. 37
Karfvvyrjaav rrj Kap5ia of being strongly moved by speaking. Then (4) it is
used of the stunning effect of such emotion which results in speechlessness :
Is. vi. 5 d» TaKas tyw on Karavevvyfjai : Dan. x. 15 (5cuKa t6 -rrpoawitiv /xov
tnl TTjv yT]v Kai KaTivv-f-qv, and so the general idea of torpor would be
derived. The noun Karavv^LS appears to occur only twice, Is. xxix. 10
irvev/xa Karavv^avs, Ps. lix [Ix]. 4 otvov Karavv^fois. In the former case it
clearly means ' torpor ' or ' deep sleep,' as both the context and the Hebrew
show, in the latter case probably so. It may be noticed that this definite
meaning of 'torpor' or 'deep sleep' which is found in the noun cannot be
exactly paralleled in the verb ; and it may be suggested that a certain con-
fusion existed with the verb waTa^o}, which means ' to nod in sleep,' ' be
drowsy,' just as the meaning of ipiBiia was influenced by its resemblance
to ipii (cf. ii. 8). On the word generally see Fri. ii. p. 558 ff.

Iws TTJs o-i^fjiepoi' r)|i^pas: cf. Acts vii. 51 'Ye stiffnecked and
uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy
Ghost: as your fathers did so do ye.' St. Stephen's speech
illustrates more in detail the logical assumptions which underlie
St. Paul's quotations. The chosen people have from the beginning
shown the same obstinate adherence to their own views and
a power of resisting the Holy Ghost ; and God has throughout
punished them for their obstinacy by giving them over to spiritual
blindness.

9. Kal AaplS Xeyei k.t.X. : quoted from the LXX of Ps. Ixviii

[Ixixj. 23, 24 yfvr]6J]T0i fj TpUTie^a avTa>v (vatniov aircov els nayiSa, Koi (Is
avTanoSocriP Kin aKaudaXov' aK0Ti(T6r]TC0(Tnp k.t.X. (which is ascribed in

the title to David) with reminiscences of Ps. xxxiv [xxxv]. 8, and
xxvii [xxviii]. 4. The Psalmist is represented as declaring the
Divine wrath against those who have made themselves enemies of
the Divine will. Those who in his days were the enemies of the
spiritual life of the people are represented in the Apostle's days by
the Jews who have shut their ears to the Gospel message.

1^ TpdireSa auTwi' : ' their feast.' The image is that of men
feasting in careless security, and overtaken by their enemies, owing
to the very prosperity which ought to be their strength. So to the
Jews that Law and those Scriptures wherein they trusted are to
become the very cause of their fall and the snare or hunting-net in
which they are caught.

o-Kdf SaXok : * that over which they fall/ ' a cause of their destruc-
tion.'

dfTairo'Sofxa : Ps. xxvii [xxviii]. 4. *A requital,' 'recompense.'
The Jews are to be punished for their want of spiritual insight by
being given over to blind trust in their own law; in fact being
given up entirely to their own wishes.

10. CTKOTiaOiiTwcraK k.t.X. ' May their eyes become blind, so that
they have no insight, and their backs bent like men who are continu'



3l6 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XI. 1-10.

ally groping about in the dark ! ' They are to be like those described
by Plato as fast bound in the cave: even if they are brought to the
light they will only be blinded by it, and will be unable to see.
The judgement upon them is that they are to be ever bent down
with the weight of the burden which they have wilfully taken on
their backs.

It may be worth noticing that Lipsius, who does not elsewhere accept the
theory of interpolations in the text, suggests that w. 9, lo are a gloss added
by some reader in the margin after the fall of Jerusalem (cf. Holsten, Z.f.
w. T. 1872, p. 455; Michelsen, Th. T. 1887. p. 163; Protestanteti-bibel,
1872, p. 589; E. T. ii. 154). It is suggested that Ziavavriti is inconsistent
with ver. 11 ff. But it has not been noticed that in ver. 11 we have a change
of metaphor, t-maioav, which would be singularly out of place if it came
immediately after ver. 8. As it is, this word is suggested and accounted
for by the metaphors employed in the quotation introduced in ver. 9. If
we omit vv. 9, 10 we must also omit ver. 11. There is throughout the
whole Epistle a continuous succession of thought running from verse to
verse which makes any theory of interpolation impossible. ^See Intro-
duction, § 9.)

The Doctrine of the Remnant,

The idea of the ' Remnant ' is one of the most typical and
significant in the prophetic portions of the O. T. We meet it
first apparently in the prophetic narrative which forms the basis of
the account of Elijah in the book of Kings, the passage which
St. Paul is quoting. Here a new idea is introduced into Israel's
history, and it is introduced in one of the most solemn and im-
pressive narratives of that history. The Prophet is taken into the
desert to commune with God ; he is taken to Sinai, the mountain of
God, which played such a large part in the traditions of His people,
and he receives the Divine message in that form which has ever
marked off this as unique amongst theophanies, the ' still small
voice,' contrasted with the thunder, and the storm, and the
earthquake. And the idea that was thus introduced marks a
stage in the religious history of the world, for it was the first
revelation of the idea of personal as opposed to national consecra-
tion. Up to that time it was the nation as a whole that was
bound to God, the nation as a whole for which sacrifices were
offered, the nation as a whole for which kings had fought and
judges legislated. But the nation as a whole had deserted Jehovah,
and the Prophet records that it is the loyalty of the individual
Israelites who had remained true to Him that must henceforth be
reckoned. The nation will be chastised, but the remnant shall be
saved.

The idea is a new one, but it is one which we find continuously
from this time onwards ; spiritualized with the more spiritual ideas
of the later prophets. We find it in Amos (ix. 8-10), in Micah (il



XI. 1-10.] THE REJECTION OF ISRAEL 317

12, V. 3), in Zephaniah (iii. 12, 13), in Jeremiah (xxiii. 3), in Ezekie'
(xiv. 14-20, 22), but most pointedly and markedly in Isaiali. The
two g^eat and prominent ideas of Isaiah's prophecy are typified in
the names p^iven to his two sons, — the reality of the Divine ven-
geance (Maher-shalal-hash-baz) and the salvation of the Remnant
(Shear-Jashub) and, through the Holy and Righteous Remnant, of
the theocratic nation itself (vii. 3; viii. 2, 18; ix. 12; x. 21, 24);
and both these ideas are prominent in the narrative of the call
(vi. 9-13) ' Hear ye indeed, but understand not, and see ye indeed,
but,perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their
ears heavy, and shut their eyes . . . Then said I, Lord, how long ?
And He answered, Until cities be waste without inhabitant and
homes without men, and the land become utterly waste.' But this
is only one side. There is a true stock left. ' Like the terebinth
and the oak, whose stock remains when they are cut down and sends
forth new saplings, so the holy seed remains as a living stock and
a new and better Israel shall spring from the ruin of the ancient
state ' (Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel, p. 234). This doctrine
of a Remnant implied that it was the individual who was true to
his God, and not the nation, that was the object of the Divine
soHcitude; that it was in this small body of individuals that the
true life of the chosen nation dwelt, and that trom them would
spring that internal reformation, which, coming as the result of the
Divine chastisement, would produce a whole people, pure and
undefiled, to be offered to God (Is. Ixv. 8, 9).

The idea appealed with great force to the early Christians. I
appealed to St. Stephen, in whose speech one of the main currents
of thought seems to be the marvellous analogy which runs through
all the history of Israel. The mass of the people has ever been
unfaithful ; it is the individual or the small body that has remained
true to God in all the changes of Israel's history, and these the
people have always persecuted as they crucified the Messiah.
And so St. Paul, musing over the sad problem of Israel's unbelief,
finds its explanation and justification in this consistent trait of the
nation's history. As in Elijah's time, as in Isaiah's time, so now the
mass of the people have rejected the Divine call ; but there always
has been and still is the true Remnant, the Remnant whom God
has selected, who have preserved the true Hfe and ideal of the
people and thus contain the elements of new and prolonged life.

And this doctrine of the ' Remnant' is as true to human nature
as it is to Israel's history. No church or nation is saved eir masse,
it is those meinbers of it who are righteous. It is not the mass
of the nation or church that has done its work, but the select
few who have preservetl the consciousness of its high calling.
It is by the selection of individuals, even in the nation that has
been chosen, that God has woriied equallv in religion and in all



31 8 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XI. 11-14.

the different lines along which the path of human development has
progressed.

[On the Remnant see especially Jowett, Contrasts of Prophecy,
in Romans ii. p. 290; and Robertson Smith, The Prophets of
Israel, pp. 106, 209, 234, 258. The references are collected in
Oehler, Theologie des alien Testaments, p. 809.J



THE REJECTIGK' OP ISRAEL NOT PIN-AIi.

XI. 11-24. The Rejection of Israel is not comtlete^ nor
xvill it be final. Its result has been the extension of the
Church to the Gentiles. The salvation of these will stir the
Jews to jealousy ; they will return to the Kingdom, and this
will mean the final consummation (w. 10-15).

Of all this the guarantee is the holiness of the stock from
zvhich Israel comes. God has grafted you Gejttiles into that
stock against the natural order ; far more easily can He
restore them to a position which by nature and descent is
theirs (w. 16-24).

" The Rejection of Israel then is only partial. Yet still there
is the great mass of the nation on whom God's judgement has
come: what of these? Is there no further hope for them? Is
this stumbling of theirs such as will lead to a final and complete
fall ? By no means. It is only temporary, a working out of the
Divine purpose. This purpose is partly fulfilled. It has resulted
in the extension of the Messianic salvation to the Gentiles. It is
partly in the future ; that the inclusion of these in the Kingdom
may rouse the Jews to emulation and bring them back to the place
which should be theirs and from which so far they have been
excluded. " And consider what this means. Even the transgres-
sion of Israel has brought to the world a great wealth of spiritual
blessings ; their repulse has enriched the nations, how much greater
then will be the result when the chosen people with their numbers
completed have accepted the Messiah? "In these speculations
about my countrymen, I am not disregarding my proper mission
to you Gentiles. It is with you in my mind that I am speaking.
I will put it more strongly. I do all I can to glorify my ministry
as Apostle to the Gentiles, '* and this in hopes that I may succeed



XI. 14-21.] THE REJECTION OF ISRAEL 319

in bringing salvation to some at any rate of my countrymen by thus
moving them to emulation, "And my reason for this is what
I have impHed just above, that by the return of the Jews the whole
world will receive what it longs for. The rejection of ihem has
been the means of reconciling the world to God by the preaching
to the Gentiles; their reception into the Kingdom, the gathering
together of the elect from the four winds of heaven, will inaugurate
the final consummation, the resurrection of the dead, and the
eternal life that follows.

" But what ground is there for thus believing in the return of the
chosen people to the Kingdom? It is the holiness of the race.
When you take from the kneading trough a piece of dough and
offer it to the Lord as a heave-offering, do you not consecrate the
whole mass? Do not the branches of a tree receive life and
nourishment from the roots? So it is with Israel. Their fore-
fathers the Patriarchs have been consecrated to the Lord, and in
them the whole race ; from that stock they obtain their spiritual life,
a life which must be holy as its source is holy. " For the Church
of God is like a * green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit,' as the
Prophet Jeremiah described it. Its roots are the Patriarchs; its
branches the people of the Lord. Some of these branches have
been broken off; Israelites who by birth and descent were members
of the Church. Into their place you Gentiles, by a process quite
strange and unnatural, have been grafted, shoots from a wild olive,
into a cultivated stock. Equally with the old branches which still
remain on the tree you share in the rich sap which flows from its
root. " Do not for this reason think that you may insolently boast
of the position of superiority which you occupy. If you are
inclined to do so, remember that you have done nothing, that all
the spiritual privileges that you possess simply belong to the
stock on which you by no merit of your own have been grafted.
" But perhaps you say : ' That I am the favoured one is shown by
this that others were cut off that I might be grafted in.' '"* I grant
what you say; but consider the reason. It was owing to their
want of faiih that they were broken off: you on the oiher hand
owe your firm position to your faith, not to any natural superiority.
" It is an incentive therefore not to pride, as you seem to tliink, but
to fear. For if God did not spare the holders of the birthright,



320 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XI. 11,

no grafted branches but the natural growth of the tree, He certainly
will be no more ready to spare you, who have no such privileges
to plead. ** Learn the Divine goodness, but learn and understand
the Divine severity as well. 7'hose who have fallen have ex-
perienced the severity, you the goodness ; a goodness which will
be continued if you cease to be self-confident and simply trust:
otherwise you too may be cut off as they were. '' Nor again
is the rejection of the Jews irrevocable. They can be grafted
again into the stock on which they grew, if only they will give up
their unbelief. For they are in God's hands ; and God's power is
not limited. He is able to restore them to the position from which
they have fallen. •* For consider. You are the slip cut from the
olive that grew wild, and yet, by a process which you must admit
to be entirely unnatural, you were grafted into the cultivated stock.
If God could do this, much more can He graft the natural branches
of the cultivated olive on to their own stock from which they were
cut. You Gentiles have no grounds for boasting, nor have the
Jews for despair. Your position is less secure than was theirs, and
if they only trust in God, their salvation will be easier than was
yours.

11. St. Paul has modified the question of ver. i so far: the
rejection of Israel is only partial. But yet it is true that the rest,
that is the majority, of the nation are spiritually blind. They have
stumbled and sinned. Does this imply their final exclusion from
the Messianic salvation ? St. Paul shows that it is not so. It is
only temporary and it has a Divine purpose.

Xeyo) ouv. A new stage in the argument. ' I ask then as to this
majority whose state the prophets have thus described.' The
question arises immediately out of the preceding verses, but is
a stage in the argument running through the whole chapter, and
raised by the discussion of Israel's guilt in ix. 30-x. 21.

p,T) eTrTaio-aK, Iva Tre'crwai ; ' have they (i. e. tliose who have been
hardened, ver. 8) stumbled so as to fall?' Numquid sic offatderunt,
ut cadereni ? Is their failure of such a character that they will be
finally lost, and cut off from the Messianic salvation ? Iva expresses
the contemplated result. The metaphor in enTaiaav (which is often
used elsewhere in a moral sense, Deut. vii. 25 ; James ii. 10 ; iii. 2;
a Pet. i. 10) seems to be suggested by <TKdv8a\ov of ver. 9. The
meaning of the passage is given by the contrast between nTaltip
and iTfo-uy ; a man who stumbles may recover himself, or he may
fall completely. Hence niaaaw is here used of a complete and



XI. n] THE REJECTION OF ISRAEL 321

irrevocable fall. Cf. Is. Xxiv. 20 Kartaxvae yap fV alr^s 17 avofila, Kn\
TTfcrelrai koi ov iifj SCvrjTai dvaaTijvai'. Ps. Sol. iii. 1 3 enerrfu on novrjpoo
TO Trrajia avTov, koi ovk dvaa-TTjafrai l Heb. iv. II. It is nO argument

against this that the same word is used in w. 22, 23 of a fall
which is not irrevocable: the ethical meaning must be in each
case determined by the context, and here the contrast with enTma-av
suggests a fall that is irrevocable.

There is a good deal of controversy among grammarians as to the admission
of a laxer use of 'Iva, a controversy which has a tendency to divide scholars
by nations; the German grammarians with Winer at their head (§ liii. 10. 6,
p. 573 E. T.) maintain that it always preserves, even in N. T. Greek, its
classical meaning of purpose ; on the other hand, English commentatois such
as Lightfoot ,011 Gal. v. 171, Ellicott (on i Thess. v. 4\ and Evans (on i Cor.
vii. 29) admit the laxer use. Evans says ' that iva, like our " that," has three
uses : {\') final (in order that he may go), (2) definitive (I advise that he go'',
(3") subjectively ecbatic (have they stumbled that they should fall) ' ; and it
is quite clear that it is only by reading into passages a great deal which is
not expressed that commentators can make 'Iva in all cases mean ' in order
that.' In I Thess. v. 4 ii^eTs ht, dSfX(poi, ovk kari iv okoth, 'iva fj rj/xipa
iifids ws K\eTTTr]s tcaraXaliTi, where Winer states that there is ' a Divine
purpose of God,' this is not expressed either in the words or the context.
In 1 Cor. vii. 29 6 tcatpds awearaXpiVos tari, to Koiirbv 'iva kqI 01 Ixoi'Tfj
yvvaTKas dis fxfj exovrts Siai, ' is it probable that a state of sitting loose to
worldly interests should be described as the aim or purpose of God in
curtailing the season of the great tribulation? ' ^Evans.) Yet Winer asserts
that the words 'iva nal oi exoi'Tfs k.t.K. express the (Divine) purpose lor
which 6 Kaiphs avvearaXfievos kari. So again in the present passage it is
only a confusion of ideas that can see any purpose. If St. Paul had used
a passive verb such as inaipwOrjoav then we might translate, ' have they been
hardened in order that they may fall ? ' and there would be no objection in
logic or grammar, but as St. Paul has written iTTTataav, if there is a purpose
in the passage it ascribes stumbling as a deliberate act undertaken with the
purpose of falling. We cannot here any more than elsewhere read in
a Divine purpose where it is neither implied nor expressed, merely for the
sake of defending an arbitrary grammatical rule.

(AT] yeVoiTo. St. Paul indignantly denies that the final fall of
Israel was the contemplated result of their transgression. The
result of it has already been the calling of the Gentiles, and the
final purpose is the restoration of the Jews also.

Tw auTwi' TrapaTTTwjjiaTi ; * by their false Step/ continuing the

metaphor of i'nTaiyav.

If] awTTjpta Tots iQyemv. St. Paul is here stating an historical
fact. His own preaching to the Gentiles had been caused definitely
by the rejection of his message on the part of the Jews. Acts
xiii. 45-48; cf viii. 4; xi. 19; xxviii. 28.

ets TO Trapa^T]Xaj(Tat aureus : ' to provoke them (the Jews) to
jealousy.' This idea had already been suggested (x. 19) by the
quotation from Deuteronomy 'Eycu TrapafT^Xtoo-oj vpns eV ovk 'iOvei.

St. Paul in these two statements sketches the lines on which the
Divine action is explained and justified. God's purpose has been
to use the disobedience of the Jews in order to promote the calling



32a EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XI. 11, 12.

of the Gentiles, and He will eventually arouse the Jews to give up
their unbelief by eniulation of the Gentiles. Elra Karaa-KevdCd, on

TO wToiafia aiiTwv ^inXriv oiKOVcfiiav fpyd^fTai' to. re yap edvr] dvT€i(rdyei
Koi avTovi 8f napciKvl^ov icn\ tpiiSi^ov fni<TTpf(pei, prj <p€povTas rffv Toaavrrjp

T03V fBvSiv Tipr]v, Euthym.-Zig.

12. St. Paul strengthens his statement by an argument drawn
from the spiritual character of the Jewish people. If an event
which has been so disastrous to the nation has had such a bene-
ficial result, how much more beneficial will be the result of the
entrance of the full complement of the nation into the ]\Iessianic
kingdom ?

irXouTos Koo-fioo : the enriching of the world by the throwing open
to it of the kingdom of the Messiah : cf. x. 12 6 yap avrbs Kipiog

•ndvTcov, ttXovtmv ft? navrai rovs eirtKoKovfievovs avTov.

TO ■qTTT]p.a auTwt': 'their defeat.' From one point of view the
unbelief of the Jews was a transgression {TTapdnrbopa), fiom another
it was a defeat, for they were repulsed from the Messianic kingdom,
since they had failed to obtain what they sought.

fjTTTjpa occurs only twice elsewhere: in Is. xxxi. 8 ol 51 veav'taicoi
iaovrai eh ^TTrjpa, itirpa yap ir(ptXrj(p9rjffovTai As xdpaKi koi fjTT-qOrjaovTai :
and in i Cor. vi. 7 ^5?; plv oZv oXcus firrrj^ia vpTv iariv, on Kpif.iaTa «x*'''*
pid' kavrwv. The correct interpretation of the word as derived from the
verb would be a ' defeat,' and this is clearly the meaning in Isaiah. It can
equally well apply in i Cor., whether it be translated a ' defeat ' in that it
lowers the Church in the opinion of the world, or a 'moral defeat,' hence
a ' defect.' The same me;inmg suits this passage. The majority of com-
mentators however translate it here 'diminution' (see especially Gif. Sp.
Comm. pp. 194, 203), in order to make the antithesis to nX-qpwun exact.
But as Field points out {Othim Norv. iii. 97) there is no reason why the
sentence should not be rhetorically faulty, and it is not much improved by
giving ^TTt]pa the meaning of 'impoverishment' as opposed to 'replenish-
ment.'

TO irXVipcjfAa auTwi' : ' their complement,' * their full and completed
number.' See on xi. 25.

The exact meaning of vXijpaipa has still to be ascertained, l. There is
a long and elaborate note on the word in Lft. Col. p. 323 fF. He starts with
assenmg that ' substantives in -pa formed from the perfect passive, appear
always to ha\e a passive sense. They may denote an abstract notion 01
a concrete thing ; they may signify the action itself regarded as complete,
or the product of the action : but in any case tliey give the result of the
agency involved in the corresponding verb.' He then takes the verb TrXrjpovv
and shows that it has two senses, (i) ' to fill,' (ii) ' to fulfil ' or ' complete ' ;



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