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Romans 9:15-24

Context
9:15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 1  9:16 So then, 2  it does not depend on human desire or exertion, 3  but on God who shows mercy. 9:17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: 4 For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 5  9:18 So then, 6  God 7  has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. 8 

9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?” 9:20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being 9  – to talk back to God? 10  Does what is molded say to the molder,Why have you made me like this? 11  9:21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay 12  one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 13  9:22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects 14  of wrath 15  prepared for destruction? 16  9:23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects 17  of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory – 9:24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

1 sn A quotation from Exod 33:19.

2 sn There is a double connective here that cannot be easily preserved in English: “consequently therefore,” emphasizing the conclusion of what he has been arguing.

3 tn Grk “So then, [it does] not [depend] on the one who desires nor on the one who runs.”

4 sn Paul uses a typical rabbinic formula here in which the OT scriptures are figuratively portrayed as speaking to Pharaoh. What he means is that the scripture he cites refers (or can be applied) to Pharaoh.

5 sn A quotation from Exod 9:16.

6 sn There is a double connective here that cannot be easily preserved in English: “consequently therefore,” emphasizing the conclusion of what he has been arguing.

7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Grk “So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.”

9 tn Grk “O man.”

10 tn Grk “On the contrary, O man, who are you to talk back to God?”

11 sn A quotation from Isa 29:16; 45:9.

12 tn Grk “Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make from the same lump.”

13 tn Grk “one vessel for honor and another for dishonor.”

14 tn Grk “vessels.” This is the same Greek word used in v. 21.

15 tn Or “vessels destined for wrath.” The genitive ὀργῆς (orghs) could be taken as a genitive of destination.

16 tn Or possibly “objects of wrath that have fit themselves for destruction.” The form of the participle could be taken either as a passive or middle (reflexive). ExSyn 417-18 argues strongly for the passive sense (which is followed in the translation), stating that “the middle view has little to commend it.” First, καταρτίζω (katartizw) is nowhere else used in the NT as a direct or reflexive middle (a usage which, in any event, is quite rare in the NT). Second, the lexical force of this verb, coupled with the perfect tense, suggests something of a “done deal” (against some commentaries that see these vessels as ready for destruction yet still able to avert disaster). Third, the potter-clay motif seems to have one point: The potter prepares the clay.

17 tn Grk “vessels.” This is the same Greek word used in v. 21.



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