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Romans 9:6-29

Context

9:6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, 1  9:7 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” 2  9:8 This means 3  it is not the children of the flesh 4  who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants. 9:9 For this is what the promise declared: 5 About a year from now 6  I will return and Sarah will have a son.” 7  9:10 Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, 8  our ancestor Isaac – 9:11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election 9  would stand, not by works but by 10  his calling) 11 9:12 12  it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,” 13  9:13 just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 

9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 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.” 15  9:16 So then, 16  it does not depend on human desire or exertion, 17  but on God who shows mercy. 9:17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: 18 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.” 19  9:18 So then, 20  God 21  has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. 22 

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 23  – to talk back to God? 24  Does what is molded say to the molder,Why have you made me like this? 25  9:21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay 26  one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 27  9:22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects 28  of wrath 29  prepared for destruction? 30  9:23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects 31  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? 9:25 As he also says in Hosea:

I will call those who were not my people,My people,and I will call her who was unloved, 32 My beloved.’” 33 

9:26And in the very place 34  where it was said to them,You are not my people,

there they will be calledsons of the living God.’” 35 

9:27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children 36  of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved, 9:28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.” 37  9:29 Just 38  as Isaiah predicted,

If the Lord of armies 39  had not left us descendants,

we would have become like Sodom,

and we would have resembled Gomorrah.” 40 

1 tn Grk “For not all those who are from Israel are Israel.”

2 tn Grk “be called.” The emphasis here is upon God’s divine sovereignty in choosing Isaac as the child through whom Abraham’s lineage would be counted as opposed to Ishmael.

sn A quotation from Gen 21:12.

3 tn Grk “That is,” or “That is to say.”

4 tn Because it forms the counterpoint to “the children of promise” the expression “children of the flesh” has been retained in the translation.

sn The expression the children of the flesh refers to the natural offspring.

5 tn Grk “For this is the word of promise.”

6 tn Grk “About this time I will return.” Since this refers to the time when the promised child would be born, it would be approximately a year later.

7 sn A quotation from Gen 18:10, 14.

8 tn Or possibly “by one act of sexual intercourse.” See D. Moo, Romans (NICNT), 579.

9 tn Grk “God’s purpose according to election.”

10 tn Or “not based on works but based on…”

11 tn Grk “by the one who calls.”

sn The entire clause is something of a parenthetical remark.

12 sn Many translations place this verse division before the phrase “not by works but by his calling” (NA27/UBS4, NIV, NRSV, NLT, NAB). Other translations place this verse division in the same place that the translation above does (NASB, KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV). The translation has followed the latter to avoid breaking the parenthetical statement.

13 sn A quotation from Gen 25:23.

14 sn A quotation from Mal 1:2-3.

15 sn A quotation from Exod 33:19.

16 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.

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

18 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.

19 sn A quotation from Exod 9:16.

20 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.

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

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

23 tn Grk “O man.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 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.

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

32 tn Grk “and her who was not beloved, ‘Beloved.’”

33 sn A quotation from Hos 2:23.

34 tn Grk “And it will be in the very place.”

35 sn A quotation from Hos 1:10.

36 tn Grk “sons.”

37 tc In light of the interpretive difficulty of this verse, a longer reading seems to have been added to clarify the meaning. The addition, in the middle of the sentence, makes the whole verse read as follows: “For he will execute his sentence completely and quickly in righteousness, because the Lord will do it quickly on the earth.” The shorter reading is found largely in Alexandrian mss (Ì46 א* A B 6 1506 1739 1881 pc co), while the longer reading is found principally in Western and Byzantine mss (א2 D F G Ψ 33 Ï lat). The longer reading follows Isa 10:22-23 (LXX) verbatim, while Paul in the previous verse quoted the LXX loosely. This suggests the addition was made by a copyist trying to make sense out of a difficult passage rather than by the author himself.

tn There is a wordplay in Greek (in both the LXX and here) on the phrase translated “completely and quickly” (συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων, suntelwn kai suntemnwn). These participles are translated as adverbs for smoothness; a more literal (and more cumbersome) rendering would be: “The Lord will act by closing the account [or completing the sentence], and by cutting short the time.” The interpretation of this text is notoriously difficult. Cf. BDAG 975 s.v. συντέμνω.

sn A modified quotation from Isa 10:22-23. Since it is not exact, it has been printed as italics only.

38 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

39 tn Traditionally, “Lord of hosts”; Grk “Lord Sabaoth,” which means “Lord of the [heavenly] armies,” sometimes translated more generally as “Lord Almighty.”

40 sn A quotation from Isa 1:9.



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