Romans 11:1
I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
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(1) I say then.—Are we to infer from the language of Isaiah just quoted that God has cast away his people? Far be the thought. The Apostle is himself too closely identified with his countrymen to look upon it with anything but horror.

I also.—This appeal to his own descent from Abraham seems to be called forth by the Apostle’s patriotic sympathy with his people, and not merely by the thought that he would be included in their rejection. This last explanation, which is that usually given, is less accordant with the generous chivalry of his nature, and does not agree so well with Romans 9:3.

Of the tribe of Benjamin.—And therefore of the purest blood, because the tribes of Judah and Benjamin alone kept up the theocratic continuity of the race after the Exile. (Comp. Philippians 3:5.)

Romans 11:1-3. I say then, &c. — As if he had said, We have just seen how the perverseness of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles have been foretold; but do I say then that God hath entirely cast off his whole people, so as to have mercy on none of them? God forbid — In no wise; for I should then pronounce a sentence of reprobation upon myself; for I also am an Israelite — As it is well known; of the seed of Abraham, &c. — To whom, through the tribe of Benjamin, I can trace my genealogy; yet I am not cast off; I am still one of God’s people, by believing in Christ. God hath not cast off that part of his people whom he foreknew, as repenting and believing. The apostle speaks after the manner of men. For in fact, knowing and foreknowing are the same thing with God, who knows or sees all things at once, from everlasting to everlasting. Wot ye not — Know ye not, that in a parallel case, amid a general apostacy, when Elijah thought the whole nation was fallen into idolatry, God knew there was a remnant of true worshippers. How he maketh intercession — Or complaineth, as the verb ενυγχανει, here used, evidently signifies, Acts 25:24, where Festus says, The Jews, ενετυχον μοι, complained to me concerning Paul; against Israel — The ten tribes, who had generally revolted to idolatry; saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets — See note on 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14; and digged down thine altars — Built upon extraordinary occasions by special dispensation, and with the authority of the Lord’s prophets; altars which pious people attended who could not go up to Jerusalem, and would not worship the calves, nor Baal; these separate altars, though breaking in upon the unity of the church, yet being erected and attended by those that sincerely aimed at the glory of God, and served him faithfully, God was pleased to own for his altars, as well as that at Jerusalem; and the pulling of them down is mentioned and charged upon Israel by Elijah as a heinous sin. And I am left alone — Of all thy prophets who boldly and publicly plead thy cause; and they seek my life — Send murderers in pursuit of me from place to place.11:1-10 There was a chosen remnant of believing Jews, who had righteousness and life by faith in Jesus Christ. These were kept according to the election of grace. If then this election was of grace, it could not be of works, either performed or foreseen. Every truly good disposition in a fallen creature must be the effect, therefore it cannot be the cause, of the grace of God bestowed on him. Salvation from the first to the last must be either of grace or of debt. These things are so directly contrary to each other that they cannot be blended together. God glorifies his grace by changing the hearts and tempers of the rebellious. How then should they wonder and praise him! The Jewish nation were as in a deep sleep, without knowledge of their danger, or concern about it; having no sense of their need of the Saviour, or of their being upon the borders of eternal ruin. David, having by the Spirit foretold the sufferings of Christ from his own people, the Jews, foretells the dreadful judgments of God upon them for it, Ps 69. This teaches us how to understand other prayers of David against his enemies; they are prophecies of the judgments of God, not expressions of his own anger. Divine curses will work long; and we have our eyes darkened, if we are bowed down in worldly-mindedness.I say then - This expression is to be regarded as conveying the sense of an objection. Paul, in the previous chapters, had declared the doctrine that all the Jews were to be rejected. To this a Jew might naturally reply, Is it to be believed, that God would cast off his people whom he had once chosen; to whom pertained the adoption, and the promises, and the covenant, and the numerous blessings conferred on a favorite people? It was natural for a Jew to make such objections. And it was important for the apostle to show that his doctrine was consistent with all the promises which God had made to his people. The objection, as will be seen by the answer which Paul makes, is formed on the supposition that God had rejected "all his people," or "cast them off entirely." This objection he answers by showing,

(1) That God had saved him, a Jew, and therefore that he could not mean that God had east off all Jews Romans 11:1;

(2) That now, as in former times of great declension, God had reserved a remnant Romans 11:2-5;

(3) That it accorded with the Scriptures that a part should be hardened Romans 11:6-10;

(4) That the design of the rejection was not final, but was to admit the Gentiles to the privileges of Christianity Romans 11:11-24;

(5) That the Jews should yet return to God, and be reinstated in his favor: so that it could not be objected that God had finally and totally cast off his people, or that he had violated his promises.

At the same time, however, the doctrine which Paul had maintained was true, that God had taken away their exclusive and special privileges, and had rejected a large part of the nation.

Cast away - Rejected, or put off. Has God so renounced them that they cannot be any longer his people.

His people - Those who have been long in the covenant relation to him: that is, the Jews.

God forbid - Literally, it may not or cannot be. This is an expression strongly denying that this could take place; and means that Paul did not intend to advance such a doctrine; Luke 20:16; Romans 3:4, Romans 3:6,Romans 3:31; Romans 6:2, Romans 6:15; Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13.

For I am also an Israelite - To show them that he did not mean to affirm that all Jews must of necessity be cast off, he adduces his own case. He was a Jew; and yet he looked for the favor of God, and for eternal life. That favor he hoped now to obtain by being a Christian; and if he might obtain it, others might also. "If I should say that all Jews must be excluded from the favor of God, then I also must be without hope of salvation, for I am a Jew."

Of the seed of Abraham - Descended from Abraham. The apostle mentions this to show that he was a Jew in every respect; that he had a title to all the privileges of a Jew, and must be exposed to all their liabilities and dangers. If the seed of Abraham must of necessity be cut off, he must be himself rejected. The Jews valued themselves much on having been descended from so illustrious an ancestor as Abraham Matthew 3:9; and Paul shows them that he was entitled to all the privileges of such a descent; compare Philippians 3:4-5.

Of the tribe of Benjamin - This tribe was one that was originally located near Jerusalem. The temple was built on the line that divided the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is not improbable that it was regarded as a special honor to have belonged to one of those tribes. Paul mentions it here in accordance with their custom; for they regarded it as of great importance to preserve their genealogy, and to be able to state not only that they were Jews, but to designate the tribe and family to which they belonged.


Ro 11:1-36. Same Subject Continued and Concluded—The Ultimate Inbringing of All Israel, to Be, with the Gentiles, One Kingdom of God on the Earth.

1. I say then, Hath—"Did"

God cast away his people? God forbid—Our Lord did indeed announce that "the kingdom of God should be taken from Israel" (Mt 21:41); and when asked by the Eleven, after His resurrection, if He would at that time "restore the kingdom to Israel," His reply is a virtual admission that Israel was in some sense already out of covenant (Ac 1:9). Yet here the apostle teaches that, in two respects, Israel was not "cast away"; First, Not totally; Second, Not finally. First, Israel is not wholly cast away.

for I also am an Israelite—See Php 3:5, and so a living witness to the contrary.

of the seed of Abraham—of pure descent from the father of the faithful.

of the tribe of Benjamin—(Php 3:5), that tribe which, on the revolt of the ten tribes, constituted, with Judah, the one faithful kingdom of God (1Ki 12:21), and after the captivity was, along with Judah, the kernel of the Jewish nation (Ezr 4:1; 10:9).Romans 11:1-6 God hath not so far cast off all Israel, but that a

remnant is saved by grace, not by works. Romans 11:7-10 The judicial blindness of the rest is prophesied of

in Scripture. Romans 11:11-16 The consequence both of their fall and conversion

with regard to the Gentile world. Romans 11:17-22 The Gentiles are cautioned not to insult the Jews,

but to make a proper use of the example both of God’s goodness and severity.

Romans 11:23-32 The Jews may, and shall in time, believe and be saved. Romans 11:33-36 God’s judgments and ways are unsearchable.

The apostle having shown, in the end of the foregoing chapter, that the Jews were for their obstinacy rejected, and the Gentiles called, he here prevents or answers an objection. Some might be ready to say: If this be so, then God hath cast away his covenant people, which he hath promised not to do; see Psalm 94:14. To this he answers, first, by his accustomed form of denial: God forbid; and then he proceeds to show, that the rejection of the Jews was neither total nor final. That it was not total, he proves, first, by a particular instance in the following words.

I also am an Israelite; i.e. I am a Jew by descent, of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, and yet am not cast off by God.

Of the tribe of Benjamin: some think this is added to intimate, that he was born of an honourable tribe, out of which king Saul sprang, 1 Samuel 9:1, and Esther the queen, Esther 2:5. Others think this is added for a contrary reason; lest his calling should be ascribed to the dignity of his tribe, he says, he was of Benjamin, the last and least of all the tribes. And others rather think, that this particular recital of his genealogy is only to show, that he was a Jew by nature and nation, and not a proselyte converted to the faith: see Philippians 3:5.

I say then, hath God cast away his people?.... The Alexandrian, copy adds here, "whom he foreknew", as in Romans 11:2, upon the citation of the above passages out of Moses and Isaiah, relating to the calling of the Gentiles, and the rejection of the Jews, the apostle saw an objection would arise, which he here takes up from the mouth of an adversary, and proposes it; in which is suggested, that God has cast away all his people the Jews, according to this count; and if so, where is his covenant with Abraham? what is become of his promises? and how is his faithfulness to be accounted for? and what hope can any Israelite have of ever obtaining salvation? than which, nothing can be thought more injurious to God, and absurd in itself. This was an old prejudice of the Jewish nation, and still continues, that God never would, nor has he cast them away, even in their present condition; it is one of the articles of their creed, received by the Karaites (o), a sect among them, that

"the blessed God , "hath not cast away the men of the captivity", though they are under the chastisements of God; but it is fit that they should every day obtain salvation by the hands of Messiah, the Son of David.''

Now to this objection the apostle makes answer; "first", in his usual way,

God forbid, when anything was objected which was displeasing to him, abhorred by him, which was not agreeable to the perfections of God, to the truth of his word, and promises, and could by no means be admitted of; and next by observing his own case, which was a standing instance to the contrary; for God had chosen him unto eternal salvation, Christ had redeemed him by his blood, and he was effectually called by grace; and as to his eternal state, he had no doubt or scruple about it; and besides, the Lord had made him a minister of the Gospel, had greatly qualified him for that work, had raised him to the high office of an apostle, and had made him very useful to the souls of many, both Jews and Gentiles; and yet he was one of the nation of the Jews, and therefore God had not cast them all away, as the objection insinuates:

for I also am an Israelite; according to the flesh, by lineal descent from Jacob or Israel; see 2 Corinthians 11:22; as well as in a spiritual sense:

of the seed of Abraham; "the grandfather of Israel"; the head of the Jewish nation he was, both of his natural and of his spiritual seed, who is the father of us all:

of the tribe of Benjamin; a very little tribe, which in the time of the Judges was near being destroyed, and, upon the return from the captivity of Babylon, was very small, as it was at this time; and yet God had not cast away this, much less all the tribes of Israel.

(o) Apud Trigland. de Sect. Karaeorum, c. 10. p. 151.

I say then, {1} Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For {2} I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

(1) Now the apostle shows how this doctrine is to be applied to others, remaining still in his propounded cause. Therefore he teaches us that all the Jews in particular are not cast away, and therefore we ought not to pronounce rashly of individual persons, whether they are of the number of the elect or not.

(2) The first proof: I am a Jew, and yet elected, therefore we may and ought fully to be sure of our election, as has been said before: but of another man's we cannot be so certainly sure, and yet ours may cause us to hope well of others.

Romans 11:1. Λέγω οὖν] corresponds to the twofold ἀλλὰ λέγω, Romans 10:18-19, but so, that now this third interrogative λέγω is introduced in an inferential form. In consequence, namely, of what had just been clearly laid down in Romans 10:18 ff., as to the guilt of resistant Israel in its exclusion from salvation in Christ—over-against the Gentiles’ acceptance of it—the difficult question might arise: Surely God has not cast off His people? Surely it is not so tragic a fate, that we must infer it from that conduct of the people? Paul states this question, earnestly negatives it, and then sets forth the real state of the matter. The opinion of Hofmann, that the apostle starts this question because the scriptural passages Romans 10:18 ff. show that it is to be negatived, is the consequence of his incorrect interpretation of those scriptural sayings, and is confuted by the fact that the negation is first given and supported in what follows, not drawn from what precedes, but made good by a quite different scriptural proof, Romans 11:2.

μὴ ἀπώσατο κ.τ.λ.] Comp. Psalm 94:14; Psalm 95:3; 1 Samuel 12:22; on the form, see Winer, p. 86 [E. T. 111]. Reiche thinks, but erroneously, that the question is not expressed sharply enough, and that ἅπαντα is to be supplied. Ἀπώσατο has in truth the emphasis, and is placed first on that account; so that Paul’s simple idea is, that the casting off of God’s people, exclusion from the divine decree of the bestowal of salvation, recall of this destination to salvation, may not be inferred from what has gone before. Rightly, too, Bengel remarks: “Ipsa populi ejus appellatio rationem negandi continet.” This ratio negandi is then, in Romans 11:2, additionally strengthened by ὃν προέγνω.

The μὴ γένοιτο expresses horror at the ἀπώσατο, not at the λέγω (van Hengel), as though Paul had written simply ἀπώσατο without μή.

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ κ.τ.λ.] For I also, etc., expresses the motive for μὴ γένοιτο! For Paul, as a true Israelite of patriotic feeling, cannot, in virtue of his theocratic self-esteem, admit that ἀπώσατο, but can only repel the suggestion with abhorrence. Comp. de Wette and Baumgarten-Crusius. A peculiar proof of the οὐκ ἀπώσατο was yet to follow. Usually it is thought that Paul proves the negation by his own example, since he in truth was not cast off. So also Philippi. But apart from the consideration, that the example of a single elected one, however highly favoured, would be far from convincing, we see no reason why Paul should have added ἘΚ ΣΠΈΡΜ. ἈΒΡ., ΦΥΛ. ΒΕΝΙΑΜ.; moreover, it appears from Romans 11:2, where he defines the negation, emphatically reiterates it, and then confirms it from Scripture, that he did not intend till Romans 11:2 to adduce the argument against the ἈΠΏΣΑΤΟ, which he had only provisionally rejected in Romans 11:1. Without the least indication from the text, Hofmann introduces into κ. ἐγώ the reference: Even I, the apostle entrusted with the calling of the Gentile world (which is supposed to imply a sealing of the sacred historical call of Israel); even I, as once upon a time a persecutor, deserving of rejection.

ἐκ σπέρμ. Ἀβρ., φυλ. Βενιαμ.] added, in order to exhibit the just and genuine privileges of his birth. Comp. Php 3:5; Acts 13:21; Test. XII. Patr. p. 746 f. The tribe of Benjamin was in truth, along with that of Judah, the theocratic core of the nation after the exile. Ezra 4:1; Ezra 10:3.Romans 11:1-10. λέγω οὖν: the οὖν intimates that it is with the conclusion reached in chap. 10 before his mind that Paul puts the following question: the unbelief of Israel naturally suggested it. μὴ ἀπώσατο ὁ θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ; For the words, cf. Psalm 94:14 (93 LXX), 1 Samuel 12:22. In both places the promise is given οὐκ ἀπώσεται ὁ Κ. τ. λ. αὐτοῦ, and the familiar words give the effect of asking, Has God broken His express and repeated promise? μὴ suggests the negative answer, which is expressed more passionately in μὴ γένοιτο. Cf. Romans 3:6, Romans 9:14. Israel may be faithless to Him, but He abides faithful. καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ Ἰσραηλίτης εἰμί: This is often read as if it were an argument in favour of the negative answer; as if Paul meant, God has not cast off His people, I myself am a living proof to the contrary. But this is hardly conciliatory, to say the least; and it is better to take the words as explaining why Paul puts the question with μή (suggesting the negative answer), and why he then gives the denial with such vehemence. “I, too, am an Israelite, to whom the very idea of God’s rejection of His people is an impious and incredible idea, to be repelled with horror.” ἐκ σπέρ. Ἀβραάμ: no proselyte. φυλῆς Βενιαμείν: the one tribe which with Judah mainly represented the post-exilic theocratic people.Ch. Romans 11:1-10. Meanwhile the rejection of Israel never was, nor is, total: a remnant believes, and so abides in covenant

1. I say then] I say therefore. Thus far St Paul has stated the adverse side of the case of Israel. He has shewn (1) that the Divine Promise never pledged eternal light and life to all Abraham’s descendants; (2) that God is sovereign in His grants of mercy; (3) that the true work of the elder Dispensation was to prepare for the later; (4) that both Gentile faith and Jewish unbelief were distinctly foretold in the Law and the Prophets. And now, true to his main purpose throughout this argument, he turns to state the happier side; and this in two main aspects. First he reiterates the truth of the Divine Election, but now in its positive aspect—the existence always of a believing Israel within the unbelieving mass. Secondly, he predicts a time when even in the mass Israel should turn to the true Messiah, be restored to the Church, and become thus an influence of vast good for the world.—“Therefore:”—i.e. as the practical result from my previous account of sin and judgment in the case of Israel. Q. d., “I have given that account in order the better to give an account of present and coming mercy; which therefore I now do.’

Hath God cast away] Lit. and better, Did God thrust away? i.e. when He welcomed the Gentiles into His covenant. (So too Romans 11:2)—For the expression cp. 2 Samuel 12:22; where LXX. uses the same verb and noun.

his people] Here, obviously, the bodily descendants of Jacob. St Paul asks whether all these as such were now excluded from the covenant. So immense was the apparent revolution of the admission of Gentiles as such to full covenant, that this fact (along with the fact of the unbelief of millions of Jews) might prompt the thought that the Gentiles were now the privileged and the Jews the aliens.

God forbid] See on Romans 3:4.—The phrase rejects with indignation the suggested thought. In this intense feeling are combined deep love for his kinsmen, jealousy for his own place in the covenant, and jealousy too for the great principle of the irreversibility of “gifts and calling.” See Romans 11:29.

For I also, &c.] Q. d., “I am a living proof to the contrary; an Israelite in the strongest and strictest sense of bodily descent; yet a Christian, a child of God, a messenger of His word.”

an Israelite] See on Romans 9:4.

Benjamin] Cp. Php 3:5, where St Paul, for a different purpose, dwells on his pedigree.—See Bp. Lightfoot’s interesting note on Php 3:5, for the historic dignity and pride of the tribe of Benjamin. (Here, however, such ideas are less clearly in question than there.)

The Olive Tree; the Root, Branches, and Graftings

1. The Olive Tree is the true Israel (cp. Jeremiah 11:16,) as the Church, the People of God. Its Root is Abraham and the Patriarchs. Its Stem is the Church of the Old Testament, when in a certain sense (that of external privilege) the Church coincided with the Nation of Israel, and when at least the vast majority of true believers were also physically children of Abraham. Its branches (by a slight modification of metaphor) are potential believers, whether Jewish or Gentile. If Jewish, their faith in Jesus as Messiah is viewed as retaining them in the Church; if Gentile, their faith “grafts” them into the stem of the covenant-congregation. If, being Jews, they reject the offers of the Gospel, they are thereby “cut off” from the stem. If they repent and believe, their faith “grafts” them into it again; and this process, says St Paul, is, by the nature of the case, a more likely and natural one than the “grafting” of the alien branches—which yet is graciously effected.Romans 11:1. Μὴ ἀπώσατο) hath He cast away entirely? So Gideon, expostulating in faith, says νῦν ἀπώσατο ἡμᾶς, now He has forsaken us (cast us away, Jdg 6:13). But οὐκ ἀπώσεται Κύριος τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ, but the Lord will not cast away His people, Psalms 94 (93):14. Has He cast them away, says Paul, so that they are no longer the people of God? In ch. 10 after he so impressively exhibited the grace [which God exercised] towards the Gentiles, and the rebellion of the Jews, this objection might be made. He therefore answers, far be it from us to say, that God has rejected His people, when the very appellation, His people contains a reason for denying it. The negative assertion, far be it, [God forbid], is made distinctly, (1.) concerning the present time of the offending people; both that there are now some, [believers among them]; comp. Acts 21:20, note; and that in the successively increasing admission of Gentiles, there will be very many of Israel, who shall believe. These are called the remnant and the election Romans 11:5; Romans 11:7. (2.) As to the future; that the people themselves, will at last be converted Romans 11:24, note.—ἐγὼ, I) Paul would rather draw a favourable conclusion from the individual [believing Israelites, as himself] to the genus, [the whole nation,] than one, on the unfavourable side, from the genus [the unbelieving nation] to the species [the individual];—I, formerly a persecutor, deserved to be cast away. The genus is the whole Jewish people: the species is believers among the Jews (of whom Paul was one as an individual) or such of that people as should hereafter believe.Verses 1-36. - (4) The Jews are not finally rejected, but, through the calling of the Gentiles, will be brought into the Church at last. St. Paul, painfully recognizing the fact of the present exclusion of Israel as a nation from the inheritance of the promises made to their fathers, and having in ch. 9. and 10. accounted for and justified such exclusion, proceeds now to the question - But is Israel as a nation finally rejected after all? He answers - No; impossible! God's ancient covenant with his people stands; the remnant of believers even now is a sign of his continued favour to his ancient people, as was, in the time of Elijah, the remnant that had not bowed the knee to Baal; nor does the fact of its being a remnant only imply now, any more than then, that the nation as such is cast off; and further, the calling of the Gentiles, far from being intended to exclude God's ancient people, will be the means eventually of bringing it wholly in. Such is the apostle's prophetic vision of the future, in view of which he bursts at the end of the chapter into glowing admiration of the inscrutable ways of God. In the course of it also (vers. 17-25) he introduces a warning to Gentile believers not to pride themselves against the Jews because of present preference to them, or to regard their own position of privilege as indefeasible. It must still be borne in mind that it is the position before God of Israel as a nation that is all along in view. Verses 1-6. - I say then, Hath God east away his people! God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not east away his people which he foreknew (or, predetermined. See the same word, Romans 8:29). Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of (rather, in; i.e. in the passage concerning) Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what faith the answer of God (ὁ χρηματισμός, denoting a Divine communication to man; in this case by the "still small voice." Only here in the New Testament; but cf. Matthew 2:12, Ξρηματισθέντες κατ ὄναρ; also Luke 2:26; Acts 10:22; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 11:7) unto him? I have left to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Even so at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. The usual interpretation of this whole passage, and notably that of the ancients, has been to take the proof of God not having cast off his people as beginning in ver. 1, with "for I also," etc., and all the rest to be in sequence. Chrysostom's explanation of the argument is to the following effect: God has not rejected his ancient people; for I myself am eminently of it; and I have been selected as a chief proclaimer and expounder of the gospel to the world; this would not have been the case if the nation had been cast off. But it may be said to me," You are only one of the ancient people; you are not the people." Nay, but I do not stand alone; there are thousands of Israelite believers as well as myself; and these are God's true people, the people whom he foreknew. And of them there may be more than we are aware of; it is as it was in the days of Elias; he had supposed himself to be left alone; but he was told that there were seven thousand with him who were God's true people still. And so now, there is a faithful remnant, the number of which is known to God alone, which is his people still, according to the election of grace. The same Father further understands the citation of the whole of the passage from 1 Kings 19:14, though not required for the apostle's proof, to be intended as significant. It would have sufficed, he says, to cite only what was said about a remnant being left; but the whole complaint of Elias is cited, so as to show by the way that the present rejection of Christ and persecution of the Church by the majority of the Jews had also its counterpart in ancient times; and thus the apostle, he says, λανθανόντως τὴν κατηγορίαν (i.e. of the unbelieving Jews) αὔξει. It is to be observed that the above interpretation of the passage, which in its main points has been most generally adopted, goes on two suppositions; vie. that "for I also," in ver. 1, is the first part of the proof that Israel is not cast off; and that "which he foreknew," in ver. 2, is intended as a limitation of the meaning of "his people." According to another view, decidedly upheld by Meyer, "for I also" is not part of the proof, but connected with μὴ γέροιτο: "I must needs say, God forbid! being myself a Hebrew of the Hebrews" Then, according to this view, comes the positive statement that God has not east off his people in the same general sense as before, after which the proof begins; the addition of ο} προέγνω not being a limitation of τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ, but intended to enforce the idea of the impossibility of the final rejection of the race of Israel (cf. ver. 29; also Psalm 94:14 and 1 Samuel 12:22). The fact that, throughout the chapter, it is Israel as a nation that is in view, and that the coming of the whole nation into the kingdom of Christ is contemplated in the end, adds decided probability to this view of the significance of ο}ν προέγνω, though καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ, etc., in ver. 1, may still be regarded as possibly part of the proof. St. Paul's designation of himself as "of the seed of Abraham" seems meant to express that he was an Israelite of pure descent, not a proselyte or descended from proselytes. In Philippians 3:5, as well as here, he specifies his tribe as that of Benjamin, the tribe that with Judah had clung to the house of David, and had shared the privileges of Judah. The quotation from 1 Kings 19. is given freely from the LXX., varying a little, but not so as to affect the meaning. One variation is in the feminine, instead of masculine, article before Βάαλ, which has been explained by supposing εἰκόνι understood (so in the Authorized Version, "the image of Baal "), or by there having been a female Baal, or by the god having been supposed androgynous, or by the feminine being used of idols in contempt. St. Paul may possibly have found this reading in his copy of the LXX. The variation is of no importance with regard to the drift of the passage. "According to the election of grace," at the end of ver. 5, does not seem to be directly suggested by the passage cited, but added by St. Paul so as to make plain his position - maintained throughout the Epistle, and about to be pressed in this chapter on the consideration of Gentile Christians - that the calling of all, whether Jews or Gentiles, is "of grace," and not claimable as of right by any on the ground of the merit of their own works. And in order to enforce this position, he adds, And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace; i.e. the word "grace" loses its essential meaning. [But if of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.] The preponderance of ancient authorities is against the retention of the clause within brackets, which does not seem required. It is the same as in Romans 4:4. I say then (λέγω οὖν)

Then introduces the question as an inference from the whole previous discussion, especially Romans 11:19-21.

Hath God cast away (μὴ ἀπώσατο ὁ Θεὸς)

A negative answer required. "Surely God has not, has He?" The aorist tense points to a definite act. Hence Rev., better, did God cast off. The verb means literally to thrust or shove. Thus Homer, of Sisyphus pushing his stone before him ("Odyssey," xi., 596). Oedipus says: "I charge you that no one shelter or speak to that murderer, but that all thrust him (ὠθεῖν) from their homes" ("Oedipus Tyrannus," 241).

People (λαὸν)

See on 1 Peter 2:9; see on Acts 13:17.

An Israelite, etc.

See on Philippians 3:5. Paul adduces his own case first, to show that God has not rejected His people en masse. An Israelite of pure descent, he is, nevertheless a true believer.

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