Romans 11:2
God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture said of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel saying,
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(2) Which he foreknew.—This must not be pressed too far, as implying an absolute indefectibility of the divine favour. God, having in His eternal counsels set His choice upon Israel as His peculiar people, will not readily disown them. Nor is their case really so bad as it may seem. Now, as in the days of Elijah, there are a select few who have not shared in the general depravity.

Of Elias.—Literally, in Eliasi.e., in the section which contains the history of Elias. So in Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; “in the bush” and “at the bush,” mean, in the paragraph relating to the bush.

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.God hath set cast away - This is an explicit denial of the objection.

Which he foreknew - The word "foreknew" is expressive not merely of foreseeing a thing, but implies in this place a previous purpose or plan; see the note at Romans 8:29. The meaning of the passage is simply, God has not cast off those whom he had before purposed or designed to be his people. It is the declaration of a great principle of divine government that God is not changeable: and that he would not reject those whom he had purposed should be his people. Though the mass of the nation, therefore, should be cast off, yet it would not follow that God had violated any promise or compact; or that he had rejected any whom he had foreknown as his true people. God makes no covenant of salvation with those who are in their sins; and if the unbelieving and the wicked, however many external privileges they may have enjoyed, are rejected, it does not follow that he has been unfaithful to one whom he had foreknown or designated as an heir of salvation. It follows from this, also, that it is one principle of the divine government that God will not reject those who are foreknown or designated as his friends. It is a part of the plan, therefore, that those who are truly renewed shall persevere, and obtain eternal life.

Wot ye not - Know ye not.

What the Scripture saith? - The passage here quoted is found in 1 Kings 19:10-18.

Of Elias - Of Elijah. Greek, "Elijah" ἐν Ἡλιᾳ en Hēlia. This does not mean that it was said about Elijah, or concerning him; but the reference is to the usual manner of quoting the Scriptures among the Jews. The division into chapters and verses was to them unknown. (See the Introduction to the notes on Matthew.) Hence, the Old Testament was divided into portions designated by subjects. Thus, Luke 20:37; Mark 12:26, "At the bush," means the passage which contains the account of the burning bush; (see the notes on those places.) Here it means, in that passage or portion of Scripture which gives an account of Elijah.

He maketh intercession to God against Israel - The word translated "maketh intercession" ἐντυγχάνει entungchanei means properly to come to the aid of anyone; to transact the business of anyone; especially to discharge the function of an advocate, or to plead one's cause in a court of justice. In a sense similar to this it is applied to Christ in his function of making intercession for us in heaven; Hebrews 7:25; Isaiah 53:12. In the English language, the word is constantly used in a good sense, to plead for one; never, to plead against one; but the Greek word may imply either. It expresses the function of one who manages the business of another; and hence, one who manages the business of the state against a criminal; and when followed by the preposition for, means to intercede or plead for a person; when followed by against κατά kata, it means to accuse or arraign. This is its meaning here. He accuses or arraigns the nation of the Jews before God; he charges them with crime; the crime is specified immediately.

2-4. God hath—"did"

not cast away his people—that is, wholly

which he foreknew—On the word "foreknew," see on [2244]Ro 8:29.

Wot—that is, "Know"

ye not that the scripture saith of—literally, "in," that is, in the section which relates to

Elias? how he maketh intercession—"pleadeth"

against Israel—(The word "saying," which follows, as also the particle "and" before "digged down," should be omitted, as without manuscript authority).

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew: here he makes a further answer to the forementioned objection: by way of distinction, he distinguishs the people of God into such as are foreknown, and such as are not foreknown: and as for the former of these, he says, they are not rejected of God. By such as are foreknown of God, he means those that are elected and predestinated to eternal life, Romans 8:29: a foreknowledge with approbation is implied and intended, John 10:14 2 Timothy 2:19.

Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? Here is a third answer to the objection in Romans 11:1, and it is taken from an instance in Elias, which the Jews were well acquainted with. He cites or brings a book case for it. And he the rather brings this instance, lest the Jews should accuse him of insolency, for that he had spoken before only of himself; and therefore he gives them to understand, that there were many other believing Israelites, as well as himself, though possibly they were unknown to them. You know (saith he) what the Scripture saith of Elias, 1 Kings 19:1-21.

How he maketh intercession to God against Israel. i.e. against the ten tribes, who were generally revolted from God, and fallen to idolatry: against those he complained, or those he impeached, ripping up their impieties, as in the following words. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew,.... The apostle goes on with his answer to the objection, by distinguishing and explaining who he meant by the people God had not cast away, namely, which were "foreknown" by him; for all mankind are in a sense his people, being made, maintained, and supported in their beings by him, yet they are not all foreknown; for were they, they would be all predestinated, called, conformed to the image of Christ, justified and glorified; but some of them will be cast away, being bad and wicked, and will be sent into everlasting punishment: and though the people of the Jews in general were the people of God, being in a sense chose, known, and distinguished by him from the rest of the world, yet they were not all a "foreknown" people, in the sense the apostle uses the word; wherefore a great number of them were cast away, of which afterwards the apostle speaks largely in this chapter: but then there were a people among them, that were the people of God in a more special sense; they were chosen by him from everlasting to be his people; they were taken into the covenant of his grace as such; they were given to Christ as his people, and were redeemed and saved by him on that account; and were, or were to be called, with an holy calling, when they are openly declared to be the people of God, whom he foreknew: he not merely knew them before, by his general prescience and foreknowledge, which extends to all persons and things; or foresaw their faith, holiness, and good works, and so chose them for himself; for faith, holiness, and good works, are fruits and effects of electing grace; but he so knew them before, even from all eternity, as that he approved of them, liked them, loved them, and took delight and complacency in them: now these his people he never did, nor never will cast away. Their numbers may be but very small in some periods of time, yet none of them are cast away; God may not immediately arise to their help and assistance in time of distress, or so soon as they desire and expect; he may withdraw his presence, hide himself, and stand at a distance from them; he may afflict them in a fatherly way, when they may think he has cast them off, or cast them away; whereas he never casts any of them away, nor out of his heart's love, nor out of his sight, nor out of the covenant of his grace, nor out of the hands of his Son, nor out of his family, or so as that any of them shall perish eternally; so far from it, that he takes the utmost delight in them, grants them the greatest nearness to himself, bears the strongest affection for them, and takes the most diligent care of them; whoever casts them out of their affection and company, he will not; the reasons are, because his love to them is unchangeable, his purpose concerning their salvation stands firm and sure, his word and oath are unalterable, his gifts and calling are without repentance; and they are his jewels, portion, and inheritance; they are as the apple of his eye, and continually held by his right hand. The apostle next replies to this objection, by putting them in mind of the case and state of the church of God, in the times of Elijah; and what judgment that prophet formed of it, and in which he appeared to be mistaken:

wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? do ye not know? ye cannot be ignorant who have, and read the Scripture, what it says of Elias, or "in Elias"; that is, as the Arabic version renders it, "in the history of Elias"; in the account it gives of his life and times:

how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying: that is, how he spoke to God in prayer concerning Israel; and instead of praying for them, as the prophets were wont to do, he was obliged to bring a complaint against them for their idolatry, contempt of the worship of God, and violent persecution of his true followers. The apostle chose to mention this instance because there was some likeness between his case and Elijah's; and the state of the people of Israel at the then present time, and as in the times of Elijah; for as the Jews in his time killed and persecuted the prophets of the Lord, so in the present time they had killed the Lord Jesus Christ, and persecuted his apostles; and as Elijah, though one of their own prophets, was obliged to make intercession against them, so the apostle, though one of their own countrymen, could not but speak against them, and of their just rejection by God: and this he observes, to soften their resentments against him, when so great a prophet had done so before him: and this the Jews themselves own (p), for they say that Elijah , "brought an accusation against Israel": and it is observed by another (q) that

"coals are said of Isaiah and Elijah, because they delivered an accusation against Israel: one called them a people of unclean lips, and the other said, for they have forsaken thy covenant:''

which is the apostle's sense.

(p) Laniado in 1 Kings 19.14. (q) Jarchi in Isa. vi. 6.

{3} God hath not cast away his people which he {a} foreknew. {4} Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

(3) The second proof: because God is faithful in his league or covenant, even though men are unfaithful: so then, seeing that God has said that he will be the God of his own to a thousand generations, we must take heed that we do not think that the whole race and offspring is cast off, by reason of the unbelief of a few, but rather that we hope well of every member of the Church.

(a) Whom he loved and chose from eternity past.

(4) The third proof taken from the answer that was made to Elijah: even then also, when there appeared openly to the face of the world no elect, yet God knew his elect and chosen, and also that they were a great amount and number. Whereupon this also is concluded, that we ought not rashly to pronounce of any that he is a reprobate, seeing that the Church is often brought to that state, that even the most watchful and sharp-sighted pastors, think that it is completely extinct and put out.

Romans 11:2. Ὃν προέγνω] An element which renders the impossibility of ἀπώσατο at once palpable; comp. Romans 11:29. Others take it as a limiting definition, τὸν λ. αὐτοῦ ὃν πρ. being understood of the spiritual people of God destined to the Christian salvation (Origen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Luther, Calvin, and others, including Heumann, Semler, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Glöckler). But against this view it is decisive that τ. λαὸν αὐτ. in Romans 11:1, without any limitation, denotes the Jewish nation, and consequently Paul himself would now completely disarrange the point in question; the whole chapter has for its subject, not the spiritual Israel, but the fate of the nation in respect to the salvation of Messiah. Hence, too, we are not to supply, with Philippi, p. 554, after ὃν προέγνω the limitation: as seminary of the spiritual σπέρμα.

The sense of προέγνω has been understood as variously as in Romans 8:29, but is to be taken just as there: God knew His people as such beforehand, before it actually existed; that is to say, it was to Him, to whom the whole future development of sacred history was present in His pretemporal counsel and plan, known and certain: Israel is my peculiar people! And consequently God cannot have afterwards rejected Israel; for this would in truth presuppose that which is inconceivable with God (comp. Acts 15:18), and irreconcilable with the ἀμετάθετον τῆς βουλῆς αὐτοῦ (Hebrews 6:17), namely, that He had been deceived in His προέγνω; comp. Romans 11:30 ff. To suppose the qualitas mala of the people as that which God foreknew (van Hengel) is inadmissible, for the reason that πρόγνωσις must be the premiss of the προορίζειν of the people of God (comp. Romans 8:29); hence, too, it is not to be objected, with Hofmann, against our view, that God would surely have been able to foresee the fact that, and the time when, His people would cease to be His people.

Ἢ ΟὐΚ ΟἼΔΑΤΕ Κ.Τ.Λ., down to Romans 11:4, adduces a proof for ΟὐΚ ἈΠΏΣΑΤΟ from an historical example of Scripture, according to which a case analogous to the present of the resistance of the people to God had once occurred, but God has made the declaration that He had (not indeed cast off His people, but) reserved to Himself, in the midst of the depravity of the mass, a number of faithful ones. So (Romans 11:5) too now there has taken place, not a rejection of the people, but rather a gracious election out of the people.

ἘΝ ἨΛΊᾼ] belongs to ΤΊ ΛΈΓΕΙ, but is not: de Elia (Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Castalio, Calovius, and others), which would be linguistically erroneous, but: in the passage treating of Elias. Comp. Thuc. i. 9. 3, where ἐν τοῦ σκήπτρου ἅμα τῇ παραδόσει εἴρηκεν means: at the passage, where he (Homer) treats of the yielding of the sceptre, he has said, etc. Very prevalent is this mode of quotation in Philo, and also in the Rabbinical writings (Surenhusius, καταλλ. p. 493). Comp. also Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37, but not Hebrews 4:7.

Ὡς ἘΝΤΥΓΧ. Τ. Θ. ΚΑΤᾺ Τ. ἸΣΡΑΉΛ] dependent on ΟὐΚ ΟἼΔΑΤΕ, as a more precisely defining parallel of ἘΝ ἨΛ. ΤΊ ΛΈΓΕΙ Ἡ ΓΡ. Comp. Luke 6:4; Luke 22:61; Acts 11:16; Acts 20:20, et al.; Göller and Krüger on Thuc. i. 1. 1. On ἐντυγχάνειν (Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25), with dative of the person concerned (frequently in Plutarch, Polyb., Lucian, etc.), comp. Acts 25:24; Wis 8:21; Wis 16:28. On ΚΑΤΆ (accusing), comp. 1Ma 8:32; 2Ma 4:36.Romans 11:2 f. οὐκ ἀπώσατο: formal denial of what the heart has indignantly protested against in Romans 11:1. ὃν προέγνω must contain a reason which makes the rejection incredible or impossible. This excludes the interpretation of Weiss, who thinks that Paul means to say that God knew what Israel was before He chose it, and therefore cannot cast it off as if its unbelief had disappointed Him; He knew from the first what it would be. To plead thus for God is too paltry. We must take προέγνω as in Romans 8:29 : the meaning is, Israel stood before God’s eyes from eternity as His people, and in the immutableness of the sovereign love with which He made it His lies the impossibility of its rejection. The idea is the same as in Romans 11:29 below. ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε: this is the alternative. He who says, God has cast off Israel, must be ignorant of what Scripture says ἐν Ἠλίᾳ in the passage which gives the history of Elijah. The sections of the Bible were designated, not as now by chapter and verse, but by some descriptive phrase: cf ἐπὶ τῆς βάτου, Mark 12:26 : and in Philo ἐν ταῖς ἀραῖς = Genesis 3:15. Many references are made in this form by Hebrew writers. For ἐντυγχάνειν κατὰ cf. 1Ma 8:32 : it means to plead (not intercede) with God against Israel. τὰ θυσιαστήρια is one of the indications that in Elijah’s time there was no law requiring only one altar for Jehovah. The words are quoted from 1 Kings 19 Romans 11:10 or 14. In Elijah’s mood, Paul might have said something similar of his own time, for their circumstances were not alike. The Apostle, like the prophet, was lonely and persecuted, and Israel as a whole seemed to have abandoned God or been abandoned by Him. But he understands God’s way (and His faithfulness) better.2. God hath not cast away his people] Lit. did not cast, &c. These words are verbatim (save only the change of tense) with LXX. of Psalms 93 (Heb., 94.):14.

which he foreknew] See on Romans 8:29.—Two interpretations are possible here. The “foreknowledge,” or sovereign antecedent decision of the Eternal Mind, may be (a) that which designated the nation for privilege, or (b) that which designated individuals of it for final glory. The words of Romans 11:3-5 favour the latter view; and thus St Paul would say “God never thrust Israel out of the covenant; for He always had among them a foreknown ‘Israel of God’.”—The former sense (national designation) would be perfectly legitimate in itself; but it is less in accord with the immediate context, and with the closely kindred reasonings of ch. 9. The question in view here is “Was the nation ever so rejected as that members of it, as such, were rejected?” This St Paul negatives by pointing to the “nation within the nation;” the elect faithful.

of Elias] Lit. in Elias; i.e. in the narrative of Elijah’s life.

intercession] On behalf of the Divine Truth and Worship.

2. The whole Olive Tree—its root, branches, and all—is the Church Universal, in which there is “neither Greek nor Jew;” i.e. in which every real part of the organism, every true believer, shares the sap and life of grace in equal reality. But the special imagery is framed to emphasize not this truth, but another truth in harmony with it; viz. that “salvation is of the Jews;”—that with the Hebrew Patriarch began—after a distinct break of continuity—the more definite life and history of the Church; that for ages the saints were all (practically) found among his sons; and that the universal Saviour was of the seed of David.Romans 11:2. Προέγνω) foreknew, as a people peculiar to Himself, Romans 11:29.—ἐν Ἡλίᾳ, in Elias) in the history of Elias, who was in the greatest straits, and thought himself to be alone; when Israel had become fewer than at any time before or since, [1 Kings 20:15].—ἐντυγχάνει, Hesychius, ἐντυγχάνει, προσέρχεται; comp. Acts 25:24; 1Ma 8:32.Foreknew

See on Romans 8:29.

Or (ἢ)

Compare Romans 6:3; Romans 7:1. Confirming what precedes by presenting the only alternative in the cave. Or is omitted in the A.V.

Wot ye not (οὐκ οἴδατε)

Why should the Revisers have retained the obsolete wot here, when they have rendered elsewhere, know ye not? See Romans 6:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 6:2, etc. The phrase indicates that this cannot be thought of as true.

Of Elias (ἐν Ἡλίᾳ)

Wrong; though Rev. has retained it: of Elijah, with in in margin; probably in order to avoid the awkward circumlocution in the passage treating of Elijah, or the ambiguous in Elijah. See on in the bush, Mark 12:26. Thucydides (i. 9) says: "Homer, in 'The handing down of the sceptre,' said," etc.; i.e., in the passage describing the transmission of the sceptre in the second book of the Iliad. A common form of quotation in the rabbinical writings. The passage cited is 1 Kings 19:10, 1 Kings 19:14.

He maketh intercession (ἐντυγχάνει)

See on Romans 8:26. Rev., pleadeth.

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