New International Version
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,
King James Bible
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Darby Bible Translation
for I have wished, I myself, to be a curse from the Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to flesh;
World English Bible
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers' sake, my relatives according to the flesh,
Young's Literal Translation
for I was wishing, I myself, to be anathema from the Christ -- for my brethren, my kindred, according to the flesh,
Romans 9:3 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ - This and the two preceding verses are thus paraphrased by Dr. Taylor: I am so far from insisting on the doctrine (of the rejection of the Jews) out of any ill-will to my countrymen, that I solemnly declare, in the sincerity of my heart, without the least fiction or dissimulation - and herein I have the testimony of my own conscience, enlightened and directed by the Spirit of God - that I am so far from taking pleasure in the rejection of the Jewish nation, that, contrariwise, it gives me continual pain and uneasiness, insomuch that, as Moses formerly (when God proposed to cut them off, and in their stead to make him a great nation, Exodus 32:10) begged that he himself should rather die than that the children of Israel should be destroyed, Exodus 32:32, so I could even wish that the exclusion from the visible Church, which will happen to the Jewish nation, might fall to my own share, if hereby they might be kept in it and to this I am inclined by natural affection, for the Jews are my dear brethren and kindred.
Very few passages in the New Testament have puzzled critics and commentators more than this. Every person saw the perfect absurdity of understanding it in a literal sense, as no man in his right mind could wish himself eternally damned in order to save another, or to save even the whole world. And the supposition that such an effect could be produced by such a sacrifice, was equally absurd and monstrous. Therefore various translations have been made of the place, and different solutions offered. Mr. Wakefield says: "I see no method of solving the difficulty in this verse, which has so exercised the learning and ingenuity of commentators, but by the ευχομαι ειναι of Homer, I profess myself to be; and he translates the passage in a parenthesis, thus: (for I also was once an alien from Christ) on account of my brethren, etc. But how it does appear that Saul of Tarsus was ever an alien from Christ on account of his kinsmen, is to me perfectly indiscernible. Let us examine the Greek text. Ηυχομην γαρ αυτος εγω αναθεμα ειναι απο του Χριστου ὑπερτων αδελφων μου, 'For I did wish myself to be an anathema From Christ (ὑπο, By Christ, as some ancient MSS. read) for my brethren.' As ηυχομην is the 1st per. sing. of the imperfect tense, some have been led to think that St. Paul is here mentioning what had passed through his own mind when filled with the love of God, he learned the rejection of the Jews; and that he only mentions it here as a thing which, in the effusions of his loving zeal, had been felt by him inconsiderately, and without any Divine afflatus leading him to it; but that he does not intimate that now he felt any such unreasonable and preposterous wish." I am afraid this is but ill calculated to solve the difficulty.
The Greek word αναθεμα, anathema, properly signifies any thing devoted to God, so as to be destroyed: it answers to the Hebrew חרם cherem, which the Septuagint translate by it, and means either a thing or person separated from its former state or condition, and devoted to destruction. In this sense it is used, Deuteronomy 7:25, Deuteronomy 7:26; Joshua 6:17, Joshua 6:18; Joshua 7:12.
It is certain that the word, both among the Hebrews and Greeks, was used to express a person devoted to destruction for the public safety. In Midrash hanneelam, in Sohar Chadash, fol. 15, Rabbi Chaijah the elder said: "There is no shepherd found like unto Moses, who was willing to lay down his life for the sheep; for Moses said, Exodus 32:32, If thou wilt not pardon their sin, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." Such anathemas, or persons devoted to destruction for the public good, were common among all ancient nations. See the case of M. Curtius and Decius among the Romans. When a plague took place, or any public calamity, it was customary to take one of the lowest or most execrable of the people, and devote him to the Dii Manes or infernal gods. See proofs in Schleusner, and see the observations at the end of the chapter, (Romans 9:33 (note), point 1.). This one circumstance is sufficient to explain the word in this place. Paul desired to be devoted to destruction, as the Jews then were, in order to redeem his countrymen from this most terrible excision. He was willing to become a sacrifice for the public safety, and to give his life to redeem theirs. And, as Christ may be considered as devoting them to destruction, (see Matthew 24), Paul is willing that in their place Christ should devote him: for I could wish myself, αναθεμα ειμαι απο (or, as some excellent MSS. have it, ὑπο) του Χριστου, to be devoted By Christ, to that temporal destruction to which he has adjudged the disobedient Jews, if by doing so I might redeem them. This, and this alone, seems to be the meaning of the apostle's wish.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
accursed. or, separated. my kinsmen.
LibraryApril 1. "Vessels of Mercy which He had Afore Prepared unto Glory" (Rom. Ix. 23).
"Vessels of mercy which he had afore prepared unto glory" (Rom. ix. 23). Our Father is fitting us for eternity. A vessel fitted for the kitchen will find itself in the kitchen. A vessel for the art gallery or the reception room will generally find itself there at last. What are you getting fitted for? To be a slop-pail to hold all the stuff that people pour into your ears, or a vase to hold sweet fragrance and flowers for the King's palace and a harp of many strings that sounds the melodies and harmonies …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
Concerning God's Purpose
Letter Lxxxv. To Paulinus.
But now, please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written."
2 Samuel 18:33
The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"
as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you.
regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David,
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
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