Rebuttal of the nomist critique, 6:1-11:36
5. The vindication of grace, 9:1-11:36
ii] Israel's condemnation is it's own doing, 9:30-10:21
c) A gospel proclaimed, but rejected by Israel,Argument
In the passage before us, Paul concludes the second part of his fifth rebuttal argument against the nomist critique that his gospel is flawed (given that most Jews have rejected it), 9:30-10:21. In this second part of his argument he sets out to establish that God's promised blessings to Abraham always rested on faith and it was Israel's inclination to attain God's promised blessings by obedience to the law of Moses that has led to the bulk of Jews rejecting Christ and so finding themselves excised from the covenant. Paul now sums up this argument by stating that participation in the covenant has always depended on a chain of five links: a saving word from God, the conveying of that word, the hearing of that word, believing that word, and a subsequent cry for mercy, v14-15. The problem for Israel is that only a few Jews took heed of the word (only a few believed), v16-17, even though they clearly heard / understood that word (the gospel), v18-19, and so most must look on while those "who did not seek God" end up finding him, v20. Such is the end for a "disobedient and obstinate people", v21.
i] Context: See 9:1-6a.
ii] Background: See 1:8-15.
iii] Structure: This passage, serving to argue that Israel is not without a word from God, but is without faith, presents as follows:
Proposition: there exists a chain that leads to life, v14-15:
A divine word of grace, revealed, preached, heard, believed, and sought in prayer.
Israel has broken the chain, v16-17;
Israel had every opportunity to find life via the chain, v18-19;
Though the opportunity still exists for Israel, others have found life via the chain, v20-21.
iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.
vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 10:14
Israel is not without a word from God, but is without faith, v14-21; i] The unbroken chain of life, v14-15. The simple fact is, "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Yet, to call on the Lord for salvation is the last link in a chain that is easily broken. Given the "anyone / everyone" of v11-13, some commentators argue that v14-15 applies to Jew and Gentile alike, cf. Luz, Schreiner. This is unlikely.
a) Sinners will be saved, will receive God's mercy and forgiveness, if they call out to Jesus.
b) Yet, they cannot call upon Jesus unless they believe in him.
c) They cannot believe in him without hearing about him.
d) And they cannot hear about him unless the message of Christ, the gospel, is preached to them.
e) The message cannot be proclaimed unless a preacher is sent by God.
pwV + subj. "how" - Interrogative particle with a subjunctive used in a direct question requiring deliberation.
oun "then" - therefore. Usually inferential, "therefore", as NIV, but sometimes adversative. Some argue that this verse should be attached to v13 as a consequence of the statement made there, but an adversative sense, and therefore a new paragraph, seems more likely; "but then ...." Cassirer.
epikaleswntai (epikalew) aor. subj. "can they call on the one" - [how therefore] may they call on the one. As with "believe in", "hear", and in v15, "preach (convey a word from God)", "call on" is a deliberative subjunctive. The term reminds us that salvation finally comes down to an act of asking, "ask and it will be given." "How can they call for help ...?"
eiV o}n "-" - toward, into whom [they do not believe]? Expressing commitment of self to another. Spacial, and often used with much the same sense as en. Possibly "appeal to someone", Barclay, or "on" as NIV, but better taken as "into", in the same sense as faith is expressed as being "in/into" God/Christ - a common sense in John's writings. "In whom they have not believed", Williams.
ou| pro. "of whom" - [and how may they believe into the one] of whom [they did not hear]? Genitive of direct object after the verb "heard"; "how can they believe in the one they have not heard of of whom" = "in the one whom they have not heard." The verb akouw, "hear", often takes a genitive as a matter of form (gen. of the person who is heard, acc. of the thing that is heard), so it is not "of whom they have not heard", NIV, ie, heard the message about, so TEV, but rather "how are they to believe in one whom they have never heard", Bruce, ie, heard in the message. It is usually accepted that eiV "in", must be supplied from the previous clause, as well as the antecedent of "of whom they did not hear", namely, "the one."
cwriV + gen. "without" - [and how may they hear] apart from, without. With the genitive of persons "without someone."
khrussontoV (khrussw) pres. part. "someone preaching to them" - one preaching, proclaiming? The participle serves as a substantive; "how can they hear if nobody tells them", Peterson.
The quote from Isaiah 52:7 affirms the preacher, the one who communicates God's saving word, a word the apostles were authorized to communicate to the historic people of Israel. So, the message has been sent.
ean mh + subj "unless [they are sent]" - [and how may they preach] if [they are] not [sent] / except [they be sent]? Introducing a subordinate clause of negated condition, 3rd. class.
apostalwsin (apostellw) aor. pas. subj. "they are sent" - Deliberative subjunctive, with the passive usually viewed as divine / theological. Sent by a higher authority, namely God. Referring to the ministry of the gospel. Obviously Israel could not properly respond to God if he (some suggest the church) had not sent messengers to them to proclaim the way of salvation, but in reality he had. "Unless they are sent by God to do so", Barclay.
wJV "how [beautiful]" - [as it has been written] how [beautiful]. Here as an interjection.
oiJ podeV ( ous odoV) "are the feet" - The reference is to Isaiah 52:7. The Jews understood this as a messianic text. The reference to "the feet" reflects the typical use of a body part to represent the whole, so better "how wonderful is the coming of those who bring good news", TEV.
twn euaggelizomenwn (euaggelizw) gen. pres. part. "of those who bring [good] news" - of the one's bringing news. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, and the participle serves as a substantive. The "good" is often carried with "the news / gospel", but of course, "beautiful feet" bring good news while the feet that bring bad news aren't so beautiful. We often forget that the gospel is both good and bad news, depending on how we respond to it.
ii] Sadly Israel has broken the chain. Most of Israel has not called on the Lord for they have not "harkened" to his word.
all (alla) "but" - but, and. A forceful adversative. We would expect Israel to respond positively to the good news, but .... Paul's point is that the chain which links a person's calling on God for mercy to the sending of his message of salvation has been broken by Israel, broken by their rejection of that message, and it is for this reason alone that Israel now finds itself outside of God's covenant family. "But not all of them paid heed to the gospel", Cassirer.
ou panteV "not all the Israelites" - not all. Possibly a litotes (ironic understatement) = "only a few" , Moo, cf. Meyer. "Israelites" is not stated, but properly assumed.
uJpakousan (uJpakouw) aor. "accepted" - obeyed, harkened. "Accepted", NIV is a gentle way of expressing "give credence to", but better "submit to." Clearly we should take this as a belief statement, ie. the broken link is "believing", not "hearing". "Paid heed to", Cassirer/Bruce; "given in to", Moffatt; certainly better than "responded to", NJB.
tw/ euaggeliw/ (on) dat. "the good news" - the news, message, communication. Dative of direct object after the verb uJpakouw. The "good" has stuck!
gar "for" - Explanatory rather than causal, supporting the assertion that Israel has not always responded positively to God's word;"a message from God is not always received as it should be", Morris.
HsiaV legei "Isaiah says" - Explicit reference, Isa.53:1.
hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - [who believed the message] of us. The genitive is adjectival, possessive / verbal, subjective.
th/ akoh/ (h) dat. "message" - in the message. Dative of direct object after the verb pisteuw, "believed"; "gave credence to / harkened to the message."
Not all Israelites have responded in faith, in the sense of belief, to the divine message of salvation, a resistance even Isaiah experienced, "therefore ...." v17. The "therefore" doesn't seem to logically advance the argument. Hendricksen suggests "a summarizing conclusion", Morris argues for a rounding up of the argument of the last few verses, "a conclusion", Jewett. Moo suggests that Paul is drawing an inference from v16b, namely, that "faith comes as a result of hearing .... (and) hearing, the kind of hearing that can lead to faith, can only happen if there is a definite salvific word from God that is proclaimed", Moo. One wonders if systematic theology has got the better of Moo here. It seems likely that Paul is rounding up his argument at this point. Note, there are no verbs in the Gk. and so they must be supplied eg. "comes": "faith/belief comes from/out of the message (heard or preached?) and the message (heard or preached?) comes through / by means of the word of Christ."
ara "consequently" - therefore. Here inferential; "so, the point I am making is this ........... but (v18)"
pistiV (iV ewV) "faith" - belief. "Belief, you see, can only come from hearing the message", Phillips.
ex (ek) + gen. "comes from" - Expressing source / origin.
akohV (h) "hearing the message" - report, message. Better, "the act of hearing", with the object supplied, "what is preached." "Before you trust you have to listen", Peterson.
dia + gen. "through" - [and hearing] through. There is a tendency for this preposition to drift toward a causal sense even though followed by a genitive, as here, so "because of / on account of" may be intended, although the instrumental sense, "through, by means of", is more likely. Jewett suggests source, Harvey.
Cristou (oV) "[the word] about Christ" - [word] of Christ. The genitive is either adjectival, possessive, the word that belongs to Christ; objective, "the word about Christ", so Zerwick, Schreiner; or ablative, origin/author, the word that comes from Christ, "what is heard has its source in its having been spoken by Christ", Cassirer. Note that "word of God" is more commonly used.
iii] Paul now poses a question: "Now I ask you this, has Israel had the opportunity to hear God's word of salvation / the gospel? They certainly have", v18-19. Paul's quote from Psalm 19:4 supports his case that the covenant's ratification in Christ has universally been communicated to Israel (Paul's practice of preaching to the synagogue first, before taking the gospel to the Gentile community). In the context of this verse, if the answer to the question is "yes", then the quote supports the "yes they have heard", if "no", then the quote takes a concessive sense, "no they haven't harkened, even though ......" A concessive sense is unlikely.
alla "but" - but, and. Adversative; "but I ask."
mh ouk "[did they] not [hear]" - The object may be supplied, eg. "the message", TEV. The mh serves to negate the question producing the answer "no", but ouk negates the verb, so the answer is then "yes", so Burton, followed by most translations and commentators. It is possible, although unlikely, that the double negative is seeking an emphatic "no" to the question; "they did not hear (in the sense of "harken"), did they? Indeed they certainly did not." Gifford takes this line in his old John Murray commentary on Romans with the anticipated "nay verily." The "hear" is just "hear", not "harken / believe". Israel did "hear", but didn't "believe".
menounge "of course they did" - indeed ("indeed they have", BDF) / on the contrary. An emphatic expression, here either for the positive, as NIV, or the negative, so Kasemann. Positive is best.
eiV "into / to" - into [all the earth went out ("rang out", BDAG) the voice of them]. Spacial, direction / destination. The gospel has gone "into all the earth" and "to the ends of the world." For Paul, Rome is probably the "end" of the world, in the sense of the center of the world, although some think he has in mind Spain.
thV oikoumenhV (h) gen. "[to the ends] of the world" - [and to the ends] of the inhabited world [the words of them]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. "To the bounds of the inhabited world", NEB.
Paul repeats the question posed in v18, again most likely expecting the answer "yes". The Jews have no excuse, they heard, but did not believe, v18b-19. The quote, Deut.32:21, from the song of Moses, speaks of the consequences of Israel's infidelity. To anger God consequentially causes them anger, here in terms of "a not people" becoming God's people - a truth supported by Isaiah 65:1, v20.
alla "again [I ask]" - but [I ask]. Probably again adversative, as in v18. "But I ask", Barclay.
mh ... ouk "[did Israel] not [understand]" - [did Israel] not [know]. Again the double negative can be handled in two ways as in v18; "did Israel understand (the gospel)?" Assumed answer is "yes indeed", or "certainly not." So either, Israel did "hear, v18, did "know", in the sense of "understand", v19, but rejected what they heard, or they did not "hear" in the sense of "harken", v18, did not "know" in the sense of "harken", again from an "obstinate" spirit, v21. Either way, they broke the chain outlined in v14-15. An expected positive answer seems best.
egnw (ginwskw) "understand" - come to know, know, recognize. The answer to the question is "yes", Israel did "hear clearly / understood" the gospel. Note, the question may be ""did Israel fail to understand that the Nations would be called?", Pilcher, ie. "did Israel not know what Moses first says?". Most translations agree with NIV and this does seem to be the extent of the question. "Did Israel take note?", Berkeley.
ego "I" - [first Moses says] I. Emphatic by use and position; "I myself."
parazhlwsw (parazhlow) fut. "will make [you] envious" - will provoke [you] to jealousy. Predictive future. Transitive = "make jealous" or "provoke to jealousy". Paul later develops the idea that the incoming of the Gentiles will provoke the Jews into a reevaluation of their rejection of Christ. Contextually, though, this idea is probably not in Paul's mind here. The point is that the failure of the Jews to act on what they heard has consequentially set them apart from God's mercy, and this while Gentiles find the covenant inclusion that historically belongs to Israel. "Provoke to jealous anger", Moo.
ep (epi) + dat. "by [those who are not a nation]" - by, over. Possibly causal, "because of / on the basis of", although better reference / respect, "with regard to", BAGD; "I shall make you jealous with regard to a non-nation", Jewett.
ouk eqnei (oV) "those who are not a nation" - not a nation. Obviously "Gentiles".
ep (epi) + dat. "[I will make you envious] by" - by, over [a nation]. Emphatic position. The sense of the preposition in "I will make you envious over a nation" is as above; "with regard to, because of, on the basis of, by, ..."
asunetw/ adj. "that has no understanding" - without understanding [I will anger you]. Probably a little stronger in that it would include a lack of morality; "devoid of understanding", Cassirer. God will "provoke to jealous anger", Longenecker, those of his people devoid of understanding.
iv] Quoting Isaiah 65:1-2, Paul restates the idea of a "no people" discovering God, at the expense of the children of the covenant whose failure to give heed to the one who has held out his hand has brought them to this sad state, v20-21.
de "and" - but, and. Continuative, rather than contrastive or adversative, seems best.
apotolma/ (apotolmaw) pres. "boldly" - [Isaiah] is very bold [and says]. A participle might have been expected here given that the verb is being used adverbially. Paul sees Isaiah moving into a politically sensitive area with these words; it was "fearless", CEV, of him to make this point; "Isaiah actually dares to say", Pilcher.
euJreqhn (euJiskw) aor. pas. "I was found" - Constative aorist. Paul obviously takes Isaiah's words as a reference to the Gentiles, although this may not be the intended sense. "I was discovered", TH.
en + dat. "by" - This variant reading (a less supported second variant is found before "those who did not ask) may seek to correct what would be a strange construction, namely a simple dative following a possessive verb, so Cranfield. None-the-less, it can be treated as a normal dative, "to / for", Turner. The reading is found in some LXX versions and so the variant is probably from Paul's hand, therefore instrumental, expressing means / agency, "by", as NIV. Spacial is possible; "among", Jewett.
toiV mh zhtousin pres. part. "those who did not seek" - the ones not seeking. As with "the ones not asking", the participle serves as a substantive.
eme "me" - me [I became visible to the ones not asking for me]. The position in the Gk. is emphatic.
This quote well illustrates two key links in the chain of salvation, namely, the saving word from God nicely expressed in his reaching out to Israel, and the need to harken to / take heed of that word, believe, expressed in the description of Israel as "a disobedient and obstinate people."
de "but" - Here certainly adversative.
proV + acc. "concerning [Israel]" - to, toward [Israel he says]. Here expressing reference / respect; "with reference to Israel", "concerning", as NIV.
oJlhn thn hJmeran "all day long" - all the day. A Semitism. Transposed to the beginning of the verse by Paul, presumably to emphasize God's mercy toward Israel, possibly his continuing mercy; "without pause", Jewett.
exepetasa (ekpetannumi) aor. "I have held out the hand" - I reached out [the hands of me]. Constative aorist. Hapax legomenon (once only use in the NT). "I beckoned Israel with open arms", Peterson.
apeiqounta (apeiqw) pres. part. "disobedient" - [toward a people] disobeying. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting laon, "a people." Possibly with the sense "disbelieving"; "a people who refuse to harken (have faith in the gospel)."
antilegonta (antilegw) pres. part. "obstinate" - [and] speaking against = opposing. The participle is adjectival, as above, the present tense being durative. "Disputatious", describing a people who openly argue against God's saving word / gospel.