Romans 11:18
Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you.
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(18) Thou bearest not the root.—There can be no boasting, for the privileges which the Gentiles possess are derived, and not original.

Romans 11:18. Boast not against the branches — Attribute not thy being ingrafted into the good olive to thy own merits, as if thou wert worthy of the blessing. But if thou boast — To humble thy pride, consider, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee — The Jewish church is not ingrafted into the Gentile, but the Gentile into the Jewish; the members thereof being by faith made children of Abraham, who was constituted by God’s covenant the father of all believers, receiving on their behalf the promises. The apostle’s meaning is, that Abraham and his posterity derived no advantage from any covenant which God made with any of the Gentile nations: but the Gentiles have derived many benefits from the covenants which God made with Abraham and the Jews. “Because the converted Gentiles began very early to despise and hate the unbelieving Jews, on account of their opposition to the gospel, and because the apostle foresaw that in after-times the Jews would be treated with great cruelty and contempt by Christians of all denominations, he wrote this passage; in which, by mentioning the great obligations which the Gentiles are under to the Jews, he shows it to be injustice, ingratitude, and impiety, to despise and hate this people; and much more to plunder, persecute, and kill them. They were the original church and people of God. They preserved the knowledge of God when all the world was sunk in idolatry. To them we owe the Scriptures of the New Testament, as well as those of the Old; for the holy and honourable fellowship of the prophets and apostles were Jews. Of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ, the Saviour of the world, came. All the knowledge of religion, therefore, which we enjoy, is derived from them. And surely something of kindness and gratitude is due for such obligations.” — Macknight.11:11-21 The gospel is the greatest riches of every place where it is. As therefore the righteous rejection of the unbelieving Jews, was the occasion of so large a multitude of the Gentiles being reconciled to God, and at peace with him; the future receiving of the Jews into the church would be such a change, as would resemble a general resurrection of the dead in sin to a life of righteousness. Abraham was as the root of the church. The Jews continued branches of this tree till, as a nation, they rejected the Messiah; after that, their relation to Abraham and to God was, as it were, cut off. The Gentiles were grafted into this tree in their room; being admitted into the church of God. Multitudes were made heirs of Abraham's faith, holiness and blessedness. It is the natural state of every one of us, to be wild by nature. Conversion is as the grafting in of wild branches into the good olive. The wild olive was often ingrafted into the fruitful one when it began to decay, and this not only brought forth fruit, but caused the decaying olive to revive and flourish. The Gentiles, of free grace, had been grafted in to share advantages. They ought therefore to beware of self-confidence, and every kind of pride or ambition; lest, having only a dead faith, and an empty profession, they should turn from God, and forfeit their privileges. If we stand at all, it is by faith; we are guilty and helpless in ourselves, and are to be humble, watchful, afraid of self-deception, or of being overcome by temptation. Not only are we at first justified by faith, but kept to the end in that justified state by faith only; yet, by a faith which is not alone, but which worketh by love to God and man.Boast not ... - The tendency of people is to triumph over one that is fallen and rejected. The danger of pride and boasting on account of privileges is not less in the church than elsewhere. Paul saw that some of the Gentiles might be in danger of exultation over the fallen Jews, and therefore cautions them against it. The ingrafted shoot, deriving all its vigor and fruitfulness from the stock of another tree, ought not to boast against the branches.

But if thou boast - If thou art so inconsiderate and wicked, so devoid of humility, and lifted up with pride, as to boast, yet know that there is no occasion for it. If there were occasion for boasting, it would rather be in the root or stock which sustains the branches; least of all can it be in those which were grafted in, having been before wholly unfruitful.

Thou bearest not the root - The source of all your blessings is in the ancient stock. It is clear from this, that the apostle regarded the church as one; and that the Christian economy was only a prolongation of the ancient dispensation. The tree, even with a part of the branches removed. and others ingrafted, retains its identity, and is never regarded as a different tree.

18. Boast not against the—rejected

branches. But if thou—"do"

boast—remember that

thou bearest not—"it is not thou that bearest"

the root, but the root thee—"If the branches may not boast over the root that bears them, then may not the Gentile boast over the seed of Abraham; for what is thy standing, O Gentile, in relation to Israel, but that of a branch in relation to the root? From Israel hath come all that thou art and hast in the family of God; for "salvation is of the Jews" (Joh 4:22).

Boast not against the branches; i.e. against the Jews, who, because of their unbelief, are broken off; as if by nature thou wert better than they, or more worthy of that grace which is bestowed on thee. The word signifies: Throw not up thy neck, do not carry thyself scornfully and insultingly.

But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee: q.d. If any will needs be so insolent, let them know and consider, that as the root is not beholden to the branches, but the branches to the root; so the good things that the Gentiles have, they received from the Jews, and not the Jews from them: the Gentile church is incorporated into the Jewish, and not the Jewish into the Gentile. Or else the meaning is: Despise not the Jews, for they are the natural branches of the root that bears them. If thou insultest over the branches, thou dost in a manner lift up thyself against the root, that once bore them, and now bears thee; even Abraham, who is the father of all them that believe. Abraham is not the root, simply and absolutely, but relatively, or by way of relation to his posterity and offspring. Boast not against the branches,.... Those that were broken off: the apostle would not have them vaunt it over them, despise them, and trample upon them; but pity them, and pray for and be abundantly thankful and humbled before God, under a sense of Ida sovereign and distinguishing grace, who had settled them in a Gospel church state, who were before comparable to a wild olive tree; and much less should they glory over the believing Jews, among whom they were, there being no difference between them, for they were all one in Christ Jesus:

but if thou boast; but if such a vain temper of mind should prevail, he suggests they would do well to sit down and consider what little reason they had on their side to glory; and if such glorying and boasting, one against another was lawful, the Jews had the greatest reason for it; for, adds the apostle,

thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. The Jews received no advantages from the Gentiles, but on the contrary the Gentiles from the Jews, to whom were committed the oracles of God, and by whom they were faithfully kept and transmitted to the Gentiles; the Gospel itself came out first from among them; the first preachers of it were Jews, who carried it into the Gentile world, where it was greatly succeeded to the conversion of many, who by this means were brought into a Gospel church state, and so enjoyed all the privileges they did: yea, Christ himself, according to the flesh, came of them, was sent unto them, was the minister of them, lived and died among them, and wrought out the great salvation for his people; hence "salvation" itself is said to be "of the Jews", John 4:22, so that the root and foundation of all their enjoyments were from the Jews, and not those of the Jews from them; hence there was no room, nor reason, for boasting against them, and vaunting it over them.

{s} Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

(s) We may rejoice in the Lord, but in such a way that we do not despise the Jews, whom we ought rather to encourage to join in the good battle with us.

Romans 11:18. μὴ κατακ. τῶν κλάδ.] Boast thyself not against (comp. Jam 2:13; Jam 3:14; also in the LXX., not in classical Greek) the branches. These are not the broken-off branches, of which he has just been speaking (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Erasmus, Calovius, and many others, including de Wette, Rückert, Ewald), but, according to Romans 11:16-17, the branches of the olive tree generally (of which some have been broken off); without figure, therefore: the people Israel, but by no means merely those now composing the non-Christian Israel (Hofmann). The latter, because the Christian Israelites also still belonged to the branches of the olive tree, must, as well as the broken-off κλάδοι, have been more precisely designated (against which Hofmann urges subtleties); moreover, the following warning would not be suitable to the broken-off ones, because they no longer stand in any connection with the root. The κλάδοι standing on the root of the patriarchs are the Israelites, whether believing or unbelieving; but under the broken-off ones, which are therefore no longer borne by the root, we are to think not generally of all those Jews who at the time had not yet become believers in Christ (Romans 11:13-14)—otherwise the apostolic mission to the Jews would in truth have no meaning (in opposition to Hofmann’s denial of this distinction)—but only of those who had rejected the Christ preached to them (Acts 28:23-24), and therefore were already no longer in living communion with the patriarchal root, excluded in God’s judgment from the theocracy borne by this root (Romans 9:7-8). Hence, too, we are not, with Fritzsche, to think in τῶν κλάδων merely of the converted Jews, as indeed to give a particular warning against pride towards Jewish-Christians was foreign here to the object of the apostle.

εἰ δὲ κατακ. κ.τ.λ.] But if the case occur, that thou boastest against them, then know, reflect: it is not thou who bearest, etc.; without figure: Thy theocratic position is not the original theocratic one, but only a derived one, proceeding from the patriarchs and imparted to thee, conditioned by the relation into which thou hast entered towards them; thou therefore standest likewise only in the relation of a branch to the root, which is borne by the latter, and not the converse, and which may not therefore bear itself proudly towards its fellow-branches, as though it were something better. In these words there lies a warning hint beforehand of the possibility which Paul afterwards, Romans 11:21-22, definitely expresses.

The οὐ σὺ τ. ῥίζ. βαστ κ.τ.λ. is to be taken declaratively. See Winer, p. 575 [E. T. 773]; Buttmann, p. 338. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:16. The fact itself is quite independent of the case supposed in εἰ κ.τ.λ., but it is brought to mind.Romans 11:18. μὴ κατακαυχῶ τῶν κλάδων: for the genitive see Buttm., 185. Between “if thou boastest,” and “thou bearest not the root,” there is no formal connection: for such breviloquence, which requires us to supply “consider” or “remember,” see Winer, p. 773. The sense is, You owe all you are proud of to an (artificially formed) relation to the race you would despise.18. boast not against, &c.] i.e. against the branches that were broken off; as if in a better position than theirs might have been, and as if better in yourself, and so (as regards any virtue of your own) better able to hold your place.—Every insulting thought, word, or act, of professing Christians towards Jews, as Jews, from that day to this, is an illustration of this verse. Too often such slights are also offered, in one form or another, to the re-ingrafted branches—converted Jews.

thou bearest not, &c.] i.e. Divine mercy has reached thee through Abraham and his sons, not them through thee.Romans 11:18. Μὴ κατακαυχῶ, Boast not against) Let them, who deny the [possibility of the] conversion of the Jews, take care, that they boast not against them.—οὐ σὺ, it is not thou that) supply know or remember that; know, or remember that it is not thou that bearest the root, but, etc.The branches

Of the olive-tree generally, Jewish Christians and unbelieving Jews. Not those that are broken off, who are specially indicated in Romans 11:19.

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