Romans 10:20
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
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(20) Is very bold.—Comes forward and tells them the naked truth.

I was found.—The original of the quotation referred to the apostate Israel; St. Paul here applies it to the Gentiles.

10:18-21 Did not the Jews know that the Gentiles were to be called in? They might have known it from Moses and Isaiah. Isaiah speaks plainly of the grace and favour of God, as going before in the receiving of the Gentiles. Was not this our own case? Did not God begin in love, and make himself known to us when we did not ask after him? The patience of God towards provoking sinners is wonderful. The time of God's patience is called a day, light as day, and fit for work and business; but limited as a day, and there is a night at the end of it. God's patience makes man's disobedience worse, and renders that the more sinful. We may wonder at the mercy of God, that his goodness is not overcome by man's badness; we may wonder at the wickedness of man, that his badness is not overcome by God's goodness. And it is a matter of joy to think that God has sent the message of grace to so many millions, by the wide spread of his gospel.But Esaias - Isaiah 65:1-2.

Is very bold - Expresses the doctrine openly, boldly, without any reserve. The word ἀποτολμάω apotolmaō means to dare, to be venturesome, to be bold. It means here that however unpopular the doctrine might be, or however dangerous it was to avow that the Jews were extremely wicked, and that God for their wickedness would cast them off, yet that Isaiah had long since done it. This was the point which Paul was establishing; and against this, the objection was urged, and all the Jewish prejudices excited. This is the reason why he so much insists on it, and is so anxious to defend every part by the writings of acknowledged authority among the Jews - the Old Testament. The quotation is made from the Septuagint, with only a slight change in the order of the phrases. The meaning is, that God was found, or the true knowledge of him was obtained, by those who had not sought after him; that is, by the Gentiles, who had worshipped idols, and who had not sought for the true God. This does not mean that we are to expect to find God if we do not seek for him; or that in fact any become Christians who do not seek for it, and make an effort. The contrary is abundantly taught in the Scriptures; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Chronicles 28:8-9; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9. But it means that the Gentiles, whose characteristic was not that they sought God, would have the gospel sent to them, and would embrace it. The phrase, "I was found," in the past tense here, is in the present in the Hebrew, intimating that the time would come when God would say this of himself; that is, that the time would come when the Gentiles would be brought to the knowledge of the true God. This doctrine was one which Isaiah had constantly in his eye, and which he did not fear to bring openly before the Jews.

20. But Esaias is very bold, and saith—that is, is still plainer, and goes even the length of saying.

I was found of them that sought me not—until I sought them.

I was made—"became"

manifest unto them that asked not after me—until the invitation from Me came to them. That the calling of the Gentiles was meant by these words of the prophet (Isa 65:1) is manifest from what immediately follows, "I said, Behold Me, behold Me, unto a nation that was not called by My name."

Esaias is very bold; i.e. he speaks more boldly concerning the calling of the Gentiles, and the casting off the Jews. He used a holy freedom, though it cost him dear; Jerome saith, he was sawn asunder with a wooden saw. This is a commendable property in a preacher: see Acts 4:13 28:31.

And saith: viz. in Isaiah 65:1. The apostle in this citation differs in some words, both from the Hebrew text and the Seventy, as may appear to him that will compare them together.

I was found of them that sought me not; compare this with Romans 9:30, and see the notes there.

I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me; compare this with Ephesians 2:2. The advantage and advancement of the Gentiles was altogether of free grace, and an effect of God’s free election.

But Esaias is very bold, and saith,.... The apostle here produces another testimony in proof of this, that the Israelites must needs have some knowledge of this truth, the calling of the Gentiles; since a famous prophet of theirs, Isaiah, also spake out with great freedom; he did not mince the matter, or cover it with dark sayings, but with all plainness and perspicuity, and with great courage and intrepidity declared it; though he knew he run the risk, not only of his fame and credit among the Jews, but of his life also, for so doing: the citation is made from Isaiah 65:1.

I was found of them that sought me not, I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me; here also the Gentiles are meant by "them that sought me not, and asked not after me"; the Messiah; and so R. Moses the priest says (n), that these words are to be understood, , "concerning the nations of the world". The common people among them sought after the things of the world; their philosophers sought after the wisdom of it; and the more devout and religious among them sought the observance of superstitious rites and ceremonies, and, at best and most, a little morality and external righteousness; but none sought after Christ, for they knew nothing of him, and therefore did not so much as ask after him; they did not ask counsel of him, nor ask concerning him, nor ask for him; not for his coming into the world, as the Jews did, nor for the preaching of the Gospel among them, for it came among them unasked for, unexpected, and undesired, as well as undeserved by them, nor for any blessing of his; and yet such was his grace and goodness, that he was "found" of these persons, in the preaching of the Gospel; which by his kind providence was brought among them, and they were brought under the hearing of it; and by the Spirit of God directed to him in it, in whom they found life, peace, pardon, righteousness, food, and rest, and every valuable blessing; a pearl of great price they found, a finding which can never be lost: he is also said to be "made manifest" unto them, not in the flesh, but in the ministry of the word; in which his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, are evidently set forth, and clearly manifested; and besides the outward manifestation of Christ to them by the Gospel, they had no internal revelation of him in their hearts by his Spirit, setting forth to them his grace and fulness, and showing them their interest therein: from this prophecy, also, the Jews could not but have some knowledge of this mystery of grace.

(n) In Aben Ezra in Isaiah 65.1.

But Esaias is very {o} bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

(o) Speaks without fear.

Romans 10:20-21. Δέ] marking the transition to another prophet, as at Romans 9:27.

ἀποτολμᾷ κ. λέγει] is emboldened and says. The latter is the immediate consequence of the former; hence here not a Hebraizing mode of expression for the adverbial notion (he freely speaks out), but ἀποτολμ. is absolute (Hom. Il. x. 232, xii. 51, et al). Comp. Winer, p. 437 f. [E. T. 588 f.]; Buttmann, p. 249; and see Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 173; Hom. Il. i. 92: θάρσησε καὶ ηὔδα μάντις.

ἀποτολμᾷ] ἐβιάσατο γυμνὴν εἰπεῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ κινδυνεῦσαι ἢ ἀποσιωπῆσαι, Theophylact. Yet the prophet of bold speech is represented as present, as previously Moses in λέγει. The citation is Isaiah 65:1, freely from the LXX., and with undesigned transposition of the two parallel clauses. According to its historical sense, the passage refers to the Jews who had become apostate from God through immorality and idolatry, on whose behalf the prophet has just begged for grace, to which entreaty Jehovah begins His answer by reminding them how He had given Himself to be found, and revealed Himself with prevenient undeserved kindness to the faithless people. But in the apostate Israel, which was in fact sunk into an idolatrous condition (see esp. Isaiah 64:6; Isaiah 65:3 ff.), and in the relation to it which Jehovah here affirms of Himself, Paul sees a typical representation of the Gentile world, which (as ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, Ephesians 2:12) did not concern itself about God, but to which God has given Himself to be found, and (epexegetic parallel) to be recognised in His self-revelation (through the gospel). The Gentiles have accepted this prevenient divine compassion, but Israel in its obstinate apostasy has resisted it; hence Paul continues in Romans 10:21 with πρὸς δὲ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ λέγει. The latter clearly indicates that Paul really found in Romans 10:20 the prophetic reference to the Gentile world (of which Israel is the opposite); and not, as Hofmann with strict adherence to the historical sense of the original supposes, the fruitlessness of the divine long-suffering towards Israel, which justifies God’s dealing if He now rests not until He has requited its disobedience. According to this interpretation, πρὸς τὸν Ἰσραήλ would have been already said in Romans 10:20, against which view Romans 10:21 testifies.

εὑρέθην] not: “I have allowed myself to be found” (Reiche and others), but: I have been found. On the sense, comp. Acts 17:27; and on the connection of εὑρ. and ἐμφ. ἐγεν., Wis 1:1 f. The aorists are, in the sense of the apostle, to be understood of that which has taken place in the Christian present.

τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ἐπερωτ.] who inquired not of me, namely, respecting revelation; comp. Ezekiel 20:1; Dem. 1072. 12.

Romans 10:21. πρός] not adversus (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Toletus, Grotius, Cramer, Koppe), since in itself—without a more special indication of the text which would yield the hostile sense—it denotes only the simple placing in contrast. Hence, either: in reference to Israel (Estius, Wolf, Ch. Schmidt, and others, including Tholuck, de Wette, Fritzsche, Philippi), like Hebrews 1:7-8, Luke 12:41; Luke 20:19; or, “in the case of Israel He declares” (Köllner, Rückert, Ewald, and others, following Luther and Vulg.). The former view, which is adopted also by van Hengel, is to be preferred for this reason, that δέ introduces a contrast, not with those to whom the previous passage was directed, but with those to whom it refers in respect of its figurative application.

λέγει] Isaiah, namely. That he speaks in the name of God, is understood of itself.

ὅλην τὴν ἡμέρ.] the whole day, like Romans 8:36. Expresses the unremitting nature of the love.

ἀπειθ. κ. ἀντιλέγοντα] present participle, denoting the continuance of the conduct. ἀντιλέγ. is not to be explained, with Grotius, Reiche, Fritzsche, van Hengel, and most, as to be refractory, which it does not mean, but to contradict. The Jews—although God stretched out His saving hands towards them from early morning till evening (comp. Proverbs 1:24)—are disobedient, and say: We will not! Comp. Matthew 23:37; Titus 2:9; 3Ma 2:28; Lucian. D. M. xxx. 3; and see on John 19:12. Also in Achilles Tatius, 5:27 (in opposition to Kypke and Fritzsche), ἀντιλέγειν is conceived as contradiction; as also ἀντιλογία, Hebrews 12:3. Note how opposed the passage is to absolute predestination, and particularly to the Calvinistic “voluntas beneplaciti et signi.”

20. But Esaias is very bold] Moses had not specified how the heathen should be the cause of jealousy and anger to Israel. But Isaiah says, in so many words, that they shall find and know God, and so become His people.

I was found, &c.] Isaiah 65:1; almost verbatim with LXX., but the two clauses are inverted; perhaps to emphasize the decisive word “I was found.” The Heb. is rendered by Kay, “I have let myself be enquired of by them that asked not; I have let myself be found of them that sought me not.” The rest of the verse in Isaiah is conclusive for the reference to the Gentiles.—The past tenses both in the Heb. and Gr. refer to the Divine view of the whole experience of Gentiles and Israel as regards the message of mercy.

Romans 10:20. Ἀποτολμᾷ) What Moses had merely hinted at, Isaiah boldly and openly proclaims.—εὑρέθην, I was found) I was ready at hand for, Isaiah 65:1, LXX., ἐμφανὴς ἐγενήθην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ζητοῦσιν, εὑρέθην τοῖς ἐμὲ μὴ ἐπερωτῶσιν, I was made manifest to them that sought Me not, I was found by them who asked not after Me.

Verse 20. - But Esaias is very hold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. (Isaiah 65:1). The peculiar boldness of Isaiah's utterance consists in this - that, at a time when Israel was recognized as God's one chosen people, he is said to make himself known even to those who sought him not at all. Romans 10:20Is very bold (ἀποτολμᾷ)

Only here in the New Testament. Plato, "Laws," 701, uses it of liberty as too presumptuous (ἀποτετολμημένης). The force of the preposition is intensive, or possibly pointing to him from whom the action proceeds; bold of himself: The simple verb means primarily to dare, and implies the manifestation of that boldness or confidence of character which is expressed by θαῤῥέω. See 2 Corinthians 5:6, 2 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 7:16; 2 Corinthians 10:2, note.


Isaiah 65:1. Following the Septuagint, with the inversion of the first two clauses. Hebrew: "I have offered to give answers to those who asked not. I have put myself in the way of those who sought me not. I have spread out my hand all the day to a refractory people." The idea in the Hebrew is, "I have endeavored to be sought and found." Compare the clause omitted in Paul's quotation: "I have said 'Here am I' to a people who did not call upon my name."

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