Romans 11:30
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30, 31) Have not believed . . . unbelief . . . not believed . . .—Rather, disobeyed . . . disobedience . . . disobeyed.

Romans 11:30-32. For as ye — Believing Gentiles; in times past — Before Christ was preached to you; have not believed God — Did not believe in the living and true God: or rather, as the words ποτε ηπειθησατε τω θεω signify, were once disobedient to God, and were buried in ignorance and superstition; but now have obtained mercy — Namely, to be converted and pardoned; through their unbelief τη τουτων απειθεια, through, or on occasion of, their disobedience. The apostle does not mean that the Gentiles would not have been admitted into the covenant and church of God, by having the gospel preached to them, if the whole Jewish nation had embraced the gospel, the title of the Gentiles to all the blessings of the covenant with Abraham being established by the covenant itself. But his meaning is, as is explained in the note on Romans 11:11. Even so have these

As if he had said, As you obtained mercy after a long time of disobedience, so shall the Jews, who now, since the preaching of the gospel, have not believed, ηπειθησαν, have disobeyed; that through your mercy — The mercy shown to you in the conversion of so many of you, being provoked to emulation, Romans 11:11; they also may obtain mercy — May be brought to believe in Christ, and so partake of mercy. “The disobedience of the Jews consisted in their rejecting the gospel, notwithstanding it was preached to them, as the fulfilment of the prophecies contained in their own sacred records. And by obtaining mercy, is meant the being admitted into the covenant and church of God, which is called mercy, because it proceeded entirely from the mercy of God, Romans 9:15.” For God hath concluded them all in unbelief — Suffered the main body both of the Jews and Gentiles, successively, for some time, to continue under the power of their unbelief, or disobedience rather, that, in his own time, he might fulfil the great counsel of his goodness, in showing undeserved mercy both to Jews and Gentiles. See John 12:32. First, God suffered the Gentiles, in the early ages of the world, to revolt from him, and took the family of Abraham, as a peculiar seed, to himself: afterward he permitted them to fall through unbelief, disobedience, idolatry, and, at last, the rejection of their own Messiah, and took the believing Gentiles for his people. And he did even this to provoke the Jews to emulation, and so bring them also, in the end, to faith in, and obedience to, the gospel. This was truly a mystery in the divine conduct, which the apostle adores with such holy astonishment.

11:22-32 Of all judgments, spiritual judgments are the sorest; of these the apostle is here speaking. The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favoured for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God's time is come, that will no longer exist, and God's love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God's favour. Those who find mercy themselves, should endeavour that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood, and temple, and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true become one sheep-fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer's corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.For as ye - You who were Gentiles.

In times past - Before the gospel was preached. This refers to the former idolatrous and sinful state of the pagan world; compare Ephesians 2:2; Acts 14:16.

Have not believed God - Or have not obeyed God. This was the character of all the pagan nations.

Yet have now obtained mercy - Have been pardoned and admitted to the favor of God.

Through their unbelief - By means of the unbelief and rejection of the Jews; see the note at Romans 11:11.

30, 31. For as ye in times past have not believed—or, "obeyed"

God—that is, yielded not to God "the obedience of faith," while strangers to Christ.

yet now have obtained mercy through—by occasion of

their unbelief—(See on [2252]Ro 11:11; [2253]Ro 11:15; [2254]Ro 11:28).

Ver. 30,31. This is the last argument, to prove the conversion and calling of the Jews, which is further confirmed, Romans 11:32. The argument is taken from the like dealing of God with the Gentiles; after a long time of infidelity, he received them to mercy; therefore he will also at last receive the Jews. He argues from the less to the greater; If the infidelity of the Jews was the occasion of mercy to the Gentiles, much more shall the mercy showed to the Gentiles be an occasion of showing mercy to the Jews: q.d. There is more force in that which is good, to produce a good effect, than in that which is evil, to have a good event: therefore, if the unbelief of the Jews had so good an event, as to occasion the conversion of the Gentiles, why may we not think, that the calling of the Gentiles will contribute to the conversion of the Jews? See Romans 11:11,14. When the Jews shall see the Gentiles’ mercy, i.e. God’s mercy to them; how the whole world flourisheth under the profession of Christianity; how the Messias is in vain expected by them; how their nation is dispersed, &c.; then they shall at last come in and cleave to Christ, and be mercifully received by him.

For as ye in times past have not believed God,.... The times referred to, are the times of ignorance, idolatry, and superstition; when God suffered the Gentiles, for many hundreds of years, to walk in their own ways; while the Jews were his favourite people, were chosen by him above all people, separated from them, and distinguished by his goodness; had his word and oracles, his judgments and his statutes to direct them, and many other valuable blessings: the times before the coming of the Messiah are here meant, when these people sat in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death; till Christ, who came to lighten the Gentiles, sent his Gospel among them, and which has been attended with great success; in these times they were in a state of incredulity: they either, as some of them, did not believe there was a God, or that there was but one God, at least but very few believed it; and these did not know who he was; nor did they glorify him as God, or perform any true spiritual worship to him: the far greater part believed there were more gods, and did service to them which by nature were no gods, and fell down to idols of gold, and silver, and wood, and stone:

and yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; that is, they were regenerated, effectually called and converted, through the rich and abundant mercy of God; repentance unto life was granted to them; and faith in our Lord Jesus, as a free grace gift, was bestowed upon them; and they had an application of pardoning grace and mercy, through the blood of Christ, made unto them; and all this through the unbelief of the Jews: not that their unbelief could be the cause of their obtaining mercy; but the Jews not believing in the Messiah, but rejecting him, and contradicting and blaspheming his Gospel, it was taken away from them, and carried to the Gentiles; which was the means of their believing in Christ, and obtaining mercy; so that the unbelief of the Jews was the occasion and means, in Providence, of bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, whereby faith came; see Romans 11:11. This mercy they are said to enjoy "now"; for the present time of the Gospel is the dispensation of mercy to the Gentiles.

{16} For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

(16) Another reason: because even though they who are hardened are worthily punished, yet this stubbornness of the Jews has not so that there would be a hatred of that nation, but so that an entry might be as it were opened to bring in the Gentiles, and afterward the Jews being inflamed with jealousy of that mercy which is shown to the Gentiles might themselves also be partakers of the same benefit, and so it might appear that both Jews and Gentiles are saved only by the free mercy and grace of God, which could not have been so manifest if at the beginning God had brought all together into the Church, or if he had saved the nation of the Jews without this interruption.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 11:30-31. Γάρ] not referable to Romans 11:28 (Hofmann), introduces that, which, according to the economy of salvation under the divine mercy, will emerge as actual proof of the truth of Romans 11:29.

ἠπειθήσατε] have refused obedience, which came to pass through unbelief. For the elucidation of this, see Romans 1:18 ff.

νῦν δέ] contrast to the time before they become Christian (ποτέ), Ephesians 2:8.

ἠλεήθητε] For the reception into Christianity with its blessings is, as generally, so in particular over-against the preceding ἠπειθήσατε, on God’s part solely the work of mercy.

τῇ τούτων ἀπειθ.] through the disobedience of these; for they are ἐχθροὶ διʼ ὑμᾶς, Romans 11:28. Comp., besides, Romans 11:11 f., 15, 19 f. The noncompliance of the Jews with the requirement of faith in the gospel brought about the reception of the Gentiles. The latter, the converted Gentiles, are individualized by the address to the Gentile-Christian community of the readers (ὑμεῖς).

ἠπείθησαν] namely, through rejection of the gospel.

τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει] is, on account of the parallelism, to be joined to the following (ἵνα κ.τ.λ.), and the dative to be taken in the sense of mediate agency, like τῇ τούτ. ἀπειθ.: in order that through the mercy that befell you (which may excite them to emulation of your faith, Romans 11:11), mercy should also accrue to them. The position of τ. ὑμ. ἐλ. before the introductory conjunction is for the sake of emphasis; comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7; Galatians 4:10, et al.; Winer, p. 522 [E. T. 688]. Hence the parallelism is not to be sacrificed by placing a comma after ἐλέει. Nevertheless such is the course followed—and with very different views of the dative, arbitrarily departing from the datival notion in τῇ τούτ. ἀπειθείᾳ—by the Vulgate (“in vestram misericordiam”), Peschito, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Estius, Wolf, Morus, Lachmann, Glöckler, Maier, Ewald (“so these also became now disobedient alongside of [bei] your mercy”), Buttmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 367 (“in favour of your mercy, that you might find mercy”), and others.

ἵνα] the divinely ordained aim of the ἠπείθησαν. On the emphatic ὑμετέρῳ in the objective sense, see Winer, p. 145 [E. T. 191]; Kühner, II. 1, p. 486.

Romans 11:30-32. There is the less need, too, that they should be withdrawn, because God makes the very misuse of them contribute to the working out of His universal purpose of redemption. The past unbelief of the Gentiles and the mercy they presently enjoy, the present unbelief of the Jews and the mercy they are destined to enjoy in the future—these things not only correspond to each other, but they are interwoven with each other; they are parts of a system which God controls, and in which every element conditions and is conditioned by all the rest: there is a Divine necessity pervading and controlling all the freedom of men—a Divine purpose mastering all the random activity of human wills; a purpose which is read out by the Apostle in Romans 11:32 : God shut them all up into disobedience that He might have mercy upon them all. Romans 11:30. ποτὲ: once, in the past, chap. Romans 1:18-32. τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ = owing to their disobedience. Cf. Romans 11:11; Romans 11:15. Romans 11:31. τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει is to be construed with ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ νῦν ἐλεηθῶσιν. For the order cf. Galatians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 12:7. It seems pedantic to make the construction strictly parallel to τῇ τούτων ἀπειθίᾳ, and to translate: “that owing to the mercy shown to you—i.e., owing to the jealousy to which the Jews would be stirred at seeing the Gentiles the objects of Divine mercy—they also may obtain mercy”; the simpler construction is to take the dative as explanatory of the verb, and to translate: “that they may be made the objects of the very same mercy which has been shown to you”. This is really the point which the Apostle wishes to be at; though the idea brought out in the former rendering is essential in the passage, it is not essential, nor obvious, in these particular words. The second νῦν (wanting in [17] [18] [19] [20]) is probably genuine ([21] [22]), but cannot be forced to mean more than “now in their turn”. The imminence of the result is not in view. Romans 11:32. συνέκλεισεν γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς πάντας εἰς ἀπειθιαν: this is the nearest approach made in the N.T. to putting the sin of man into a direct and positive relation to the act and purpose of God. But it would be a mistake to draw inferences from the concrete historical problem before the Apostle—viz., God’s dealings with Jew and Gentile, and the mutual relations and influence of Jew and Gentile in the evolution of God’s purpose—and to apply them to the general abstract question of the relation of the human will to the Divine. Paul is not thinking of this question at all, and his authority could not be claimed for such inferences. Salvation, he sees, as he looks at the world before him, is to come to Jew and Gentile alike by the way of free grace; and it answers to this, that in the providence of God, Jew and Gentile alike have been made to feel the need of grace by being shut up under disobedience. It is within Paul’s thought to say that the sin of Jews and Gentiles, to whom he preached the Gospel, did not lie outside the control, or outside the redeeming purpose, of God; but it does not seem to me to be within his thought to say that God ordains sin in general for the sake of, or with a view to, redemption. This is a fancy question which an apostle would hardly discuss. God subordinates sin to His purpose, but it is not a subordinate element in His purpose. The same order of considerations ought to guide us in the interpretation of τοὺς πάντας. “Them all” certainly refers in the first instance to Jews and Gentiles. It is not the same as τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους, “both parties”; but it differs from it in its present connection only by giving emphasis to the fact that both parties consist of numbers, to all of whom the truth here stated applies. To find here a doctrine of universal salvation—a dogmatic assertion that every man will at last receive mercy—is simply to desert the ground on which the Apostle is standing. It is to leave off thinking about the concrete problem before his mind, and to start thinking about something quite different. It is gratuitous to contrast, as, e.g., is done by Lipsius, this passage with others in which Paul speaks of ἀπολλύμενοι as well as σωζόμενοι, and to say that they represent irreconcilable view-points—the Apostle speaking in the present instance from the standpoint of Divine teleology; in the other, from that of actual experience. The truth is, as Weiss puts it, there is not a word here to show how far, when the history of man has reached its term, Paul conceived God’s saving purpose to be realised. συνέκλεισεν answering to הִסְגִּיר is frequent in LXX: the συν does not refer to the fact that Jews and Gentiles are shut up together, but indicates that those who are shut up are shut up on all sides, so that they cannot escape: cf. con-cludo and examples in Galatians 3:22, Psalm 30:9 LXX, ἐλεήσῃ: “to have mercy upon” means “to make partakers of that ‘common salvation’ (Judges 1:3) which is emphatically a dispensation of mercy” (Gifford).

[17] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[18] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of , and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[19] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[20] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[21] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[22] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

30. For as ye, &c.] A new short paragraph. See on Romans 11:28.—The main purpose of this paragraph is to shew, in a new respect, the Divine “reason why” of the rejection of the Jews; viz., that the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles might be conspicuously put on the footing of mere mercy. The Gentile believers had once rejected God (see Romans 1:19, &c.), and mere mercy called them to grace. The Jews were now rejecting God, and mere mercy would again act in calling them back to grace.

have not believed] Better, did not obey. For the best commentary, see Romans 1:18-32.

have now obtained mercy] Better, did obtain mercy. Lit. were compassionated.

through their unbelief] Which was, in a certain sense, the instrument, “through,” or by, which the covenant was thrown open to the world. Jewish unbelief (1) slew “the Lord of Glory,” the Propitiation; and (2) was the occasion for the mission of the Apostles “far unto the Gentiles.”

Romans 11:30. καὶ) [125] I formerly admitted this particle marked with an obelus, thus †, and am now glad that Baumgarten agrees with me.—ἠπειθήσατε, ye have not believed) unbelief falls upon [applies to] even those, who themselves have not heard the word of God, because they had however received it primitively in the persons of the patriarchs Adam and Noah. [The Gentiles are accountable for not having retained the revelation received from Adam, Noah, etc.]

[125] The German version agrees in this.—E. B.

ABCD (later correction), Gfg, omit καί, before ὑμεῖς. But Vulg. and Rec. Text. have it.—ED.

Verses 30, 31. - For as ye in times past believed not God (so, except that the aorist ἠπειθήσατε' is translated "have not believed," in the Authorized Version: but with an alternative in the margin of "obeyed" for "believed." The substantive ἀπειθεία, which follows twice, should be translated "disobedience" rather than "unbelief," if ἠπειθήσατε is translated "disobeyed." Properly and usually ἀπειθεία conveys a different idea from ἀπιστια, denoting "disobedience" or "contumacy," and not merely want of faith. But it appears to be sometimes used in the sense of ἀπιστία. For instance, in John 3:36, ὁ ἀπειθῶν τῷ υἱῷ is opposed to τῶ πιστεύοντι εἰς τὸν υἱόν. Most modern commentators, with reason, understand "disobedience" here. The difference does not affect the drift of the argument),but now have obtained mercy through their unbelief (or, disobedience): even so have these also now not believed (or, obeyed), that through your mercy (i.e. the mercy shown to you) they also may obtain mercy. The position of ἵνα after τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει has led commentators, ancient and modern, to connect τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει with the preceding ἠπείθησαν, and to try to hit upon a meaning in this connection. But the sense of the passage, as well as the parallalism of the preceding clause, favours the connection of the Authorized Version, as given above. (For a similar position of ἵνα, cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7.) Romans 11:30
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